Top clicks of 2012

Most of past year’s highest-read articles center on heavy subjects

Clint Riese
News Editor

So-called “hard” news involving accidents and crime held the attention of readers at in 2012, according to data compiled for the web site last month.

Sure, the occasional feel-good feature can still hit home, but when measured by page impressions, the numbers don’t lie as to what stirs up the most interest among the site’s followers. No fewer than eight of the top 10 stories of 2012 in terms of page views dealt with tragic, controversial or dangerous issues.

So while major accomplishments such as the completion of the Broadway corridor “mega-project” or the approval of a $22 million bond issuance to finance a municipal campus will have as much effect as any development last year, this space is reserved for the top 10 articles that had readers clicking away.

1.) “Two killed in 12th Street crash”

Posted Nov. 6. Page views: 8,866 (through Dec. 18)

In the first fatal crash on a city roadway in several years, 53-year-old Michelle D. Jones from Forest Lake and a man from Farmington died when their vehicle was struck on one of the city’s busiest roads. The crash took place on Tuesday, Nov. 6 near Walmart’s main access to NW 12th Street. The other driver, a Wyoming man, did not require medical attention.

The article on Delbert and Margot Kendrick garnered the second-most page views of any story in 2012. (File photo)
The article on Delbert and Margot Kendrick garnered the second-most page views of any story in 2012. (File photo)

2.) “Riding through their 90s”

Posted May 2. Page views: 4,199

The passion Delbert and Margot Kendrick hold for motorcycling is explored in a front-page feature article. The Forest Lake residents, now both in their nineties, still enjoy hopping aboard their chopper for an afternoon ride.

3.) “Wyoming family helping others avoid their pain”

Posted Aug. 8. Page views: 2,629

When Sean and Krista Haines of Wyoming lost their daughter, Alissa, to suicide in December of 2011, they chose to make it their mission to prevent other families from feeling their pain. As a result, their non-profit organization, Stomp Out Suicide, brought together over 800 people for a fundraiser honoring Alissa in August.

4.) “Man on the run after TCF bank robbery”

Posted May 25. Page views: 2,299

A white male fled the TCF Bank at 1186 W. Broadway Ave. with cash after he showed a note demanding money to a teller on May 25. A State Patrol helicopter searched land north of Broadway to no avail.

5.) “Deer shooting brings loaded

Posted Jan. 18. Page views: 1,883

An early-morning incident on Jan. 14 turned into a nearly year-long saga involving local police, city officials and a North Shore Trail property owner. A police officer acting on a dispatch request from the DNR shot two orphaned fawns on the property of Jeff Carpenter, who had been caring for the deer and collared them to tell them apart. Carpenter went on to try (unsuccessfully) to have the city adopt a policy dictating animal dispatchment protocol.

6.) “Ham Lake man critical after hitting a tree on North Shore Trail”

Posted June 16. Page views: 1,874

A 20-year-old man from Rosemount, formerly of Ham Lake, died following a one-car crash on North Shore Trail N. in Forest Lake on June 16. The deceased, Joshua Berg, was a 2010 graduate of Forest Lake High School.

7.) “Man missing now identified by FL police”

Posted July 3. Page views: 1,775

Authorities searched the waters of Forest Lake for a man who went missing July 2. The body of Tod Crawford, 51, was located by a member of the public three days later, about one-half mile from where his unoccupied pontoon boat was found floating.

Billy Kirch became Forest Lake's third head football coach in three years. (File photo)
Billy Kirch became Forest Lake’s third head football coach in three years. (File photo)

8.)“Blaine native Kirch accepts football post”

Posted March 14. Page views: 1,725

Forest Lake found itself in need of a head football coach following the resignation of interim coach Paul Kendrick last spring. The school turned to Billy Kirch, a Blaine native who starred at South Dakota State University before winning a nine-man state title in South Dakota in his lone year as a head coach. Kirch’s Ranger squad went 0-9 this fall, but players and administrators have given him a ringing endorsement.

9.) “Alissa M. Haines”

Posted Jan. 4. Page views: 1,669


This obituary announced the passing of Alissa Haines, the Wyoming 15-year-old and ninth-grader at North Lakes Academy who committed suicide Dec. 29, 2011.

10.) “Missing man’s car found at Fort Snelling State Park”

Posted March 7. Page views: 1,544

Authorities in St. Paul on March 5 found a vehicle owned by David Wandtke at Fort Snelling State Park. A missing person report concerning Wandtke was filed with St. Paul Police on Feb. 15. Wandtke, 52, was the brother of Hugo dog trainer Katie Riopel. His body was found in the Mississippi River on March 25.