2013 Year in Review on the Suncoast

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As we bid 2013 a fond farewell, here's a look back at the the stories that had people talking on the Suncoast throughout the year.

In January, Suncoast daredevil Nik Wallenda gave a free show to his hometown as he crossed a high wire 200 feet over the bayfront.

Two people died when a small plane crashed onto the campus of New College.

ABC 7's own Linda Carson was seen in a viral video getting knocked to the ground by a goat while reporting from the Manatee County Fair.  Linda's video was shown by Good Morning America, Jimmy Kimmel, and Anderson Cooper, among many others.


A Bradenton prankster was arrested for giving people wedgies outside a movie theater.  The same man was later also arrested for jumping over a deputy's head, and streaking at a Rays game.

In February, Bradenton authorities went the extra mile to rescue baby chicks from a storm drain.

A Bradenton man claims to have spotted an image of Jesus in a Corona beer case.

In March, 35 men were arrested in a Bradenton sex sting, including a youth choir director and a Tampa high schoolteacher. 

Scientists from Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota tagged and released a 14-foot great white shark for research.

In April, residents of The Oaks were accused of shooting fireworks at a bird rookery in an attempt to get the nesting birds to leave.

A Sarasota man was arrested for beating his boss's dog to death with a tire iron.

In May, Video surfaced of what is claimed to be a Skunk Ape sighting in Myakka River State Park.

In June, Tropical Storm Andrea made landfall in the Big Bend area of the state, but its effects were strongly felt on the Suncoast.  The storm brought heavy rains, tornado warnings, and coastal flooding.

America watched breathlessly as Suncoast native Nik Wallenda successfully crossed the Little Colorado River Gorge on a high wire without a safety harness.  The entire walk was broadcast nationwide on Discovery Channel.

In July, the popular Warm Mineral Springs was closed after Sarasota County and North Port were unable to agree on a management plan. Supporters are still trying to reopen the attraction.

Patrons of a popular Sarasota restaurant were shocked at the savage beating of a manager who followed some customers who did not pay.  Andrew Tian was punched by a man and later died from his injuries. A Bradenton gang member was later arrested for Tian's death.

Homelessness expert Dr. Robert Marbut came to Sarasota County and told officials that the area's homeless situation is on the verge of a crisis.  He was later hired by the county to present a full report with possible solutions.

Charges were files against Manatee High School assistant football coach Rod Frazier for Battery and Interfering with the Attendance of a Student. The investigation later led to charges and suspensions for four Manatee County School administrators.

In August, one man died after he was shot during a Pop Warner football practice in Bradenton.  No arrest has been made in the shooting.

A 20-year veteran of the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office was shot and killed while responding to a domestic dispute in Port Charlotte.  Thousands of mourners attended Sgt. Michael Wilson's service in Punta Gorda.

A flasher at a Venice beach left a note propositioning two girls. A man was later arrested for that and several other incidents in the area that week.

Two former Manatee County Sheriff’s Deputies were arrested and charged with Possession of Anabolic Steroids.  They later pleaded guilty.

A man was photographed reportedly disturbing a sea turtle nest on Casey Key.  A Wesley Chapel man was later charged with Possessing a Sea Turtle.

A Sarasota Police officer managed to save almost 100 turtle hatchlings from a Lido Beach parking lot.

In September, the International Federation of Rowing Associations selected Sarasota's Nathan Benderson Park as the host site of the 2017 World Rowing Championships, following months of work by area officials.

Neighbors on St. Armands were shocked by the demolition of a 12-year-old waterfront mansion to clear way for a larger home.

In October, jurors found Charles Hill guilty of murdering SCAT bus driver James Brotherton in Sarasota in 2011.

A Suncoast promoter was accused of deceptive practices surrounding the Sarasota Pumpkin Festival in Payne Park.

In perhaps the strangest story on the Suncoast in 2013, police announced that the suspicious white powder that forced the lockdown of Westfield Southgate Mall was in fact the ashes of the late fiancée of the man who spread the powder.

In November, ABC 7 said goodbye to one of its favorite on-air personalities as Lauren Dorsett left her spot as 6pm and 11pm anchor to move back to her hometown in California to be with her family and fiance.

The husband of Katherine Harris was found dead in their waterfront home from a suicide.

In December,an upright dump truck bed slammed into a North Port overpass, causing southbound I-75 to close for hours.

A Venice man says an image of the Virgin Mary appeared on a tie dye shirt.