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Top Metro Detroit Stories Of 2013: A Year In Review

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(Credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

(Credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

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By Christy Strawser, digital director

DETROIT (CBS Detroit) There’s an old Michigan joke about the weather: Don’t like it? Wait a minute and it will change.

That also applies to news —  But in the ever-evolving news cycle in metro Detroit, there were some standouts, stories that created lasting change — for good or bad — or just had the region asking for days: “Did this really happen?”

Here’s a rundown of the top news stories in metro Detroit in 2013.

Detroit Bankruptcy

It was the court filing heard ’round the world: Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy case in history. Like most historic events, it happened two ways: Very slowly — and then suddenly.

A dwindling population left shuttered businesses and empty neighborhoods which triggered fewer jobs, staggering deficits and huge legacy costs. Add to the mix decades of mismanagement at just about every level of government, and Gov. Rick Snyder, and many others, felt bankruptcy was the only solution. Complex negotiations ensued, courts got involved, the council threw fits, some residents lamented and others applauded.

What’s next? That’s a 2014 story. Catch up on all the twists and turns HERE.

DIA Art’s For Sale — Or Not

A big part of the bankruptcy story centered on the world-class collection of art at the jewel of the region — the Detroit Institute of Arts. Could art from the likes of Whistler, Van Gogh — even the original Howdy Doody marionette — be used to pay back Detroit’s billions of dollars in debt? Should it?

Auction house Christie’s was called in by creditors to assess the value of the collection, protesters took to the streets, pensioners demanded the art get slashed before their paychecks were — and the world watched. Catch up on the DIA story HERE.

White, Write-In Candidate Elected Mayor In Detroit

With bankruptcy in the air and the state at the helm of city government, Detroiters headed to the polls to make a crucial decision: Who should lead?

It was a knock-down, drag-out political battle between two local titans, Sheriff Benny Napoleon and former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan. In an unlikely scenario, the winner turned out to be the write-in candidate, a guy who was ejected from the official race for incorrectly filing his paperwork. Mayor-elect Duggan is also the first white leader of the city since the 1970s. Get the details HERE.

Kwame Kilpatrick Sentenced

In the end, Detroit’s living-large kingpin mayor turned quiet and contrite, asking the court through tears to let him go home and raise his sons, promising he had finally learned his lesson. But it wasn’t enough.

Former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted on federal charges of using his office to run a racketeering operation with his father Bernard Kilpatrick and pal Bobby Ferguson to shake down people who wanted to do business with Detroit, using the money for personal gain.

And the suddenly circumspect mayor was sentenced to 28 years behind bars. Catch up on the story HERE.

Prince Fielder Traded

For yet another year, the region caught Tigers fever as the team headed to the playoffs. And yet again, they didn’t make it to the big, big show, getting knocked out before the World Series.

The $214 million man, Prince Fielder — one of the most applauded drafts in Tigers’ history — drew derision when he seemed to shrug off the loss, chiding fans by saying they would play if they could.

Would they? Could they? They did. The team shocked the sports world when they traded away their superstar, leaving Fielder shrugging his way to Texas. Get the details HERE.  

Jimmy Hoffa Dig — Redux

Jimmy Hoffa’s under my driveway! No, no, he floated over to the mysterious slab in that field!

Again in 2013, the hunt for the presumably deceased union leader’s body involved backhoes, federal agents, and gawking crowds. The only thing missing was T-shirt sales as agents dug for Hoffa not once, but twice, the last 14 months.

A driveway in Roseville was dug up in late 2012 on the homeowners’ word that something shady happened there the night Hoffa disappeared; then former mob underboss Anthony Zerilli mouthed off, saying Hoffa’s remains were left in a shallow grave under a concrete slab in a field. A cadaver dog seemed to agree and again the backhoes came out. Still no Hoffa. Get the details HERE.

Big Cat On The Loose

It’s a lion, it’s a tiger, no, it’s just an overly large cat! Several residents on Detroit’s northeast side called police and the Michigan Humane Society, reporting sightings of what some described as an “exotic cat, perhaps as tall as four feet.” One said the cat’s tail was “as long as his arm.”

The hunt was on, the calls continued, some said they were terrified. Then a house cat was discovered shot dead and tossed in a garbage can. Turned out, a Savannah cat was the “big cat,” and it had been shot and killed by someone apparently scared of it. The 25-pound house pet belonged to a neighbor. Get the details HERE.

Suburb Requires $1M Dog Insurance

After 32 reports of dog bites and attacks during 2012 in Royal Oak, the city took action in 2013, requiring owners of “dangerous dogs” to carry $1 million in liability insurance, post signs, complete an obedience class with the dog, and keep the dog in a locked, fenced-in area.

Owners must also comply with seven pages worth of other requirements to keep their pets in the city. Safe to say, it was the talk of the town. Get details HERE.

Eminem Releases New Album — Acts Weird

He just may be friends with the monsters under his bed, and the voices in his head, but no matter, one of Detroit’s favorite sons was in the headlines over and over in 2013. He released his much-anticipated “Marshall Mathers LP 2,” watched his baby girl get crowned homecoming queen, may or may not have gotten back together with Kim. His childhood home burned down, and he went on a publicity tour where he stood on national TV during an NFL halftime show with his mouth hanging open and a strange look on his face, until the hosts gratefully cut to break. Get more information on Eminem’s year HERE.

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