There you have it. Above we gave you our staff picks for the biggest and most important Lorain County stories of the year.
We do our best to cover the news and issues that affect you, all in an attempt to inform, enlighten and even inspire you. We can only hope that when you pick up your paper each morning you’re actually reading those stories.
Online, however, there’s no question whether and what you’re reading. Much like the sports world, in the online world there is a statistic for everything.
Not surprisingly, I can tell you how man people have read any given story. I can also tell you that as I write this (at 7:48 a.m. Friday) there are 199 of you actively browsing Chroniclet.com. Most of you are in Elyria or other parts of Lorain County, but we’ve also got five people reading from Downers Grove, Ill., three in Bethesda, Md., 10 in Columbus and 12 in Cleveland. More than a third of you are reading a story about a court appearance by murder suspect Adam Grimes.
As I do every year in this space, I’ve taken a look through a year’s worth of those stats to bring to you each month’s most-clicked-on story. As you will see, some of these stories also made our Top 10 list, but many did not. So this is essentially YOUR Top 10 list — you voted with your clicks.
And let me warn you — while there is seldom much good news on this list, this year’s edition struck us as particularly bleak.
January’s top story, with 7,063 views, involved the death of Lorain man, Christopher Mair Sr., 34, on the Turnpike near the Elyria/North Ridgeville border. Mair died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital after colliding with a semi at about 8:45 a.m. (Man killed in Turnpike crash)
In February, 16-year-old Alexandra Clifford of Elyria lost her life in an accident on state Route 2. 11,217 of you visited our website to read about it and comment, with dozens of people leaving touching tributes as well as personal messages to her family. (Teen dies following state Route 2 crash)
March saw no break from the string of tragedies on our roadways when an accident on state Route 611 in Sheffield left a woman dead and two people seriously hurt. Terri Martin, 52, of Lorain was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Royce Kowalczyk, 26, of Amherst and Mary Loescher, 57, of Lorain were also hurt, although the Cleveland hospital they were LifeFlighted to couldn’t provide any information on whether they’d recovered from their injuries. This story was viewed 17,589 times, almost twice the amount of views of the No. 2 Web story, a two-sentence Web update about a body being found after an apparent suicide at Lakeview Park. (One dead, 2 LifeFlighted after Sheffield crash)
April saw another traffic accident come in in the No. 1 sport, but thankfully this time no one died. Three people were hurt (although none of the injuries turned out to be life-threatening) in a crash on state Route 113 crash. Deichler’s Tire Center also suffered heavy damage. The story had 8,104 views. (3 hurt in state Route 113 crash, tire shop suffers heavy damage)
In May the roadways claimed another victim when Paul Hering, 61, of Vermilion died in a motorcycle accident on state Route 60 between Mason and Trinter roads. Reders clicked on that story 11,218 times. (Person dead after Vermilion-area motorcycle crash)
A picture said a thousand words for June’s top story. Christopher Gerhart, 21, of Grafton was arrested for drunken driving following an accident. Non of that piqued our interest — or yours — until we saw his mugshot. As Gerhart explained it to police, who arrested him at 6:50 a.m., he’d gone to a party the night before and fallen asleep. At that point his friends, who apparently had a few Sharpie markers, decided to give him a bit of an — ummm — makeover. The rest, as they say, is history, or at least was immortalized in an Elyria Police Department mug shot. Gerhart’s 15 minutes in the spotlight didn’t end with his appearance on The Chronicle’s front page, either. His famous mug made it to a number of national websites, with one headline warning “Friends don’t let friends draw on people’s faces.” Nonetheless, 26,438 of you did read about it on the Chronicle website. (Man faces felony charge after causing four-car crash)
Donna Brown, 24, of Lorain, shot and her two cousins, reportedly after they tormented her for being a lesbian. Dale Linder, 20, and Justin Linder, 22, were gunned down early in the morning of July 5. Brown is awaiting trial and could face the death penalty if she’s convicted. That story was viewed a total of 15,436 times. (Men dead after Lorain shooting, police seeking female suspect)
August’s most-clicked-on story has a headline that can pretty much speak for itself: “Police: Woman left children alone at Super K to have sex in van.” It was read 8,834 times. (Police: Woman left children alone at Super K to have sex in van)
In September, it was revealed that Elyrian and recent gold medalist Tianna Madison was being sued by her parents for defamation. Madison’s parents filed suit for libel, slander and defamation, claiming she has defamed them with false statements and allegations. The story was viewed 11,422 times. The Madisons’ lawsuit continues to make its way through the legal system. (Parents sue Olympic gold medalist Tianna Madison for defamation)
As residents around Lorain County became more and more fed up with the rash of burglaries this fall, an Elyria couple became virtual folk heroes in October after they shot and killed a burglar who’d broken into their Water Street home. Jeffrey Carson, 29, was pronounced dead at the hospital. Readers not only viewed the story 9,719 times but also left dozens of comments, most of which were in support of the couple, Jack and Linda Dillon. (Elyria resident shoots and kills alleged burglar)
In November, Zachery Malott, a fifth-grader at Firelands was found hanging in his bedroom in Wakeman. His death, which was later ruled a suicide, was the most-clicked-on story for the month, getting 12,991 views. (Fifth-grade boy found hanging in his bedroom)
The year would end on a tragic note as well, with another suicide coming in as December’s most-viewed story. Richard Kaplan, 59, an Elyria school board member as well as a prominent local businessman was found dead in the backyard of his home with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. The story was read 7,909 times. (School board member, prominent Elyria businessman dead at age 59)
Contact Web editor Rona Proudfoot at 329-7124 or firstname.lastname@example.org.