Deedee Peters, right, with April’s sister Laura Hall, behind, hands out t-shirts with April Parisian’s photo and the text ‘Missing: April Lee-Ann Parisian’ printed on them to family gathered at a Saturday, May 23 vigil for her. Stories about Parisian were some of the top read articles this year at (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

Deedee Peters, right, with April’s sister Laura Hall, behind, hands out t-shirts with April Parisian’s photo and the text ‘Missing: April Lee-Ann Parisian’ printed on them to family gathered at a Saturday, May 23 vigil for her. Stories about Parisian were some of the top read articles this year at (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

Here’s what you read online in 2020

Hope Standard stories on local tragedies, breaking news and good deeds were the top read this year

While COVID-19 coverage may have dominated the Canadian media this year, Hope Standard readers were more interested in the tragedies, breaking news and oddities in their community.

The passing of Highway Thru Hell star and tow truck driver Ken Monkhouse was the top read story of 2020, with fans from across the world and within the trucking community expressing their condolences after his passing in May. The seventh top read story was also about the loss of a community member – the sudden passing of longtime Hope educator John Koopman in May.

The disappearance of Spuzzum resident April Parisian in early April, and subsequent massive search effort organized by the family, were of keen interest to our online readers. Five of the top 50 stories read on our website this year were about Parisian and her family’s search efforts, which stretched into the fall. Family are still hard at work, fundraising to have billboards erected to inform passing motorists that their loved one is still missing.

“Her birthday is one day before mine, hers is on the 23rd of April and I’m on the 24th, and we always celebrated together and this year it didn’t happen,” said Parisian’s mother Keitha at a candlelight vigil for for her daughter in May. “I can’t talk about her anymore because it hurts me too much. My spirit hurts, I want her home. Even if she’s into the spirit world I want to have her back here so we can take care of her properly.”

Read more: ‘Your mind and your spirit just naturally are looking’: Search for April Parisian enters sixth month

Other breaking news stories were on the top 50 list including highway closures, suspects using counterfeit cash at Hope businesses, a local drug bust and even a warning about a man hiking naked at the Ladner Creek Trestle. Some of these stories ended in tragedy – a man was killed after being struck by a semi truck on Highway 1 one dark night in May, another man has yet to be found after being swept into the Coquihalla River July 2.

Readers were also reading about news of the death of Jonathan Mayers in an ATV accident Aug. 4, the 17th most read story this year. The 29-year-old was remembered as a young ‘hooligan’ who became a dedicated family man whose mind was never far from those he loved. “John didn’t care who you were, or what walks of life, he didn’t care if you were rich or poor…if you wanted to be his friend and you’re a good person, that’s all he cared about,” his mother Tracy remembered.

Read more: A dedicated family man taken too soon: Family remember Jonathon Mayers

Some odd goings on also caught your attention, such as the day when a suspicious package prompted the evacuation of the Hope RCMP detachment. Brought in by a man who found it in a storage locker, wrapped in various layers of smudged plastic and packing tape, the package contained a field phone battery from World War II with German wording and a symbol of an eagle clutching the Nazi Party’s swastika emblem.

The District of Hope and its first Rambo chainsaw carving got a nod from Sylvester ‘Sly’ Stallone himself, a story that landed at number 26 of 50. This news was covered worldwide, with entertainment news sites as far away as France and major news outlets in B.C. writing about the unveiling of the carving, bringing some more fame to the hometown of First Blood.

Readers also loved hearing about the volunteer effort that saw 1,700 pounds of garbage carted away from Jones Lake on October, a story that was the 46th most read story this year.

And, of course, coverage of COVID-19 made the top 50 read stories, yet fewer than perhaps would be expected. Two stories, one on the number of healthcare workers testing positive for COVID-19 and another a March 23 plea from local doctors and nurses for people to stay home unless absolutely necessary, made the top 50 list.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:

Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mackenzie Ashley-Lynn Gilfillan was last seen Jan. 10 in the 45000-block of Menholm Road. (RCMP photo)
RCMP asking for help to find missing Chilliwack woman

Mackenzie Ashley-Lynn Gilfillan was last seen Jan. 10 in the 45000-block of Menholm Road

Chilliwack Chiefs
Chilliwack Chiefs acquire forward Ben Woodhouse from Wellington Dukes

The BCHL club swapped future considerations to the Dukes for the 20-year-old forward

An Abbotsford man was killed in a motor vehicle accident on Highway 3 on Monday, Jan. 18. (Black Press file photo)
Abbotsford man killed in Highway 3 crash near Hedley

Fatality was discovered by passing tow truck driver

(Black Press file photo)
Highway 3 cleared, open after vehicle incident

The road was closed for about three hours earlier on Jan. 18

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Most Read