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 hopestandard.com. (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 hopestandard.com. (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:
emelie.peacock@hopestandard.com


Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

(Metro Creative)
Hope residents invited to join in Earth Day clean-up event

From dead batteries to flat tires, volunteers ready to sort and recycle

Fire crews battle a large wildfire north of Highway 1 at Yale Road West on Thursday, April 15, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
PHOTOS w/ VIDEO: Large 10-hectare wildfire ‘not quite contained’ day after it started in Chilliwack

Chilliwack Fire Department completing hot-spot controls, foot patrols of area on day two

Cheam meadows trail near Mt. Cheam by Chilliwack. (Submitted)
Cheam First Nation ‘shocked’ over all-season mountain resort proposal near Chilliwack

For five years the band has been working on a gondola project of their own

Chilliwack had 130 COVID cases in the latest report from the BC Centre for Disease Control, covering the period of April 4 to 10. (BCCDC graphic)
Chilliwack COVID case count rises sharply in latest report from BC Centre for Disease Control

Just about everything west of Chilliwack is struggling badly, and we’re not doing well either

Japanese Canadian citizens being transferred into waiting trucks outside Hope Station House. NNMCC L2021-2-1-004. Photographs courtesy of the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre
Fight continues for historic Hope Station House

Ombudsman report and stop work order come alongside district’s move to remove heritage status

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The plane blasted through an airport fence and down a hill, before stopping before a cement barrier on Highway 5A, right in front of a school bus. Photo submitted.
Student pilot crashes plane onto Highway 5A almost hitting school bus

Aircraft hit pavement right in front of school bus

Eight-year-old Piper and her family were raising money to help Guinevere, the bearded dragon, get a gynecological surgery. Sadly, the reptile didn’t survive the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Lizard fails to survive surgery, GoFundMe dollars help Langley family offset medical bills

Guinevere, a pet bearded dragon, underwent an ovariectomy on Tuesday

A driver stopped by Saanich police following a road rage incident on April 15 was found to be impaired, in violation of a license restriction and in a damaged vehicle. They received a 90-day driving prohibition and a 30-day vehicle impound. (Saanich Police Traffic Safety Unit/Twitter)
Road rager fails breathalyzer on busy B.C. highway in vehicle he shouldn’t be driving

Saanich police say man was operating vehicle without required ignition lock

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Premier John Horgan booked to get AstraZeneca shot Friday

‘Let’s show all British Columbians that the best vaccine is the one that’s available to you now,’ he said

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pfizer to increase vaccine deliveries in Canada as Moderna supply slashed

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks about the province’s COVID-19 vaccine plans during a news conference at the legislature in Victoria. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
P.1 variant likely highest in B.C. due to more testing for it: Dr. Henry

Overall, just under 60% of new daily cases in the province involve variants

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Most Read