This Year’s Most Memorable Stories in San Diego

NBCSanDiego.com compiles the most memorable stories of 2011 based on site traffic.

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Border Agent Busted: In January 2011, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Marcos Gerardo Manzano Jr., 26, was arrested for harboring illegal immigrants, including his father. Eleven months later, Mazano was sentenced to serve 2 years of supervised release, 6 months in halfway house. Read more on this story here.
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Baby Scratching: Del Mar real estate agent Lisa Hench was sentenced to two years in prison for pinching and scratching babies to the point of bleeding in 2009. Here is her reaction during a sentencing hearing in January 2011 where she was placed on probation. In September, she violated her probation and was jailed again. Read more on this story here.
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Geezer Crime Spree: The Geezer Bandit resurfaced in Goleta in January 2011. This incident kicked off another string of robberies to the elusive robber's crime spree. Read more on this story here.
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Lynzi Martin
The Scene: Eden San Diego held its grand opening in January 2011, opening in the space formerly used by Universal. Read more on this story here.
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Tim Taylor
Deadly Training Accident: Sgt. Wesley J. Rice, 27 died when his AAV sank to the bottom of the Del Mar boat basin at Camp Pendleton in January 2011. He was among six Marines who were aboard the vehicle during the exercise. The other five were able to make it out safely. Read more on this story here.
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Vet Found in Squalor: Arnold Bauer, 93, was discovered living in a home surrounded by rodent droppings, trash, rotten food and inoperable bathrooms. The Pearl Harbor survivor’s caretaker, Milagros Angeles was arrested and charged with elder abuse. Bauer died in December and requested his ashes be returned to Pearl Harbor. Read more on this story here.
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Neptune Avenue Collapse: A bluff collapsed in Encinitas in January taking the stairs leading to the beach with it. Read more on this story here.
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Cab Crash in Nightclub: Cab driver Sam Daly says he doesn't remember anything in the seconds leading up to the Feb. 12 crash outside Stingaree. The Emerald cab jumped a curb in the Gaslamp and ran into a crowd exiting the popular nightclub. Read more on this story here.
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Botox for the Blues: Botox is used for getting rid of wrinkles, migraines or even to stop excessive sweating. In February, one dermatologic surgeon said he believes the toxin can help treat depression. Read more on this story here.
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Storm Damage: Strong winds sent a La Jolla eucalyptus tree falling on Feb. 2, 2011, and it landed atop three luxury cars. Read more on this story here.
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Bolt of Inspiration: A design team finally presented their vision of a new stadium to the Bolts' brass in March 2011. The schematic renderings were posted online and many, many Chargers fans checked them out and offered their opinions. Read more on this story here.
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Kathy Day/La Jolla Light
Tsunami Alert: People watch the coast off La Jolla on March 11 after a tsunami advisory was issued for California's coast. San Diego County saw minimal effects from the tsunami, unlike other parts of the state. Read more on this story here.
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Gang Sweep: Hundreds of law enforcement officers from 16 local, state and federal agencies made hundreds of arrests targeting criminals involved with gangs, drugs and cross border crimes in March 2011. Read more on this story here.
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Silver Strand Crash: A woman used a knife to carjack a Ford truck in Imperial Beach. She drove off with a man in the backseat who had been detailing the vehicle. The robbery led to a police pursuit and a fatal crash that closed Silver Strand Boulevard between Imperial Beach and Coronado. The woman driving and her passenger were both killed. Read more on this story here.
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Michelle Wayland
The Scene: Bridge to Nowhere: The bridge connecting Petco Park with a parking garage south of the Convention Center opened to pedestrians in March 2011. Read more on this story here.
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Otay Ranch Apple Store Shootout: A smash and grab burglary turned into a deadly shooting at the Otay Ranch Towne Center in April. An armed security guard, hired by Apple to protect one of its San Diego stores, confronted the suspects and shot and killed one of them. Read more on this story here.
