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Year in Review: Most-read news stories

Associated Press

 

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Courtesy of Yahoo

The death of a bogeyman who haunted a generation. A record-magnitude earthquake and a tsunami that swept away towns. The trial of the summer. A sudden passing. Dead-at-27 club. The next generation's go at a fairy-tale wedding. A disturbed man's action and the toxic side of politics. The toppling of long-entrenched regimes.

Those were just some of the many, many breaking news stories that hit us in 2011 and commandeered our online attention. While the Top 10 Searches focus on related keywords, the Top 10 News Stories involve a wider range of searches and include an analysis on the most-read news stories on Yahoo!.

The Yahoo! Year in Review editorial lead for five years running, Vera H-C Chan dissects news events, pop-culture idiosyncrasies, and online behavior to probe the "why" behind what's Web-hot with media and online. On Yahoo!, her articles can be found in News, TVMovies, and her Shine blog Fast-Talking Dame. Across the Net, there are remnants of contributions to a cultural travel guidemartial arts encyclopediamovie criticism, business profiles, and A&E/features reporting.

 

No. 10: Occupy Wall Street  >>

 

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News

  • Investigators have released photos and surveillance video in hopes of identifying the gunmen who killed a restaurant manager during a robbery this weekend. According to police, three men entered Barcelona Wine Bar on Howell Mill Road in the West Midtown neighborhood as it was closing around 1:45 a.m. Sunday, and tied up the employees with electrical tape.  The men then forced the manager, 29-year-old Chelsea Beller , upstairs to open up the safe. That’s when they shot her. Beller later died at Grady Memorial Hospital.  'I think it's important for us all to acknowledge that this isn't Atlanta. This isn't the Wild Wild West,' Beller's friend Tyler Walters said.  @Atlanta_Police just released this dramatic surveillance from inside Barcelona wine bar of Sunday’s deadly robbery. https://t.co/YHueSecqL7 Police need your help. $7k reward for info. @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/QJG5xHIZMv — Aaron Diamant (@AaronDiamantWSB) November 20, 2017 As Channel 2’s Carl Willis went through the new video, he saw Atlanta police back at the scene looking for evidence in the shooting. Beller's friends say the 29-year-old considered co-workers and restaurant regulars her family. TRENDING STORIES: Police release dramatic video, photos of gunmen who killed restaurant manager Out with a bang: Georgia Dome comes down in Atlanta Grandmother says Facebook Live saved her life: 'I could have died' 'She was the salt of the earth. She was the type of person that had a genuine sense of caring,' Walters said. “She loved coming to work. She loved what she did. It was just a place that she felt happy and she enjoyed what she did.' Investigators are hoping that even though the suspects' faces are masked, that someone might have an idea who they are, and bring a little peace to those grieving over Beller’s loss.  “Money is money, but killing young ladies who are in the prime of their lives, that's not who Atlanta is,' Walter told Willis.  A reward of up to $7,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest and indictment. The Atlanta Police Department released a statement about the incident, saying:  “No crime against our citizens, anywhere in the city, is acceptable. But the robbery and murder of an innocent restaurant manager doing her job is a terrible crime that has shocked even the most jaded among us here at APD,' the department said in a statement Monday. 'We have made fighting violent crime our priority, and this incident underscores that our work is never done. Our investigators are working diligently to find those responsible for this crime. We will continue to focus our efforts on identifying and apprehending violent repeat offenders who prey on innocent people. These crimes are unacceptable, and we will not rest in our pursuit of shutting down these violent criminals.” Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to contact police through Crime Stoppers Atlanta . Their phone number is 404-577-8477 and you can remain anonymous.
  • Channel 2 Action News has learned that an armed man who authorities said escaped an Alabama jail may now be in metro Atlanta. Shane Anthony Vernon escaped the Coosa County Jail Sunday, local authorities said.   On Tuesday, U.S. Marshals told Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Nicole Carr that Vernon kidnapped a man from Alabama and dropped him and the car off in Douglasville. Vernon was nowhere to be found. TRENDING STORIES: Ex-Braves GM banned for life by MLB; Atlanta loses prospects 60+ people fall ill after company Thanksgiving party Jailhouse phone calls reveal aftermath of deadly heroin-fueled crash Vernon is considered armed and dangerous. Coosa County Sheriff Terry Wilson explained the timeline to Carr Tuesday afternoon. He told Carr on Oct. 30, Vernon got out of handcuffs during booking for another home invasion. 'He pulled out his restraints and ran out the jail,' Wilson told Carr by phone. Out of the jail and into the woods we're told he went. He was captured almost immediately. But on Sunday, things changed. 'He was allowed to use one of the inmate telephones in the jail. And a corrections officer did not properly secure the door,' Wilson explained. It was an officer's actions that led to a second escape and now an internal investigation. 