MANCHESTER, NH — Looking back through the Inklink 2019 archives provides some interesting insights into what our readers are plugged-in to. As always, our Front Page wins as the most popular page on our site each year, and 2019 was no exception.
There are a few more popular posts worth mentioning.
Another perennially popular post is our “MPD easy button” at the top of the home page which links to Manchester Police daily arrest logs, current “most wanted” list and a direct link to MPD’s Facebook page, where all official press releases are posted. Since police scanner transmissions for Manchester were encrypted in 2016 and are no longer available for public consumption, these are ways the Inklink provides easy daily access to public information for those interested in keeping up with police activity.
And while we’re not sure if this is some sort of record, our story on a $9,000 government grant phone scam has been among our top-read stories for the past five years, ever since it was first published in December of 2014. Since then we’ve fielded hundreds of phone calls from consumers around the country seeking help with predatory phone scammers. We do our best to help anyone we can, and our standard advice is to contact your state attorney general’s office and ask for the Consumer Protection helpline. In New Hampshire, you can report phone scammers to the Consumer Protection Bureau or call the hotline between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Mon. – Fri. at 1-888-468-4454 or (603) 271-3641. You also might want to file a complaint online with the Federal Communications Commission.
For more on how the government is addressing the national problem of phone scammers, read this story on newly enacted federal legislation.
Candidates in NH
Finally, the New Hampshire Primary is fast approaching. The field of Democratic candidates has been shrinking, and those seeking approval from New Hampshire voters have been swarming the state, making our portal to “2020 Election: Candidates Coming to NH This Week” one of our top-five go-to stories for 2019.
Not all stories are created equal
The stories below reflect 20 of our most-read stories of 2019. We have subtracted many high-performing stories from the mix derived from police narratives of arrests as we believe stories generated from arrest logs, while sometimes newsworthy, are one-sided. Without the proper resources to follow every publicized arrest to its conclusion, we would rather give you 24/7 access to MPD’s Facebook page (that “easy button” we mentioned) if that’s the kind of “news” you’re seeking.
But we are proud to report that readership was up 36 percent in 2019 — the first full year that we made a deliberate effort to reduce the number of posts other news media outlets rely on for easy “clicks.” We surpassed 2.4 million page views this year from more than 1.1 million unique readers, and are fast approaching 10 million lifetime site visits since 2014. We will continue to do everything we can to increase the number of stories we bring you that inform, elevate and enlighten you about our city.
Takeaways from 2019
Based on your reading habits, we are a fiercely loyal foodie city on the rise. We are focused on what’s good more than what’s bad. We have a collective interest in improving the social issues that formulate the sub-plot in every large city across the U.S. — homelessness, addiction, and inequities.
Our New Year prediction
We here at the Inklink are ready to write the defining stories of 2020. If you want to be an active part of community news and information, please click here to learn more about our V.I.P. membership options, and help keep the independent local news flowing. We are a small business and reliant on the support of readers and community partners to keep putting down what you want to pick up.
Lenny and Nancy Abreu of Nashua announced in September plans to open New Hampshire’s first Golden Corral restaurant at the Shoppes at South Willow in 2020. Thousands of readers not only clicked on the story but commented via social media about the plans, overwhelmingly excited for the well-known buffet restaurant to open in Manchester. According to Lenny, they’re still on track for opening in the spring, construction is about to start first week of January, and they’ll be hiring. Stay tuned!
In case you missed it, this post submitted by Keating Tufts and David Casinghino was the perfect response to a social media post citing “worst” places in Manchester. Beyond the hilarity of their approach, the underlying theme was the loyalty and love these two Queen City natives have for the place they not only grew up in but in which they’ve established Boards and Brews Board Game Cafe in 2018, which has been a huge hit for the city’s fun-loving public.
In fewer than 40 words, this post got thousands of clicks, reflecting the city’s interest in President Trump’s campaign stop at the SNHU Arena in August, which drew a capacity crowd with another 10,000 or so spilling over into the city streets. Click through for a compilation of all the stories generated from Trump’s visit.
It’s been nearly a year now since Josh and Sonya Philbrick opened the Smoothie Bus Shoppe at Brady Sullivan Plaza on Elm Street, featuring healthy fruit-based drinks and other delectable treats. What started as a food truck business expanded to a brick-and-mortar niche shop, and it going strong.
