News in 2016 had several faces, attractive to readers in their own ways.
Some were ongoing issues, covered as new developments emerged. Others were presented as multi-part projects. Still others were breaking news.
Regardless of type, however, these stories had in common a connection with readers. We hope you find them worth another look.
Tough year at UC Davis
UC Davis dominated large swaths of news real estate in 2016, the denouement of a multi-act drama that began in 2012 featuring the university chancellor, Linda Katehi. Dogged by unflattering reports of misjudgments, violations and misstatements, Katehi resigned from the university’s top position in August. The story selected was part of the overall tale and garnered more readership than any other on sacbee.com during the year.
The killing of Joseph Mann
Joseph Mann, a mentally ill homeless man, was shot to death by Sacramento police in July. Circumstances surrounding the killing, along with voice and video recordings of the incident and the run-up to it, provided an ongoing narrative that has led to powerful debate and new procedures and oversight within the police department. The story here is one of the issue’s most dramatic.
Long journey to safe separation
When the Sandoval twins, Eva and Erika, were sedated they were conjoined, sharing much of a body and many organs. When they awoke, they were separate little girls, the answered prayers of a community that followed their hopeful, often-wrenching story.
How did they protest neo-Nazis? With their own violence, of course
A violent clash between neo-Nazis and anarchist and self-proclaimed “anti-fascist” protestors turned the state Capitol grounds into a chaotic scene of attacks and counter-attacks. Included was an assault on a TV reporter and his cameraman by people who said they opposed the neo-Nazis.
Abduction and safe return, amid unsolved mystery
Sherri Papini, a Redding woman who underwent a harrowing ordeal before turning up battered by ultimately safe, became something of a lightning rod. Her disappearance, brutal mistreatment and reappearance in chains led to fear and elation, along with skepticism and unanswered questions. Her community welcomed her home. The story remains unfinished.
Golden State’s top dog marks his territory
California Gov. Jerry Brown, rallying a room of scientists, flashed signs of outright defiance of the federal government should President-elect Donald Trump impede his state’s attempts to thwart the threat of climate change.
Hoping for a better life, they found ‘No Safe Place’
They helped U.S. military and civilian personnel during war in Afghanistan, often at great personal cost. As a reward, many of these Afghans were allowed to come to the United States, a safer, promising life ostensibly awaiting them. But for many, that better life has not happened.
After the fire, rebirth
An epic wildfire blackened thousands of acres and destroyed nearly 1,300 homes in Lake, Sonoma and Napa counties in September 2015. Four people perished. The community of Cobb was laid waste. The story of its rebirth is riveting.
When watching your child suffer is not an option
Young Silas Hurd’s seizures were devastating, his life-threatening epilepsy defiant in the face of all treatment. Chemicals found in marijuana helped, but even the medicinal success did not quell social and political resistance.
Religious rituals at the group home
Sacramento-area home for teen sex-trafficking victims was cited this year after performing a religious ritual on one of the girls. The clash underscores the tension that can arise when faith-based service providers get government funding to care for vulnerable clients.
Younger, more dangerous nursing homes
Once thought of as “rest homes” for the frail and elderly, California nursing homes are changing. Today’s residents are getting younger – 1 in 5 is now under 65. And some come in with unique circumstances: mental illness, drug addiction, homelessness and criminal histories. The mix, say advocates, is volatile and sometimes dangerous.
Lead, guns and controversy
The yards of nearly two dozen homes near the closed Mangan gun range will be tested in the coming days. The range was closed in 2014 after repeated tests showed it was contaminated with lead dust. Further tests found lead dust on the roof, and a recent wind model raised concerns that the dust might have spread into the surrounding neighborhood.
Cousins lashes out
Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins continued to develop into one of the NBA’s elite players. But Cousin’s behavior, a repeated concern for the team he purports to lead, again failed to meet standards required by a team desperate for good relations with a city that is providing millions to help pay for a new arena and fans who have for years overlooked poor performance.
Dave Joerger takes up challenge of rebuilding Kings
The Kings chose Dave Joerger as their head coach in May, handing him the keys to a vehicle that has shown itself to be ill equipped to run the high-octane race that is an NBA championship season. Signs of improvement are being seen. Is Joerger the guy? Is this finally the time?
West chooses Golden 1 Center to go south
Kanye West, one of the big-name entertainers brought in to launch Golden 1 Center as an A-list performance venue, stiffed the full-house crowd that turned out on Nov. 19. West cut into his musical act to make room for a socio/political/hair-on-fire rant that puzzled, shocked and angered fans, who eventually were promised refunds of their wasted money.
Flabby, disagreeable and calling the shots
While it’s true that virtually every generation looks at kids as being unruly, pains in the neck and on the verge of creating chaos and anarchy, certain studies and experts claim that today’s little ones really call and dance to their own tunes.