Traffic have you fit to be tied? Shopping crowds have you stressed out? Not sure how you'll squeeze another holiday event into your hectic schedule? For many, those are sure signs the holiday season is in full swing.
CLEVELAND - Even though newsnet5.com is an Ohio-based website and news organization, the reach of some stories we post is most certainly global. This is evident in our list of our most read stories in 2011.
Many of the stories involved tragic situations that greatly impacted communities in northeast Ohio, but others seem a bit out of place.
So why did so many people click on these odd stories? It's common for popular websites like fark.com and drudgereport.com to post links to specific stories on news sites --- especially when a story is political or controversial in nature.
Take a look at our list of the top 10 stories below, as we jog your memory of the many articles you likely read on newnset5.com in 2011:
On Nov. 28, retired Mentor police officer Gary Stroud was arrested after the body of his wife was found in the garage of their Mentor-on-the-Lake home. He is facing 12 counts of criminal charges related to her death, including aggravated murder. Police were tipped off to the body after a relative called 911 to report a possible dead animal wrapped in a tarp in the garage.
9. Euclid police officer commits suicide at police station (63,211 views)
On April 20, Euclid police officer Kevin Blakeley shot and killed himself with his service weapon inside the police station at the start of a meeting with the city's police chief. The mayor said Blakeley, a 28-year veteran of the force, was meeting with the chief to talk about why he wasn't cooperating with an investigation into inconsistent records in the evidence room. In November, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office said it determined Blakeley was responsible for up to $40,000 in theft and would have been indicted on the charges.
8. Virginia-based earthquake felt in northeast Ohio (68,062 views)
On Aug. 23, a 5.8 earthquake centered in Mineral, Va., was felt across the eastern United States, including in northeast Ohio. The shaking briefly disrupted the Indians/Mariners baseball game at Progressive Field in Cleveland, and triggered an influx of 911 calls to emergency dispatch centers. While many were frightened by the tremor, there were no reports of any injuries in the Cleveland/Akron/Canton area.
7. Gunman among 8 dead in shooting rampage in Copley Township (85,488 views)
On Aug. 7, police said a family argument sparked by an out-of-town guest's visit led to a shooting rampage in Copley Township that left a woman shot and eight others dead, including the gunman. Among those killed were two Copley-Fairlawn High School students, and dozens of people showed up for vigils to remember all of the victims. The gunman was later identified as Michael Hance. All of our coverage of this tragedy can be found here: http://on.wews.com/rUAyyR
6. Cab of semi-truck goes over side of Valley View Bridge (97,955 views)
On Feb. 22, the cab of a tractor trailer truck went over the side of the Valley View Bridge in Valley View, killing the driver. Investigators said the truck's trailer jack-knifed as the driver was trying to slow down due to traffic, and the trailer basically sheared the cab off its frame and sent it over the side of the bridge. The driver, 52-year-old Larry Cunningham of Cleveland, had worked for Gray Container for 32 years. Police later said federal inspectors found violations with that trailer.
5. Cavs offer homeless man with golden voice a job and a house (103,140 views)
On Jan. 5, the Cleveland Cavaliers offered Ted Williams – the homeless Ohio man with a golden voice – a job and a house. This was one day after Williams became an Internet sensation thanks to a YouTube video posted by a Columbus newspaper. The Cavs offer was for Williams to do voiceover work for the team and Quicken Loans. His voice ended up on Kraft Macaroni and Cheese commercials, but his fame was short-lived when police were called after an argument with his daughter, and he later re-entered rehab for alcohol and drug dependency. He never end up working for the Cavs.
4. Groundhog Day storm: Computers now focusing heavy snow on Ohio (112,100 views)
A few days before Feb. 2, computer models predicted a huge snowstorm would hit the eastern United States on Groundhog Day -- and northeast Ohio was included as a possible target in its path. The winter storm ended up dumping some snow in the region, but the biggest issue came with ice. The weather system brought nearly an inch of ice to some areas, causing thousands to lose power and dozens of schools to close. The Power of 5 weather team updated this blog many times in the days leading up to and during the storm. One of the memorable moments of this storm event was seeing ONN reporter Cristin Severance get hit by snow from a plow truck while reporting live along the Shoreway in Cleveland. She was not injured.
On June 2, the buzz on the Internet across the country was all about a school yearbook that named Former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney in a list of the "worst" people of all time. The middle school that distributed the yearbook is based in Arkansas. The list wasn't voted on by students, but taken from an opinion website. The website drudgereport.com linked to this story on our site, bringing it above-average page views.
2. Reports of dead birds and fish still coming in from around the world (203,020 views)
Starting Jan. 2, Chief Meteorologist Mark Johnson began a blog chronicling bird and fish deaths that were occurring around the world. There were more than a dozen reports -- and Johnson searched for answers to each mystery. He became an authority on the topic, and one conclusion he drew from looking at Doppler radar images after the sudden death of a flock of birds in Arkansas caught the attention of a National Geographic producer. The producer interviewed Johnson for a one-hour special, which will soon air on the NatGeo television channel.
1. President Barack Obama locked out of the White House (374,073 views)
On March 24, a video clip of President Barack Obama being locked out of the White House made its rounds on the Web. The clip showed the president walking up to the Oval Office and trying to get in after returning from a trip -- but the doors were locked. He continued on to another set of doors, where he was able to get into the White House. This story was also picked up by drudgereport,.com, bringing it the most page views of all of stories on newsnet5.com in 2011.
Are any of these stories surprising to you? What do you remember about these events? Chime in via the comment box below and on our Facebook page.
More Holiday Stories
The US Postal Service says it will cancel and process mail in Cleveland and deliver packages throughout northern Ohio the next two Sundays.
Following the Browns heartbreaking loss to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, the Angry Browns Fan has released his own special holiday collection.
Amazon has attracted customers from big store chains like Wal-Mart and Best Buy with low prices and convenient shipping. Now, stores are fighting back as the contest for customers heats up during the busiest shopping period of the year.
A unique — or rather "eww-nique" — Thanksgiving feast is being served up in the Audubon Insectarium's "Bug Appetit" kitchen in New Orleans. On the menu: turkey with cornbread and mealworm stuffing, wax worm cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie with a crispy cricket topping.
Toy recalls for excessive lead and other hazards are down this year, but consumer advocates warn that potential dangers to children remain on store shelves.
Thanksgiving is days away but Crocker Park's annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony took place as thousands looked on.
Friday marked the beginning of Thanksgiving travel and was expected to be one of the busiest travel days of the holiday week at Hopkins Airport in Cleveland.
Mixing up alcoholic type drinks without the alcohol pushed by law enforcement at 14th annual Mocktail Holiday party.
SouthPark Mall in Strongsville marks 30th anniversary of the premiere of "A Christmas Story" with special showing.