A look back at the Merced Sun-Star's top online stories of 2013

01/02/2014 10:11 PM

01/02/2014 10:26 PM

Trying to forecast which stories will garner the most page views on the Sun-Star’s website every year can be a bit like predicting the weather. Even though one can make an educated guess, it’s difficult to pinpoint with absolute accuracy which stories will receive the most attention.

Regardless, it’s always interesting to see which stories garner the most views online. Here’s a list of the top 10 stories that received the most page views on the Sun-Star’s website in 2013.

1. “Father of Steven and Cary Stayner dies at 79” (April 12, 14,955 views) – Delbert Foy Stayner, the father of Steven and Cary Stayner, died in April at his home in Winton. He was 79. His two sons were notable for very different reasons. Steven was kidnapped at age 7 in 1972 in Merced. Years later he escaped, leading a younger captive to safety. Steven would die in a motorcycle crash in 1989. Brother Cary is in San Quentin State Prison awaiting execution for killing a woman and two teenage girls who had been sightseeing in Yosemite National Park in 1999. He also was found guilty of murdering a park naturalist around the same time.

2. “Hookah pens: Gateway to smoking tobacco” (May 4, 14,949 views) – Dr. Donald Bucklin, regional medical director for U.S. HealthWorks, wrote a column about “hookah pens,” which he describes as a “reimagined e-cigarette.” Bucklin’s column discussed whether there are adverse health effects that go along with using hookah pens.

3. “Mexican Consulate to host Fresno health fair” (Oct. 17, 12,661 views) – Fresno’s Mexican Consulate in October hosted a free community health fair in Fresno. More than 20 organizations provided free services, including dental and medical screenings, flu shots and information on traditional medical practices.

4. “Merced police seek help in locating missing brother and sister” (Nov. 18, 11,429 views) – The Merced Police Department in November asked the community for help locating a brother and sister, ages 11 and 12, who had run away from home. The children were eventually found unharmed in Chowchilla and returned to their father.

5. “Government salaries in Merced County” (April 1, 10,946 views) – Every year the Sun-Star posts a database of salaries of government workers in Merced County.

6. “Dog lost for four years is home again” (July 20, 9,359 views) – Story about Scott Hancock and Jason Freeman, a Fresno couple reunited with their dachshund Zoe after four years by a good Samaritan.

7. “Why is meth so addictive?” (March 5, 8,232 views) – Story about how meth is as addictive as heroin, triggering dependency faster than almost all other illegal drugs. It’s three times as powerful as cocaine and is among the hardest drugs to permanently quit.

8. “Bikini coffee shop near Golden Valley High stirs concerns among parents” (Aug. 7, 8,208 views) – Double Shot Espresso, which features women serving coffee in bikinis and lingerie, opened its doors during the summer. The business stirred controversy because of its location – across from Golden Valley High School on East Childs Avenue.

9. “Three people dead in Atwater gang shooting” (April 1, 7,738 views) Three teenagers were killed March 30 in a shooting near Atwater, the deadliest Merced County shooting in recent memory. The shooting happened at a residence in the 9200 block of Westside Boulevard about 11 p.m., killing Matthew Fisher, 19, Samantha Parreira, 16, and Bernabed Hernandez-Canela, 18. No suspects have been arrested in the case.

10. “Lockdown lifted at Golden Valley High” (March 22, 7,441 views) – Golden Valley High School was on lockdown in March for about two hours as authorities investigated an off-campus fight that apparently migrated onto the campus. No injuries were reported at the school. School district officials said no guns were involved in the incident despite rumors to the contrary.

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