A lot of things have happened in 2019 that made local and national headlines. Here are the most-clicked local stories that highlight the ups and downs of the past year.

10. No Joke: Sales Tax Increasing In 51 California Cities On April 1
In April, sales tax increased in 51 California cities. The state also required out-of-state retailers to begin collecting sales and use tax. In West Sacramento, sales tax rose to 8.25 percent in order to afford a salary increase for police officers who left to work in other Northern California cities where they could collect a bigger paycheck. Read

9. Tense Traffic Stop Caught On Camera; Former Sheriff Says Officers Played It By The Book
A man was pulled over in 2018 by Sacramento police for an outstanding fix-it ticket.  The interaction quickly turned tense, and as an officer went to the back of the car, a female officer said she didn’t feel comfortable standing alone. The other officer then asked Ornelas to undo his seatbelt and step out of the car. An argument ensued and an officer pointed her gun at the driver. Read

8. Men Arrested In Lathrop Child Sex Predator Sting
In October, Lathrop police arrested eight men accused of arranging to meet with a minor under the age of 14 for the purpose of having sex. When they arrived at the pre-arranged meeting spot, the suspects were arrested by police. Read

7. Supporters, Protestors Among Crowds At Straight Pride Event In Modesto
A straight pride group demonstrated in Modesto back in August, and dozens showed up to speak out against them. A large crowd formed on McHenry Street holding signs, making noise, and speaking out against straight pride event organizer Don Grundmann who, for weeks, had been promoting the demonstration. There were no violent clashes during the event. Read

6. UPS Truck Abandoned And Unlocked In Natomas
While UPS trucks are known for being on the go and constantly making deliveries, one box truck with the signature UPS logo was suspiciously still — parked overnight in a Natomas business park. It was fully loaded and, strangely, unlocked. Read

5. Family’s Missing Tortoise Found 7 Days Later, 5 Miles Away, At Family’s Old House
A Roseville woman had a (s)hell of a time trying to find her missing tortoise, Sweety, who was passed down by her father two decades before. Sweety was missing from the family’s home for a week before turning up at the family’s old home. Just how the tortoise managed to get across busy Greenback Lane remains a mystery. Read

(credit: Lodi PD)

4. Lodi Police Release Surveillance Video Of Man Attacking Kids In Target
Outrage followed the news of a man’s unprovoked attack of two kids inside a Lodi target store. In August, Jeff Hardcastle punched an 11-year-old boy and his 5-year-old younger brother. In December, Hardcastle was convicted of assault and causing great bodily injury to a minor. He was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Megan Hawkins

3. Megan ‘Monster’ Hawkins, Featured On Netflix Show ‘Jailbirds,’ Back In Jail After Arrest In Elk Grove
A Sacramento County inmate who was featured Netflix’s ‘Jailbirds’ was arrested after she allegedly tried to open a bank account using a false name. When police tracked Hawkins down, they say she was driving a stolen car, had credit cards in other peoples’ names, and was in possession of illegal drugs.

2. Caitlin Fink, High School Student In Porn Industry, Finally Shares Story: ‘It’s Not A Taboo Topic’
A Stockton student-run newspaper’s story about one of their own moonlighting as an adult entertainer resulted in the school district’s attempt to quash the story before it could be published. The resulting free-speech debate caught national attention. Read

1. Ripon Parents Say School’s Cell Tower Is Causing Cancer
In March, we reported that parents of students who attend an elementary school in Ripon were looking for answers after a fourth child was diagnosed with cancer. They believe it was caused by radiation coming from a cell tower. However, their concerns later shifted to groundwater concerns after a well that supplies water to the school was found to contain chemical Trichloroethylene (TCE), a chemical known to cause cancer.
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