Top 10 Most Read Stories of 2012 on Tacomaweekly.com

The rise of online newspaper reading provides information of when and where and how people want to read it. Unlike other media outlets in the South Sound, TacomaWeekly.com is and will always be free, because a newspaper’s role in society is to inform the people it serves, and that service shouldn’t be hindered by wallet grabbing. That said, it is always interesting to see the top stories online versus which stories are “most important.” There is certainly some overlap, but the trend is clear. There are “important” stories and “most read” stories. Here is the roster of the Top 10 stories based on web traffic at TacomaWeekly.com in 2012.

1) WHEN IS A GUN NOT A GUN?

APPARENTLY WHEN TPD OFFICERS SAY IT ISN’T A CRIME TO USE ONE TO FORCE CHILDREN TO THE GROUND

The saga started on the Saturday night before Halloween, when some children were playing tag in their Hilltop neighborhood and found themselves face down on the ground with a neighbor holding them at gunpoint, although it is under dispute. Police were called and a 10-minute investigation failed to gain an interview with the neighbor, an arrest or even a police report. Nothing. Parents were not happy. Tacoma Police and city leaders are seeking answers as well. None are available at this point. The story continues.

2) CAN YOU SPARE ONE DOLLAR PER MONTH?

NEW INTERNET NETWORK BASED CHARITY MAKES DONATING EASY

Doug Clerget, a 33-year-old Tacoma-grown real estate agent, started a philanthropic website based on a simple idea. He found that people were often willing to give but found it inconvenient and hard to know which charities to trust. His solution was to start Dollar Per Month at www.dollarpermonth.org, a site that allows people to donate as little or as much as they can to a different, highly reputable charity each month automatically. Dollar Per Month users also get a say in which charities receive the biggest impact. Depending on how the membership votes, the top charity of the month receives 50 percent of all donations, second place gets 30 percent and third place gets 20 percent.

3) New ‘biker bar’ Broken Spoke to open in Hilltop

Ben Davis envisioned Broken Spoke as ground zero for Tacoma's burgeoning community of bicycle enthusiasts; the type of “bikers” that play polo by Harmon Tap Room and go on pedal-powered pub crawls with local clubs, the Skid Kings and Tacoma Mob Riders. So he opened Broke Spoke at 1014 S. Martin Luther King Way that serves craft beer and gourmet coffee as well as embraces its cycling customers.

4) MONTHLY SWAP MEETS PLANNED FOR CHENEY STADIUM PARKING LOT

Ted Cooper, a long-time operator of Estate Sales and Consulting, began organizing swap meets at Cheney Stadium as a way to gather second-hand vendors and draw customers to the baseball stadium parking lot.

5) TEEN’S DISAPPEARANCE REMAINS MYSTERY

The disappearance of Christopher Virdell, 19, a Bethel High School graduate, remains officially unsolved. Theories and rumors still pop up. But there are no answers. Virdell was last seen around 10 a.m. on Feb. 9, when he was leaving a friend’s house near 224th Street East and 42nd Street in Spanaway. He was on his way to his job at the South Hill Safeway. He was reported missing later that day when he failed to show up for work, something he had apparently never done in the more than two years he worked there. Message and social media postings are riddled with theories about Christopher Virdell’s disappearance. They range from him simply running away, with possible sightings in Seattle and Bremerton, to being robbed and killed. Information about his disappearance can be found at the “Help Find Chris Virdell Family Page” on Facebook. Anyone with information about the disappearance can also call Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 222-TIPS.

6) Local radio stations shake up their formats

Progressive talk radio hit a roadblock when Seattle's KPTK-AM (1090) switched formats, from political talk to sports. The channel is now KFNQ. CBS Radio, the parent company, also owns KJAQ-FM (Jack, 96.5), KMPS-FM (94.1) and KZOK-FM (102.5) in the Seattle-Tacoma market. Lakewood’s KLAY AM 1180 AM has added a lineup of political talk radio to take advantage of the shift.

7) HISTORIC HOMES OF TACOMA TOUR 2012

Tacoma Historical Society held its annual Historic Homes of Tacoma event in May as a way for area home lovers and history buffs to gather and mingle to talk shop. Owners of several houses in Old Town and Proctor District opened their doors to celebrate Tacoma’s history.

8) HORROR ON HILLTOP

IN A ZOMBIE ZAGAT GUIDE, HELL’S GATEWAY HAUNTED HOUSE WOULD RATE FIVE STARS

Hell’s Gateway Haunted House anchored a Hilltop neighborhood during Halloween as a way to celebrate all things spooky and grossly fun. The haunted house was a maze of spectacular misery, a techno-rich home for all things icky. The haunted house was well noted for its dismembered bodies, screaming females of all sorts a blood. Lots and lots and lots of blood.

9) FIND SHELTER FROM ZOMBIES IN DOME DISTRICT

A Zombie survival and preparedness expo, the Tacoma Zombie Festerval and Preparedness Expo 2012, was held in Tacoma as a way for regular folks to learn about how to stay alive after the super virus takes the brains of everyone else. The day-long event had everything from target practice at Bully’s Eye to lectures about survival tactics and discussions about which zombie insurance policy fits your needs. And of course there was general zombie goodness. The disco classic “Staying Alive” seemed to be on a constant loop on the stereo.

10) FIRE DEPARTMENT SET TO CLOSE, DOWNSIZE STATIONS

Tacomans apparently love their firefighters. News of potential layoffs, station closures and other cut backs linked to the city’s effort to fill a $63 million budget shortfall this year rattled through the Internet with each new bit of information. Tops on the list of concerns for many Tacoma residents was the potential closure of Station No. 6, at 1015 E. ‘F’ St., near the center of Tacoma’s international shipping hub. The Tideflats once had two fire stations that served one of the larger container ports in North America. The overlapping of service areas in the Tideflats by downtown stations, officials contend, would mean emergency crews would still be able to respond to fire and medical calls despite the loss of a dedicated station on the waterfront. Efforts are underway to fund that station after Longshoremen and business watchers protested. What is interesting about the ranking of this story is that a story about the police budget cuts that ran in the same issue, right next to the fire district story, failed to make to top 50 list.

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