2020 was a big year for news, between the pandemic, politics, and protests. Closer to home, in West Virginia, these topics didn’t dominate the local news. Instead, the most shared stories on social media included articles about local first responders who passed away, sports, and traffic accidents.
Below, we are highlighting some of the top stories featuring Charleston, WV for 2020. We have determined which stories were the most popular based on a combination of social media metrics, including Facebook likes, shares and tweets. Do you remember reading these articles?
1: Charleston Police Officer Will Not Survive Shooting
The top news story mentioning Charleston, WV involves a tragedy: the shooting of Officer Cassie Johnson. In early December 2020, Officer Johnson was responding to a call about a traffic complaint when she was shot by Joshua Phillips. Just a day after being shot, Charleston officials announced that Officer Johnson would not survive, and had been taken off of life support.
2: Charleston, WV Is the Fastest Shrinking Small City in the U.S.
In August, business insurance company Advisorsmith released a study based on population data from the United States Census. According to this study, Charleston had the greatest rate of shrinkage – at -1.5% – for small cities across the country.
3: The Death of Blake Brooks
In early May 2020, football star Blake Brooks – a standout player at South Charleston High School and Marshall University – died at age 29. Brooks was well-known in the Charleston area for his stellar high school football play, and for walking onto the Marshall University football team and becoming a two year starter.
4: School Bus Driver Charged with DUI in January Accident
In mid-January 2020, a school bus was involved in a four vehicle accident in Charleston. When police officers arrived at the scene of the crash, they noted that bus driver Susan Lipscomb appeared to be under the influence. She was then arrested and charged with three counts of DUI causing bodily injury and one count of DUI with a minor in the vehicle.
5: Charleston Firefighter Dies While on Duty
In July, a firefighter and medic with the Charleston Fire Department, Jason Cuffee, suffered a medical emergency while at the fire station. His body was discovered after he failed to respond to a call for service. His death marks the first on-duty death of a firefighter in Charleston since August 1980.
6: Officer Cassie Johnson Shot
On December 1, 2020, Officer Cassie Johnson was called out to a parking complaint on Garrison Avenue when she was shot. Shortly after the shooting, Charleston Police Chief Tyke Hunt stated that Officer Johnson’s injury is typically considered a fatal wound. The following day, she was taken off of life support.
7: Dan Bell Investigates a Dirty Room at the Jefferson Motel
One of the top stories related to Charleston in 2020 wasn’t featured on the local news – but on YouTube. On the “This Is Dan Bell” channel, a group of YouTube stars headed to Charleston to stay at the Jefferson Motel in St. Albans. They discovered that the room was not particularly clean, with roaches, stains, and other issues.
8: Charleston Catholic Upsets Cabell Midland
In January 2020, before many school sports were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Charleston Catholic upset unbeaten Cabell Midland. At the time, Cabell Midland was the top team in the AAA basketball conference. After falling behind early, Charleston Catholic overcame a 15 point deficit to win, 70 to 64.
9: West Virginia Junior College Leaves Charleston for Cross Lanes
In August 2020, WV Junior College, a small for-profit school, announced that it would be leaving the downtown Charleston location that it has occupied for decades, and moving to Cross Lanes. According to school officials, parking costs, accessibility issues, and an increase in drugs and crime in the area motivated the move.
10: South Charleston and Cabell Midland Each Have Three Football All-Stars
Coming into the 2020 season, South Charleston and Cabell Midland high schools were top-seeded teams in the Mountain State AAA Athletic Conference. For this reason, it isn’t surprising that the West Virginia Sports Writers Association picked three players from each football team as all stars.
The Feel Good Story of the Year
Of course, these stories aren’t the only articles that were popular in West Virginia in 2020. In a year that was beset with bad news, we thought it was important to highlight some good things as well.
In our view, the top feel-good article for West Virginia in 2020 came in March 2020, when 13-year-old Monongalia County resident Logan Miller used his allowance to buy meals for hungry truck drivers. Logan became concerned after learning that many truck stop restaurants were closed due to the pandemic, so he used his own money to purchase peanut butter, bread, beef jerky, fresh fruit, and chips. He then delivered these sack lunches to truck drivers who had stopped at the West Virginia Welcome Center rest stop on I-179 southbound, just before the Pennsylvania border.
Here for West Virginians
At Johnstone & Gabhart, we are proud to live in West Virginia. Based in Charleston, we represent clients throughout the state on a range of matters, including personal injury, medical malpractice, construction law, business law, collections, and estate planning. With more than 50 years of combined experience, our legal team is well-suited to help injury victims who have been hurt in all types of accidents.
If you have been hurt in an accident, we can help. We offer free initial consultations for personal injury cases, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call us at 304-343-7100, or fill out our online contact form.