KVUE’s 10 Best Local Stories of 2022

Here’s a roundup of the top 10 Austin area stories you clicked on this year.

AUSTIN, Texas – It may seem a little unbelievable, but there are only a few weeks left of 2022.

It’s been another busy year. From the deadliest school shooting in state history, to tornadoes that devastated central Texas neighborhoods, a high-profile gubernatorial race to a murder in Austin that led to an international manhunt, there was no shortage of big stories, and it was our duty to to keep you informed .

As we reach the 2022 finish line, let’s reflect on the top stories that made headlines this year.

Here’s a summary of the top 10 Austin area stories you clicked on, based on data from Google Analytics.

1. VIDEO: Hallway footage of the Uvalde School shooting obtained from KVUE

The biggest story in Texas that year was the deadly Uvalde shooting. On May 24, an 18-year-old gunman entered Robb Elementary School, killing 19 students and two teachers.

For months, state and local officials did not release footage from inside the school on the day of the shooting.

That Video was obtained through Austin American statesman and KVUE Senior Reporter Tony Plohetski, and both media chose to release this footage on July 12 to provide transparency to the community and show what happened as officers waited to enter the classroom. The article with the full video was KVUE’s top story of the year.

The full, edited video can be viewed below:

2. “I think my race is superior” | ISD teacher in Pflugerville arrested in ‘inappropriate conversation’ no longer employed

On Nov. 11, KVUE reported that video of an “inappropriate conversation” between a Pflugerville ISD teacher and students at Bohls Middle School was circulating on social media.

It’s not clear how the conversation started, however in the videothe teacher was captured saying, “Deep down in my heart I am ethnocentric, which means I think my race is superior.”

On November 14, the teacher was fired from the school district.

3. Multiple tornadoes confirmed in central Texas. Here you can see photos and videos

Multiple tornadoes were confirmed in central Texas in late March as severe weather rolled through the area. KVUE viewers submitted photos and videos as the storms moved through Round Rock, Elgin and other areas.

No one was killed in the storms, but some neighborhoods suffered extensive damage. Several Central Texans also had close encounters, including a woman whose neighbors pulled her from under her home and an Elgin teenager whose truck was swept away by a tornado.

4. New Austin COVID-19 orders go into effect this week

While coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic slowed this year compared to 2020 and 2021, confusion over local and state guidance made it into the top 10 stories of the year.

On Jan. 13, Austin-Travis County leaders announced new COVID-19 orders that would go into effect the following week. The orders said businesses would have to post signage informing employees and customers of health and safety recommendations related to local risk-based COVID-19 levels and that businesses could choose whether to allow mask-wearing to indicate a negative COVID-19 , wanted to demand. 19 test to enter or proof of vaccination.

However, some business owners felt they might be on shaky ground considering Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order banning mask and vaccine mandates last July.

5. Round Rock ISD Board votes to suspend Superintendent

Earlier in the year, the Round Rock ISD Board of Trustees voted to appoint Superintendent Dr. Hafedh Azaiez pending the outcome of an investigation into “the underlying conduct found in a protection order issued by the Travis County District Court on paid administrative leave.” ”

Azaiez has reportedly faced allegations of assault and the school board using police to silence his critics, both at RRISD and in his previous position at Donna ISD.

Later in January, the board voted to continue the district’s investigation into Azaiez. In early March, the board voted against a proposed separation agreement with Azaiez, and he was reinstated later that month.

6. 16-year-old driver thrown into Elgin tornado and lucky to be alive

As previously mentioned, the tornadoes that swept through central Texas in March left some residents feeling alive. Among them was 16-year-old Elgin teenager Riley Leon.

Video Captured by storm chaser Brian Emfinger, Leon’s truck showed how it was hit by a tornado and drove away. The experience shocked Leon, but luckily he only suffered a few minor cuts.

A few days after the video went viral on Twitter, Leon received a new truck and $15,000 from a Chevrolet dealership in Fort Worth. In May, Leon joined the Texas Department of Transportation’s “Click It or Ticket” enforcement campaign and said that wearing his seat belt saved his life when he was caught in the tornado.

7. The first interior picture released at the Uvalde school shooting shows officers with more firepower than previously thought

While footage from Robb Elementary School wasn’t released until July 12, in June, KVUE and the Austin American statesman exclusively received an interior picture from the day of shooting.

Footage showed several officers with guns and at least one ballistic shield inside the building 19 minutes after the gunman arrived. They did not enter the classroom where the shooter was located for almost another hour.

8. Texas election results: Incumbent Greg Abbott predicts beating Beto O’Rourke in the gubernatorial race

In November, the high-profile race for Texas governor ended when Republican incumbent Greg Abbott defeated Democrat Beto O’Rourke.

The race was heated. Abbott’s campaign focused on conservative victories for border security and the economy, while O’Rourke’s campaign targeted Abbott’s response to the Uvalde school shooting and power outage in February 2021 and the state’s abortion law.

Abbott’s third term as Texas governor begins in January 2023.

9. Bastrop County fire 100% contained after burning more than 800 acres

In January, a wildfire spread that started as a mandatory fire north of State Highway 71 and south of State Highway 21 in Bastrop County. Around 250 families were asked to evacuate as a precaution.

There were no reports of injuries or damage to homes, but the Rolling Pines Fire ultimately burned more than 800 acres.

Shortly after the fire was 100% contained, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department announced it would select an independent panel to review the circumstances and cause of the fire’s escape. In March, the department announced that it would introduce new procedures for future mandatory cremations following the independent review.

10. The changing housing market has buyers wondering why they signed so much for their home just days, months ago

Throughout the year we continued our Boomtown series on central Texas’ explosive growth. Among the many topics we covered was Austin’s ever-changing housing market.

Our top boomtown story of the year, which aired in October, focused on how the changing market meant some homebuyers who bought their homes earlier in the year found themselves in confusing contracts with builders. One agent said the market had changed so much in just a few months that some of his clients were paying significantly more for a house.

Check out the playlist below for more Boomtown Stories:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

There you have it: the top 10 local stories of the year. Download the KVUE app to ensure you’re kept up to date with the latest Austin news and weather updates for the rest of 2022, all of 2023 and beyond.

KVUE on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | youtube

https://www.kvue.com/article/news/year-in-review/kvue-top-stories-2022-austin-area/269-bad44820-1c9d-4adc-ba32-8947bc74b16f KVUE’s 10 Best Local Stories of 2022

Laura Coffey

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