Jan. 1: Wake County officials list transportation and affordable housing as their top issues for 2016.
Jan. 4: The search firm hired to replace Durham police chief Jose Lopez releases a job description asking for a “transformative and visionary leader.”
Jan. 5: Liz Masnik, owner of the beloved Raleigh restaurant The Borough, announces that it will close at the end of the month.
Jan. 8: Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools announces it has given a raise to seventy-two bus monitors and custodians, certifying the school system as a living-wage employer.
Jan 8: El Chapo Guzmanthe leader of the El Sinaloa drug cartel, who had recently granted an interview to actor Sean Pennis recaptured by Mexican law enforcement after escaping from jail the previous July.
Jan. 10: David Bowie dies two days after his final album, Blackstar, is released.
Jan. 13: A contractor for the town of Hillsborough removes the “Confederate Memorial” lettering from the Orange County Historical Museum building.
Jan. 19: Twenty-nine-year-old Matthew LaMont McClain, an inmate at the Durham County Detention Facility, is found dead in his cell. In June, the county Department of Public Health said McClain died “as a result of complications from a seizure disorder” but recommended more than a dozen changes be implemented by the jail’s medical unit.
Jan. 21: Governor McCrory announces a state of emergency due to a winter ice and snow storm. More than 147,000 people would lose power.
Jan. 22: Carolina Theater of Durham CEO Bob Nocek resigns, after a December 2015 audit found that the historic theater was over $1 million in debt. Dan Berman takes over as interim CEO.
Jan. 24: The 15–1 Carolina Panthers blow out the Arizona Cardinals to advance to the Super Bowl.
Jan. 26: At a UNC Board of Governors meeting in Chapel Hill, four members of the SEIU group Faculty Forward are arrested while protesting Margaret Spellings, the new president of the UNC system and a former Bush administration official.
Jan. 28: Nineteen-year-old Wildin Acosta is arrested by ICE officials as he’s warming up his car to go to school at Riverside High in Durham. He’s detained in Lumpkin, Georgia, while he awaits deportation.
Jan. 29: The N.C. Supreme Court, in a 6–1 decision, rules in McCrory’s favor in a legal battle with the legislature over who gets to appoint members of the Coal Ash Commission created in 2014.
Feb. 1: In the first contest of the primary season, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas win the Iowa Democratic and Republican caucuses. The following Tuesday, Senator Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump win the first primaries in New Hampshire.
Feb. 7: The Carolina Panthers lose the Super Bowl to the Denver Broncos, 24–10.
Feb. 11: After a forty-day standoff, armed anti-government militia members, who had seized the headquarters of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, surrender.
Feb. 12: Venerable Durham club The Pinhook, which was $80,000 in debt and in danger of closing due to an unpaid tax bill before the Triangle music community rallied behind it, pays off its debt.
Feb. 13: Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia dies. Senate Republicans immediately announce that they’ll block President Obama’s nominee to replace him.
Feb. 17: Ashley Christensen’s newest Raleigh restaurant, Death & Taxes, is nominated as a semifinalist for the James Beard award for Best New Restaurant. Christensen is nominated for Outstanding Chef.
Feb. 18: In a one-day special session, the legislature (under a federal court order) redraws its congressional districts. When Representative David Lewis is asked why the lawmakers ensured a gerrymandered 10–3 Republican majority, Lewis responds, “The only reason we are drawing ten districts is because we can’t make it eleven.”
Feb. 19: To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee dies at age eighty-nine.
Feb. 22: In a 5–2 vote, the Charlotte City Council passes an ordinance adding “marital and familial status, sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity” to the city’s nondiscrimination code.
Feb. 29: Twenty-four-year-old Akiel Denkins is shot and killed in southeast Raleigh by Officer D.C. Twiddy. His death sparks peaceful protests.
Feb. 29: WRAL and WNCN switch affiliates; WRAL goes to NBC, while WNCN moves to CBS.
