BnB’s Top 10 Headlines of 2016
The Bucky-n-Brooks Show took a look at the year's top headlines. A mix of local and national stories that captivated the Cedar Valley in 2016.
There was no mathematics, statistical analysis, or complex formulas used to determine their Top 10. It was just pure emotion.
The Cedar Valley had more workforce ups than downs this past year. In January, John Deere laid off a wave of Waterloo employees. In July, Minnesota-based Syngenta closed the soybean seed production plant, located on Ida Street in Waterloo. Later that month, Terex Cranes in Waverly closed their doors. But spirits will be lifted when Singlespeed Brewery finally opens it doors in downtown Waterloo. Construction went into high gear this Fall. And to close out the year, a Waterloo business park is one of five industrial sites that have achieved certification from the Iowa Economic Development Authority. That should help attract to new businesses back to the area.
In January, three winning tickets were drawn for the largest-ever lottery jackpot, worth $1.6 billion. In May, a Powerball jackpot winner was drawn in New Jersey. At $429.6 million, 10th largest jackpot total ever. Why can't someone from Iowa win? That way we'd have at least a fighting chance to claim to be a long lost relative.
All summer we heard waves of stories about athletes that were going, or not going, to Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Why? The Zika Virus. Despite all that noise, we were treated to some great moments. Michael Phelps made history and then announced his retirement. Simone Biles became America's Sweetheart. Usain Bolt dashed his way to victory. In the end, the only thing that made us sick was the whole Ryan Lochte and the whole gas station controversy. Bet he wished he stand home after all.
The viral sensation Pokemon Go was the top Google search worldwide this year. Pokemon Go was a summer phenomenon, as players strolled across cities and landmarks in search of Pokemon pieces. It set an Apple App Store record for the most downloads during its first week of availability. It was weird to see people wondering all over the Cedar Valley trying to find the coveted Pikachu, but at least they were out of mom's basement for a month or two.
This was the craziest and most volatile election seasons we have ever seen, and hopefully the last. A nasty 'He Said, She Said' playground battle that unfolded on TV and the Internet every day and every night. Who can keep track of all the wigged out things Trump said and tweeted. The Clinton's even tried to convince they were broke in 2001. Iowa even became one of the hottest states to get the election highlight. After all, who could forget about the announcement that Deez Nuts had officially entered the presidential race.
After 108 years of waiting, the Chicago Cubs ate a little goat and raised the World Series Trophy. A triumph that very, very few ever saw in their lifetime. They snapped a 108 year drought. We saw stories about people writing names of long lost loved ones outside Wrigley Field. On the TV, Bill Murray's face was everywhere, and we saw what has to be one of the best 'Game 7's' in any major sports. The best story has to have been the one of the man that drove for hours to sit by his father's grave and listed to the game while drinking a beer. “This one's for you pops.”
National headlines about gun fire in the streets and tensions between police and citizens became all to local. A rash of shootings plagued the Cedar Valley over the summer, and tensions between civil & city were pushed to brink when a demand to remove Waterloo's police chief gained momentum. The city reached settlements in a series of cases involving the use of excessive force by local police officers, and community members rallied behind the chief. Eventually tensions eased and both sides had a better understanding of what they other was going through.
We've always been a proud support of our Cedar Valley sports teams, and this year was a great year for the Cedar Valley as it became Championship-ville. The Columbus Catholic girls tennis team won a team and co-ed state championship. The Cedar Falls boys bowling team rolled to a state title as did the Waterloo East girls and Vinton-Shellsburg boys bowling teams. Dike-New Hartford and Janesville both earned Volleyball State Championships. Don Bosco football topped all 8-Player football teams in the state, and Gladbrook-Reinbeck made it two straight Class A football titles. Congrats to all of our champions.
A late September storm that just seemed to never want leave caused the area rivers and creeks to rise and rise. It was the second highest flood levels we had ever seen here in the Cedar Valley. The one good thing that came out of it all was it nice to see the same people fighting among themselves that their presidential candidate was better than all the other candidates to band together to help their neighbor.
Elk Run Heights put in speed cameras, and then decommissioned then as quickly as they went up. Road construction is a summer right of passage we've learned to deal with each summer, but in 2016, it had a different feel. Cedar-Wapsi and Highway 218 now have a different look and feel, but it was University Avenue that stole the thunder of the road.
Whether you love or hate roundabouts, they are now a permanent fixture of the reconfigured University Avenue in Cedar Falls. If you're a hater, look at it this way, at least the road is finally smooth. You may not know where you're going, but at least your car won't get damaged anymore.