The past year saw big global news stories including President Trump’s first year in office, seemingly non-stop protests, an historic solar eclipse and the broken silence surrounding Hollywood’s rampant sexual harassment cases.
Before we officially welcome in 2018 and hang our new calendars on the wall, let’s take a look back at the stories that affected us here in Hanford and around the Valley.
These are the biggest local stories that came across our desks at the Hanford Sentinel this year.
1. Award-winning dairy calls it quits (May 3)
On Brian Medeiros’ desk in Hanford was a pile of paperwork that had to be sorted through, the visual evidence of what it takes to wrap up the Medeiros and Son dairy after 27 years in the business.
The bulk of the nearly 5,000 milk cows and heifers that had called the dairy home were auctioned off Saturday.
The dairy itself, along with 1,200 acres to support it, had already been sold.
2. Police: Don't pay for gas at the pump (Jan. 12)
Police are warning residents not to pay for gas at the pump after a recent credit card number theft incident at a Hanford gas station.
Hanford Police say a credit card number skimming device was discovered earlier this month at the T&A Mobil Mini Mart at the corner of 10th and Grangeville avenues.
The device was attached to pump #5 and may have been there for a week, according to a police statement.
3. Co-owner of Superior Dairy dies in accident (Nov. 13)
Susan Wing, co-owner of Superior Dairy, died Friday night after being struck by a vehicle while trying to help a neighbor, police said.
Around 5:35 p.m., Hanford Police officers said they were called to the 1300 block of North Douty Street for a report of a vehicle versus a pedestrian traffic accident.
During the investigation, officers said they learned that Wing was walking across the street to assist a neighbor who was having a seizure.
4. Food safety failures in 2016 (Feb. 23)
Twelve places in Kings County that sell food and are open to the public failed at least one food safety inspection in 2016.
Getting a failing grade means they likely had more than one critical violation and may have been repeat violators, according to Jeff Taber, Kings County Public Health Department deputy director.
Critical violations include key areas such as cross-contamination of raw and cooked food and not having the right temperatures in refrigerators and hot food holding bins.
5. Zachary Gonzalez found guilty in 2016 murder (Feb. 16)
A Kings County jury found Zachary Gonzalez guilty Tuesday of murdering and robbing a 25-year-old Hanford man on June 17, 2016.
Gonzalez, 22, was found guilty of first-degree murder during the commission of a robbery and enhancements for use of a firearm causing death. His victim, Julio Gonzalez, was found shot to death in a field near 10th Avenue and Cameron Street, behind Sierra Liquor. His autopsy revealed he had been shot 14 to 15 times.
6. Electric car maker coming to Hanford (Aug. 7)
Faraday Future, a Los Angeles-based electric car company, is set to open a manufacturing facility in Hanford that is expected to bring more than 1,300 jobs to the city of Hanford.
Faraday Future is currently beginning the process of clean-up at the site located in the building of the former Pirelli tire plant.
The facility marks a step in the company producing its first vehicle, the FF91. The vehicle is expected to be sent to market in 2018.
7. State: Ground sinking near Corcoran, Avenal (Feb. 10)
The ground is sinking near Avenal and Corcoran, and the drop is damaging the California Aqueduct, according to a report released this week from the California Department of Water Resources.
The report identified agricultural groundwater pumping alongside the Aqueduct in a section near Avenal as the cause of a buckle in the Aqueduct's cement-lined channel.
The report says the buckle is causing a 20 percent loss in the Aqueduct's capacity to carry water.
8. The mystery of Hanford teen prostitution (July 11)
Hanford Police Detective Richard Pontecorvo, with 20 years under his belt at the Hanford Police Department, had never seen anything like it: A 16-year-old Hanford girl named Jelinajane Bedrijo Almario was pimping out two Hanford girls and one Avenal girl. They were 14 and 15 years old.
Through friends and acquaintances or social media, Almario lured them in and eventually got them to perform sex acts with men in motel rooms in the area.
Almario was sentenced last week in Kings County Superior Court to 13 years in state prison just a few days after she turned 18.
9. ALDI planning Hanford store (July 21)
German-based ALDI Market plans to open new stores in the Central Valley, says Jeffrey Luna, Central Valley Director of Real Estate.
“We have 38 stores open now in Southern California and Bakersfield and hope to have 50 open by year’s end,” he said.
The company is in final negotiations for sites in Hanford and Porterville and is scouting locations in Visalia, he says.
10. Developer faces challenges filling out Costco center (Jan. 7)
Commercial real estate broker Michael Kennedy, who works for Fresno-based Retail California, is one of the agents tasked with recruiting businesses to fill out the 58 acres of shopping center space around Costco.
His take? It’s not going to happen overnight, and there are a number of obstacles.
“I think first off, our challenge is residential population immediately surrounding the site,” he said.
That’s why the Costco development calls for a phased-in growth over several years. Kennedy and others are hoping that more residential development occurs around Costco.