Feb. 29: Twenty-four-year-old Akiel Denkins is shot and killed in southeast Raleigh by Officer D.C. Twiddy. His death sparks peaceful protests.
March 7: The Durham City Council indefinitely postpones a vote on purchasing body cameras for police officers.
March 10: After Denkins’s death, the Raleigh Police Accountability Community Taskforce asks the city council to establish a civilian review board with subpoena power. In a response in May, the city says it can’t do that without the approval of the General Assembly.
March 15: The Raleigh City Council approves a $5.2 million program to put six hundred body cameras on the street.
March 16: President Obama nominates appellate judge Merrick Garland to replace Scalia. He’ll never receive so much as a hearing, much less a confirmation vote.
March 18: In a 174–29 vote, non-tenure-track faculty at Duke vote to form a union.
March 22: A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife Dawg dies at age forty-five.
March 23: In a one-day special session, General Assembly passes the infamous HB 2. McCrory signs it that night.
March 24: Nice Price Books in Durham announces it will close in May.
March 27: Quail Ridge Books founder Nancy Olson passes away at the age of seventy-five.
March 28: The ACLU of North Carolina, Lambda Legal, and Equality NC file a lawsuit against North Carolina over HB 2.
March 29: Roy Cooper, the state’s attorney general and McCrory’s challenger in the November election, announces that he won’t defend HB 2 in court.
April 2: The UNC men’s basketball team defeats Syracuse 83–66 to earn a trip to the NCAA national championship game.
April 4: UNC loses to Villanova on a buzzer-beater by Villanova’s Kris Jenkins.
April 6: Country legend Merle Haggard dies on his seventy-ninth birthday.
April 7: The Durham City Council passes a resolution denouncing HB 2.
April 8: The Durham police’s HEAT unit raids a north Durham home after “smelling marijuana” and tase and allegedly assault several people inside before making arrests. A video of the incident garners more than two hundred thousand views on YouTube.
April 11: The porn website xhamster.com “bans” access to North Carolina users, with a flashing message warning North Carolinians to “Stop Your Homophobic Insanity!” It turns out you can just click to the side of this prompt in order to, um, finish your business, but point taken.
April 13: Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman clears Officer Twiddy in the shooting death of Akiel Denkins.
April 19: The Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce releases a statement opposing HB 2, calling it “bad for business and bad for North Carolina.” Later that day, the Raleigh City Council endorses that statement.
April 21: Prince passes away at the age of fifty-seven.
April 25: As the General Assembly commences its short session, Moral Monday protesters hold a rally and a mass sit-in at the legislature. Fifty-four protesters are arrested.
April 26: Durham names C.J. Davis, the deputy police chief of the Atlanta Police Department, as its next chief of police.
April 28: Duke president Richard Brodhead announces plans to step down when his current term expires in June 2017.
May 3: Donald Trump wins the Indiana primary, ensuring that he will be the Republican nominee.
May 2: Durham’s Triangle Brewing Company, established in 2007, closes its doors for the final time.
May 5: After twenty-one months of data showing that SolarBees were ineffective, the Department of Environmental Quality finally pulls the plug on the giant water mixers, which were supposed to clean up Jordan Lake.
May 6: The third annual Art of Cool festival kicks off in Durham. Headliners include Terence Blanchard, Anderson Paak and the Free Nationals, Thundercat, and Internet.
May 9: The U.S. Department of Justice and the state of North Carolina file lawsuits against each other over HB 2.
May 15: Laura Jane Grace, the transgender frontwoman of Against Me!, burns her birth certificate on stage during the band’s sold-out set at Motorco in Durham.
May 17: Durham County District Attorney Roger Echols announces that he will not charge any officers in the death of La’Vante Biggs, who was shot by Durham police in September 2015.
May 19: The tenth Moogfestand the first in Durhamkicks off. Headliners include GZA, Explosions in the Sky, sunn O))), and Grimes.
May 25: Durham civil rights icon and longtime city councilman Howard Clement III dies at the age of eighty-two.