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Bracelet Ban Lifted: “I Heart Boobies” bracelets, sold across the nation, have been banned in many U.S schools, including Oceanside High School, Valley Middle School in Carlsbad and Mountain Empire High School in East County. In April, a U.S. District Court judge sided with students in a free-speech test case filed in Pennsylvania by the American Civil Liberties Union. Read more on this story here. Source: Fed Judge OKs "Boobies" Bracelet in School | NBC San Diego
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MMA Fighter Shot Execution-Style: A mixed martial arts fighter was one of two Americans gunned down in an execution-style killing near the San Ysidro border crossing in April. Sergio Salcido Luna, 25, was a professional fighter who began his career in MMA in Bakersfield. Read more on this story here.
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Hayne Palmour IV/NCTimes
The Scene: Surfing Madonna: A stained glass piece mysteriously appeared under the train trestle on Encinitas Boulevard between Highway 101 and Vulcan Avenue in Encinitas. That began the search for the artist and the removal of the piece. Read more on this story here.
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Deaths of Bay Terraces Family: Alfredo Pimienta, 44, his wife, Georgina, 38, and their daughters Priscilla, 17, and Emily, 9, were found dead in a home located on a cul-de-sac in the Bay Terraces area. This is a photo posted to a social networking site showing the Pimienta family several years ago. Read more on this story here.
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Diverted Passengers Feared Explosion: San Diego-bound Delta Air Lines Flight 1706 was diverted to Albuquerque, N.M., on May 8 after passengers say a note containing the word "bomb" was found in the Boeing 737 plane's lavatory. Read more on this story here.
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Arnold Schwarzengger, Maria Shriver Split: The former governor of California and his former journalist wife split on May 9 after 25 years of marriage. On May 16, the Los Angeles Times revealed that the Governator fathered a child 10 years ago with one of the family's domestic workers. Shriver, an award-winning journalist, quit her job when her husband took office in California.
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The Scene - Deep Fried Fair Food: In anticipation of the San Diego County Fair, we shows you the new gastro-challenging that awaited fairgoers in our homage to all things deep-fried. Read more on this story here.
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Nina Russell
The Scene - Getting Dirty The Mud Run on June 11 was dirtier and muddier than ever. Mud Run participants tackled tire obstacles, hills, tunnels and giant mud pits. Read more on this story here.
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Telemundo
Man Shot, Killed at U.S. Mexico Border: Images show the scene of a shooting involving U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents on June 21. Read more on this story here.
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Frida Sarda
Bonita Verde Family Deaths: Thomas, Sean and Kyle Fuchs were found after a house fire on Bonita Verde Road in July. Investigators say the father killed the boys before taking his own life. This image is of a memorial placed near the home soon after the deaths were discovered. Read more on this story here.
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SUV Crashes into Cyclists: Poway resident Nick Venuto, 40, was killed when an SUV veered off State Route 56 and plowed through a fence onto the Carmel Mountain Road Bridge. Read more on this story here.
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Dad Surprises Sailor: As if Jonathan Perez's return home wasn't special enough, something special was waiting for him in the parking lot after USS Hampton docked in Point Loma. Watch the video here.
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Feline Fees: San Diego's city auditor recommended launching a cat license fee as a way to save money. NBCSanDiego users were outraged. Needless to say, the $25 per cat fee was not approved. Read more on this story here.
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NBCSanDiego/Michael Trier
Coronado Mansion Deaths: Rebecca Zahau and Max Shacknai died within days of each other inside the Spreckels Mansion on Coronado. An official investigation concluded Shacknai's death was accidental and Zahau's death was suicide. Zahau's family disagreed with the finding and launched their own investigation before year's end. Read more on this story here. Source: A Timeline of the Deaths at Spreckels Mansion | NBC San Diego
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Pride Festival: Walter Schuppen (C) an active duty sailor in the Navy, marched with about 200 active-duty troops in the San Diego Pride Parade on July 16. It was the first time a group like this marched in a Pride Parade. See more images here.
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Rancho Penasquitos Family Deaths: Decorated police veteran Donna Williams (L) and her daughter Bree Williams were killed in their home. Brian Williams, 24, was arrested on murder charges for killing his mother and sister. Read more on this story here.
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Biggest Stars of Comic-Con 2011: Actor Daniel Craig attends the premiere of Universal Pictures "Cowboys & Aliens" during Comic-Con 2011. See more images from this year's event here.
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The Scene - Fun in the Sun at OTL: The 58th annual Over-the-Line World Championship Tournament took place July 9-10 and July 16-17 on Fiesta Island in Mission Bay. See more images here.