In 2019 Manchester raised the bar on what has become its signature foodie event – the Taco Tour. Drawing tens of thousands of taco tasters to the downtown, our local eateries rose to the challenge, creating all sorts of delightful takes on the taco. Expect even more excitement for Taco Tour 2020 from our friends at Intown Manchester.
The popularity of this post about up-and-coming Adored WiFi, a local alternative provider, speaks to the need for options when it comes to WiFi service. We’ll look to update this story in 2020 and provide a progress report.
One of our most popular features is The Soapbox, a place where readers can stand up and speak up about topics of interest. In April of 2019 Memorial High School math teacher Matthew Cygan stepped up with a submission about the protracted teacher contract negotiations, and thousands of people plugged in. As 2019 comes to a close it’s worth noting that no settlement has been announced between the board of school committee and the Manchester Education Association.
The news landed just three weeks ago, but it was met with much enthusiasm by the reading public when The Common Man announced it’s building a roadside deli on South Willow Street. We’ll be following the progress of this development in 2020.
Although this tragic accident didn’t happen in Manchester, the shockwaves were felt throughout New Hampshire and beyond when seven motorcyclists were killed in Randolph. The man accused of driving the truck that struck them, Volodoymyr Zhukovsky, remains in custody. The latest from the Boston Herald is that a lengthy legal battle will continue, with jury selection slated for November of 2020.
This was one of many stories in 2019 reflecting on homelessness, written following a tangible uptick in the number of homeless people camping out in city parks. While the winter months seem to diminish this particular facet of homelessness, we will continue to chronicle the plight of the homeless and the city’s efforts to meaningfully address the problem and seek accountability from city and state leaders.
This piece, written by Susan Dromey Heeter for InDepthNH is part of her ongoing Decoding the Vibe series, her personal take on presidential candidates as they come through New Hampshire. This story got thousands of immediate clicks and continues to perform. Back in May Yang had a dedicated following of Yang-Gangers, but was still somewhat of an obscure candidate. As of Dec. 20, the New York Times lists Yang as a candidate on the rise, coming in at No. 7 in the Democratic field, while Newsweek shows Yang with a post-debate bump which propelled him ahead of Mayor Pet Buttigieg in terms of favorability. The NH Primary clock is ticking.
Word that Daniel Petit was opening a Firehouse Sub shop on South Willow Street in early 2019 traveled fast, thanks to thousands of readers who clicked and shared this story. Have you tried one yet?
Of the many stories that spun out of President Trump’s August rally in Manchester, this one was the most well read. We believe it reflects the greater truth, that in a country politically divided it’s possible to find some common ground and even agree to disagree with dignity.
Thanks to the generosity of someone who didn’t want a lot of fanfare, the Currier Museum has acquired its second property designed by America’s most important architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, making possible exciting new experiences for visitors.
Our readers love stories about repurposing old mill buildings and this one, featuring a project in the works on Willow Street that will focus on the “creative economy” was a popular read. We’ll continue to follow progress on this development project.
A bittersweet story about Todd Twombly, who was dying of cancer while living at the city’s homeless shelter. In the process of following his story the good news was that a kindly couple took him in and gave him a comfortable place to breathe his final breath. He also was able to be baptized in the presence of his faith community, which was to be Part 2. The sad news is that he died two months after this story was written, and as far as we know, there is still no policy in place to help those who are homeless and dealing with end-of-life issues. We’ll do more reporting on this topic in 2020.
If there’s such a thing as a happy tear-jerker, this story is it. Palace Youth Theatre dedicated its rehearsal and performance space in memory of Emma Bechert, a dedicated thespian who died in 2016, leaving a huge void in the hearts of her friends and fellow performers. This dedication and renaming of the Pine Street space will allow her story, and memory, to go on.
Yet another “new business” story that generated a buzz – just in front of the 2019 holiday shopping season, Apotheca Flower Shoppe of Goffstown opened a “pop up” shop on Elm Street to test the waters of downtown retail. We had the pleasure of popping by and found the small space brimming with beautiful, elegant, locally-made wares.
This story involved a stand-off at the Quality Inn on South Willow Street and officer-involved shooting back in March. In the end, three people died. To date, details of the investigation and events leading up to the stand-off have been scarce. This is the most recent update from the NH Attorney General’s office.
The list ends on a sweet note, as news that Dulce’s Bakery owners Jose and Angela Mojica were taking over the former Post Office Fruit Company space on Chestnut Street to bring a bakery to the downtown featuring Spanish cuisine and their award-winning tres leches cake. Whether you eat in or take out, you must put this on your to-try list in 2020.