Tuesday, January 03, 2017

TOP STORY >> 2016 Year in Review

Compiled by Rick Kron
Leader staff writer

This is the third of four articles recapping all that was 2016. The first three articles recall the top headlines of the year and the fourth will be the top storylines of the year.

The last third of 2016 included a volatile national election, although locally the fireworks were mild. It was also the operational beginning of the new Jacksonville North Pulaski School District, which opened it schools’ doors after teachers and staff spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars getting the schools ready.

The year ended wet and warm, a common theme of the year’s weather.


• Jacksonville defends $300,000 in losses at its sports shooting complex.

Residents ask Jackson-ville officials to help save the Southern Oaks golf course.

Cybercrimes investigator tells Cabot freshman to “beware of the selfie.”

Sherwood and its hot check court deny all the charges levied at it in a federal lawsuit by the ACLU.

Plans for Jacksonville’s new high school designed to be flexible.

Jacksonville police sponsor a community town hall meeting to clear the air of any problems to prevent issues from coming to a head.

Cabot’s old library to be revamped and become new senior center.

Jacksonville gets three new fire trucks valued at more than $2 million.

Governor appoints Darlene Byrd of Cabot to fill empty seat on the Lonoke County Quorum Court.

Federal judge tells school parties to come to an agreement or let the trial start over desegregation issues that have languished for 17 years.

Grants allow Jacksonville and Ward to build walking trails and sidewalks.

More than 30,000 come out to enjoy the Arkansas Military Expo at the air base.

Donations sought for Jacksonville museum in old downtown.

Jack McNally, former Lonoke County assessor, sentenced to six years in prison on fraud and other charges.

Beebe alderman candidate quits after two misdemeanor charges come to light.

Sherwood City Council to discuss its city planner job opening

Beebe seniors pick Downs Syndrome classmate to be homecoming queen.

Work continues on $200 million widening project of Hwy. 67/167.

Numerous fall festivals and celebrations slated throughout the area.

One of seven Afghan soldiers assigned to the base disappears.

Four-acre site in front of Tolleson Elementary will be the site of the district’s new elementary school.

Sherwood defunds $54,000 position for city planner.

LRAFB holds event celebrating Navy’s 241st birthday.

Historic downtown Jacksonville district group is formed.

FBI crime statistics show Austin and Cabot are safest cities in the area.

Runoff pits incumbent Joe O’Bryan against Clint McGue for Cabot District Court judgeship.

Phony police officer pulling over woman in the Jacksonville area.

Legislative audit finds issues with Cabot and Beebe financing and accounting.

North Metro loses $3.5 million last year, according to Arkansas Business report.

Water territory dispute between Jacksonville and Sherwood heads to court.

Sherwood wants to redirect A&P money to cover bond issue for upgrading parks.

Very few issues as early voting for the general election starts.

Austin mayor rebuffs rumors she’ll disband police department.

Two Sherwood residents seek seats on new PCSSD school board.

Jacksonville’s military museum could go broke without city assistance.

Most incumbents win re-election, state goes for Trump.

Cabot museum puts WWI quilt on display.

Auditor tells Jacksonville to tighten its budget.

Judge rules state grants aren’t illegal, but Jacksonville attorney will appeal court decision.

North Metro hires its fourth boss in three years as it is hit with lawsuits from former employees and the state.

Voters approve medical marijuana issue and now the plant is seen as a cash crop.

Annual report shows Jacksonville student not proficient in math or English.

Ward growth means higher sewer bills for residents.

Jacksonville teachers get a taste of teamwork in a Lead the Way workshop, which focuses on better ways to teach students.

Austin mayor is acting as interim police chief after she fires the chief.

Lonoke County passes $8.2 million budget for 2017, up about $500,000 from current budget.

Sherwood’s Trail of Lights opens for the holiday season with new displays and a different route.

Ongoing warm weather sparks fire concerns.

Council approves new ordinance allowing city employees to sell goods and services to the city.

A Little Rock-North Little Rock lawsuit stops Jacksonville A and P Commission from helping nonprofit groups.

Cabot man charged in stabbing death of wife.

Historic telegraph, freight office, which once sat at Jacksonville train depot is found and will be brought home.

Field narrowed down to two for the Jacksonville-North Pulaski School District superintendent job.

Austin residents concerned about police chief firing and rumors that county will take over policing the city.

Sherwood native Nate Powell receives national book award for his civil rights comic book.

Jacksonville school district hires from within by picking Dr. Bryan Duffie as its next superintendent.

Cabot’s 2017 budget is $200,000 more than it funded in 2016.

A $16,000 donation will help place 1,600 wreaths on veterans’ headstones.

A lawsuit filed against two other cities as Jacksonville worried about supporting Boys and Girls Club.

Former Cabot alderman wants a vote to void new rule allowing city workers to sell to the city.

Jacksonville school district needs more diversity in staffing or plan to be in court in next year.

After 45 years in business, Knight’s Super Foods in Cabot and Beebe closes.

Increased insurance premiums add $262,000 to Jacksonville’s general budget for 2017.

Jacksonville band director says consolidated school music group ready to play.

State opens bids for $100 million worth of highway work around Cabot.

Both Metroplan executive director Jim McKenzie and deputy director Richard Magee retire.

Many Jacksonville students get free eye exams courtesy of the Lions Club.

Sherwood able to give employees raises because of a $1.5 million surplus.

Jacksonville funds Boys and Girls Club through $50,000 maintenance contract.

New North Metro Medical Center chief executive officer sees a turnaround coming for the beleaguered hospital.

Proposed changes in state taxes would give a break to veterans.

Cabot upgrades body cameras for its police department.