10 most read CNY stories in 2017

Each year we have tens of millions of people visit our website to stay updated on the latest news and weather.

Over the course of a year we share thousands of stories. Below are the top 10 most-read Central New York stories as viewed by you, our viewers.

Officials announced an indictment of 52 people in April, many of whom were charged with operating a drug trafficking ring throughout Central New York.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said the group transported heroin and cocaine throughout Onondaga, Oswego, Madison, Cortland and St. Lawrence counties. On top of that, two groups of people within the group that was indicted were accused of conspiring to murder their rivals.

The operation was dubbed “Operation Bricktown” by Schneiderman, a name derived from the Bricktown Gang. About 30 of the people indicted were allegedly members of the Bricktown Gang, which authorities said is responsible for a “significant amount” of violence and drugs within the city of Syracuse. The remainder of those facing charges were alleged narcotics suppliers, alleged customers who are resellers and alleged members of a rival gang, according to Schneiderman.

A fourth grade teacher at the North Syracuse Central School District was charged with murder after an altercation with his brother-in-law ended with a fatal shooting.

Investigators said the shooting happened at James Ball’s home on Chinkapin Circle in Cicero around 5 a.m. on July 4. Sheriff Eugene J. Conway said there was a physical confrontation at the residence between Ball and his brother-in-law Christopher Ross; alcohol was involved, Conway said at the time. Ball’s wife had attempted to separate the two and briefly succeeded, Conway said, however at some point Ball allegedly fetched a 22 caliber rifle and shot Ross multiple times in his upper extremities, according to Conway.

During a bail hearing just days later, Ball’s defense attorney said his client was an upstanding member of the community with no prior convictions and claimed the shooting was a form of self-defense, noting injuries sustained by Ball in the altercation. Prosecutors claimed Ball had stated his intention to kill Ross before fetching the gun allegedly used to shoot him at close range.

Bail for Ball was ultimately set at $150,000, which Ball posted on July 7 to be released from jail. His case is ongoing.

While announcing the arrests of three suspects for the homicides of two brothers on Jan. 10, Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler said the pair had been lured to the scene on Grant Avenue to be robbed.

Sheahonnie Davis, Toriano Newson and Curtis Paige III were each charged in connection to the deaths of 17-year-old Daniel Diaz-Marrero and 19-year-old Ismael Diaz-Marrero.

Davis pleaded guilty to attempted robbery in June. Later that month Newson, who fired the deadly shots “at close range” according to court documents, pleaded guilty to two counts of murder.

The case against Paige is still ongoing. In May he pleaded not guilty to murder charges.

Over the years it went by many different names — Uncle Sam’s, Suburban Park, The Country Club — and was once known as the place to be.

But after more than a decade of sitting empty and deteriorating, the former DeWitt Country Club and Dance Club was relegated to the history books in March.

The building sat at one of the busiest intersections in the area at the corner of Erie Boulevard and Bridge Street. The owner of the property said he hopes to attract a chain restaurant to replace the old dance club.

A North Syracuse man was killed in a crash between an SUV and a motorcycle in Cicero, despite the efforts of a Good Samaritan.

The Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office said 51-year-old James Hotchkiss was killed when an SUV turned into the path of his motorcycle on Brewerton Road on May 12. The SUV was attempting to make a left turn onto Crabtree Lane when the two vehicles collided, throwing Hotchkiss from his bike, deputies said.

A nearby citizen who witnessed the crash rushed over to help and performed CPR on Hotchkiss before emergency personnel arrived. Despite the man’s efforts, Hotchkiss was later pronounced dead at the scene.

No tickets or charges related to the accident were announced by the sheriff’s office.

This bizarre robbery in Clay caught the attention of Central New York; a woman was robbed of her purse while in her car in Clay in March.

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, toldCNYCentral she stopped on Route 57 around 4:30 p.m. to let a man cross the road. She says that man then got into her vehicle before she could hit the door locks and robbed her.

The man was later identified as Joshua Werchinski. He later pleaded guilty to robbery charges and was sentenced to 1 1/3 to four years behind bars.

He was also ordered to stay away from the victim and pay her $200 in restitution.

A search for three missing people, including a 5-year-old child, in June ended in tragedy.

The search Jamie A. Bell, 34, Melissa M. Avery, 26, and Maryssa F. Houston, 5, began when Avery was reported missing by her mother. Troopers said all three were supposed to drive from a home on Tully Farms Road to Song Lake in Preble, NY, for a barbeque on June 12 but never arrived.

The vehicle they had been riding in was found days later in a pond in the area of Route 80 and Gatehouse Road in Tully.

Bell, Avery, and Houston each died as a result of the accident.

Four people from Oswego County were arrested in January for allegedly having a meth lab inside of a home with two children under the age of 16 inside.

Deputies from the Oswego County Sheriff’s Office went to the apartment on George Washington Boulevard during a methamphetamine investigation. After arriving to the scene, deputies determined that methamphetamine was in the process of being made by the occupants of the apartment, the sheriff’s office said.

A search warrant was obtained and the materials and equipment used to manufacture methamphetamine were seized from the apartment.

Five adults inside of the home were taken into custody; four were charged and the fifth was turned over the state police parole on a warrant, the sheriff’s office said.

The two children were turned over to another family member.

Two fishermen from Baldwinsville were killed in late January after falling through ice on North Sandy Pond.

The search for the men began just after 11 a.m. when Oswego County 911 received a report that two people were fishing on the ice on North Sandy Pond when they fell into the water.

When rescue crews arrived at the scene, one of the fishermen had already gone underwater — the other man was clinging to the edge of the ice. Crews attempted to reach the man, but he slipped and went under water and never resurfaced, according to the Coast Guard.

The rescue search for the men then changed to a recovery effort. After searching for more than four hours, divers from the Sandy Creek Fire Department recovered the bodies of Arthur A. Connors and Mark J. Pienkowski.

The Sheriff’s Office said poor ice conditions were the contributing factor of this accident and hampered recovery efforts. The incident came after several days of mild weather in central New York.

Our list of top stories from 2017 ends the way it started — with a bust by the state attorney general’s office.

106 people were indicted and charged with 169 crimes in June after a major drug bust in the North Country. Among them were several people from Central New York.

The attorney general’s office said the following items were seized during the bust:

  • 2,600 bags of heroin (with a street value estimated at approximately $39,000)
  • approximately 3,005 bags of fentanyl (with a street value estimated at approximately $45,075)
  • more than 700 bags of cocaine (with a street value estimated at more than $10,500), which had all been pre-packaged for easy distribution by the trafficking ring.
  • more than a kilo of cocaine
  • more than a quarter-pound of fentanyl
  • more than three ounces of heroin
  • $89,000 in cash
  • three handguns
  • two stun guns
  • a dagger
  • a shotgun
  • a bullet proof vest stolen from a Tompkins County Sheriff’s Deputy

Honorable Mentions:

Family of Kevin Ward Jr., Tony Stewart meet in Syracuse for potential settlement

CNY woman killed in hit-and-run crash in Florida

Undersheriff says alleged abuse of Albion girl is worst case in recent memory

Life and grief in Liverpool: Matt’s Memo

Website ranks Syracuse as one of the worst U.S. cities to live in

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