MANCHESTER, NH — Below we’ve aggregated our top stories from 2015 based on reader interaction, with the Top 10 highlighted.
Full disclosure: Our “No. 1” story for 2015 was actually the more than 85,000 collective visits to stories in our archives, which you can always search by clicking a subject tab from the menu bar, or using the search bar in the upper right of our home page. One good read, apparently leads to another.
Collectively, our unofficial Top 10 drew 240,785 clicks (not including the archives.) All we can say is thanks for clicking, and please keep coming back to click in 2016 (and liking and sharing on Facebook, of course). If you aren’t already receiving our free eNews in your email box daily, you’re just one click away! Sign up for our free eNewsletter and never miss another thing in 2016.
- Spookyworld’s scariest ever haunted hayride opens Sept. 25 at Mel’s — This story was on top for pretty much the entire month leading up to Halloween. Maybe it was the scary clown photo, or maybe it was our universal fascination with all things scary and creepy and zombie-like. Whatever the reason, this was the most read story on our site in 2015. For those of you who attended Spookyworld, let us know what you thought of the attraction in the comments field below.
- Two charged with prostitution during sting in ‘hot spot’ zone — This was not the only story we ran about prostitution stings in 2015. But for some reason, it got a lot of attention. There was nothing extraordinary about it. In fact, it was just a straightforward police report of the arrest with minimal details. However, these two young women, ages 20 and 22 at the time of the arrest, look like they could just as easily be a couple of typical college students. We do know that much of the crime that goes on in our city is drug related, and that includes prostitution. With this story comes two more good reasons to clean up our city in 2016.
- 23 arrests: Major drug dealers caught in Operation Dragnet: This big sweep in April of 2015 was among the first of several busts this year that targeted dealers allegedly responsible for trafficking heroin, cocaine and other narcotics in Manchester. These kinds of stories are always well read — it helps us feel that somehow the city is making progress toward cleaning up the drug culture that is perpetuated by dealers. Yes, it’s supply and demand. Dealers can’t deal if there are no customers. As much as we want to punish those who bring drugs into our city, what we all really want is for the illicit drug culture to go away. Big sweeps like this at least give us the feeling that there is progress.
- 9 arrested in drug raid targeting suspected drug dealers — Another drug raid, this one in Sept. of 2015, which netted 128 grams of crack cocaine (street value $13,000); 17.8 grams of heroin (street value $1,400); 6.5 grams marijuana (street value $100); 7 alprazolam .5 mg pills (street value $70); 7 oxycodone 15 mg pills (street value $105) and a seizure of $9,099 dollars. The arrests were made at three different residences. Police rely on tips from the public to help them track down where drug dealers are operating, often right in the midst of our neighborhoods. This story served as a reminder that drugs are everywhere and anywhere, and it is up to the public to remain vigilant. If you see something, say something.
- Phone scam; You have been chosen to recieve a $9,000 government grant — This is a story written by Publisher/Editor Carol Robidoux in Dec. of 2014 after she fielded a call that struck her as all at once ridiculous and dangerous. It continues to be one of our top-five stories of all time because, sadly, phone scammers and those who would like to perpetrate internet fraud are always hounding us one way or another, through phone calls, email or even the U.S. Mail. This story includes some helpful information about the ‘Do Not Call’ registry, as well as some other popular scams going around. The key is to keep your guard up. If you get a suspicious call, take a few minutes to ask the tough questions. Jot down as many details as you can and then report the call to the NH Attorney General’s office (information is available toward the end of the story). Also remember, if whatever they are offering sounds too good to be true, it is. Never give out information by phone to someone you don’t know, or who you didn’t call. Incoming calls are likely phishing for your personal details. Hang up, block the number, report the details —and make sure you talk to your elderly parents or relatives about the dangers of phone solicitations.
- 7 more arrests as part of Operation Granite Hammer — Yet another drug sweep, which led to the arrest of seven people suspected of drug dealing. In this case, detectives confiscated primarily crystal meth and suboxone strips. Police reported that following this particular raid, the tally for Operation Granite Status included confiscation of 42.7 grams of heroin carrying a street value of $4,200; 118.9 grams of crystal methamphetamine with a street value of $20,000; 37 suboxone strips with a street value of $185; 1 gram of cocaine with a street value of $100; and $5,450 in cash. Unfortunately, we have learned that such raids are just a small drip in a big bucket full of drug crime.
- Can you identify these women wanted in connection to a bar fight? Put the words “women” and “bar fight” in a headline and you can expect everyone to click. What added to this story’s appeal was that the women were caught on surveillance video, so it also becomes a “Where’s Waldo” situation, or a “who dunnit.” Whenever the public has a chance to help ID people caught on film behaving badly, they go for it. This story was no exception.
- Shooting leads police to $2.2M heroin bust, major drug manufacturing operation in Mass. — This was one of those stories that starts as one thing and ends up being something else entirely. A report of a shooting in June led investigators to open up a huge drug-making operation that extended into Massachusetts. There was a follow up story in October, which you can read here.
- arrested following prostitution sting near Enright Park — Another prostitution sting story, this one focused around Enright Park, which has for years been a magnet for crime. Residents often report seeing what appears to be people soliciting sex in this neighborhood concentrated around Enright Park, which is a playground. Once again, if Manchester is going to upgrade its reputation, it’s imperative that police continue to monitor neighborhoods for illegal activity going on many times in broad daylight, and it’s also important for neighbors to report things they see, instead of accepting it as inevitable. Tip: You can always contact your Ward Alderman to make quality of life complaints if you don’t feel comfortable calling police.
- Zachary Higgins, 25, loved skateboarding, music, playing his guitar — This was one of several obituaries we ran in 2015 for young people whose life stories were hardly yet written. Some of the obituaries spelled out the cause of death as drug overdoses; others left that detail to the imagination of the reader. It is our solemn hope that 2016 sees no more of our beautiful children lost to drugs. It is our unfortunate sense of reality that tells us that we will not make it very far into the new year before another family must face the devastating loss from addiction. If you or a loved one seeks help, contact Hope for NH Recovery where people are waiting to guide you through the process of recovery.
Below are more stories that each earned thousands of clicks, thanks to you our loyal readers.