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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Florida marked a number of tragedies and departures in 2015.
It was a year when Miami’s inner city youth came under fire.
Northwestern High School was hit the hardest – four 4 students were shot and killed. Miami-Dade School Superintendent Alberto Carvahlo was outraged about the gun violence.
“How is acceptable in any community in America that within the same week two young people from the same school, are killed or assassinated in the streets of Miami,” said Carvalho.
In 2015, a year old murder mystery involving a rabbi was finally solved. A 15-year old was charged in the shooting death of Rabbi Joseph Raksin as he walked to Sabbath services. The motive was robbery.
“We want this vicious thug to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Raksin’s daughter Shuli Labkowski at a news conference announcing the arrest.
The trial of a man known as the “Facebook Killer” finally took place.
“This was a cruel way in which to die. Basically she fought for her life,” said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle of Derek Medina who killed his wife in a fit of rage and then posted photos of her body on Facebook for friends and family to see. He would be found guilty of second degree murder and faces 25 years to life in prison.
2015 was also the year tensions rose over the threat of terrorism. Federal authorities arrested a Key West man who was allegedly plotting terror attacks in the name of ISIS.
Our airports were constantly in the headlines.
There was a passenger yanked off a plane because someone thought he said something on his phone regarding a bomb.
“Nobody told me what’s going on. Nobody told me why I’ve been arrested. I’ve been treated like a criminal.” the passenger said after being released.
Authorities shut down Miami International Airport after an X-ray screener saw something that didn’t look right in a bag but the passenger was able to continue on without the bag being searched. Planes were grounded, traffic came to a halt and thousands were stranded. In the end the passenger, a dentist, was found. Inside the bag were dental tools.
In 2015 we saw a few departures.
Mario Kreutzberger, better known as Don Francisco, stepped down from Sabado Gigante. His 53 year run goes down in the record books as the longest running variety show in television history. Kreutzberger reflected on his departure. “It is sad on one side. But I feel proud on the other side.”
The University of Miami’s Donna Shalala also stepped down.
“My love is not necessarily for institutions but for transforming institutions,” Shalala told a crowd at an event honoring her.
Shalala transformed the University of Miami, ushering it to become a top 50 university in the country, doubling freshman enrollment, raising $3 billion for the “U” and vastly expanding the medical program.
UM’s football coach would depart a short time after Shalala. Al Golden, challenged with helping rebuild a team wrought with scandal couldn’t overcome a losing record.
“I have no doubt that I was the guy. I have no doubt that I was here for a reason during a very tumultuous time,” Golden said.
Golden wouldn’t be the only coach to get the axe.
“We weren’t happy with the direction we were going” Miami Dolphins General Manager Dennis Hickey said at a press conference this fall, hours after the organization fired head coach Joe Philbin.
The Marlins fired their skipper too. “Really we are just looking for a new voice,” a spokesman said afterwards.
We also said farewell to Anthony Bosch, whose Coral Gables clinic injected pro, college and even high school athletes with steroids. Bosch is currently serving four years in prison.
Hometown politicians finally announced what everyone expected them to do.
At the Freedom Tower in Downtown Miami Marco Rubio held a massive rally.
“I announce my candidacy for President of the United States,” he told the audience.
Jeb Bush announced a short time later.
“I’ve decided that I’m a candidate for President of the United States,” he told a crowd at a packed gymnasium at Miami-Dade College.
In 2015 we apparently are the place to be. Florida became the third largest state in the country, our population jumping New York.
Take a look at other stories that made headlines in South Florida in 2015.