A look back at NE Ohio's biggest stories of 2015

A look back at NE Ohio's biggest stories of 2015

NORTHEAST OHIO (WOIO) - Gunfire was likely the biggest story of 2015 in northeast Ohio. It was a recurring theme through many other stories, among them the senseless killings of three children in drive-by shootings.

Aavielle Wakefield, 9-months-old, Major Howard, 3, and Ramon Burnett, 5, were all killed by bullets.

Then there were the police shootings.

Cleveland Officer Michael Brelo's acquittal in the 2014 shooting deaths of Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell triggered several days of protests.

More importantly, it stoked the fires of unrest.

In wake of the grand jury's decision not to indict Cleveland officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback in the Tamir Rice shooting, protesters are calling for the ouster of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty.

Systemic change has been mandated as Matthew Barge was appointed monitor to oversee Cleveland's compliance with a U.S. Department of Justice consent decree.

Upon his hiring he commented, "Use of force is a very complicated area."

The decree provides for more oversight, training, and equipment for officers. Complaints from those in blue include unsafe rusting vehicles with bald tires.

Ticket writing and traffic stops by officers slowed significantly in 2015.

The dangers of police work were underscored with the conviction of Kenan Ivery for the murder of Akron Police Officer Justin Winebrenner.

In Akron, Mayor Don Plusquellic stepped down suddenly after 28 years.

In Cleveland Clifford Pinckney was named Cuyahoga County Sheriff, the first ever African American sheriff.

January began on a high note with the Ohio State Buckeyes winning the college football National Championship.

It also saw the end of another disappointing season for the Browns, and the start of more let-downs in the fall.

After a great year, the Cavs fell two games short in the NBA Championship and the Indians' season was uninspired.

Cleveland landed the 2016 Republican National Convention. Ohio Governor John Kasich is among the field of GOP candidates after announcing his run in July.

In August, the first presidential debate came to town.

The political news sparked the race to finish several downtown development projects in time for the RNC.

The Hilton will be done, the Innerbelt will not.

Heinen's opened a supermarket at The 9 with great fanfare.

New developments in 2015 also included a proposal for 1,200 housing units off Public Square and many more on a parking lot site on Prospect near Quicken Loans Arena.

Issue 3, which would have legalized marijuana went down to a resounding defeat.

Within hours of the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, Cuyahoga County issued its first marriage license to a same-sex couple.

Former Cuyahoga County Municipal Court Judge Angela Stokes' city-paid legal bills topped $1 million.

The first of a new generation of trucks rolled off the Avon Lake Ford assembly line securing hundreds of jobs.

2015 began with record cold and is ending with the warmest December in more than 120 years.

Don't forget the remarkable rescue of a young boy who fell into the cheetah exhibit at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, a story that captured national attention, as did a brawl among parents at a Parma Chuck E. Cheese.

Caught on camera in 2015, and RTA police officer pepper sprayed a crowd near CSU.

A corporate jet crashed into a home in Akron killing all aboard.

Sadly, the heroin epidemic captured hundreds more people and caused scores of deaths.

2015 will end without the CLE Rocks NYE party downtown because of a funding shortage.

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