Top 10 Local Stories of 2012

What made headlines in the desert, in 2012?

POSTED: 05:42 PM PST Jan 01, 2013    UPDATED: 06:20 PM PST Jan 01, 2013 
PALM DESERT, Calif. -

     As we say hello to 2013, we say goodbye to 2012. It was a year full of ups and downs. On a national level the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School is unparalleled in how it affected people across the country and sparked a nationwide conversation. Locally, we'd like to take a look at what affected us most in our own backyard. Here's a look at the Top 10 local stories that made headlines, in 2012.

#10: Timothy Bradley Wins
     Cathedral City boxer, Timothy Bradley takes on Manny Pacquiao, in the biggest fight of his life.  The incredibly close match-up ended with a split decision. But, in the end Bradley dethroned the WBO Welterweight Champion. But, the controversy grew surrounding his new title and a championship committee reviewed the fight, ruling Bradley would retain his  belt.

#9:  Pipe Bombs Planted in Palm Springs
     On Wednesday, May 9, someone turned-in a possible explosive device to the Palm Springs Police Department. The next day, four more were found in a Palm Springs neighborhood, near San Rafael Drive. A sixth bomb was discovered later that week, near the Whitewater Country Club. A month later, police arrested 47 year-old Edward Costa of Desert Hot Springs. He and his girlfriend had recently broken-up and one of the pipe bombs was found near her home.

#8: The Revival of Downtown Palm Springs
     It kicked off with the arrival of a 26-foot tall statue of Marilyn Monroe.  After a long road trip from Chicago, Forever Marilyn struck a pose at Palm Canyon and Tahquitz--drawing tourists from around the world. Then in late December, city leaders finally approved John Wessman's plan, clearing a major hurdle in revitalizing the Desert Fashion Plaza. Construction is expected to begin in September.
    
#7 Duroville Move
     Duroville, home to an estimated six-thousand migrant workers, moved from it's run-down location on the Torres-Martinez Indian Reservation, to the Mountain View Estates, in Oasis. All 181 families should be moved-in, by this coming May.

#6 Clifford Lambert Trial Closes
     A guilty verdict for 2 men accused in the murder of Palm Springs retiree, Clifford Lambert. Nearly 4 years after his death,  a jury convicted the final 2 men involved in the conspiracy and murder plot. Kaushal Niroula and Daniel Garcia were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Lambert's body has never been found.

#5 Marine Shootings
     On November 10th, 22-year old Corporal Allan DeVillena was killed in an officer involved shooting, in a Palm Springs parking structure. Officers say he accelerated toward one of the officers hitting him. Both officers opened fire on DeVillena. He died at the scene.
     Then on December 5th,  Corporal Craig Maddy, a Marine from Twentynine Palms was shot in the head in Desert Hot Springs, near the intersection of Indian Canyon and 20th Avenue, after an altercation in Palm Springs.  The 21 year-old returned from Afghanistan, in October. His family is searching for answers. Corporal Maddy continues to fight for his life.

#4: I-10 Back-Up
     A traffic mess on Interstate 10 left travelers stranded for hours, in February. Cal Trans shut down all but one of the westbound lanes in the Banning-Beaumont area, while crews made pot hole repairs. Those lanes were expected to re-open a few hours later, but instead drivers were stuck for more than 12 hours. A breakdown at the concrete supplier was to blame for the 25-mile back-up.

#3: Milanovich Death
     The longtime leader of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians died in March, after a long battle with cancer. Richard Milanovich was 69 years-old. He served as Tribal Chairman for nearly 30 years.

#2: Wicked Desert Weather
      A big surprise from mother nature literally brought down the house, during the third round of the Humana Challenge.  Then in August, quick moving storms dumped record rainfall, sending a wall of water into a Cathedral City intersection. Del Taco and Resale Therapy sustained major damage, when the Eagle Canyon Dam overflowed. And in September mother nature struck again, this time in Mecca. Tremendous thunderstorms over the east valley caused major flooding, drenching Duroville and other surrounding mobile home parks. The storm left residents literally sweeping water from their front porches.

#1. Your Vote 2012
     Finally, our number one, most talked about story of the year, "Your vote 20-12." It included the most heated race this election season here in the valley, for the 36th Congressional district between Mary Bono Mack and Democratic challenger, Dr. Raul Ruiz.  The political ads got ugly with Bono-Mack seeking her 8th term in Congress and Dr. Ruiz, making his first run for office.  In the end the Congresswoman conceded the race to Ruiz, who won by more than 12,000 votes. The Cathedral City Mayor's race took center stage as well, after Mayor Kathy DeRosa survived a contentious election and re-count. She won her re-election bid over Chip Yarborough, who called-off a recount, after it became clear he wasn't going to make up the slim 13 vote gap that separated the two.  DeRosa says she hopes the council will be able to work together and move forward. Something we can all work toward in the new year.  Here's to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013!