Photo by Daniel Warn
Photo by Daniel Warn

Here at the Dispatch, we like to take a look back at the previous year as we roll into the next. While much of our readership reads the paper in hand at home, a portion of our articles are read online. The following list will recap the top ten most read articles of the year, according to web clicks.

1. The most read article of 2019 focused on when Eatonville School District announced a $1.5 million deficit for the 2019-2020 school year.

Superintendent Krestin Bahr said positions would be eliminated because spending cuts would not be enough to reduce costs.

The district asserted that legislation around tax levies was to blame for the district's lack of funds. Staff insurance and other benefits costs were also a factor in the decision making.

2. The second most read story of the year was actually published in December 2018. It focused on unseasonably low water levels in Alder Lake.

The human-made lake showed more stumps than water last winter, and only a narrow rivulet of the Nisqually River remained visible at the lake's eastern end.

The normally submerged old railway trestle was visible near Sunny Beach Point.

3. A third story covered the death of a motorcyclist as he slid into the oncoming lanes of traffic. A Spanaway-resident, Robert F. Gruber, 77, slid his motorcycle in front of a logging truck, resulting in his death on April 29.

Gruber’s black 204 Yamaha motorcycle slid into the northbound lane near the 4800 block of State Route 7.

Russel Gaut, 58, was driving his 2004 Kenworth tractor with a log trailer in the northbound lane when he struck Gruber, who slid into Gaut's lane. Gruber was wearing a helmet.

The road was closed for hours following the accident and Washington State Patrol responded to the scene.

4. The article with the fourth most clicks involves another death. Tyler Jacobi was on his way back home to go back to work when the vehicle we was riding in rolled over in Puyallup on Dec. 16, 2018.

Jacobi was the front passenger when the accident occurred.

In response to the tragedy, 20-year-old Jacobi's family and friends raised funds in January to cover funeral costs.

Tyler Jacobi's father, Robert Jacobi said he was grateful that his son did not suffer.

5. Coming in fifth on the list was a warning from Joe Goode for folks to take the time to get screened for cancer.

Goode was diagnosed with stage four colorectal cancer when he was 46, with a wife and three boys in Eatonville.

He was three years into his battle in March, and devoted his time to helping others see the importance of screening, even if there is no family history of cancer, or even symptoms presenting themselves.

Especially with colorectal cancer, the early stages are asymptomatic. Due to a greater percent of younger people dying from the disease, screening recommendations for everyone was recently lowered from 50 years of age to 45.

6. The sixth most viewed article on our website deals with search and rescue. On Friday, June 28, the National Park Service announced that its search teams recovered the body of deceased 69-year-old hiker Kirby Clot.

Clot, a Seattle resident, had embarked on a conditioning trip in preparation of summiting Mount Rainier, before going missing.

The search for Clot began on June 27, but rescue team were unsuccessful in locating him until the following day.

Clot was finally located by aerial search near the base of the Nisqually chute.

7. The seventh entry on the list also deals with tragedy in Mount Rainier National Park.

Six climbers were caught in a rockfall at 10,400 feet on May 29.

Two of the climbers were flown off the mountain to be treated for injuries, while a third died on the mountain. The other three climbers were uninjured.

The deceased climber was identified as 45-year-old Arleigh William Dean.

8. 2019 saw a lighter fire season than 2018, at least in Washington state, but the eighth item on the list deals with early fears about this last year’s fire season. Two fires back in March had South Pierce County firefighters worried that it would be a hard year for wildfires.

The fires burned through acres of grass — one of them started as a brush fire near Millpond Park, growing to about three acres. During this fire, the Eatonville water treatment facility was at risk, but no harm befell the structure.

Another brush fire crossed State Highway 702 near Jackson Road East. This one grew to 45 acres and closed down nearby businesses.

9. Next on the list is an article that covered the planned development near Mount Rainier known as the Park Junction Resort.

The resort has been in the works for 30 years now, and is gaining momentum again.

The resort is a business that is supposed to relieve visitor pressure in Mount Rainier National Park during peak tourist season, with plans to help bus individuals to the park to cut down on the backlog of traffic entering the popular destination.

Resort personnel were working with Pierce County to get the project approved as recently as this last fall.

10. Rounding out the list, comes an article about murder suspect Jordan Eaton being arrested by Royal Canadian Mounted Police in British Columbia back in January.

Pierce County Sheriff's deputies initially responded to a 911 call reporting a shooting at a home in the South Hill area on Monday, Jan. 28.

Eaton was 26 at the time, and allegedly shot his girlfriend inside the home. The suspect allegedly fled on foot after the incident, subsequently stealing a white 2006 GMC Savanna.