The Year in Review: A Timeline of 2016 | News Feature | Indy Week

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The Year in Review: A Timeline of 2016


The Reverend Mykai Slack, director of congregational life at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, came out as a man in 2006 despite his birth certificate stating otherwise. - PHOTO BY ALEX BOERNER
  • Photo by Alex Boerner
  • The Reverend Mykai Slack, director of congregational life at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, came out as a man in 2006 despite his birth certificate stating otherwise.

Jan. 1: Wake County officials list transportation and affordable housing as their top issues for 2016.

Jan. 4: The search firm hired to replace Durham police chief Jose Lopez releases a job description asking for a "transformative and visionary leader."

Jan. 5: Liz Masnik, owner of the beloved Raleigh restaurant The Borough, announces that it will close at the end of the month. 

Jan. 8: Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools announces it has given a raise to seventy-two bus monitors and custodians, certifying the school system as a living-wage employer.

Jan 8: El Chapo Guzman—the leader of the El Sinaloa drug cartel, who had recently granted an interview to actor Sean Penn—is recaptured by Mexican law enforcement after escaping from jail the previous July.

Jan. 10: David Bowie dies two days after his final album, Blackstar, is released.

Jan. 13: A contractor for the town of Hillsborough removes the "Confederate Memorial" lettering from the Orange County Historical Museum building. 

Jan. 19: Twenty-nine-year-old Matthew LaMont McClain, an inmate at the Durham County Detention Facility, is found dead in his cell. In June, the county Department of Public Health said McClain died "as a result of complications from a seizure disorder" but recommended more than a dozen changes be implemented by the jail's medical unit. 

Jan. 21: Governor McCrory announces a state of emergency due to a winter ice and snow storm. More than 147,000 people would lose power.

Jan. 22: Carolina Theater of Durham CEO Bob Nocek resigns, after a December 2015 audit found that the historic theater was over $1 million in debt. Dan Berman takes over as interim CEO.

Jan. 24: The 15–1 Carolina Panthers blow out the Arizona Cardinals to advance to the Super Bowl.

Jan. 26: At a UNC Board of Governors meeting in Chapel Hill, four members of the SEIU group Faculty Forward are arrested while protesting Margaret Spellings, the new president of the UNC system and a former Bush administration official. 

Jan. 28: Nineteen-year-old Wildin Acosta is arrested by ICE officials as he's warming up his car to go to school at Riverside High in Durham. He's detained in Lumpkin, Georgia, while he awaits deportation.

Jan. 29: The N.C. Supreme Court, in a 6–1 decision, rules in McCrory's favor in a legal battle with the legislature over who gets to appoint members of the Coal Ash Commission created in 2014.

Feb. 1: In the first contest of the primary season, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas win the Iowa Democratic and Republican caucuses. The following Tuesday, Senator Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump win the first primaries in New Hampshire.

Feb. 7: The Carolina Panthers lose the Super Bowl to the Denver Broncos, 24–10.

Feb. 11: After a forty-day standoff, armed anti-government militia members, who had seized the headquarters of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, surrender. 

Feb. 12: Venerable Durham club The Pinhook, which was $80,000 in debt and in danger of closing due to an unpaid tax bill before the Triangle music community rallied behind it, pays off its debt.

Feb. 13: Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia dies. Senate Republicans immediately announce that they'll block President Obama's nominee to replace him.

Feb. 17: Ashley Christensen's newest Raleigh restaurant, Death & Taxes, is nominated as a semifinalist for the James Beard award for Best New Restaurant. Christensen is nominated for Outstanding Chef.

Feb. 18: In a one-day special session, the legislature (under a federal court order) redraws its congressional districts. When Representative David Lewis is asked why the lawmakers ensured a gerrymandered 10–3 Republican majority, Lewis responds, "The only reason we are drawing ten districts is because we can't make it eleven."

Feb. 19: To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee dies at age eighty-nine.

Feb. 22: In a 5–2 vote, the Charlotte City Council passes an ordinance adding "marital and familial status, sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity" to the city's nondiscrimination code. 

Feb. 29: Twenty-four-year-old Akiel Denkins is shot and killed in southeast Raleigh by Officer D.C. Twiddy. His death sparks peaceful protests.

Feb. 29: WRAL and WNCN switch affiliates; WRAL goes to NBC, while WNCN moves to CBS.

Feb. 29: Twenty-four-year-old Akiel Denkins is shot and killed in southeast Raleigh by Officer D.C. Twiddy. His death sparks peaceful protests.

March 7: The Durham City Council indefinitely postpones a vote on purchasing body cameras for police officers.

March 10: After Denkins's death, the Raleigh Police Accountability Community Taskforce asks the city council to establish a civilian review board with subpoena power. In a response in May, the city says it can't do that without the approval of the General Assembly.

March 15: The Raleigh City Council approves a $5.2 million program to put six hundred body cameras on the street.

