Tanya Ballard Brown

New York City is one step closer, as part of a larger plan, to shutting the doors on the Rikers Island jail complex. On Wednesday, city officials announced an agreement to start a public review process of proposed sites for smaller jails in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens.

"This agreement marks a huge step forward on our path to closing Rikers Island," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "In partnership with the City Council, we can now move ahead with creating a borough-based jail system that's smaller, safer and fairer."

As the year draws to a close and the news cycle continues to reset every day, let's pause and revisit some of the most important news events from 2017.

The Inauguration

If you've been convicted of marijuana-related crimes in California, you might be able to have your record wiped clean or the charges greatly reduced under a provision in the state's new marijuana law, Prop 64. More than 4,000 people have already petitioned the courts about their records and sentencing.

The police response to the Pulse nightclub massacre in 2016 followed protocol, but more training and better coordination are needed moving forward, according to a new 200-page review from the Justice Department and the Police Foundation.

Afshin Shahidi misses Prince.

"Nothing seemed impossible, everything was possible for him," he says. "And that's just the way he lived his life and the way he communicated and wanted us to live our life."

The Iranian-born Shahidi grew up in Minneapolis and met Prince in 1993 when he got a call to come to work on a music video shoot as a film loader. Shahidi didn't know how to load film. But, it was for Prince(!) so like a true fan, he jumped at the opportunity to bask in the royal purple glow, and decided to sort out the film loading stuff on the fly.

As investigations continue into the terrorist truck attack in New York City that left at least eight people dead and several more injured on Tuesday, officials are shoring up security for Sunday's kickoff of the New York City Marathon.

With more than 51,000 runners expected, the annual 26.2-mile race is one of the largest in the world. As many as 2.5 million spectators could be along the race route.

Two weeks ago he locked arms and knelt with his players before the national anthem, then stood with them as it played. Now, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says players who "disrespect the flag," won't take the field.

When police entered 64-year-old Stephen Paddock's 32nd-floor hotel room at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo says, they found "in excess of 10 rifles."

Every year as August draws to a close and Labor Day approaches, I start craving muscadines, the large, thick-skinned grapes that were everywhere in my home state of North Carolina when I was growing up.

Many summer evenings, my friends and I would sit on one of our porches and plot out how we could get into a neighbor's yard to get the muscadines off the vine and into our mouths. We crafted football-like plays that involved a bunch of running, splitting up, grape snatching and fence jumping.