As 2016 ended, we took a look at a few matters that we felt really needed to be resolved in the next 12 months. And much of what we hoped would run its course in 2016 did just that.
Here's a quick look:
It was infuriating that more than four years after being accused of brutally stabbing a Countryside man inside a Brookfield home, hanging him by a belt in a bedroom closet and leaving him for dead, Jeffrey Gurley was finally convicted of first-degree attempted murder and put in prison for a good long time.
In May — more than five years after the incident and only after Gurley agreed to a plea deal — a judge sentenced Gurley to 21 years in prison. He will be eligible for parole in 2030, when he is 44 years old.
He had come to Brookfield in search of a former girlfriend — the relationship began when he was a prisoner in a Kentucky jail and she was a guard. She feared his potential for violence and asked her brother to go inside her apartment to get a few things. Gurley was waiting inside and attacked him.
When her brother didn't come out of the residence, the woman called police, who took Gurley into custody without incident. Fortunately, the brother survived. Even more fortunately, Gurley is in prison where he belongs.
As we predicted 12 months ago, the Illinois Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's ruling that the Illinois Labor Relations Board was the place where the contract dispute between North Riverside and its union firefighters ought to be handled.
At first calling off its attempt to force privatization of the village's firefighting services by unilaterally voiding its union contract, the village of North Riverside has now asked the state Supreme Court to intervene.
It's a very long shot, and almost no one believes the Supreme Court will bother. We may know that answer next month. In the meantime, there's still no contract while both sides prepare for the inevitable labor arbitration.
Surely, this can't go on another 12 months, can it?
Fix in, but will it stick?
The village of Riverside earmarked about $30,000 last year to address the landscape in Swan Pond Park, planting thousands of wetlands plants in the lowest area of the park, the area most prone to flooding.
Did it work? Well, the jury is still out after more flooding covered over the fledgling plants for a time, but the village has expressed a commitment to making Swan Pond Park the central gem it had been for so long, prior to 2013.
Here's keeping our fingers crossed and seeing last year's plants thrive so the village can expand on the first phase of the planned fix.