ABILENE, Texas - 2013 was a year of big stories around the Big Country. Before we step into 2014 we wanted to take a look back at the five biggest stories in our area.
We checked which web stories had the most views this year. Then staff members at KTXS voted on what stories they thought were most important.
Here are the top five stories of 2013:
5. It was an uphill battle for the Abilene school administration, but they took on the challenge willingly. In November, AISD voters passed an $87.7 million school bond election.
The bond money will be used to fix up several schools, rebuild two and update security for all campuses.
The bond will cost taxpayers an average of $48 more a year for 20 years. That's for an average priced home in the district.
It was the first school bond election to pass in Abilene since 2004.
4. Accidents plagued Ranger Hill again this year. There were seven fatalities in 2013 in what is considered the deadliest stretch of road between Abilene and Fort Worth.
Those accidents, along with a petition signed by people in Eastland County, convinced the Texas Transportation Commission to lower the speed limit there by 10 miles an hour, raise barriers and add lighting. They will also resurface that stretch of road.
The project is expected to cost about $3.2 million.
3. It turned into an epidemic in the city of Abilene. Police said the use of synthetic drugs was running rampant throughout the city.
About 10 head shops in Abilene were selling the synthetic drugs and most of them were doing so legally. The city then stepped up to pass an ordinance regulating where such drugs could be sold. Synthetic drugs can cause hallucinations, bouts of rage and seizures.
In October, head shops were required to move away from city neighborhoods. Since the ordinance, police and hospital staff both said the number of incidents involving synthetic drugs has decreased dramatically.
2. It could be the biggest shale oil play in American history - at least that's what some scientists are saying. Studies have estimated the Cline Shale could have as much as 30 billion barrels of recoverable oil.
Cities such as Snyder, Colorado City and Sweetwater are already seeing the effects of the discovery.
Housing sales have spiked, populations continue to increase and rigs are popping up everywhere. The boom has even had an effect on Abilene as many oil field workers are buying up RVs and homes in the area.
1. The search for missing Colorado City teenager Hailey Dunn lasted more than two years. In May a man searching for fossils near Lake J.B. Thomas in Scurry County found human remains. About a month passed before the FBI confirmed the remains were those of Hailey Dunn.
A memorial service was held for Hailey at the Colorado City High School.
No arrests have been made in connection with her death. Shawn Adkins, Hailey's mom's boyfriend at the time she disappeared, was the only suspect ever named in the case.
- Updated Shot Brownwood man considered brain dead, suspect could face upgraded charges
- Police: Ohio mom killed 2 kids to save them from evil in world
- Sweetwater teen wins gold medal in national powerlifting competition
- Texas woman slain as boyfriend shoots at another man
- Official: Storm triggered sensor that halted new Six Flags roller coaster
- Abilene families release butterflies to remember their loved ones
- Young horse riders show off skills in Abilene
- Dog show held at Mall of Abilene
- Eighteen seniors graduate from Abilene Christian School
- Weather doesn't keep Williams from canvassing for votes
- Abilene's new aquatic center to open mid-June
- Brownwood police release ID of man shot in head, upgrade charges against suspect
- 3 firefighters, 1 other injured in Brownwood house fire
- Man in critical condition after shooting in Brownwood, suspect arrested
- TEA says Mullin ISD violated education codes, defrauded state
- Brown County man sentenced to 35 years in prison for child sex crime
- Brookesmith ISD superintendent says school will be open next year
- Dyess We Care Team repairs the home of a WWII veteran
- Sweetwater residents welcome rain after severe storm
- NWS confirms multiple tornadoes touched down in northern Brown County
- DPS identifies driver of 18-wheeler that crashed off overpass in Callahan County
- Rain totals: 'Quite measurable' amounts recorded in Big Country
- Sweetwater police chase ends with car on top of 2 pickup trucks