2012, a year in review - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

2012: A year in review

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

It's hard to believe 2012 is coming to an end. This year brought stories of excitement, shock and sadness for many. But it's a year we look back on to recall all that Southwest Louisiana has endured as we ring in the new year in just a few short days.

So, we here at KPLC ask -- What are the most memorable stories from 2012? We've put together a list of stories we found jumped out at us the most. 

The singing of Joshua Ledet during the first half of 2012 put SWLA, and more specifically Westlake on the map. Ledet made it as one of the top three finalists on American Idol, winning over the hearts and ears of people nationwide, but especially back at home.

Keeping things interesting, so did the folks at the state capitol. Governor Bobby Jindal's education reform caused quite the stir as teachers from SWLA and other parts rallied on the capitol steps opposing all of what the reform would bring. 

And change can be both good and bad, sometimes frustrating, too, like the road construction in downtown Lake Charles.

Ryan Street streetscape making downtown look nicer. And speaking of construction, we saw the old Harrah's casino up and we've seen her down, as we received update after update on the proposed plans for the potential Mardi Gras Boardwalk. 

How about those surprising changes? Remember Phelps Correctional Center in DeQuincy? Remember receiving a notice in advance of its closing? Yeah ... us either.

But as jobs leave the area, more arrive with Sasol announcing its expansion bringing close to 7,000 new jobs to the lake area. 

New doors open as others find the bars locked behind them.

The Davis and Saltzman case received a conviction that was surprising to the two women after being sentenced for the murder of Brian Davis. This case closed.

And then there's Peter Lafuria, the OB/GYN charged with taking pictures of his patients without their knowledge. We'll find out in the new year where his trial will be held.

2012 was also a shocking year for many, starting back in May when 22-year-old UL Lafayette student Mickey Shunick was kidnapped while riding her bike home from a friend's house. 

Brandon LaVergne was arrested close to three months later and charged for the murder of Shunick as well as another woman, Lisa Pate in 1999.

And in one weekend, three homicides in Lake Charles. Brittany Grosse murdered at the corner of Alma and Melvin lanes in South Lake Charles, the killing of Anthony Batiste on Louisiana Avenue, and Quentin Lorden on Second Street. 

And through the struggle of trying to understand why something like this could happen in the Lake area, a high school football team -- the Barbe Bucs -- fight the good fight all the way to the Superdome to take on the Rummel Raiders. A tough road to get to the Dome proved to be an even tougher game.

And 2012 wasn't an easy year.

But it could be worse ... it could have been the end of the world.

Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved. 

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