Top 12 Stories in Central New York for 2018
As 2018 draws to a close, we take a look back at all the news that dominated the headlines over the past year in central New York.
There were touching stories about Cinderella and a paralyzed man vowing to walk again. There were tragedies with the loss of a Whitesboro police officer and a limo full of friends celebrating a birthday. There were several closings including 2 iconic businesses in central New York and Lucky left, leaving a void in Verona.
Here's the top 12 stories of 2018 in central New York:
The iconic Lucky the Bull landmark at the corner of 365 and 31 in Verona was moved.
Lucky the Bull arrived in central New York by accident, after the truck carrying it to a restaurant in Canada broke down, according to Roadside America. They offered to buy it and the rest is history.
Lucky was the only thing that survived the Stampede Steakhouse fire in January 2016. But after a debate over it's ownership Lucky was moved to safer pastures in April.
5 year-old Layla Lester was in Akron Falls Park in October when she saw Cinderella and Prince Charming. The fairy tale characters were Olivia & Cal Spark, who were in the park taking wedding photos. Olivia spent time with Layla before leaving to "go to a ball."
The story went viral and Layla finally got to meet the real Cinderella on a special trip to Disney in November.
Lip Sync Battle
2018 was the year of the lip sync battle between fire and police departments. Several Central New York department's stepped up to the challenge including, Cicero firefighters, Kirkland police and the Madison County Deputy Sheriff.
20 Killed in Tragic Limo Crash
20 people were tragically killed in one of the worst tragedies in New York's history. A limo, carrying friends and family celebrating a birthday, failed to stop at the intersection of State Route 30 and 30-A in Schoharie, Saturday October 6th. The crash killed 17 inside limo, the driver and 2 pedestrians.
Investigations reveal a failed inspection, no driver's license and the limo company owner to be a former FBI informant. Police charged Nauman Hussain, operator of Prestige Limo with criminally negligent homicide.
There seemed to be a lot more people going missing this year. Michaela MacVilla, the St Johnsville woman who went missing walking home from work in September dominated the headlines for weeks. The community came together, lining the streets with candles to help light the way home.
Tragically, MacVilla's body was found a week later in a some heavy brush along the side of the road. Daniel A. Nellis Sr. is facing second degree murder charges and is being held without bail.
Light shined on the homeless in central New York after a Dunkin Donut's employee got fired for pouring water on a sleeping homeless man. Protests were held and a GoFundMe campaign was set up to get the man new clothing and back on his feet.
A Syracuse donut shop even delivered donuts to homeless shelters in central New York.
Gavin Maloney of Rome was paralyzed after a freak diving accident in August. The accident left him with a shattered vertebra, and paralyzed from the chest down, but he's not letting it stop him.
Gavin has been at Spaulding Rehab Hospital, the second best hospital for spinal cord injury rehabilitation for months, trying to walk again. "If you know Gavin, then you know he is insistent he will be walking again," says his mom Sandra. "His positive attitude is amazing and it will take him far on this journey."
Whitesboro Police Officer Killed
Whitesboro police officer Kevin Crossley was killed when his patrol car was hit at the intersection of Oriskany Boulevard and Westmoreland Street Wednesday, April 11th. He was just one of several officers killed this year, including Trooper Nicholas Clark was among the officers responding to a call of a someone barricading themselves in a home in Stueben County. He was shot and killed.
Kirby's restaurant in Yorkville, that opened August 16, 1969 as Mr. Steak, served it's last meal Sunday, September 9th. The building has already been torn down and turned into another car lot.
After more than 70 years Toys R US closed all it's stores in June, including the one on Commercial Drive in New Hartford. The building still sits empty today.
Marco's pizza closed all their New York locations, including one in Rome.
A Rome daughter's desperate plea, went viral, proving domestic violence hits the entire family. The woman turned to social media, sharing GRAPHIC photos, begging her
mother to find the strength to leave before it's too late.
"My mother is begging me not to involve law enforcement," she shared on Facebook, which is not uncommon. Domestic violence victims are often reluctant to report abuse because of shame or fear of retaliation.
Utica College was locked down in March after reports of an active shooter on campus. Luckily no one was injured and the student accused of making the threat was found guilty.
A child was found lying on a Utica Road in March. A video shared on Facebook showed several men finding the child face down in the road. The mother, Ledrika E. Ford was charged with endangering the welfare of a child.