June 3: Muhammad Ali, arguably the greatest boxer to have ever livedas well as an outspoken political activistdies at the age of seventy-four.
June 6: The Wake County Board of Commissioners votes unanimously to allow county residents to vote on a potential half-cent sales tax to help fund the county’s transit plan.
June 6: The night before the California primary, the Associated Press calls the Democratic primary for Hillary Clinton, making her the first woman to ever be a major party’s nominee.
June 6: McCrory vetoes a second Coal Ash Commission bill, even though this one gives him more say over who is appointed. The legislature doesn’t override his veto.
June 7: In the second primary of the year to choose nominees in North Carolina’s new congressional districts, U.S. Representative George Holding defeats U.S. Representative Kay Daly to become the Republican nominee in the Second Congressional District.
June 9: The Durham City Council votes to raise the minimum wage for city employees to $15 an hour.
June 10: Legendary hockey player Gordie Howe dies at the age of eighty-eight.
June 12: Omar Mateen commits the worst mass shooting in American history at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing forty-nine people.
June 19: The Cleveland Cavaliers come back from a 3–1 series deficit to defeat the Golden State Warriors and win the NBA championship.
June 20: Durham civil rights activist Ann Atwater dies at the age of eighty.
June 23: In a referendum, the United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union. In the days following the vote, Prime Minister David Cameron resigns.
June 28: Forty-five people are killed and more than 230 people are injured after a terrorist attack at Atatürk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey.
June 28: Longtime Republican state senator Fletcher Hartsell is indicted in Wake County Superior Court on three charges of knowingly certifying incorrect campaign finance documents.
July 2: Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Elie Wiesel dies at the age of eighty-seven.
July 5: Alton Sterling, a black man peddling CDs in a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, parking lot, is killed by police, sparking protests across the nation.
July 5: FBI Director James Comey says the bureau is recommending no charges be filed against Hillary Clinton for her use of a personal email server while secretary of state.
July 7: Philando Castile, a thirty-two-year-old black man, is killed by Minneapolis police during a traffic stop.
July 7: A military veteran shoots and kills five Dallas police officers in a sniper attack.
July 11: State toxicologist Kenneth Rudo says in a deposition that state officials “knowingly told people their water was safe [after the Dan River coal ash spill] when we knew it wasn’t.”
July 11: McCrory signs HB 972, which limits public access to police body camera and dash-cam recordings.
July 14: Terror strikes France when a truck smashes into a crowd in Nice watching Bastille Day fireworks.
July 16: Durham pastor Jamie Daniels, of Divine Grace Worship Center, is fatally shot near the intersection of Lincoln and Dunbar streets.
July 17: The Loyal Knights of the Ku Klux Klan drops flyers in Raleigh’s Oakwood neighborhood.
July 18: The GOP kicks off the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.
July 19: The Board of Immigration Appeals reopens Wildin Acosta’s case.
July 22: In a show of solidarity with the LGBTQ community, the NBA announces it is no longer holding its 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte as a result of HB 2.
July 25: The Democratic National Convention begins in Philadelphia.
July 29: A federal judges strike down North Carolina’s voting restrictions, citing the legislature’s “discriminatory intent.”
Aug. 2: McCrory’s chief of staff, Thomas Stith, holds a late-night press conference in which he calls toxicologist Kenneth Rudo a liar.
Aug. 10: State epidemiologist Megan Davies resigns, saying she “cannot work for a department and an administration that deliberately misleads the public.”
Aug. 10: After spending six months in a Georgia detention facility, Wildin Acosta is granted bond and eventually released.
Aug. 11: A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court declares North Carolina’s legislative districts unconstitutional, saying they violate the Equal Protection Clause.
Aug. 13: Raleigh police respond to reports of shots fired inside Crabtree Mall. Nobody is shot, and no shooter is ever found.
Aug. 15: Durham police chief C.J. Davis reports that homicides in the city are up 31 percent over 2015.
