A look back: Local stories that made headlines in 2017

2017 brought good times and bad times

Friends of Justin Leo organized a candlelight vigil Sunday night at the Girard High football field to honor Girard's fallen police officer.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – 2017 will be best remembered by two tragedies on consecutive days in October.

On the night of October 21, Girard policeman Justin Leo was killed. A week of tributes followed — billboards, t-shirts and candlelight vigils. Leo’s Beeghly Center funeral included 2,000 police officers.

The day before Officer Leo was killed, popular Youngstown fireman Ron Russo died in an accident. His calling hours were the largest in the history of Rossi Brothers and Lellio Funeral Home.

The year’s big fires were at the Salem China Company, the historic house on the hill in Leetonia and a building at the Rogers Flea Market.

2017 was when the house and office of developer Dominic Marchionda were raided, which led to his indictment as the developer continued renovating the Stambaugh building into a hotel.

Also raided in 2017 were the offices of Braking Point Recovery, which lost the use of Medicaid.

In November, reporter Nadine Grimley rode in an ambulance as part of our year-long coverage of the opioid crisis. One paramedic said he had already administered the anti-overdose drug naloxone more than 50 times.

It was also November when 100 people were arrested in a Cleveland to East Liverpool drug ring.

Tito Brown’s election as Youngstown mayor was the year’s big political story along with President Donald Trump’s visit in July at the Covelli Centre.

2017 was when Niles financial situation improved and when Krish Mohip’s full plan to save the Youngstown Schools began.

Howland had two major shootings in February. First, police killed a man in the Giant Eagle parking lot — the man himself suspected of murder. Then, Nasser Hamad unloaded outside his Howland home, killing two people. He pleaded self-defense but was given life with a chance of parole.

Accused murderer and rapist Robert Seman was also set for trial but committed suicide by jumping off the fourth floor of the Mahoning County Courthouse.

In August, WKBN followed a tornado as it moved through Trumbull County, and in November, we covered the microburst that damaged Sweeney GMC Buick and a Boardman neighborhood.

Youngstown State University had a good year, renovating Wick Avenue, opening a new bookstore, along with opening one apartment complex and starting another. Also from the campus of YSU, you can see the new Chill Can plants being built. 

Business was not good at the GM Lordstown plant. Fewer Cruzes being sold meant several extended layoffs. 2017 was also when Allegiant announced it was leaving and when the area’s last blast furnace in Warren was knocked down to be used for scrap.

In November, we told the story of Al Crouse and his nightly playing of taps on Warren’s Courthouse Square.

In February, we help sell Youngstown’s historic Tod Mansion before it fell too far into disrepair.

In December, it was the kids from Puerto Rico, displaced by the hurricane, who ended up in the Youngstown schools.

On the same day in June, Champion’s baseball and softball teams both won state championships.

2017 brought good times and bad times. As the sun sets and a new year begins, who knows what lies ahead.


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