Here are the biggest local news stories of the year, 10 at a time.
MANATEE CONFEDERATE MONUMENT
The threat of continuing protests prompted the Manatee County Commission in August to order that a 22-foot granite Confederate memorial on the courthouse lawn be placed into storage until a new site for it can be agreed upon.
But the 8.5-ton obelisk broke as movers lifted it.
Just three days earlier, hundreds of protestors gathered at the courthouse. Objectors called the monument that the United Daughters of the Confederacy donated to the county in 1924 a tribute to racism and slavery that does not belong at a place where residents seek justice. Counter protestors defended the memorial as a recognition of war veterans and Southern history.
The monument, which county officials say can be repaired, is being kept at an undisclosed location.
MINIVAN PLUNGES INTO VENICE INLET
The deaths of Carol Hayden, 64, and her father, Eugene Hayden, 88, in May, shocked area residents — and especially the community within Village on the Isle — as they drowned after their minivan plunged into the Venice Inlet, off of the South Jetty.
Many horrified onlookers watched as the vehicle sank while currents carried it toward the Gulf of Mexico. Two bystanders, Tim Cobb and Brett Stevens, jumped in to try to help Venice Police Office Paul Watson rescue the Haydens.
Hundreds mourned the father and daughter at a candlelight vigil hosted at Village on the Isle. They were remembered as being loving, free spirited and fun to be around.
PLAYERS CENTRE RECEIVES $1 MILLION GIFT
In the midst of a fundraising campaign that will lead to a brand new multi-theater complex in Lakewood Ranch, the Players Centre for Performing Arts received a major boost with one of the largest gifts in its history. In June, the