'He was able to climb through the ceiling and go over four other secured doors to get to the other side and went out the door again.' A map takes on Vernon's crime spree after his jail ceiling escape. There were residents tied up and robbed on Sunday. On Monday, a family including a 2-year-old child, were tied up as Vernon continued to steal cars, guns and a bike. Finally on Monday night, as he tried to hide a stolen van, he forced an Elmore County man into a car and drove him to metro Atlanta. That's where the man somehow escaped Vernon Tuesday morning and made it to the Douglasville Police Department while Vernon took off to parts unknown. 'It's a tragedy all the way around. I just hope that we can get him picked up before he hurts somebody,' Wilson said. The sheriff said they'll be processing the stolen car and have a better idea of how this happened by tomorrow morning.   CONFIRMED w/Alabama Sheriff: This is the second time in three weeks that Shane Vernon has escaped the Coosa Co. jail. Sunday’s escape was through ceiling tile exit. Now may be in Metro ATL armed, dangerous, authorities say @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/H3VJbpY74B — Nicole Carr (@NicoleCarrWSB) November 21, 2017
  • For months before a shooting rampage that killed five people, a violent feud brewed among the gunman and his neighbors on a dirt road in a tiny rural community in Northern California.Tehama County sheriff's deputies received 21 calls in the past year from Kevin Neal and other residents of three ramshackle homes on Bobcat Lane, according to documents released Tuesday to The Associated Press in response to a public records request.Neal and his wife told police their neighbors were cooking methamphetamine. The neighbors reported violent acts by Neal: He punched a female neighbor in the face, repeatedly shot his gun and, in January, stabbed another woman neighbor who he believed was poisoning his dog.That stabbing led to Neal's arrest but he was quickly out on bail and, despite a restraining order and a requirement that he surrender his weapons, continued to harass his neighbors and fire his weapon, according to the documents.Police never re-arrested Neal and on Nov. 13 he killed his wife and the next day killed two neighbors, two others and wounded eight people during a 45-minute rampage through Rancho Tehama Reserve before being fatally shot by police.One of the wounded was a 6-year-old boy shot in the chest when Neal opened fire at an elementary school in what may have been an attempt to carry out a threat to kill the 7-year-old son of one of the neighbors who was shot to death.Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston defended his deputies handling of the situation on Bobcat Lane, saying there never was enough evidence to arrest Neal for violating conditions of his release by firing a weapon.'Not one person could say they saw Mr. Neal with a firearm,' Johnston said. 'No one could say they (shots) absolutely came from his residence.'Neal, 44, was out on bail after being arrested in January on suspicion of stabbing neighbor Hailey Poland and accosting her and Diana Lee Steele, 68, who was killed in the rampage.A judge ordered Neal to stay away from the women and to surrender all of his firearms. But months after Neal's arrest, the women called the Tehama County Sheriff's Department several times to report Neal had been firing a gun.In one week in August, the two women called sheriff's deputies for help three times. In one of the instances, Poland told the dispatcher that she had a restraining order against Neal and that he was outside her house with a flashlight, firing at her house and car, according to an incident report.Records show police seized an AR-15 rifle from Neal when he was arrested and that once out on bail he certified that he surrendered a handgun. Johnston said investigators believe last week Neal used two homemade assault rifles and two handguns registered to someone else.Records show seven of the calls in the past year were initiated by Neal and his wife, Barbara Glisan, often reporting foul odors from what they said were neighbors cooking methamphetamine.Neal once called 911 to report that he thought Steele's adult son, Danny Elliott, had pointed a gun at him and showed sheriff's deputies surveillance video that apparently captured the incident.The deputies said in their report that the video captured Elliott moving a rifle from the front seat to backseat of his car, not pointing the gun at Neal.Another neighbor told reporters last week that Neal had threatened out loud that he was going to kill Elliott and then go to the elementary school to kill Elliott's son. Elliott was among those killed last week.District Attorney Gregg Cohen said sheriff's officials never informed his office about the repeated calls accusing Neal of firing a gun but stopped short of blaming sheriff's officials.'I'm not going to speculate or make a suggestion that someone did or didn't do something,' he said.Johnston said prosecutors had access to the sheriff's records and could have reached out to the victims if they were concerned, but deputies didn't have probable cause to search Neal's house to see if he still had guns.'I'll say this: Were we confident that Mr. Neal surrendered all of his firearms? No. Did we have probable cause to search (for them)? No,' Johnston said.___Balsamo reported from Los Angeles.