Aug. 16: Erin Brockovich and the Environmental Working Group send a letter to the EPA calling for the establishment of federal standards for hexavalent chromium in drinking water, citing the coal ash controversy in North Carolina.
Aug. 17: The INDY reports, based on findings from Insightus, that from 2010–14, Wake County found forty private wells with dangerous levels of uranium and then abruptly stopped testing for the chemical.
Aug. 18: A crisis pregnancy center files a federal lawsuit against Raleigh for denying a zoning request that would allow the facility to open next to an abortion clinic.
Aug. 22: UPS workers hold a protest in Chapel Hill after filing more than one hundred grievances against the company.
Aug. 24: Duke University sues the estate of wealthy alum Aubrey McClendon for nearly $10 million.
Aug. 26: A federal judge issues a limited preliminary injunction against HB 2, preventing the UNC system from enforcing the law.
Aug. 29: Gene Wilder, of Willy Wonka fame, dies at age eighty-three.
Sept. 5: The Durham City Council votes to approve the Golden Belt local historic district, despite opposition from the Durham Rescue Mission.
Sept. 6: Firefighters show up at the Raleigh City Council to protest not getting a raise.
Sept. 7: McCrory releases a campaign ad suggesting that people are being too sensitive about HB 2, which he says “protects” children.
Sept. 8: McCrory blames Roy Cooper and President Obama for “forcing his hand” on HB 2.
Sept. 8: The State Board of Elections votes to expand the number of polling places Wake County voters will have to choose from during the first seven days of early voting.
Sept. 12: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces that it will spare the Red Wolf Recovery Programan effort meant to help save the endangered red wolf population living in eastern North Carolina from extinctionbut species advocates say the feds’ plan will actually result in the wild wolves ending up in captivity.
Sept. 12: The NCAA announces it is pulling March Madness games and several sports championships from North Carolina in response to HB 2.
Sept. 14: The Atlantic Coast Conference announces it will pull all “neutral-site championships” from North Carolina in response to HB 2.
Sept. 18: Bombs in New York and New Jersey injure dozens of people.
Sept. 20: Forty-three-year-old Keith Lamont Scott is fatally shot by Charlotte police, sparking violent protests after city officials refuse to release body-camera footage.
Sept. 25: Iconic golfer (and the guy who figured out that mixing sweet tea and lemonade is awesome) Arnold Palmer dies at eighty-seven.
Sept. 26: Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison, after threatening to pull his officers out of Wake schools if the school board did not set a clear policy for transgender students, calls the INDY to rant about the liberal media, the transgender community, and HB 2.
Sept. 29: U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle orders a temporary injunction that restricts the federal government’s ability to remove endangered red wolves from private property and blasts the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Oct. 3: Triangle television news icon and WTVD anchor Larry Stogner dies at age sixty-nine.
Oct. 4: A representative from the International Association of Chiefs of Police reports to the Durham City Council that, after reviewing the Durham Police Department’s operations, it did not find “institutional racism” within the DPD.
Oct. 7: The Washington Post unearths a hot-mic recording of Donald Trump boasting about his sexual conquests and his ability to “grab [women] by the pussy” with impunity on account of his fame.
Oct. 8: Hurricane Matthew dumps several feet of rain on much of the state and causes catastrophic flooding in eastern North Carolina.
Oct. 15: Vandals firebomb the Orange County Republican Party headquarters in Hillsborough, leaving graffiti that reads, “Nazi Republicans leave town or else.”
Oct. 28: Eleven days before the election, James Comey tells Congress the FBI is looking into new emails possibly related to the Clinton investigation. Nine days later, the FBI says the new emails didn’t alter its earlier conclusions.
Oct. 29: Beloved Durham politician and progressive icon Paul Luebke loses a battle to cancer at seventy years old.
Oct. 31: Complaining about The News & Observer’s coverage, U.S. Senator Richard Burr bars the paper from receiving notifications about his campaign events.
Nov. 7: Wake County commissioners endorse six weeks of paid parental leave for the county’s nearly four thousand employees.
