In January, Los Angeles' massive school system got a new leader in Michelle King at a moment of truth for the LAUSD. King’s appointment comes as charter school forces push for a major expansion of those institutions in the city. Some fear the expansion will batter the struggling school district even more. King is a longtime LAUSD insider, and the jury is still out on how effectively she will deal with these challenges.
Lead contamination in the city’s drinking water from corroded pipes led to a state of emergency being declared by the state and federal government in January.
Gov. Rick Snyder mobilized the Michigan National Guard, which distributed water and water filters and testing kits to residents fearful of the tap water — for good reason. At one point, 5% of the children under 5 had elevated exposure to lead, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.
President Obama visited the city in May, demonstrating the reliability of water filters newly installed in many homes by taking a drink himself.
Across the West, there were calls among conservatives for handing over more control of federal lands to state and local authorities. The burgeoning movement came to a head in Oregon, when two sons of renegade Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy led the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
The takeover began Jan. 2 and lasted more than a month. Supporters from around the country joined Ammon and Ryan Bundy in what had been a peaceful occupation until Jan. 26, when authorities moved in to arrest several people and one of the occupiers, Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, was shot and killed.
Eventually, all the occupiers were arrested. But in a stunning blow to federal authorities, the Bundy brothers and five co-defendants were acquitted Oct. 27 of federal conspiracy and weapons charges.
The Inland Empire city started 2016 mourning the losses from a shocking terrorist attack. The pain continued as the city endured a major spike in homicides. Long struggling, San Bernardino also saw signs of hope: Revitalization in some areas and a likely exit from municipal bankruptcy.
Clearly, we feel awful about it. He's a good guy, he had a bad moment and it's just part of life and you have to deal with it.
Coach Doc Rivers
What was supposed to be a dinner among friends in Toronto's entertainment district took a horrific turn in January when Clippers star Blake Griffin, pictured right, repeatedly punched assistant equipment manager Matias Testi, leaving his longtime buddy with a severely swollen face and Griffin with a broken right hand.
Olympus’ silence on this important issue was unethical, irresponsible and dangerous.
Dr. Andrew Ross
A U.S. Senate investigation released in January concluded that scores of hospital patients treated with medical scopes were infected with potentially deadly bacteria because of repeated failures by manufacturers, regulators and hospitals to report outbreaks.
The massive influx of migrants and refugees into Europe that began in 2015 continued into this year, as more than 300,000 people, most of them from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, made the dangerous Mediterranean crossing. In March, the EU and Turkey struck a deal that would deport migrants who crossed into Greece back to Turkey. In return, Turkey was promised visa-free travel for its citizens within the EU, and accelerated talks for the country to join the bloc of nations – promises the EU has been slow to deliver on, putting the future of the agreement into question.
Since Nate Parker’s story was revealed to me, I have found myself in a state of stomach-churning confusion.
In January, Nate Parker was the darling of the Sundance Film Festival. His film, “The Birth of a Nation,” which he wrote, directed and starred in, was acquired for a record-breaking $17.5 million and seemed fast-tracked to Oscar glory.
But what seemed a ready-made answer to the #Oscarssowhite issue soon morphed into scandal when accounts of his 1999 trial, and eventual acquittal, for rape resurfaced. Responding to the news that his accuser, a Penn State classmate, had committed suicide in 2012, Parker published a statement on Facebook, saying he was "filled with profound sorrow," which prompted more headlines, as defenders and detractors continued to speak out. Some screenings of the film were canceled.
While "Nation" co-star Gabrielle Union shared her thoughts in an eloquent Op-Ed for The Times, Parker began deflecting questions in the weeks leading up to the film’s October opening. In the end, “Birth of a Nation” became the next big thing that wasn’t.
Possessing a mellifluous baritone and a congenital sneer that could signal aristocratic hauteur, Rickman invested dark, forbidding characters — from “Die Hard” to the “Harry Potter” movies — with alluring complexity and a winking self-awareness. He was 69.
Those characters “are just people to me,” he once told The Times.