In Saucon Valley, 2016 will be remembered as anything but a slow news year.
Altogether, stories published on Saucon Source garnered more than 1 million unique pageviews according to Google Analytics, and some individual articles racked up tens of thousands of pageviews–mostly due to social media sharing.
Perhaps surprisingly, one of the blockbuster stories of the year was about a small mammal that resembles a weasel and isn’t much bigger than an average housecat.
Several sightings of the elusive “fisher cat” caused anxiety for many Lower Saucon residents, some of whom probably hadn’t ever heard of a fisher before police issued a warning to the public about them in July.
Police were also involved in the search for two teenage girls from Saucon Valley who went missing in separate incidents in 2016–one in the spring and one in the fall. Fortunately, both girls were ultimately found safe.
Several tragedies also touched the hearts of many residents, including the death of a 25-year-old Saucon Valley graduate in a Waldheim Road car crash in September; a fatal wreck that seriously injured a Hellertown man on Wassergass Road in August; the drowning death of a former local resident in a Florida pool in August; and the loss of a family home on County Line Road in a devastating fire in May.
One story which brought hope was the recovery of a Hellertown girl who was seriously injured when a tree fell on her family’s campsite at Knoebels Campground in Elysburg over the summer. She recently returned to school at Saucon Valley.
In terms of local business news, the story of the year was undoubtedly changes at the landmark Crossroads Hotel in Hellertown, which was put up for sale for $2 million early in the year and closed in May, before reopening under new ownership six months later.
Lastly, news that a lucky Hellertown business owner was a stakeholder in a record-setting Powerball win was a huge story in March.
Below is a list of 12 of the most read stories–in descending order–on Saucon Source throughout the year (obituaries of local residents have been omitted).
Honorable mention in the most-read category goes to Rt. 412, which was under construction for much of the year–as a result of a PennDOT widening project that necessitated publication of countless stories over the past few years. Construction on the widened roadway from north Hellertown near I-78 to the Sands casino in Bethlehem finally wrapped up in early December, with little fanfare.
Honorable mention also goes to a perennially popular–and surprisingly controversial–topic in Hellertown: the date of Trick-or-Treat. This year’s story about the date of Trick-or-Treat was published in early September and was read an eye-popping 3,157 times.
- Fisher Cat Spotted in Lower Saucon; Police Warn Residents to Watch Pets: July 25, 2016 (37,303 pageviews*)
- Hellertown Girl, 17, Missing; Parents Ask for Help Finding Her: Oct. 17, 2016 (30,393 pageviews)
- Missing Saucon Valley High School Student Found Safe (Updated): April 9, 2016 (28,269 pageviews)
- Crossroads Hotel to Close May 7, Employees Told: April 28, 2016 (15,190 pageviews)
- Lower Saucon Man, 25, Killed in Waldheim Road Crash: Sept. 5, 2016 (6,876 pageviews)
- Lower Saucon Girl, 11, Critically Injured When Tree Falls on Campsite: Aug. 17, 2016 (6,736 pageviews)
- Saucon Valley Grad, Class of 2009, Dies in Florida Swimming Pool Accident: Aug. 30, 2016 (6,300 pageviews)
- Hellertown Business Owner a Big Powerball Winner: March 4, 2016 (6,116 pageviews)
- Police Say 2 Dogs Left in Crate in Field Without Food, Water: May 31, 2016 (6,013 pageviews)
- Be on Alert for Possible Police Impersonator, Lower Saucon Township Police Department Says: Jan. 11, 2016 (5,728 pageviews)
- Multi-Vehicle Wreck With Possible Fatality Reported on Wassergass Road: Aug. 29, 2016 (5,494 pageviews)
- Lower Saucon Family Loses Home, Cherished Possessions to Fire: May 19, 2016 (5,274 pageviews)
*Note: Pageview data is from Google Analytics and is as of Dec. 27, 2016.