  • Channel 2 Action News is digging into the impact heroin is having in the community. A child who survived a deadly crash that was fueled by heroin told his story for the first time. Timothy Hood, then 13 years old, and his friends Roland and Isaiah Ward, who were 11 and 9 years old at the time, made a trip to the store one evening in April 2016. “They asked me where I was going and I said I was about to go to the store and they asked if they could come with me,” Timothy said. “He was just walking to the store for a pack of Kool-Aid,” his mother said. Around the same time, Ryan Lisabeth, a long-time heroin addict, made a trip to his dealer in the Bluff. Police said Lisabeth shot up in his car and then drove up on a curb at 42 mph where he hit the three boys, killing Isaiah. Timothy and Roland were severely injured. [READ:Jailhouse phone calls reveal aftermath of deadly heroin-fueled crash] “When we got by the gate, he just stopped … and when we turned around he hit us. It was like boom,” Timothy said.“I wound up falling and when I closed my eyes I just heard people screaming and crying. In my head I’m like, ‘What just happened? Did he hit us?’ and everything just paused.” Timothy and his mother spoke to Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne about the crash. “When I ran up there, Timothy was wrapped around a pole and he didn’t have a pulse,” Teresa Lawrence said. “I went up screaming and I was like, ‘Who did this?’” Timothy shared what he remembered right after the crash. RELATED STORIES: Boy, 9, dies after man strikes 3 kids riding bikes Police: Driver injected heroin minutes before fatal crash in Atlanta Driver sentenced to 30 years in heroin-induced car crash that killed 9-year-old “I saw myself getting up and looking around and I didn’t see anybody, so I just closed my eyes and just stayed down and I tried to open them again, but I couldn’t so I gave up,” he said. “I’m going to be honest, I thought that the world was ending right then and there. He was crumpled up. There was nothing I could do but pray and there was part of me saying he’s gone because everyone kept saying, ‘No pulse,’” Lawrence said. Lisabeth’s attorney said her client doesn't remember much about the deadly crash. “He remembers the very beginning of that drive and then he completely blacked out. Overdosed,” attorney Ashleigh Merchant said. Timothy said he woke up in the hospital and didn’t know where he was. “In the hospital, I was just lost. I didn’t know what happened. I woke up and I didn’t remember anything. I was wondering to myself, like, ‘Where am I?’ and I tried to talk, but my voice was gone,” he said. Authorities say Timothy’s story highlights the grip heroin has on the region. “This is a major problem that, unless we come together, is going to get worse,” Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said. “It happened to Timothy Hood. There is nothing that would keep it from happening to your kid as well.” A transcript shows a prosecutor said Timothy was comatose for three to four weeks and suffered a broken pelvis and leg, vision and hearing problems and traumatic brain injury. “Timothy’s got a long road ahead of him, but he’s here,” Lawrence said. “He’s a walking angel. When you pray to God, you have no limit on what He can do.” Lisabeth pleaded guilty to several charges and is serving 30 years in prison.
  • Two animal-rights activists disrupted the Utah governor's Thanksgiving pardoning of a turkey Tuesday, rushing the podium and shouting as the CEO of a turkey plant spoke to a crowd of mostly children.The two men rushed past Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and the 40-pound turkey named 'Grateful' sitting placidly on a table nearby, demanding to speak to the CEO and shouting 'Show us all the barns!' Video from KUTV showed Herbert's security detail restrained the men and state troopers escorted them away from the afternoon ceremony in Salt Lake City.Utah Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Todd Royce said the two unidentified men were not arrested but cooperated with troopers and left the Capitol.The men were demonstrating a day after activists released undercover photos and video showing injured, cramped, and diseased birds at Norbest turkey plant in Moroni.The group Direct Action Everywhere said the images and including documents showing animals with hepatitis and tumors were horrific.Norbest president and CEO Matt Cook said in a statement to The Salt Lake Tribune that the images were 'disturbing' and said the company's team had ask that farm's to correct violations in the past.Cook, who was speaking when the men rushed the stage Tuesday, said immediately afterward that 'despite what some people may think, we have very clear animal care policies and our growers work very hard to adhere to those.'Herbert did not comment on the incident when he took the stage.Paul Edwards, a spokesman for the Republican governor, said in a statement that Utah expects farmers to meet the highest safety and humane standards.'It's unfortunate that people want to disrupt a fun tradition,' Edwards said, 'but, nonetheless, we appreciate that there are passionate feelings about the serious concerns that have been raised.'Edwards added: 'Norbest has assured us that they have proactively addressed these issues prior to the publicity they have received, and we will be monitoring their progress closely.'___This story has been corrected to show Todd Royce's title is lieutenant, not sergeant.
  • Two firefighters and a paramedic are facing charges after authorities accused them of breaking into a home in Eustis, Florida, Monday night and assaulting the people inside. >> Read more trending news Police said the victim told her husband, the paramedic, that their marriage was over and he had to move out a few weeks ago. Investigators said Michael Amedeo got two of his firefighter friends, Michael Downs and Cody Wages, to help him attacked his estranged wife and her male friend. Investigators said Wages and Downs pushed their way into the home and attacked the man. Police said Amedeo joined in on the attack and the three men allegedly pulled the friend out of the home and beat him up in the yard. The wife tried to call 911, but Amedeo grabbed the phone and threw it, according to police. Amedeo is also facing domestic violence charges. Amedeo is a former Lake County firefighter, but sources told Channel 9 he now works as a paramedic. Wages works for Osceola County Fire Rescue and Downs works for Eustis Fire and Rescue. >> Related: Killer details brutal murder, final minutes of NY jogger in police video The woman’s injuries included a broken hand and bruises, police said. The firefighters have been placed on paid administrative leave. Authorities said the men had been drinking before carrying out the alleged attack.