Nov. 7: Leonard Cohen passes away at the age of eighty-two, three weeks after the release of his final album, You Want It Darker.
Nov. 7: Janet Reno, the first female attorney general, dies at seventy-eight.
Nov. 8: Donald Trumps wins the presidency while losing the popular vote. Burr defeats challenger Deborah Ross. State Republicans maintain their legislative supermajorities. McCrory challenges Cooper’s apparent victory.
Nov. 10: President-elect Donald Trump tweets that protests over his election are “very unfair.”
Nov. 10: The Durham City Council and Durham Police Department reach an agreement in which officers will write citations for misdemeanor marijuana offenses.
Nov. 13: Trump names white nationalist and Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon his chief strategist and senior counselor.
Nov. 13: McCrory demands a recount in Durham County.
Nov. 14: An autopsy performed on Keith Lamont Scott reveals that he was shot in the back.
Nov. 18: The Durham County Board of Elections rejects McCrory’s demand for a recount.
Nov. 21: Durham City Council members vote to spend $1.4 million on body cameras.
Nov. 21: McCrory formally asks for a statewide recount.
Nov. 22: Durham police fatally shoot Frank Clark in McDougald Terrace. Cops and purported eyewitnesses have different accounts of what happened.
Nov. 25: Cuban dictator Fidel Castro dies at the age of ninety.
Nov. 29: A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court orders the General Assembly to redraw its legislative maps and sets a special election for 2017.
Dec. 3: To celebrate Trump’s victory, a handful of Ku Klux Klan members drive through a small North Carolina town flying Confederate flags out of their windows and yelling “white power.”
Dec. 5: McCrory, nearly a month after the election, finally concedes.
Dec. 5: After narrowly losing a vote to become vice-chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners, Jessica Holmes abruptly resigns.
Dec. 6: Holmes retracts her resignation.
Dec. 6: The Raleigh City Council votes to approve $3.1 million in funding for the Oak City Outreach Center, a multiservice center for the city’s impoverished and homeless.
Dec. 6: The Carolina RailHawks soccer team changes its name to North Carolina FC. Team officials announce that they will pursue an MLS franchise.
Dec. 8: John Glenn, a former U.S. senator, presidential candidate, and the first American to orbit the Earth, dies at age ninety-five.
Dec. 13: The General Assembly reconvenes for a special session to address the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
Dec. 14: Minutes after the General Assembly passes the Disaster Recovery Act of 2016, state GOP leaders call for another special session.
Dec. 15: Protests break out in Raleigh after the N.C. House and Senate ram through a series of bills designed to curtail Governor-elect Cooper’s power.
Dec. 15: The Obama administration suggests that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally authorized the hacking of Democratic officials before the November election.
Dec. 15: Dylann Roof is found guilty of murdering nine people last year at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Dec. 16: State Representative Michael Speciale says protesters who converged on the Capitol during the special session were “thugs who are likely paid and bussed in to disrupt the business of those who represent the people.”
Dec. 19: After Charlotte repeals its nondiscrimination ordinance, McCrory calls yet another special session to repeal HB 2.
Dec. 21: The legislature fails to repeal HB 2, after Republicans try to couple the repeal with a moratorium on municipalities enacting new antidiscrimination ordinances.
Dec. 22: In an op-ed in the N&O, a UNC political science professor writes that, based on the criteria used to evaluate other countries’ elections, North Carolina does so poorly that it ranks alongside Iran and Venezuela. The state “can no longer call its elections democratic.”
Dec. 23: In an episode of This American Life, NCGOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse dismisses evidence showing that voter fraud is almost nonexistent. “Don’t show me studies,” he says. “Academics, I mean, a bunch of knuckleheads, pointy-headed professors.”
Dec. 25: Pop icon George Michael passes away at the age of fifty-three.
Dec. 27: This Year in Review issue goes to press. Nothing of consequence happens the remainder of 2016. (We hope.)