CLEVELAND (WJW) — What a year.
From a huge Christmas storm and a fishing scandal to an officer-involved shooting and the deaths of two fallen heroes, below are Fox 8’s Top 8 local news stories in 2022.
This list was generated, in large part, by pageviews on our website; along with factors like community impact and national attention. They are arranged based on when in 2022 they occurred.
1.) Cleveland gets a new mayor
Justin Bibb became the city of Cleveland’s first new mayor since 2006, replacing former Mayor Frank Jackson. He was elected in November 2021, emerging from a crowded field of candidates.
In the months that followed, he announced a plan to end gun violence in the city and new city initiatives including Project Clean for park maintenance and properties and the Residential Pothole Repair Program.
In October, he announced nominees for the city’s new Community Police Commission.
2.) Deshaun Watson
The Cleveland Browns quarterback was acquired by the team in a controversial trade in March.
In August, he was banned for 11 games for multiple violations of the league’s sexual misconduct policy.
The Fox 8 I-Team has extensively investigated his case.
He played his first game for the Browns in December. As of Dec. 29, the Browns were 2-2 with Watson as their starter.
3.) A new chapter for the Cleveland Guardians
After the team was known as the Indians dating back to 1915, the Guardians in April played for the first time at Progressive Field.
The youngest team in the majors made it as far as the AL Division Series when they fell to the New York Yankees in Game 5 in a season no one expected.
Coach Terry Francona was later named AL Manager of the Year, and four players made history when they became Gold Glove recipients in one season.
4.) Jayland Walker
Eight Akron officers opened fire with more than 90 rounds, killing unarmed Jayland Walker on June 27. Walker, 25, was struck 46 times.
Rallies and protests followed, and Akron implemented a curfew downtown. Akron police officers removed their badges due to threats. Residents voted to create a citizen police oversight board in the months after.
5.) Lake Erie fishing tournament scandal
A pair of fishermen face potential prison time for allegedly cheating in a Lake Erie walleye tournament that took place in September.
They’re accused of inflating the weight of their catch by stuffing the fish with lead sinkers and then padding the inside of the walleye with fillets, preventing judges from discovering the added weight.
Other competitors were seen in viral videos angrily confronting them.
In recent years, the pair won a slew of fishing tournaments with cash awards and major prizes that included a fishing boat, in what some thought was the most incredible run of luck ever on Lake Erie.
6.) A Tripledemic
Toward the end of the year, health officials deemed an increase in cases of the flu, RSV and COVID-19 as a Tripledemic. A number of major cities mulled a return to masking measures before the holidays.
Ohio was among the states with the most flu cases this season. Earlier this month, state health officials reported RSV cases were declining but still high. They didn’t believe flu cases would drop for some time, and COVID-19 cases were also on the rise.
Northeast Ohio did indeed have a white Christmas in 2022. But it came at a price.
A powerful winter storm pounded the area with rain, snow, freezing temperatures and high winds the week before Christmas. Winds in some areas were as high as 74 miles per hour — category 1 hurricane strength — and wind chills reached as low as -41 for some.
During the storm, four people were killed in a massive pile-up along the Ohio Turnpike Dec. 23, including one Cleveland man. At least 46 cars were involved. Many were injured.
8.) Two fallen Cleveland heroes
Cleveland Officer Shane Bartek, 25, was murdered while off-duty on New Year’s Eve 2021. But the effects of his death stretched far into 2022.
Bartek was shot and killed by Tamara McLoyd, who ambushed him during a carjacking along Rocky River Drive, the FOX 8 I-Team reported. She was sentenced in October to 47 years to life for Bartek’s murder and a spree of other unrelated crimes.
Cleveland firefighter Johnny Tetrick, 51, a 27-year veteran of his department, was killed by a suspected drunk driver while working at the scene of a rollover accident on Interstate 90 Nov. 19.
The driver, who police say was Leander Bissell, sped away and was later arrested. He faces several charges.
Tetrick’s death prompted a push by Ohio lawmakers to amend a state Senate bill to raise the minimum penalty for killing a firefighter or paramedic on the road to five years.