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Photo of ‘Ebola apartment’ door by Danny Fulgencio

Here in our neighborhood, America’s first Ebola case was the biggest story of 2014, followed closely by the Lake Highlands logo controversy, and we are barely kidding. The top 10, based on hits, shares, reads and reaction …

10. A restaurant at White Rock Lake

Last summer, Lake Highlands residents and developers Lyle Burgin and Richard Kopf wanted to build a restaurant overlooking White Rock Lake

but neighbors would not go for it. Developers dropped the proposal shortly after more than 500 people showed up at an Old Lake Highlands neighborhood association meeting to oppose the project.

9. A death in Hamilton Park shakes the community

In July Gregory Callahan, a resident of the Hamilton Park neighborhood of Lake Highlands, was shot and killed

… and while that neighborhood is no stranger to violence, this particular incident, which took the life of a loved youth football coach, set off a firestorm of emotion and a communal desire for change. We visited Hamilton Park and learned about the important role the neighborhood’s football programs play in improving a hurting community.

8. The story behind a health miracle

A YouTube video featuring a man relieved of Parkinson’s related tremors caught our attention. It was practically miraculous …

… so when we learned the subject was a resident of Lake Highlands, we wrote the rest of the story.

7. Underwater body recovery

After a young man drowned in White Rock Lake last May, we became interested in the team of divers charged with the dark — literally and figuratively — task of recovering lifeless bodies from Dallas lakes …

… the investigation resulted in an impressive story and photos of the Dallas police department’s special dive team.

6. Remarkable teens

Every year, around graduation season, we write about students from Lake Highlands High School who have overcome incredible obstacles to achieve success

This year, that story featured the following phenoms: Ksanet Seghid, who cared for her dying mother while earning academic honors; Ari Solorio, an artist who made straight As despite an abuse and poverty addled upbringing; Kerutheha Nirmalanandha, whose cheery attitude and academic excellence despite a disability and logistical setbacks earned her accolades from administrators and peers.

5. Heroin, addiction, death and recovery

When actor Philip Seymour Hoffman overdosed and died in February, it sparked a conversation about substance abuse locally and everywhere

… About the same time, we began working on this story about a neighborhood home where addicts who have cleaned up are living new lives. Some neighbors were antsy about having the recovering addicts nextdoor, but the story, for some, seemed to shed new light on the situation.

4. People making a difference

It is no secret that sections of Lake Highlands are subject to some of the city’s worst violence, crime and poverty — it is easy to complain about it …

… but in January 2014 we began including in each issue of the Advocate a story about a neighborhood person or entity, like these teachers who coached a basketball team of Burmese refugees or the volunteers at the New Room, doing something significant to better the prospects. We called it “Solutions” and you can find the whole series here.

3. The Lake Highlands Freshman Center

In October, Richardson ISD floated the idea of closing the Lake Highlands Freshman Center and merging freshman with upperclassmen at the senior high school, and of turning the freshman center into a “college high school.” This all on the heels of controversial news about overcrowding and expansion at RISD elementary schools …

… but later that same month, the district announced it would delay decisions regarding the freshman center, due in large part to feedback from the community.

2. The Logo

In June after the Lake Highlands Branding Committee unveiled a neighborhood logo, as part of an overall marketing effort aimed at making us visible and attractive to businesses and homebuyers, etc., the comments sections (neighborhood-related Facebook groups, the Advocate blog and so forth) exploded with fervent opinions, most of them not very courteous (you can begin to read about it here) …

… the committee returned to the drawing board and came back months later with a brand new brand, which drew slightly less ire. It was a strange situation. Irate people suddenly seemed to lose interest when the No. 1 story arrived on the scene, just days after the logo redo was unveiled …

1. Ebola

In late October it broke that a man living in a Vickery Meadow apartment was dying from Ebola. I don’t need to go into details. You no doubt remember the chaos. Eric Duncan. Louise Troh. Students pulled from schools. Presbyterian Hospital. Anderson Cooper. Hazmat suits. DART station closed down. (A collection of reports here) …

… a month after it all died down, we returned to ground zero and found a very interesting behind-the-scenes perspective.