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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – This year will most likely be remembered for the presidential elections. But there were many stories that impacted our local community significantly.

They are the local stories that shaped 2016 – corruption, tragedies, and surprises no one saw coming.

In 2016, the City of Opa Locka descended into a financial mess. A three-year FBI investigation into the city came to a head and City Commissioner Terrance Pinder chose to drive his city issued SUV into a tree rather than face pending arrest.

The city was taken down by a local businessman who was refused a permit for his property until he ponied up cash. The payments were made, the the FBI recorded it all.

City Manager David Chiverton would end up pleading guilty.

“I have already admitted to my faults,” said Chiverton. “This is the process that I have to go through. I accept it and want to be able to move forward.”

The city is officially broke. The state has taken over.

The algae blooms which turned the Treasure Coast into the toxic coast.

The algae was produced by massive releases of water from Lake Okeechobee. It choked area beaches and wildlife. The state declared several counties in a state of emergency.

Politicians visited regularly but all the attention did not help. Tourists stayed away during a critical July 4th weekend.

The state says they will be better prepared next year.

A bizzare story out of Tequesta involving Florida State University student Austin Harrouff.

The 19-year-old randomly walked into a home and began attacking the homeowners with a knife. John Stevens and Michelle Mishcon put up a fight but lost their lives.

When deputies arrived they found a horrific scene. Harrouff would later be referred to as the Tequesta face eater.

It was thought he was on drugs. Deputies had an incrediable time arresting him as he made animal noises and showed incredible strength.

Today it appears he wasn’t on anything. His father believes it was an episode of mental illness.

2016 saw two children taken way too early.

King Carter was killed by a stray bullet while going to buy candy. The gunmen, a teenager went to a nearby apartment to kill someone following a argument on social media.

Adults dressed as Ninja turtles at Carter’s funeral because they were his favorite.

In August another child was shot and killed. Jada Page just eight years old. She was headed to the movies with her dad when she was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting.

The case is still unsolved.

This story was yet another tragedy but one that also offered hope.

Principal Javier Perez was coaching his son’s youth baseball game when an SUV crashed on to a baseball field at Tamiami Park. Three people were hit, including Perez.

The driver Marily Aguilera, 51, was reportedly intoxicated at the time.

Perez lost his legs but not his will. He continues therapy weekly and hopes to go back to work in 2017 – walking.

To see part 2 of the top local stories that made headlines in 2016, click here.


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