Advocate Editorial Board opinion: A look back at major events of year 2012
The Crossroads is about to step into a new year. There are some indications of what will be in store for us, but, before we move forward, we would like to take a look back at some of the major events of 2012.
Last year saw some major changes and big stories in the Crossroads, both good and bad. Some of these events had to do with the growing Eagle Ford Shale activity, which increased traffic and commerce across the area. Others were the results of months, sometimes years, of effort invested in growing and improving our hometown. Others are part of a continuing pattern of illegal activity and tragedy we face in our area. Here is our list of some of the major events that shaped 2012 in the Crossroads:
Victoria, in particular, saw plenty of activity in 2012. Our city reconnected with its historical roots in Guerrero, Coahuila, through the Partners in History program. The two cities are related because many of the missions established in the Crossroads area came from expeditions out of Guerrero.
Victoria also saw some new developments in industry. The biggest event was the official opening of the new Caterpillar plant. Victoria and Caterpillar went through years of negotiations and discussions, starting in late 2009. Finally, the company held the opening ceremony for the hydraulic excavator plant Aug. 23. The company plans to employ 800 workers at the plant by 2015. On the down side, Exelon decided to drop their efforts to build a nuclear power plant in the Crossroads because of the low prices of natural gas in the area.
The Victoria Regional Airport saw its share of changes, the biggest being the switch to a new air service carrier after the sudden departure of Pinnacle Airlines Corp. on June 30. Two carriers competed for the position: SeaPort Airlines Inc. and Sun Air International. After much debate and investigation, Sun Air became the new carrier for the Victoria airport. Now, after a three-month delay, the airport is up and running, and, while there may be some hiccups, we look forward to seeing the system become a smooth operation providing fast, convenient transportation to and from Houston.
Education in Victoria saw some changes as well this year. Bob Moore, the former superintendent of the Victoria Independent School District, announced his intent to retire in February. On July 1, Robert Jaklich, formerly of Harlandale, became the new superintendent of VISD, bringing with him a reputation of positive change and community involvement.
The city of Victoria finally reached a conclusion in their yearslong effort to build a new sewer plant. After months of controversy with a citizens group, including an attempt to hold a recall election for then-councilwoman Denise Rangel, the two sides reached an agreement and avoided a court hearing. The city hopes to have the new facility up and running by 2015.
Goliad County has faced its share of environmental concerns as well. After years of back-and-forth, the Environmental Protection Agency in early December awarded Uranium Energy Corp. an aquifer exemption permit, the final permission needed before the company can begin in situ mining. The county has also faced tragedy and became another part of national controversy after 23 illegal immigrants riding in a pickup were involved in a wreck between Goliad and Berclair. Fifteen of the immigrants died, and eight were injured.
In sports, Crossroads teams took the lead this year. The El Campo High School Ricebirds returned to the state championships after 45 years. They didn't take the title, but the return to Arlington was a feat in itself. Shiner-St. Paul won their second title in three years, and St. Joseph volleyball took a trip to the state finals for the first time in school history, even after the team's bus was involved in a rollover accident earlier in the season. The Victoria East High School girls basketball team took a trip to state as well, then played in the McDonald's Texas Invitational.
This year has seen some tough times, but, overall, 2012 was a good year for the Crossroads. We hope 2013 will be even better.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.