Biggest News Stories in Shreveport Bossier in 2016
There have been so many good stories this year, but just as many bad stories. It's been tough to pick out the biggest news stories of 2016, but here's what we think.
On the national scale, the election of Donald Trump has to be the biggest story of the year and that also translated to a huge story for our area. Though Louisiana is a red state and it was no surprise the majority of voters would support Trump, the election still drew lots of attention in our area and it also brought near record numbers of voters to the polls on November 8th.
But the biggest story in the local area for 2016 has to be the flooding in March. KEEL News brought in all of our Townsquaremedia team to bring you coverage of this catastrophic event. Thousands of local residents were forced from their homes as some areas got more than 24 inches of rain in a few short days. Many of those flood victims are still trying to get their lives back today.
One of the bright spots of the year was the opening of Whole Foods in Shreveport in November. On opening day, the crowds flocked to the store at 70th and Fern. We can only hope the store continues to attract good crowds and bright sales numbers.
On the down side, we began the year thinking work would begin soon on rehabbing the Jimmie Davis Bridge, but that didn't happen. We ran into a problem with the Barn Swallows nesting under the bridge. The birds are federally protected and the work could not begin until the birds were gone. When all the dust settled, the project was put on hold and state leaders are now talking about building a whole new bridge next to the current one.
Another bad news story has to be our state budget. Lawmakers were forced to meet in regular session and 2 special sessions to deal with a budget shortfall of more than a billion dollars. Many agencies faced cuts and a host of new taxes and fees were raised.
Lets get back to something happy. The first dirt has been turned at the dog park on Shreveport's riverfront. After years of bickering and legal battles, the park is under construction and should be open in the summer of 2017.
One of the stories I still don't quite get is the Pokemon Go craze that swept the country and our cities in 2016. You could find huge crowds at the Duck Pond, along the riverfront, on the grounds of churches, in the Red River District.....all chasing the elusive Pokemon digital characters. I'm still wondering if we will have another craze like this in 2017.
During the Holiday in Dixie Festival in the Spring, there was quite a disturbance off of the Festival Plaza site. A crowd had gathered and there was talk of a fight or a possible shooting when all of a sudden the crowd started running away from Festival Plaza. The stampede caused a car wreck and nearly caused serious injury as the crowds ran directly into the path of oncoming traffic.
The other big national story that impacted our area, too was the Olympics in Rio. American athletes again brought home the most medals, but Shreveport Bossier can stand tall to salute local weighlifter Kendrick Farris who was the only American to qualify for the weightlifting competition. He didn't win a medal, but he was a great representation of our city and nation.
Another big explosive story during 2016 was the situation at Camp Minden. While former Explo Systems employees face criminal charges for improperly storing explosive materials, residents in the town of Minden have been on edge as the Army and other explosive experts put together a plan to destroy the M-6 propellant. Hopefully this problem will be resolved in early 2017.
Another retail story took center stage this year. It has been the battle over the proposed North Bossier WalMart. Developers want to build the store at Airline and Wemple Road, but residents have been fighting the plan, but it looks like the store is a go.
We have to put a couple of sports stories on our list. It started with the firing of Les Miles in September and interim coach Ed Orgeron takes over as the permanent coach of the LSU Tigers. We got a chance to chat with the new coach. Check out the link above if you missed our interview. The other big story in the sports world focuses on a local guy. Dak Prescott has performed remarkable as QB for the Cowboys and might even help lead the team to the Super Bowl in Houston.
Other stories to make our Honorable Mention list are the garbage fee proposal which failed, Elio Motors (still no action), the Little Free Library debate was finally settled, and we had the largest powerball jackpot in history this year. It was $1.5 Billion.