Presenting Cowichan’s most-read stories of 2013
Research tells us that regular community newspaper readers are browsers who tend to read most of what is printed in this package delivered to their doors twice weekly.
Internet readers are a different breed. A far higher percentage click on a webpage because they were looking for something in particular.
Readers clicked on cowichannewsleader.com pages more than 1.3 million times in 2013 and —predictably, perhaps — what often brought them there was tragedy.
These were cowichannewsleader.com’s most read stories of the past 12 months.
10) Tax watchdog and local businessman Scott Baker dead at 47
A Chemainus businessman, Baker became prominent during the 2011 municipal election when he ran a boisterous campaign to become the mayor of North Cowichan.
Friends and family remembered the outspoken, energetic man as one-of-a-kind after he was killed in a September accident while working at home.
9) Chief says giant garbage fires being snuffed, monitored
Reams of black smoke billowing from an illegal garbage burn on Cowichan Tribes land south of the river raised the ire of local residents. The ire rose higher when it became clear the vagaries of the Indian Act meant authority over — and consequences for — the late June burn were not clear.
8) Duncan man dies in Thursday’s two-vehicle crash on Mill Bay Road
A 49-year-old Duncan resident left a wife and child in mourning after his pick-up collided with a dump truck hauling a pup-trailer at the intersection of Mill Bay Road and Trowse Road in July.
7) Hockey-jersey memorial planned after Caleb Kroffat, 11, dies at Cowichan Arena
Panic, bafflement and an outpouring of grief gripped the community when 11-year-old Caleb Kroffat unexpectedly collapsed and died in November outside the Cowichan Arena while attending a Cowichan Capitals game.
6) Tempers boil over after drive-through dispute at Tim Hortons coffeeshop
A road-rage incident that began in the popular Mill Bay eatery’s drive-through, and ended with a sledge-hammer attack on a truck on the highway near the Cowichan Bay Road intersection, certainly had tongues wagging and heads shaking in November.
5) Outlaw bike-club members could be ticketed after memorial ride
A May memorial ride staged by Vancouver Island Hell’s Angels was halted by a police roadblock on the Island Highway in North Cowichan. More than 100 were expected to be ticketed for ignoring police direction.
4) Appalled drivers watch as pooch beaten like a dog
The initial April report of a little Boston terrier being punched and hurled into the ditch by a man on Cowichan Lake Road angered enough people that nearly 24,000 eventually signed a petition urging maximum punishment in the case.
3) Duncan becomes an American Cedar Cove during TV filming shoot
The surprise entry on this list wasn’t even published in 2013. A June 2012 account of the filming of Hallmark’s Cedar Cove TV series in Duncan presumably makes this list thanks to a spark of Google searches when the movie hit small screens a year later.
2) One driver has died after Wednesday’s crash on Highway 18
This ugly morning September collision on Highway 18 claimed the life of David Foote, 24, when his eastbound truck crossed the centre line and collided with a truck headed west on a fishing trip. The driver of the second truck, Charlie Newman, was seriously injured and remains on a difficult road to recovery.
1) Flagger from Duncan still in critical condition after being pinned by dumptruck
A prominent roadwork project on Beverly Street turned tragic in October, when flagger Maggie Feeley was crushed by a dumptruck. The 29-year-old mother later died from her injuries.