Year in Review: Eastern Iowa Stories - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Year in Review: Eastern Iowa Stories

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(KWWL) -

December 28th marks Iowa's 170th Birthday. As we celebrate the past, present, and future of our great state, KWWL looks back at some of the biggest moments in Eastern Iowa this year.

For many, 2016 brought devastation and heartbreak, but through it all we saw the true strength of our communities.

There were dozens of fires in 2016. Flames at a Cedar Falls home nearly took the lives of five-year-old Avery Hundley, her brother, and mother.

"I heard the fire alarm so I went to the bathroom because I thought it might be a little more cold in there to protect me from the hotness of the fire," said Avery recounting the events of that night.

Cedar Falls Firefighters rescued the family of three. Then in April, the department battled a fire that destroyed The Great Wall Chinese Restaurant. 

In Dubuque fire ruined a historic Loras College building that is now set to be torn down.

In Cedar Rapids, Mary Beth Haglin's admitted relationship with a minor saw long-time principal, Doctor Plagman step down.

The city divided again when a grand jury found no charges in a police shooting that paralyzed Jerime Mitchell.

The Waterloo Police Department and the city settled three lawsuits against officers in 2016.

In the courtroom, Alexander Kozak was found guilty of the 2015 shooting of Andrea Farrington inside the Coralville Mall.

Alexander Fazzino also standing trial this year for the murder of his wife Emily Fazzino.

The courtroom erupting with emotion as the not-guilty verdict was read in March.

Throughout the area, shootings claimed the lives of many this year, including 4-year-old Jayden Choate who accidentally shot himself with a family friend's gun in Elgin.

"He loved to sing and dance, just do all the things four-year-old boys do," said David Choate Sr., Jayden's grandfather.

A March murder-suicide in West Union left a three-year-old little girl without a mother.

But 2016 hasn't been all bad, KWWL joined many Iowans for their best moments of their year.

After 75 years, World War II hero Father Schmitt's remains return home and were laid to rest.

KWWL helped one Chicago Cubs fan witness history at the World Series and shared with the nation the moment one Cedar Falls resident's 100th birthday wish came true.

"It would be very hard to top this one," said Jewel Kohler after riding in a powered parachute for her birthday.

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