It was a strange year and, at times, a troubling one. What will 2018 bring? That remains to be seen.

On this first day of 2018, many of us wish we had crystal balls so that we could see the future. But it's impossible for any of us to know where we will be 365 days from now.

After all, who could have imagined how 2017 would end? It was a year of drama and scandal, a year that saw the Okaloosa County School District awash in controversy. Stories about the school district's handling of a child abuse case at a local elementary school dominated the headlines, setting off a domino effect of investigations, questions and additional allegations.

Eddie Perillo, the father of the original victim, was named the Daily News Person of the Year for his courage in blowing the whistle, despite the fact that by doing so, he cast his own autistic child into the spotlight.

The year also saw a tornado touch down in Ferry Park, damaging structures there and in the surrounding neighborhood. But in other ways, the Emerald Coast was spared, as three major hurricanes skirted us to the east and the west.

We lost Congressman Jeff Miller, but maintained our local voice in Washington when Matt Gaetz was sworn in. He's made his presence known, taking well publicized stances on everything from human trafficking to abolishing the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport has continued to grow, adding flights and passengers in 2017. A record 1,134,209 passengers flew into the Emerald Coast last year and has become the fastest growing airport in Florida.

The year also saw unspeakable tragedies. The body of a 3-year-old Crestview girl was found on a rural road known for being a dumping ground for household debris. Her mother's boyfriend has been charged and may face the death penalty, if convicted.

That same weekend, a Shalimar man was shot to death in his own home, allegedly by his wife, who is accused of then hiding his body under the staircase behind a brick wall. His arms were duct taped at the wrists and placed across his midsection while his feet were taped together at the ankles.

Aaron Wanless, a troubled 35-year-old veteran, was sentenced to 48 years in prison for felonies involving the use of a firearm during an altercation with Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office deputies in 2015.

A fire at Eglin Air Force Base sent a large plume of potentially toxic smoke in the air. The smoke could be seen for miles, and people as far away as Destin reported hearing what sounded like cannons.

Frustrated by providing the bulk of Okaloosa County’s revenue from property taxes, tourist development taxes and other sources without seeing nearly enough benefit in return, Destin City Council looked to explore the legal processes of being annexed into Walton County.

And an Okaloosa County Water and Sewer Department employee was terminated and charged with grand theft and aggravated white collar crime in connection with a scheme to exchange water taps for cash.

It was a strange year and, at times, a troubling one.

What will 2018 bring? That remains to be seen.