The 21st century will pass from adolescence into adulthood with the advent of 2020 and the beginning of a new decade. In the century’s teen years, 2010-2019, changes took hold in Galveston County that will continue to shape and define what it becomes in 2020 and beyond. Here are some of the major stories of the past decade in our small but significant corner of the world.

A school shooting at Santa Fe High School resulted in the deaths of eight students and two teachers. May 18, 2018, was a dark day in Galveston County history when 10 people perished and 13 were wounded at the hand of a lone gunman. Student Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17 at the time, was arrested and charged with capital murder of multiple persons and aggravated assault of a public servant. Pagourtzis remains to be tried, having been found mentally unfit to stand trial in late 2019. He is hospitalized awaiting another evaluation. Thirteen were wounded in the shooting. Those who died were: Cynthia Tisdale, 63, and Glenda Ann Perkins, 64, teachers; Jared Conard Black, 17; Shana Fisher, 16; Christian Riley Garcia, 15; Aaron Kyle McLeod, 15; Angelique Ramirez, 15; Christopher Jake Stone, 17; Sabika Sheikh, 17, an exchange student from Pakistan; and Kimberly Vaughan, 14.

Kathryn Eastburn: 409-683-5257;

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(4) comments

Michelle Aycoth

I think the flooding from Harvey by far was the biggest story for Galveston County.

If we forget what happens in the past we are doomed to repeat the past.

Andy Aycoth

Wayne D Holt

"Galveston has spent years building its tourism industry, but now it’s time to start managing the crowds, Galveston Mayor Jim Yarbrough said."

Very well said, mayor. We owe sincere thanks to Kelly de Schaun and the successive park boards and port efforts for delivering the goods when it comes to tourism. In a way, the dialogs we're having today are just the natural outgrowth of that explosive growth and indicative of what, for the present, is a very promising interest in Galveston as a tourism destination and transit point.

What comes next will determine whether tourism is perceived by residents in the years to come as a boon to our local economy that is widely shared or a winner-take-all money grab that few directly benefit from but all are inconvenienced by. Galveston can't thrive if there are open and obvious divisions between what tourists bring and what Galvestonians have to suffer to gain those benefits.

I hope city leaders take the mayor at his word and that council and the responsible boards, commissions and departments come to the realization that simply a more massive tourist influx into our city is not an unalloyed blessing. Let's put some effort into figuring out what has to be done to improve the quality of tourism while improving the quality of life for taxpaying residents...and then do it. The time for talking about it is past.

Wayne D Holt

I should have added, besides taxpaying residents, let's seriously think about how we can make sure local businesses are given the best vantage for profiting from the various festivals and events that are on our calendar. There is no rational reason why someone from out of state should be able to sweep in and get the low hanging fruit of event profits while the businesses that sustain our community year 'round have to work around them and be content with picking up the crumbs. It's an unfair advantage that shouldn't be tolerated.

mark jones

City decision makers should require festivals be smaller and great for families as a requirement. Now is the time for the city tourism boards to eliminate oversized parties from Galveston's image. Quality over quantity.

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