The 16 Arizona News Stories That Best Define 2016

If there's one thing we know for certain, it's that 2016 won't go down in history as a dull year. From Donald Trump to Vladimir Putin to the Bern to Hillary Clinton's emails, the news this year was full of all sorts of crazy stories.

Locally, Arizona was no exception. Here are the best (and craziest) Arizona news stories of 2016.

16. Oregon standoff: The year began with high drama, as the Bundy brothers and their militia friends and supporters took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. The group claimed to be taking a stance against the U.S. government, but their protest was overshadowed by a hashtag, a ridiculous fistfight, a request for snacks, and a bag of dicks.

15. Glendale teen murder-suicide: Tragedy struck earlier this year when two 15-year-olds, Dorothy Dutiel and May Kieu, died in a murder-suicide at Independence High School in Glendale. According to police, the deceased girls were found near the school cafeteria, with a gun and a suicide note nearby. The girls' romantic relationship was later detailed in notes and on social media.

14. Chris Simcox: After all manner of courtroom drama, the trial of former Minuteman and immigration vigilante Chris Simcox finally drew to a close. A Phoenix jury found Simcox guilty of two counts of child molestation and one count of furnishing pornography to a minor. He was subsequently sentenced to 19 and a half years in prison.

Tracy EliseEXPAND
Tracy Elise
Miriam Wasser

13. Phoenix Goddess Temple: Speaking of courtroom drama, Tracy Elise, head priestess of the Phoenix Goddess Temple, fought charges that she ran brothel, during what can only be described as an atypical four-month trial with no shortage of colorful characters and tales of pagan rituals and beaucoup sexual healing. In the end, the jury found Elise guilty of 22 criminal counts of prostitution, maintaining a house of prostitution, illegal control of an enterprise, money laundering, pandering, racketeering, and conspiracy. Though she was sentenced to four and a half years in prison, Elise told New Times that she intends to continue her fight for justice.

12. Phoenix TV reporter poops on someone's lawn: Who can forget the time CBS 5 (KPHO-TV) reporter Jonathan Lowe was out on assignment and couldn't, er, control himself long enough to find a restroom?Suffice it to say, it was a very crappy day, and Lowe wound up losing his job.

11. Koch brothers enter Grand Canyon Monument fray: While much of the nation was focused on Donald Trump's elusive tax returns, a trail of other tax filings revealed that billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch were donating money to groups bent on stopping the proposed Grand Canyon National Monument.

10. NAACP president makes inappropriate comment: You'd think folks would know by now that they shouldn't make off-color comments or jokes when reporters are around, but apparently Don Harris, the now-former president of the Phoenix NAACP, didn't get the memo. During a press conference about racism, Harris leaned over to New Times staff writer Ray Stern and whispered that a Channel 12 (KPNX-TV) news reporter had "nice tits." Stern had a recorder going to capture the moment for posterity. Suffice it to say, Harris' message was broadcast to the world and he resigned shortly thereafter.

The 16 Arizona News Stories That Best Define 2016
Miriam Wasser

9. Arrests at Trump protest: While much of Arizona fell head over heels for Donald Trump, there were many who felt quite the opposite. And at an outdoor Trump rally on a hot spring day in Fountain Hills, a few hundred people stopped traffic on Shea Boulevard. The blockade held for more than an hour, leading to three arrests.



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