From snakes infesting a dream home, to controversial police shootings, to sexual harassment allegations, Minnesota encountered a diverse swath of stories in the year 2017.
Here are WCCO’s most-read stories of 2017 below:
Although technically reported in late December, this story continued to get many views into the month of January.
A Ramsey County woman was sentenced to serve six months behind bars for attacking a woman at a Coon Rapids restaurant last fall. The victim spoke directly to her attacker in front of a packed courtroom. The emotional testimony was one of our most-viewed videos on Facebook, too — with 5 million views.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Minnesota and North Dakota lowered the rating for Chaska-based MyPillow from a BBB rating to an F. The organization said the company violated its code of advertising after receiving complaints from consumers.
First, the BBB said MyPillow’s “buy one get one free” discount has to be extended for a limited time, and could otherwise be construed as using the sale to mask the product’s regular price. The BBB said a “substantial number” of the 232 complaints filed against the company are regarding this confusion.
People took advantage of the weird weather back in February, and a group in northern Minnesota got video of an SUV gliding along the water on Upper Red Lake.
The video, taken by Ryan Mullen, shows the vehicle appearing to drive through waves on the lake.
It’s pretty great.
It sounds like a scene out of a horror movie: A Minnesota mom and her kids unsuspectingly move into a house full of snakes.
While it may sound hard to believe, it was a frightening reality for a family left with few options after buying what they once considered the perfect home.
A 7-month-old child was recovered safe after police issued an AMBER Alert for a suspected abduction. Sharline Breanna Miles, 20, reportedly was in a car with mother, who was driving, with the young boy in the back seat when the two started arguing.
When the mother pulled the car over, the woman reportedly dragged the mother out of the car and left, saying the mother would never see her child again.
Burnsville police found the suspect car, the boy and Miles at a Holiday shortly after the AMBER alert was issued.
Authorities say two brothers with ties to the Middle East had an arsenal with bomb-making materials, guns and ammunition in their car.
Inside the brothers’ car, police found a loaded AK-47, another rifle, a handgun, a grenade, large amounts of ammunition, and what would later be identified as bomb-making materials, including a drone.
Just one week before the grand re-opening of its Sculpture Garden, the Walker Art Center needed to apologize for one of its newest structures.
The piece was called “Scaffold”, which is a piecing together of various gallows used in U.S. history.
One of the main inspirations, however, is the 1862 Mankato gallows — where the largest mass execution in U.S. history took place. It’s where 38 Dakota men were hanged after being convicted of rape and murder during the Dakota Wars.
The piece was soon torn down.
After days of deliberation, a jury found Jeronimo Yanez, the St. Anthony police officer who fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop last summer, not guilty of second-degree manslaughter in the school cafeteria worker’s death.
The July 6 shooting gained national attention after Diamond Reynolds — Castile’s girlfriend, who was in the car during the shooting — live-streamed the bloody aftermath on Facebook.
For a brief time, a small Minnesota town got a lot of attention for a Satanic monument coming to their veterans park.
The city created the free speech area to allow for a statue, with a cross on it, to stay in the Veterans Memorial Park.
However, after The Satanic Temple said they’d be putting up their own monument to honor soldiers, the city council eliminated the free speech area and the park is free of any memorials.
An Australian woman called 911 after hearing what she thought was a sexual assault in a Minneapolis alley. Moments later, a responding officer shot and killed her from inside his squad car.
The officer was later identified as Minneapolis Police Officer Mohamed Noor. He has yet to be charged.
A number of Minneapolis restaurants began including an extra fee with your meal to fund health care.
Barbette, the Bryant Lake Bowl and the Bird are just a few of Kim Bartmann’s restaurants. She’s adding a 3 percent service charge to customer’s checks to offset the rising cost of healthcare for her employees.
A federal judge ordered the Federal Aviation Administration to review seat sizes and legroom on commercial airlines. No word on the results of this.
Tragedy struck this summer when an explosion at a private school in south Minneapolis killed two people.
A gas leak sparked an explosion that destroyed portions of the Upper Campus. Demolition on the school began in early December.
A report listed Minnesota among the worst states in America for racial inequality. The website 24/7 Wall Street listed Minnesota as the second-most unequal state in the country behind Wisconsin.
The study measured gaps between black and white residents in areas like unemployment, income and homeownership. It found that black people in Minnesota are ten times more likely to end up in jail or prison than white people.
A report from the South African Civil Aviation Authority said a missionary pilot crashed and died in 2013. But his family says that is now not the case.
They posted on Facebook how the South African government has removed their official report due to new evidence and that Krause has been seen and found to be alive, adding that the U.S. government knows his location.
The Krauses say sources within the Pentagon and Department of Defense have told them they need presidential approval to make their next move. They hope the public will put pressure on their lawmakers now to bring a husband and father home.
A farmer who stopped by his house in the middle of his work shift ended up finding a missing 15-year-old girl from Alexandria. She disappeared Aug. 8 from outside her mother’s home.
Police say a family acquaintance and two other men assaulted her in various locations for nearly one month.
She was able to escape after the three men left her alone in a foreclosed property in rural Grant County.
Police arrested Thomas Barker, Joshua Holby and Steven Powers, for physically and sexually assaulting the teen.
A WCCO investigation found children who were diagnosed with cavities by a Burnsville dentist that other dentists said didn’t exist. Dr. Deanna Alevizos was accused of doing unnecessary dental work on kids to cash in.
More families came forward with complaints after the initial story aired.
For the past three years, a Wisconsin teacher pursued the huge buck. Trail camera photos tracked the huge buck’s growth. Then in September, a trail camera took an image of the buck and Greg Widiker bagged his buck soon after.
It is one of the largest white-tailed deer ever taken in Wisconsin.
Following weeks of sexual misconduct accusations made against him, Sen. Al Franken announced his resignation. He set the date of his resignation for Jan. 2.
Fred, a World War II veteran, says his dog started barking and alerted him to someone breaking in through a back door of the West Allis house on Dec. 4. The 95-year-old was able to wrestle alleged burglar, Gary Wells, to the ground before the homeowner’s daughter ran downstairs to help fight the thief off.
Fred’s motivated 51-year-old daughter Mary then took off after Wells, chasing the burglar for six blocks before catching and holding him for police.
Now, this is an interesting one. Despite being posted in 2011 (yes, you read that correctly), this story was one of our top stories read in 2017.
Mayo Clinic researchers identified a new tick-borne disease in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Doctors said it’s just as serious as Lyme disease, but harder to detect.
Honestly, we’re not sure how it happened. But a similar phenomenon happened in 2015 with a year-old winter storm post. It seems to have started with one of Facebook’s new features that reminds you of a “memory” of one of your posts on this day in the past few years. Check out the full write up on that one here.