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Small Fire, Big Headache: A two-acre brush fire started by a vehicle's catalytic converter shut down traffic on Interstate 5 in both directions for more than an hour causing delays and detours for drivers. Read more on this story here.
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Lisa Pembleton
Dog Mourns Master: This heartbreaking photo shows slain U.S. Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson’s dog Hawkeye lying by his casket. Tumilson lived in San Diego for eight years before becoming a SEAL. He was one of 17 SEALs who lost their lives in a chopper crash in Afghanistan. Read more on this story here.
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Officer Shot: El Cajon Officer Jarred Slocum clutches a gunshot wound outside a home on Prince Street. Resident Kevin Collier shot his mother-in-law and his infant daughter and fired his gun at officers before eventually killing himself and setting the home on fire. Read more on this story here.
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Slain Officer's Last Act of Kindness: Moments before he was fatally wounded in an unprovoked attack, SDPD Officer Jeremy Hendwood performed one last act of kindness; he bought a child food while buying his own dinner. Read more on this story here.
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Car Squashed by Big Rig, Driver Survives: During a morning community in August, this Toyota Avalon collided with a big rig truck on southbound I-805. Despite the obvious damage, the driver survived. See more images here.
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Vito Di Stefano
The Scene - San Diego Music Awards: SoundDiego covered the annual event honoring the best in local music. Click here to see full list of 2011 San Diego Music Award Winners
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AP
In the Dark: A darkened San Diego Skyline is seen Sept. 8 from Coronado. The only lights that can be seen are warning lights and emergency lights. More than 1.4 million customers lost power during a blackout in the San Diego area. Read more on this story here.
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McDonald's Fire: Forty firefighters from Carlsbad, San Marcos, Rancho Santa Fe and Encinitas fought the Sept. 2011 fire at the McDonald's on Encinitas Boulevard. Read more on this story here. Read more here.
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Mark Sackett
The Six-Pack: A half-dozen puppies and their mother were rescued from a drain pipe near the U.S.- Mexico border. Called “The Six Pack,” the litter of 3 boys, 3 girls were discovered in the San Ysidro area by some people checking on the condition of some horses in the area.nSee more images here.
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NBC San Diego
Border Roof Collapses: The roof of a structure collapsed during a planned demolition at the U.S. Mexico border, trapping a car underneath the rubble. Read more on this story here.
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Occupy SD Arrests: Then, before the end of October, deputies with batons lined up in front of protesters in an overnight raid and arrested several participants. Read more on this story here.
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Occupy San Diego: In October, the Occupy movement dominated news coverage with a march involving an estimated 1500 people through the heart of downtown and then a tent city placed in the Civic Center Plaza. Read more on this story here.
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Highway Shootings: Multiple shootings along I-805 injured one driver near the Mesa College Drive offramp. Another dodged a bullet near I-805 and Plaza Boulevard in October. Enrique Ayon was arrested in Los Angeles and faces attempted murder charges. Read more on this story here.
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Green Liquid Fills Sinkhole: The sinkhole on Campus Point Dr. filled with a glowing green liquid, which city water officials said was a non-toxic dye used to target the break in the pipe below. Read more on this story here.
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Owner Dons Bikini to Find Dog: Arlene Mossa Corona wore a bikini and held up a sign with pictures of her dog Chispeta in an intersection of La Jolla Village Dr. and Genesee Ave. Read more on this story here.
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5 Trapped in Border Tunnel with Sewage: A secret border tunnel was discovered inside a sewage drain in Otay Mesa. Five people were pulled from the tunnel early Wednesday, Nov. 2. Read more on this story here.
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Smoke Fills South County: The fire was burning up a hillside south of Tecate Peak on Nov. 2 but you wouldn't know it from the smoke in the South Bay. Read more on this story here.
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Ex-Cop Convicted of Sex Assault: Former San Diego police officer Anthony Arevalos did not show any emotion as the verdicts were read in November 2011, convicting him of sexually assault, false imprisonment and bribery. Read more on this story here.
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The Scene - Flash Mob of Marios: What better way to advertise a new Mario game release than to gather a pack of dancing Marios at Horton Plaza? See more images here.
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