Year in Review: The lighter side of 2017

NORTH COAST – ‘Don’t look up!’ ‘Don’t drive there!’ That was just some of the advice North Coast residents heard this year.
Here’s a look at the more lighthearted stories from 2017.
Kicking us off is Fortuna High School football’s triumph in the state championship game over the Katella Knights. All season long the Huskies took the field in honor of their teammate Bailey Foley after he suffered a stroke in the first game. Fortuna turned out on December 18th to welcome the champs home with a parade and celebration on Main Street.
This may not qualify as lighter news for some worried parents. Ferndale Unified School District described a school bus driving through flooded roads in January as an ‘unfortunate decision’. District officials said no one was harmed and all students made it home safely. The district also adjusted the route to account for flooded roads going forward.
And North America’s first total solar eclipse in nearly 40 years was forecast to be visible from the North Coast though many traveled north just to be safe. Those stuck in Humboldt and Del Norte counties looked up at foggy gray skies. Many had a good time at viewing parties nonetheless or watched online as others enjoyed the eclipse.
And in July off the coast of Del Norte County, a group of local, state and federal agencies worked to free a humpback whale that became entangled in fishing gear. It took eight hours to cut ropes and buoys from the creature. Once free, the whale circled the boats a few times then swam away seemingly unharmed.
And the North Coast welcomed some new additions.
Arcata is now home to the only fully inclusive park between Oakland and Eugene, Oregon. Greenview Playground opened in October after a multi-year fundraising effort inspired by one man’s goal to help kids in his neighborhood play together.
Arcata turned out to celebrate the opening of the last section of the Humboldt Bay Trail. And Eureka opened the second phase of its Waterfront Trail. The final installment is expected to open in just a few weeks. Caltrans has included the last stretch of trail that will connect the two cities in its Safety Corridor Improvement Project. That work is set to begin construction in 2019.
And former College of the Redwoods student Trevor Reece went from doodling in class to having his drawings featured on Nickelodeon. ‘Cupcakery of Doom’ stars two mice, Patches and Cheesebert. The pair wants to take over the world with cupcakes!
Reece called it a dream come true and urged others to stick to their dreams.
And Sequoia Park Zoo’s river otters got a new rotating bridge to enrich their daily scurrying. The bridge serves as a gate between different parts of the enclosure, and zoo staff say they love it. You could call it a consolation prize after the bunch wrongly picked the Atlanta Falcons to win the Super Bowl. Maybe they’ll have better luck next year.
And another animal made the wrong pick this year. Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies constructed a rube goldberg device to free a bear that made its way in to a sedan on Greenwood Heights. The deputies tied a rope to the door handle to avoid contact with the grumpy bear. Once out of the vehicle it ran away unharmed. The car was not so lucky.
Reporting on the lighter side of 2017, Meriah Miracle News Channel 3.
And as we say goodbye to 2017, we wish you all a happy and healthy new year.