The year 2017 will go down as a memorable year for many reasons. On the national scene, it's the year that Donald Trump was elected President.

The year 2017 will go down as a memorable year for many reasons. On the national scene, it's the year that Donald Trump was elected President.
It was a year of extreme weather, devastating wildfires, major hurricanes, the ongoing opioid crisis across the nation, increasing gun violence, terrorism, and a year of division among many Americans.
Although those events and issues touched Southwest Missouri, the Neosho Daily News has chosen to list the top stories that affected Neosho and the surrounding area. Choosing what stories was difficult and we ended up with 12.

1. Flooding hits area.
On Saturday April 29, multiple rounds of showers and thunderstorms fell in the area, leading to historic levels of flooding. Many Neosho residents were affected by the flooding and some were forced to take shelter on their rooftop to escape the rapidly rising water. Neighborhoods in the eastern part of town were hard hit along with Neosho's Morse Park. Multiple rivers and creeks overflowed their banks, destroying homes and ruining memories. Missouri Governor Eric Greitens visited Neosho and teams from from FEMA and SEMA arrived to offer aid. The Lampo Center became a center for those affected by flooding to find assistance.

2. A tornado that        devastated the Goodman community on April 4.
The National Weather Service deemed the tornado to be a EF2. The tornado warning was issued at 6:43 p.m. that evening. In Goodman, there was structural damage to homes, businesses, Fire Stations 1 and 2, and theGoodman Elementary School, which was a total loss. No major injuries or fatalities were reported. Goodman students are now attending classes in a wing of the Neosho Middle School until a new structure can be completed.

3.A new Neosho Junior High School.
The school was unveiled to the public, staff, and students with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Aug. 3. The school is home to 7th and 8th grade students. Construction of the school took approximately one year. "It's an exciting day in Neosho," Neosho Board of Education President Steve Douglas said at the event.

4. An officer involved shooting of a suspect in the early morning hours of July 20 at the Love's Travel Plaza in Neosho ranks at number four for the year.
Officer Reece Himmelsbach of the Neosho Police Department, initiated a traffic stop at 2:17 a.m. The subject, identified as 52-year old Joshua D. Daniels, of Tulsa, Oklahoma attempted to drive away before stopping. As the officer approached the vehicle, Daniels removed a handgun from behind his body and raised it toward the office. Officer Himmelsbach fired his weapon and fatally wounded the suspect. Investigation of the event was made by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Himmelsbach's actions were deemed justifiable and there were no additional actions.
5. A man who objected to a court ordered eviction notice at his home on Iris Road north of Neosho on November 13 and attempted to escape by stealing an SUV belonging to the Newton County Sheriff's Office is the fifth top story of the year  33-year old Jason M. Hurst refused to leave the premises and assaulted deputies at the scene. As deputies dealt with other family members, Hurst managed to remove his handcuffs and steal the patrol vehicle. Deputies pursued the vehicle which lead to a high speed chase into Neosho during the noon hour. Officers used a PIT (Pursuit Intervention Technique) maneuver to cause the driver to lose control and stop. The stolen vehicle struck a curb and overturned. Officers apprehended Hurst at the scene. He has been charged with felony tampering of a motor vehicle.
6. The cross located in Big Spring Park. The cross, a long-time local landmark, became the target of a group called the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) based in Wisconsin. They alleged that the 60-foot cross violated the separation of church and state and was unconstitutional. FFRF requested that Neosho either take down the cross or remove it to another location. Neosho Mayor Ben Baker and other city officials maintained that the city would not remove the cross. A town hall meeting was held. The majority of those who attended wanted the cross to remain but throughout the city, there were diverse opinions.  To solve the issue, the City of Neosho transferred ownership of the cross to Save Our Heritage foundation, a group founded by Richard Davidson of Neosho.
7. In October, Neosho's newest grocery store opened their doors to crowds who waited in line for the occasion. ALDI was welcomed to town with an official ribbon cutting. Customers arrived as early as 5:30 a.m. for the doors to open at 8:30 a.m. Lauri Lyerla, Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce director, said that it was the most anticipated store opening in her sixteen years with the Chamber.
8. After a complete teardown of the original store, McDonald's opened a state of the art 7200 square foot restaurant on August 31. Steve Douglas, Neosho, who enjoyed the first hamburger off the original McDonald's grill in 1979, reprised the event and enjoyed the first from the new restaurant.
9. Ground breaking ceremonies were held last summer for the new addition. The project  which will double the size of the current NCCL facility. Construction is well underway as 2017 wraps up. The project was expected to take about eight months and library staff are anticipating a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony in Spring 2018.
10. Opal Foods of Neosho received a Grow Neosho award to celebrate their new corporate headquarters, located in the former Neosho Power Sports building. Missouri State Senator Ron Richards, state representative Bill Reiboldt, and a representative from U.S. Senator Billy Long's office were on hand for the award.
12. The new Newton County Judicial Center opened its doors to serve as the home for the county court system. The facility is located in the former Smith Financial Center on the Neosho Square.. Long time residents may also remember the building once housed both Dollar General and JC Penney's. Camera surveillance was enhanced along with security screening. Private quarters are provided for attorneys to talk with their clients and prisoners now enter the built through a new "sally port", remaining secure until their scheduled court appearance.
13. To compete the round up of top stories is the grand opening of Black Rain Ordnance. Black Rain Ordnance is the second largest firearms manufacturer in Missouri. The grand opening event included live music, food and drink, a raffle, and the chance to try out a weapon on their gun ranges.
Many other events shaped 2017 in the community and in the area. In 2018, the Neosho Daily News will continue their long-standing commitment to keeping readers informed.