Following our theme of top 2021 stories, today’s list features Mainstreet’s most-viewed stories, as recorded by Google Analytics.
Unlike the top local news stories that we selected for their cumulative community impact, these individual stories gained a mass viewership over a short period of time and were either breaking news and/or were stories that went viral on social media.
Most-read stories of 2021
1. Newberry man flees deputies, exchanges fire (Sept. 23)
A Gainesville man who fled from Alachua County Sheriff’s Office deputies during a traffic stop attempt was shot in Newberry after firing at deputies.
2. Sideline disturbance ends Newberry-UC game early (Oct. 29)
Tempers flared on the Newberry sideline as Union County Sheriff’s Office deputies in Lake Butler detained a man, leading to officials prematurely calling the game with 11 seconds left in the third quarter.
3. High Springs to get monoclonal antibody site (Aug. 23)
Amid the delta variant surge, the governor’s office announced Alachua County would get a devoted monoclonal antibody treatment site in High Springs.
4. Viral video sparks turmoil in Levy School District (March 8)
A viral social media video showing a student altercation at Chiefland Middle High School and what the school called “disinformation” caused phones to “blow up” throughout the district.
5. 3 fatal accidents hit area overnight (Dec. 18)
Florida Highway Patrol reported three fatal accidents in North Central Florida during a Friday-Saturday overnight period.
6. FDLE arrests former GCSO detective (Dec. 15)
A Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation led to the arrest of former Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office detective Trent Kellee Freeman on forgery and fraud charges.
7. ACSO: Man kills self as deputies serve warrants (Dec. 17)
A Gainesville man shot himself after Alachua County Sheriff’s Office deputies attempted to serve two active warrants at the Oaks Condominiums.
Alachua County School Board Chair Leanetta McNealy floated the idea that all five members might need to resign after learning the school board had not updated district maps since 2001.
9. Armed robbery suspect at large in Newberry (Dec. 5)
Alachua County Sheriff Office deputies investigated an attempted robbery at the Family Dollar store located in the Hitchcock’s shopping center on West Newberry Road.
The Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission summoned two people on accusations of killing a tiger shark that was dragged up the Chassahowitzka River in Citrus County.
11. Man dies in Newberry shooting after traffic stop (Sept. 24)
Only a few pieces of crime scene tape and leftover blockades remained near the main intersection in Newberry the next morning as a reminder that a Gainesville man was shot and killed Thursday night.
12. Colorado family wins candy factory in Hawthorne (Sept. 26)
A marketing consultant from Colorado Springs won The Gold Ticket contest and the grand prize of a candy factory in Hawthorne.
An 81-year-old Gainesville man died in a pasture off W. Newberry Road after an 85-year-old Newberry man struck him with a truck.
14. Gainesville High hires former local football star (March 3)
Head coach Dock Pollard and the Gainesville High School Hurricanes announced the hiring of Harold “Gator” Hoskins as offensive coordinator.
15. What’s up with caterpillars everywhere? (April 12)
Local experts said caterpillars come in shades of gray, yellow and other colors are future tussock moths and are abundant each spring—but especially in 2021.
16. Hoggetown Medieval Faire returns at new location (Dec. 14)
The Hoggetowne Medieval Faire returns in a new location that will welcome vendor campers over three weekends of events, following an Alachua County Board of County Commissioners permit approval.
17. Stunt driver to jump over Branford bar (April 16)
A modern day Evel Knievel stuntman attempted to jump his Kawasaki KX 450 over the bar and grill at Ellie Ray’s RV Resort in Branford. Stuntman Trevor Cartmill successfully completed the jump on April 19.
18. Levy County residents oppose turnpike extension (Dec. 7)
Hundreds of Levy County residents went straight from work to the College of Central Florida Levy Campus in Chiefland to send a ‘No Build’ message to organizers of an Alternative Corridor Evaluation kickoff event.
19. Fight breaks out in Newberry corn maze (Sept. 27)
A group of teenagers were involved in a fight just after midnight at the Newberry Cornfield Maze after rumors of a possible planned fight and shooting had been reported earlier in the day.
20. Newberry students detained in bomb threats (Sept. 30)
Investigators closed in on those responsible for a spate of threats at Alachua County schools.