(WETM) – 2022 was, to say the least, eventful. From the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to a wave-making election season, there was no shortage of newsworthy events.
But here in the Twin Tiers, some stories captured the attention of readers far more than others. From the pandemic, to winter weather and high-profile crime, here are the top articles from 18 News that got the most clicks in 2022, as of Dec. 27:
The death of a Southern Tier man made headlines early in the year when the deputy coroner determined a rare complication from the COVID-19 vaccine was to blame. George Watts Jr. was just 24 years old when he passed away in October 2021. The autopsy report from the Bradford County Coroner’s Office showed that George Jr. died from “COVID-19 vaccine-related Myocarditis”.
2. School closings and delays ahead of icy winter storm (70.8K views)
After not seeing any action for nearly ten months, the Twin Tiers received its first dose of winter weather in mid-December 2022. The storm dropped wet and icy snow across the region and left dozens of schools, government offices, non-profits, and other organizations closed.
Shoppers at the Painted Post Walmart were left in confusion for hours in early February when police suddenly evacuated the store in the mid-afternoon. New York State Police later released information that the response was due to a deceased individual in the bathroom, possibly from an overdose.
A popular event that always catches local interest, the May 2022 EPD vehicle auction generated the most traffic of any of the department’s auctions this year. A total of 15 vehicles were up for bid.
5. Black bear illegally killed in Finger Lakes wildlife refuge (48.9K views)
Another recent entry on this list, an illegally-killed black bear in Seneca County caught the attention of almost 50,000 people. The DEC said the bear was killed by a hunter who shot the bear with a compound bow and failed to report the harvest. The DEC then donated the bear to the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center.
6. Hornell Schools Superintendent, Assistant Principal indicted for misconduct, child endangerment (41.9K views)
The Hornell Schools Superintendent and the Grades 7-8 Assistant Principle were in the spotlight in June when they were indicted on multiple misconduct, failing to report child abuse, and child endangerment charges. In early December 2022, all charges against the superintendent were dropped.
7. What are fossil fuels and when will they run out? (41.2K views)
A story written in November 2021 during COP26 (the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference), this explanation of fossil fuels didn’t get much traffic until early March 2022. This came less than two weeks after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a move that threw concern about gas prices into many countries’ economies.
8. Pizza Hut returning to the Southern Tier (41.2K views)
This announcement immediately sent ripples of anticipation throughout the Elmira area. Pizza Hut’s parent company, Yum! Brands, announced that several new locations would be opening across Western New York, including a pick-up location on Elmira’s southside. The restaurant eventually opened in November 2022 (nine months after the initial announcement and a temporary “Stop Work” order from the Code Department), selling out on the day of its grand opening.
9. Police raid Waverly sticker store Friday morning (33.7K views)
Another February eye-catcher, this raid was one of the year’s first of many such raids at local sticker stores. The Sheriff’s Office later announced that in the raid, law enforcement found multiple cannabis products packaged to mimic popular candy brands that are normally marketed toward kids.
10. 83-year-old woman arrested for Waverly bank robbery (32.0K views)
Finishing off this top ten list is the story of an elderly woman arrested for a bank robbery in the spring. Police arrested the woman when they found her walking down the street after the bank alarm went off that morning.