March 16: President Obama nominates appellate judge Merrick Garland to replace Scalia. He'll never receive so much as a hearing, much less a confirmation vote.

March 18: In a 174–29 vote, non-tenure-track faculty at Duke vote to form a union. 

March 22: A Tribe Called Quest's Phife Dawg dies at age forty-five.

March 23: In a one-day special session, General Assembly passes the infamous HB 2. McCrory signs it that night.

March 24: Nice Price Books in Durham announces it will close in May.

March 27: Quail Ridge Books founder Nancy Olson passes away at the age of seventy-five.

March 28: The ACLU of North Carolina, Lambda Legal, and Equality NC file a lawsuit against North Carolina over HB 2.

March 29: Roy Cooper, the state's attorney general and McCrory's challenger in the November election, announces that he won't defend HB 2 in court.

April 2: The UNC men's basketball team defeats Syracuse 83–66 to earn a trip to the NCAA national championship game.

April 4: UNC loses to Villanova on a buzzer-beater by Villanova's Kris Jenkins.

April 6: Country legend Merle Haggard dies on his seventy-ninth birthday.

April 7: The Durham City Council passes a resolution denouncing HB 2.

April 8: The Durham police's HEAT unit raids a north Durham home after "smelling marijuana" and tase and allegedly assault several people inside before making arrests. A video of the incident garners more than two hundred thousand views on YouTube.

April 11: The porn website "bans" access to North Carolina users, with a flashing message warning North Carolinians to "Stop Your Homophobic Insanity!" It turns out you can just click to the side of this prompt in order to, um, finish your business, but point taken.

April 13: Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman clears Officer Twiddy in the shooting death of Akiel Denkins.

April 19: The Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce releases a statement opposing HB 2, calling it "bad for business and bad for North Carolina." Later that day, the Raleigh City Council endorses that statement.

April 21: Prince passes away at the age of fifty-seven.

April 25: As the General Assembly commences its short session, Moral Monday protesters hold a rally and a mass sit-in at the legislature. Fifty-four protesters are arrested.

April 26: Durham names C.J. Davis, the deputy police chief of the Atlanta Police Department, as its next chief of police.

April 28: Duke president Richard Brodhead announces plans to step down when his current term expires in June 2017.

May 3: Donald Trump wins the Indiana primary, ensuring that he will be the Republican nominee.

May 2: Durham's Triangle Brewing Company, established in 2007, closes its doors for the final time.

May 5: After twenty-one months of data showing that SolarBees were ineffective, the Department of Environmental Quality finally pulls the plug on the giant water mixers, which were supposed to clean up Jordan Lake.

May 6: The third annual Art of Cool festival kicks off in Durham. Headliners include Terence Blanchard, Anderson Paak and the Free Nationals, Thundercat, and Internet.

May 9: The U.S. Department of Justice and the state of North Carolina file lawsuits against each other over HB 2.

May 15: Laura Jane Grace, the transgender frontwoman of Against Me!, burns her birth certificate on stage during the band's sold-out set at Motorco in Durham.

May 17: Durham County District Attorney Roger Echols announces that he will not charge any officers in the death of La'Vante Biggs, who was shot by Durham police in September 2015.

May 19: The tenth Moogfest—and the first in Durham—kicks off. Headliners include GZA, Explosions in the Sky, sunn O))), and Grimes.

May 25: Durham civil rights icon and longtime city councilman Howard Clement III dies at the age of eighty-two.

June 3: Muhammad Ali, arguably the greatest boxer to have ever lived—as well as an outspoken political activist—dies at the age of seventy-four.

June 6: The Wake County Board of Commissioners votes unanimously to allow county residents to vote on a potential half-cent sales tax to help fund the county's transit plan.

June 6: The night before the California primary, the Associated Press calls the Democratic primary for Hillary Clinton, making her the first woman to ever be a major party's nominee.

June 6: McCrory vetoes a second Coal Ash Commission bill, even though this one gives him more say over who is appointed. The legislature doesn't override his veto.

June 7: In the second primary of the year to choose nominees in North Carolina's new congressional districts, U.S. Representative George Holding defeats U.S. Representative Kay Daly to become the Republican nominee in the Second Congressional District.

June 9: The Durham City Council votes to raise the minimum wage for city employees to $15 an hour.

June 10: Legendary hockey player Gordie Howe dies at the age of eighty-eight. 

June 12: Omar Mateen commits the worst mass shooting in American history at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing forty-nine people.

June 19: The Cleveland Cavaliers come back from a 3–1 series deficit to defeat the Golden State Warriors and win the NBA championship.

June 20: Durham civil rights activist Ann Atwater dies at the age of eighty.

June 23: In a referendum, the United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union. In the days following the vote, Prime Minister David Cameron resigns. 

June 28: Forty-five people are killed and more than 230 people are injured after a terrorist attack at Atatürk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey.

June 28: Longtime Republican state senator Fletcher Hartsell is indicted in Wake County Superior Court on three charges of knowingly certifying incorrect campaign finance documents.

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