The Year in Review: Part Two

On the last day of 2016, News 8 is taking a look at the top local stories of the year.

This year La Crosse saw crime, severe weather and flooding and a big building boom in La Crosse.

They are part two of some of the major events from 2016.

The year kept police busy. In June, a man was charged with two counts of attempted first degree murder, two counts of attempted second degree murder and mistreatment of an animal.

Twenty-seven-year-old Sean Kasten stabbed a 23-year-old woman, a 3-year-old child and a dog in La Crescent.

Kasten also had several self-inflicted wounds and they all survived the attack.

In early December, a West Salem man was charged first-degree intentional homicide in the death of his wife in September.

What was originally believed to be a freak accident, prompted officers to dig deeper and three months later, 46-year-old Todd Kendhammer was arrested.

Kendhammer later posted a $250,000 cash bond.

What began with undercover, controlled purchases of meth, heroin and prescription drugs, lead to 16 drug arrests made in Vernon County, Crawford County and La Crosse County.

Vernon County Sheriff’s say the year-long investigation led to the largest drug bust in ten years and they’re anticipating at least 15 more arrests.

This summer, the Coulee Region couldn’t escape severe weather, which led to a tragic year of flooding.

In September, non-stop rain pushed a 7,000 pound boulder down a hill and through a recently remodeled Brownsville house.

Luckily no one in the house was injured.

Just a few weeks later, a mudslide took the life of a man in a home near Victory.

The house slid onto Highway 35 and blocked the road and crew’s later found the man’s body near the home.

And a special community tradition in Viola was canceled for the first time in over 80 years after flooding caused parts of the town to go under water.

The Viola Horse & Colt Show more than triples the town’s population and those who live there worked hard to prepare for the show.

They’re hoping mother nature will bring less rain in 2017.

Although the La Crosse area experienced some challenging times throughout the year, major developments in downtown La Crosse helped the city’s economic growth.

In May, a multi-million dollar project was developed in downtown.

What used to be Lot C in the heart of downtown La Crosse was transformed into the Belle Square apartments, offices and retail space.

The $65 million project was said to generate $2 million in annual property taxes.

And of course hotels helped spur more economic growth in the downtown area.

In August, ground broke on a new hotel for Gundersen patients’ families.

Gundersen Health System partnered with Premier Hotel Propeties to expand its services to more than just patients.

The $9 million hotel will be located on the Gundersen La Crosse campus.

Along with the Gundresen hotel, downtown La Crosse also welcomed Home2 Suites.

The contemporary-style hotel saw plenty of travelers through its doors and was sold out three nights in the first week it was open.

According to the Conventions and Visitors Bureau, La Crosse will continue to see a trend of growth.

In the next year, La Crosse’s mayor expects new housing developments to open up along with the move to the new county administrative building.

The city will also move forward with the La Crosse Center renovation and addition.