Our Top 10 Favorite Houston News Stories of 2013
5. METRO opens much-anticipated north line.
For nearly 10 years, the only light rail in Houston was the 7.5-mile line between UH Downtown and Reliant Center. Through lawsuits and funding problems, METRO has fought for more rail and, finally, just weeks ago, the 5.5-mile North Line opened connecting UH Downtown with track along North Main and Fulton all the way out to Northline Mall. The new Downtown, East End and Southeast lines are expected to open in 2014.
4. Macy's gets imploded.
The downtown Foley's was a hub of shopping activity in central Houston for decades. Macy's eventually bought the chain and took over, but the downtown location struggled for years to establish the same success it had when downtown was still a shopping destination. Finally, Macy's shuttered the store and shortly thereafter, the building was imploded. No word yet on what will take its place, but it will be hard to top Foley's downtown.
3. School violence at Lone Star College and Spring High School.
The entire country has suffered with school violence, and in 2013, Houston had its turn with a shooting at one Lone Star College campus and a mass stabbing at another, along with a fatal stabbing at Spring High School. It was a strange series of violent events that helps to remind us that we are as vulnerable as any other city to tragedy in our schools.
2. Houston repeals the three-foot rule.
In a stunning move by Mayor Annise Parker, a deal was struck between law enforcement and strip clubs ending years of litigation over the city's Sexually Oriented Business ordinance that, among other things, put in place a "three-foot rule" keeping dancers at a distance from patrons. The deal, not surprisingly condemned by area religious leaders, gives "gentlemen's clubs" more freedom in exchange for a fund that will support local police in human trafficking efforts.
1. City votes down Astrodome referendum.
In what may have been the most disappointing vote in recent history, Harris County voters shot down a referendum that would increase (slightly) property taxes and turn the decaying Astrodome into a convention center of sorts. The deal was hailed by supporters as being the best way to preserve the iconic stadium, but opponents said it was a bad plan that cost too much money. As of yet, Harris County Commissioners Court has not ruled on what will happen to the Dome. Most believe it will be leveled, but it is hard to imagine anyone at HCCC wants that building torn down on their watch.