On Dec. 27, Enumclaw Patch will become 2 years old, and in that time we have run upwards of 3,500 articles about this small but vibrant community!
In looking at our top 10 for 2012, it's just too hard to choose. Therefore, the list here reflects not so much our own ideas of what are the best stories but more so the most popular ones in terms of views they generated. Understandably, the list is skewed toward events of a tragic, criminal or unimaginable nature.
We are throwing out a few that went viral through the fluke of being picked up by various national web sites or listservs. The biggest example is one we shared with fellow Patches regarding a woman facing prison for cheating multiple casinos; it was read by thousands of people, not necessarily all from Enumclaw, who were apparently concerned about the issues the story brought up.
Another story that grabbed some national attention, but wasn't really a top story in terms of local news impact: FBI Offers Unique Check for Damaging Computer Virus. One can never be too careful with technology these days.
Here then are the top 10 stories on Enumclaw Patch in 2012, as measured primarily by view numbers--some of them ongoing stories with multiple posts.
1) Teen Pedestrian Killed on State Route 410 in Enumclaw Identified: This tragic fatality occurred Halloween night and took the life of 16-year-old Justin Relethford. Investigators have not released more information since the story was first reported, but the impact of the young man's death was widely felt, as evidenced by the heartfelt and sometimes passionate comments left with this story.
2) Enumclaw Pics & Clips: Share What Inspires You: Not so much a news story - this is a permanent fixture on Enumclaw Patch in which locals are encouraged to upload and share images and videos of the community in which they live. We saw many beautiful photos from last January's ice storm and a few local shutterbugs have shared some eye-catching shots from all seasons as well. Maybe you'll want to share your photos too.
3) Enumclaw Insurance Salesman Charged with Wire Fraud Left Country Before Arrest: Aaron Travis Beaird was arrested and charged with wire fraud in July and apparently been trying to fake his own death. In late August, he pleaded guilty to one count each of mail fraud and wire fraud. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 18, 2013.
4) Enumclaw Woman Charged with Child Abuse Over Potty Training Toddler: Chasity Dufour was accused of abusing her boyfriend's 3-year-old son over potty training problems and arrested in July. She remains in custody and her trial has been continued to Jan. 30, 2013.
5) Man Killed Wednesday at Mount Rainier was GRCC Instructor: The Green River Community College campus lost IESL instructor Dave Watson in a sledding accident at Mount Rainier National Park on July 4, when summer recreational opportunities were just beginning as snow started to melt.
6) Explore the Mud Mountain Dam Recreation Area and Rim Trail: An oldie but apparently a goodie - this item written by hiking columnist Karen Sykes two years ago remains a popular read, probably in part because this is a hike that can be enjoyed year-round.
: An unusual stretch of warm, dry weather stretching into October helped fuel this fire that ignited on Hancock property on steep terrain outside city limits. Smoke could be seen coming from what appeared to be the King County transfer station. Luckily, no structures were threatened and no injuries were reported.
8) Cause of Labor Day Accident in Mount Rainier National Park Still Unknown: This accident at Mount Rainier National Park on Labor Day Monday sent two people to the hospital - a third was injured by treated at the scene - and caused unusually long backups for travelers returning home from the holiday weekend.
9) Head-On Collision on SR 410 Kills 26 Year-Old Man: This January 2012 collision killed Tyler Nelson, of Milton, when he tried to pass a slower vehicle and veered into oncoming traffic and struck a truck driven by Martin Nachtsheim, of Enumclaw. Nachtsheim was seriously injured, which provided added hardships for his family. Patch followed a community effort to support the young family as it worked through illness, injuries and mounting hospital bills in 2012.
10) Owner of Bruce's Roofing in Enumclaw Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Willful Tax Evasion: Bruce Sprague admitted with a guilty plea in July that he paid his employees a portion of their wages in cash from 2005-2008, and that he did not collect employment taxes including Social Security, Medicare and income tax withholding from the cash wages.
There are your top 10 most popular stories for 2012.
Editor's Note: I will indulge and share one additional story that meant a lot to me, personally: Mom Hopes for Leniency for Driver Involved in Son's Death - Kim Levine-O'Leary lost her son in an accident where the vehicle he was in was driven by his best friend. Alcohol was reportedly involved. Nonetheless, her compassion and grace inspired many who read her story. I appreciated her willingness to speak about her unimaginable loss.