Year in Review: Upper Michigan’s biggest news stories of 2016, pt. 2

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UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WLUC) - 2017 is only days away, and in honor of wrapping up another year, TV6 has looked back on some of the biggest news stories Upper Michigan experienced throughout the past year. To check out part one, which details January through June, click here, as this article details the second half of the year.

Photo courtesy: MGN

The second half of 2016 began with lots of emotions and even healing for many Vietnam Veterans, as the AVTT Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall made its way to Marquette.

"I've seen so much healing the last few days,” said Vic Romback, a Volunteer Veteran with the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall. “Not only the veterans that have come home and finally had an opportunity to go and touch the wall and touch their buddies that they lost, but the community too."

The Fourth of July was filled with fireworks and parades, and Norway celebrated more than just Independence Day. July marked their 125th birthday.

But July also brought destruction as huge storms, including an EF 1 tornado, caused massive damage in Gogebic County and washouts stranded residents at Little Girl's Point.

"As engineers we look at events based on hundred year events, or a fifty year storm event,” said Darren Pionk, Gogebic Co-Engineer Manager. “We can't even put the magnitude of this... Over 11 inches of rain fell over a four hour period."

As August arrived, so did the Primary Elections, and the large Ahmed Shriner convention in the U.P.

We also met Alger, the 11-year-old Ishpeming boy with arthrogryposis, who through a lemonade stand and crowd funding online, was able to get a special bike made just for him.

Governor Snyder made a trip up to the U.P., where he even kayaked Pictured Rocks and stopped by the U.P. State Fair.

Also in August, TV6's Sam Bauman and Blair Caldwell got engaged on live television, right here on the TV6 Morning News.

But August would end with heartache as a group of Beartown Firefighters from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community were involved in a fatal car crash outside of Minneapolis. Two of the firefighters died in that crash, with several others seriously injured, and the driver, Michael Johnson, has since been charged with vehicular homicide.

And after a half century of production, the Empire Mine closed, leaving hundreds of workers jobless.

"It's a big hole; every tier, every bench, is a lifetime,” said Pete Frustaglio, a diesel mechanic at the Empire Mine. “You know, tuitions were paid, marriages…There's a lot of history in that hole and to see it go away, is sad."

September began with the search for a missing boater off Little Bay de Noc. His body was later recovered from the water four days after he had jumped in to help a friend who had fallen overboard.

An international search and rescue mission occurred only two weeks later, when two men and a 9-year-old boy went missing while fishing off the Keweenaw. The search would come to a heartbreaking end only weeks later when their bodies and sunken boat were discovered 280 feet below Lake Superior.

But as September would wrap up, we introduced you to Grayson Johnson, a 4-month-old baby born in Marquette, who was placed on the heart transplant list at top priority. In November, the little guy received a new heart, and is said to be doing great throughout recovery.

When October arrived, so did the NHL. As the winners of Kraft Hockeyville USA, Lakeview Arena hosted a preseason game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Carolina Hurricanes, with the celebrations also including a parade, autograph signing, 5K race and much more.

In October, severe flooding caused major issues for Chocolay Township, and even washed out M-94. But also in the same month, a familiar face was seen on NBC's “The Voice” as Karlee Metzger competed in the singing competition.

With November came the tragic discovery in Rock River Township of the body of Malvika Deshmukh, a downstate woman who had gone missing weeks before.

Also, one of the biggest stories of the year happened in November: the presidential and local elections, where many areas saw record voter turnout.

Before November ended, came the unveiling of the 34-page Marquette County profile in Delta Sky Magazine.

Just this month in December, Ojibwa Casinos in both Marquette and Baraga broke ground on their new multi-million dollar expansions.

And besides the holidays, December also marked the 35th year of the TV6 Canathon, where with your help, we were able to collect over 137,000 pounds of food to help feed a hungry neighbor.

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