2020 in Review: The stories that shaped the Tri-State

2020 in Review: The stories that shaped the Tri-State
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - 2020 has been a year unlike any other. Whether it was working from home (which a lot of us thought sounded great at first), to kids attending school via Zoom call, to wearing a mask anytime you’re in public, COVID-19 changed our lives.

We couldn’t get enough information about the virus, which showed in the stories you clicked on most on the FOX19 NOW Facebook page.

Still, there were others that managed to grab our attention in 2020.

Here’s a look back at the stories that topped our Facebook page over the last year:

Brenna Koelblin, 16, went missing on New Year’s Eve. For a month, teams searched for the missing Talawanda High School student.

Thankfully, Koelblin was found on Jan. 31.

“Thanks to everyone who helped and shared our posts, we can’t do this without you,” the Oxford Police Department wrote on Facebook.

This was one of the most followed storied in the Tri-State over the past year. Two stories surrounding Madison “Maddie” Bell made into the top 10 list.

On May 17, Bell left her home to go to the tanning salon, but she didn’t return home that day, her mom said at the time.

What ensued was panic and an all-out search.

In the time of her disappearance, volunteers descended upon Highland County and fanned out across the region, disbursing flyers as far away as Kentucky. The FBI and Texas EquuSearch joined the search as well.

Bell was found alive and safe almost a week after she left her home to go tanning. As it turned out, she “left to start a new life,” the Highland County sheriff said.

Highland County 18-year-old found; ‘left to start new life’ sheriff says

The second story on Bell to crack the top 10 was when her car, keys, and cell phone were found in a church parking lot. It was the 10th most followed story on the FOX19 NOW Facebook page.

Missing 18-year-old’s keys, cellphone found in car, sheriff says - No. 10

Initially, many feared the worst for the 18-year-old girl. Those worries became even more extreme when her car with the keys and her phone inside were all found in a parking lot.

According to authorities, the parking lot where her car was found was considered a crime scene.

More than 300 people joined in a search party to help find Bell in the days following her car being found.

“Whoever has her, bring her home to her family,” Melissa Bell, Madison’s mother, said. “This is not right. You don’t take her and not bring her home. She needs to be back home where she’s safe.”

No. 3) CNN Settles lawsuit with Nick Sandman

Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann filed an $800 million lawsuit against CNN, the Washington Post, and NBC Universal.

The lawsuits were filed following an incident in Jan. 2019 in Washington, D.C. involving Covington Catholic High School students. Videos of that incident garnered national attention.

Sandmann’s lawyer said the damages were sought due to “emotional distress Nicholas and his family suffered.”

On Jan. 7, FOX19 NOW broke the story of Sandmann’s settlement with CNN. The amount of the settlement was not made public during a hearing at the federal courthouse in Covington, Kentucky.

Settlement reached in Sandmann case against CNN

Around a month into the COVID-19 pandemic, the world really started to change. The story of this Michigan woman was one of the earlier ones that showed the sacrifices some people were making.

Marini Smith lost her husband Rayshone Smith to COVID-19 in mid-April. Just seven days after arriving at the hospital, Rayshone died, according to CNN.

Neither his wife nor his daughter could attend his funeral. They were forced to watch short cell phone videos of the service, CNN reports.

Shortly after the New Year, Madison Lawson, 16, ran away. A worried father desperate to find his daughter offered a reward as law enforcement thought she might be in danger.

Michael Lawson, Madison’s father, was given custody of his daughter in January. He says she spent one night at his house, then she was gone.

That was Jan. 18. Police considered her a critical missing person.

Nearly a month later, on Feb. 17, Madison was found safe.

No. 6) Do you really need to change your clothes in the garage following a trip to the grocery store?

There were a lot of unknowns early on regarding COVID-19.

One of those unknowns was about changing your clothes post grocery store trip.

University Hospitals’ Dr. Amy Edwards, an infectious disease specialist, said she does not think it is necessary unless you are a doctor, nurse, or first responder returning from work, to change your clothes in the garage.

Use hand sanitizer after you leave the grocery store, and then wash your hands after you put your groceries away, she suggests.

No. 7) Interactive map: Track all reported COVID-19 case in the world

An interactive map provided by the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering is very useful to help track the coronavirus numbers,

The map shows where every reported coronavirus case in the world is located and how many people have died from the virus.

The statewide stay-at-home order was announced on March 22. It was perhaps this order that marked the point when a lot of people began to understand the severity of COVID-19.

Gov. DeWine’s order only allowed for essential travel.

“We have not faced an enemy like we are facing today in 102 years,” DeWine said. “You have to go back to the 1918 influenza epidemic. We are certainly at war. I don’t know any other way to describe it other than to say we are at war.

While the stay-at-home order is no longer in effect, Ohio is still under a curfew. DeWine recently extended the curfew order into the New Year.

No. 9) FOX19 NOW’s coronavirus page

At FOX19 NOW, we fully know the amount of news can at times seems daunting and overwhelming. Especially early in the pandemic, COVID-19 was on the minds of everyone.

To make sure you never missed the latest COVID-19 news, FOX19 NOW established a special section on the website dedicated solely to information on the virus.

The page is still up and running to continue to bring you the latest and most accurate news on COVID-19.

Follow FOX19 NOW on Facebook to make sure you never miss the latest and most important news in the Tri-State.

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