2017 Minot-area year in review

MINOT, N.D. - Let’s take a look back at what made headlines in 2017.

2017 began with the Minot-area buried under a series of historic snowstorms stemming from late 2016, which compelled many residents to push local leaders to take a closer look at snow removal procedures. An early March snowstorm even stranded some students at school overnight.

Tragedy struck Rolette County in late January, when Deputy Colt Allery was killed in a shootout with a gunman. Allery's death prompted thousands of law enforcement officers from across the country to head to Belcourt to honor this fallen hero.

Trinity Hospital secured bonding for its future hospital on Minot's southwest side, the Roosevelt Park Zoo announced a major expansion for its big cat exhibit, and Corbett Field rolled out a new turf. Construction crews finished the three-year Downtown Revitalization Project in Minot, as well as the first half of the Broadway Bridge project.

The city of Minot's new six-person at-large City Council took over this summer following the #MakeMinot movement. Meanwhile, the city rolled out automated garbage pickup.

For the people of Minot, May 18, 2017, will forever be remembered as 'The Fire.'

A massive blaze wiped out most of the Earth Recycling plant just off the Highway 83 bypass, sending a plume of smoke into the sky seen an hour away. The fire paved the way for a legal dispute now brewing in the courts between the city of Minot, the recycling plant and the landowner. They're headed for a civil trial next spring.

Vice President Mike Pence addressed the airmen at Minot Air Force Base in October in a historic visit to the base. This coming in the same year when airmen from the base were deployed to the Middle East to join the fight against ISIS.

Local and state leaders celebrated the new floodwall around Minot's water treatment plant, only the beginning of flood protection for the city. Major funding decisions paved the way for much of the project's work to begin in early 2018. Though some drawbacks to the progress were that many residents learned of changes to flood insurance rates. Meanwhile some locations were forced to move for the project, including the Home Sweet Home gift shop having to leave its historic location on 4th Avenue.

Richie Wilder, Jr., learned he'd spend the rest of his life in prison in the 2015 murder of his ex-wife Angila. Soon after his current wife Cynthia would be charged as his accomplice. While Richie waits to appeal, she awaits her sentencing.

The Las Vegas shooting hit home in Minot.

The community rallied behind Andrew 'Goody' Gudmunson, who survived a gunshot wound, thanks in part to a series of heroics, and another Minot couple barely escaped the gunfire.

Minot Red Cross volunteers were busy in 2017, heading to Texas for hurricane relief, and California to help victims of the wildfires.

Ward County's Sheriff Steven Kukowski resigned following a years-long legal battle over the death of an inmate. His second-in-command, Bob Barnard, took over a department that would soon double the size of its jail. Late in the year, a deputy was fired after launching a series of accusations against county leaders.

A drone startup continued its plans to take root in Minot.

A historic drought hit farmers and ranchers in the wallet, compelling a group of Ward County farmers to push back against the controversial 'cloud seeding' program.