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Lopez killing, Carrillo arrest dominated 2013 news

  • ANDY LOPEZ FUNERAL, OCT. 29: Sujey Lopez clutches the coffin holding her 13-year-old son, Andy, as her husband, Rodrigo, consoles her during the boy's funeral Mass in Santa Rosa. The teen was shot by a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy who said Lopez turned toward him with a BB gun that looked like an AK-47.

Two names so dominated headlines in Sonoma County in the second half of 2013 that it is easy to forget any other news occurred.

In July, Supervisor Efren Carrillo was arrested in Santa Rosa in the early morning hours, wearing only socks and underwear, after what police said was an attempt to enter a woman's bedroom through a window.

Then, on a sleepy October afternoon just south of Santa Rosa, Sonoma County sheriff's deputies encountered 13-year-old Andy Lopez, who was walking along Moorland Avenue carrying an airsoft-style BB gun. Ten seconds later, Lopez lay dying on the sidewalk, shot seven times by Deputy Erick Gelhaus. An outraged community staged near-daily marches in the street, demanding quick answers as to why an experienced deputy would open fire so quickly.

Top Local Stories Of 2013

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The furor over these two events appeared to drown out discussion of other major developments.

In Rohnert Park, the region's largest casino opened with a frenzy in early November, appearing to confirm critics' worst fears of gridlock and disorder. But activity quickly subsided to a more normal pace.

As the summer faded into fall, water managers began quietly expressing fears that we are in the grip of an epic drought. The year ended with that fear nearly confirmed — the driest calendar year on record in many parts of the region and water supplies dwindling in reservoirs, including Lake Mendocino. There's no rain in sight well into the winter.

Also on the environmental front, conservationists scored major wins, heading off a vineyard project on Preservation Ranch and scoring a partial victory against the nearby Artesa Vineyard project. Meanwhile, county officials moved to open vast swaths of recently preserved open space for public enjoyment.

The proposed Sonoma Clean Power system survived disagreements and tense negotiations among possible member cities and by year's end, it appeared poised to begin rivaling PG&E, offering power primarily to business customers by spring.

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