Results: News 3 viewers decide Top Stories of 2017 - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Results: News 3 viewers decide Top Stories of 2017

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Crowds at SIU watch the total solar eclipse. Crowds at SIU watch the total solar eclipse.
Above a crash on I-57. Above a crash on I-57.
Lawmakers vote on budget deal. Lawmakers vote on budget deal.
Tornado damage in Ava, Illinois. Tornado damage in Ava, Illinois.
Boarded up windows at the McBride Apartments in Cairo. Boarded up windows at the McBride Apartments in Cairo.

WSIL -- As we end 2017, we've been looking back at some of the year's biggest stories. From wicked weather to a budget impasse that seemed it would never end, it was a memorable year in Southern Illinois. We asked viewers on Facebook and Twitter to choose the year's biggest stories. Here are the results, as chosen by viewers:


1. TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE

Tens of thousands of people from around the country and across the world visited southern Illinois in August to witness the total solar eclipse. Major news networks and national publications also sent crews to cover the event. The actual moment, when day turned to night, lasted only a couple of minutes, but the memories will last a lifetime. Fortunately, another total solar eclipse will be visible in the area in 2024.

2. I-57 CRASHES

I-57 gained several infamous nicknames in 2017 and lived up to them. It seemed like a deadly crash occurred every few days. State police say crashes spiked 30 percent. Authorities blamed most of the crashes on distracted driving. Here's hoping the roadway will be safer in 2018.

3. STATE BUDGET CRISIS
The Illinois budget impasse didn't start in 2017, but did reach a fevered pitch. There was concern that public schools wouldn't open in the fall, or would have to close early. SIU and other higher learning institutions had to make controversial cuts. Some agencies, like the Women's Center, had to lay off staff. After two years, lawmakers finally worked out an agreement in July, although the state's financial position remains in treacherous waters.

4. WICKED WEATHER
Southern Illinois also experienced harsh weather in 2017. A deadly EF-4 tornado ripped across the region in late February and heavy rainfall led to extreme flash flooding in several communities. But the wicked weather brought out the best of human nature. WSIL cameras captured neighbors rolling up their sleeves to help each other get to safety and rebuild.

5. CAIRO HOUSING CRISIS
Few stories are as more heart-wrenching as the housing crisis in Cairo. After years of dealing with mismanagement and neglect, residents of two housing complexes were informed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development that they would be demolishing the properties. Tenants shared their fears, anger and confusion with News 3, as they suddenly found themselves faced with leaving the only home they've ever known. Most tenants have moved. Only a handful remain. 

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