It was another busy year for Portage's home page, PortageOnline.com. By the time the end of the month rolls around, our site will have seen close to 13.8 million page clicks in the past year!
While many of our readers are people looking over the latest news on the home page, the weather, the funeral announcements, the events page and our road reports and cancellations page also see plenty of traffic. Thankfully, there are no cancellations to report on that page today.
As we look at the most viewed stories of the year, events involving the RCMP draw the most attention. Poor weather conditions, closed highways, accidents, and unfortunate mishaps also have people's interest. But pretty much anything that involves our community and the people in it will get several thousand clicks. And of course, we always enjoy your help. If you ever have an idea or a picture to send us, you can do that at submit news under the menu tab in the top right corner of the site.
When we look at the most viewed stories of the year, the life-saving event at Chicken Chef was our most viewed of the year. This was followed by our Manitoba Votes page where people could see the results of October's municipal election. The third story on the list was back on April 24th when bad weather rolled in and many roads had to be closed. Next came former city councilor Brent Budz, who happened to be seated amongst some unruly fans at a recent Jets game. Other top stories included an aerial view of the construction west of Portage, a local youngster who had a unique birthday on November 11th, and the unfortunate hotel fire in Gladstone on Christmas Day.
There are links to the top stories of each month this year at the bottom of the page. Plus you can click on the highlighted words to see the stories mentioned in the monthly summaries below.
January - People were wondering about some "bonus" money this month as MPI surprised Manitoba drivers with an extra rebate. A semi rollover that made a mess west of the city as well as a missing 14 year old (who was found) from the RM of Portage attracted many clicks. Manitoba was still under numerous restrictions and an announcement on an extension of those had people looking for more information.
February - The shortest month of the year still had well over one million page views and many people were checking on the weather and the roads after a tough month from mother nature. A horrific accident as a result of that weather was the most viewed story of the month. Portager Scott Cairns talked about how he felt very lucky to be alive. Next, was a story titled "Highways closed yet again" and that shows what kind of month it actually was. A homicide arrest was next on the list followed by the unfortunate passing of much-respected city councillor Wayne Wall.
March - A snowmobile accident that sent a man to the hospital with life-threatening injuries was the one that garnered the most views this month. This was followed by numerous RCMP stories, highway closures and an unfortunate accident near Treherne that took the life of an area man. Other top stories included a 13-year-old female attacking sheriffs at the court office, Mayor Ferris talking about the closure of Agassiz and one person solving the Wordle puzzle of the day with one guess!
April - It was a month of change as the new look PortageOnline went live. The new look worked better with mobile devices and the launch went very well. This was also the biggest month of the year for the site with more than 1.4 million page views. Mother nature was certainly a driving force here. Several Colorado lows and Alberta clippers meant highway closures and buses not running on a regular basis, disruption of many people's Easter plans, and more. The RCMP reached out to the public in regard to several incidents and a triple homicide and the subsequent search for the suspect had people checking the stories to find out what was going on.
May - The RCMP suspending the license of a suspected impaired driver was the most read story of the month and right behind that was the Treherne RCMP asking for people's help after a large theft of copper wire in that area. The national junior A hockey championships were on in Estevan and two local players, Logan and Kian Calder were involved but with different teams. This gave us the chance to explore the hockey history of the family, and it was the third most-read story of the month.
June - It was rain, rain, and then more rain this month and when too much fell, a state of emergency had to be declared in the Austin/MacGregor area. This attracted the most reads as the summer slowly arrived. Several RCMP stories were next on the list including an alleged attempted murder of an officer where the suspect ended up with a gunshot wound. A water spout was spotted on June 25th and numerous weather warnings that day came next on the list.
July - RCMP arrests and a car accident were on the top of the list this month including one arrest that involved nudity. The closure of the Agassiz youth center affected many people and a look back on the facility and its history in Portage was next on the list.
August - The RCMP had another busy month and a large seizure of drugs and cash was the most-read story of the month. A crop dusting accident and a missing Portage girl (eventually found) came next. News of an Esso gas bar and Tim Hortons coming to the Portage bypass also attracted many of our reader's eyes.
September - The new school year started and a Portage building that was considered an eyesore also got a new start. The completion of renovations to 19 5th St. NW was the story that received the most clicks this month. This was followed by several RCMP stories and an article on the new principal of Yellowquill school. The final list of candidates for the October elections was also released and this story was right behind that.
October - Municipal elections were held across the province and our page with the updated and eventual final results was easily the most viewed of the month. Election day was our site's biggest of the entire year with just under 100,000 clicks on that day alone. The roundabout just west of Portage also opened and thanks to reporter Mike Blume's aerial footage with his drone, that story was next on the list. An attempted break-in at Keystone Sports also attracted plenty of attention along with stories about people who won spots in the election, including new mayor Sharilyn Knox.
November - A server at Chicken Chef was part of a team that helped save a local man's life. Not only was this the top story of the month, but also the entire year. It was also the start of winter weather and several serious accidents on the Trans-Canada highway near Portage also received plenty of clicks. An unusual birthday surrounded by the number 11 was a much more fun story that also had people reading along. A Portage woman and her son were also randomly kidnapped and her account of the experience was also a story people were interested in.
December - Former city councilor Brent Budz thought he was taking in a regular Winnipeg Jets game this month until a couple of unruly fans changed all that. Security was needed and Budz, who was seated in the middle of it all, did his best to help calm the situation. This was the most viewed story of the month followed closely by the Christmas day fire that destroyed the historic Gladstone hotel. One person perished in the blaze. Highway closures, weather warnings, RCMP arrests, and a local store owner's thoughts on the new gun control laws were next on the list.