South Mississippi was marred by violence and public corruption this year.
Here are the Top 10 local stories of 2016:
1. The city of Moss Point has had more than its share of problems this year. First, Art McClung resigned as police chief, almost two months after he was stopped by police in Pascagoula who clocked him going more than 100 mph. In a video of the stop, officers are heard saying: “He’s obviously DUI” and “He’s toast.” Then separate investigations found dubious spending from the Police Benefit Account and what appears to be a scheme that allowed some residents to avoid paying water bills, leading to a $3.4 million deficit in the Utilities Department.
Never miss a local story.
2. Four Coast men were charged with two counts each of second-degree murder and three counts each of aggravated assault after a gunfight that broke out after the Pass Christian Mardi Gras parade. Two people were killed and four wounded.
3. The Singing River Health System in November abruptly closed the office of longtime neurologist Dr. Terry Millette, laid off half his staff and took over his patient list. Many of his former patients are not happy.
4. SRHS reached a settlement with employees and retirees over its beleaguered pension plan. But not all of them are satisfied. Jackson attorneys Earl Denham and Harvey Barton are fighting the settlement for about 200 of them.
5. Long before he was president-elect, Donald Trump told a packed Coast Coliseum in Biloxi in January, “There’s a lot of love in this room.” The Coast in November loved him back, voting overwhelmingly for him for president.
6. Three months after Gulfport sailor John Harrison Doucet was shocked and severely injured in an accident at the Gulfport Yacht Club, his parents said earlier this month he is getting stronger every day.
7. The whistleblowing Rigsby sisters, Cori and Kerri, will return to federal court to try to prove State Farm Fire & Casualty committed widespread fraud after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a verdict the insurer did just that in a Coast case brought by the former State Farm adjusters.
8 Gulfport in March revealed details of the $65 million Mississippi Aquarium planned for downtown. Construction is supposed to start in the spring on the aquarium campus, which will have four buildings with an outdoor exhibit as its anchor.
9. Josh Vallum, a member of the Latin Kings street gang, pleaded guilty in July to the 2015 bludgeoning murder of Mercedes Williamson, a transgender teen. He is serving life in prison and last week pleaded guilty to a federal hate-crime charge, admitting he killed Williamson because she was transgender. It was the first hate-crime conviction involving a crime against a transgender person.
10. Dwanya Porche Hickerson, 20, a sailor undergoing training at Keesler Air Force Base, was charged with murdering Dee Whigham, a 25-year-old transgender woman who was stabbed to death July 23 in a St. Martin hotel. He has pleaded not guilty.