Year in review: our top Idaho web stories of 2021
If 2021 has taught me anything, it's this: stop putting so much pressure on a new year. And I mean that to be more realistic than pessimistic, so hear me out.
Of course there were moments of resilience and stories of triumph in 2021, but they didn't always trend as high or reach as many people as the ones on vaccines, variants, supply chain woes, labor shortages... you get the idea.
And the same holds true for our top 10 most-viewed web stories on boisestatepublicradio.org – these stories are heavy. But they're also important and incredibly impactful. And in a year that started under the shadow of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, perhaps it's fitting.
What were some of your favorites from 2021? Maybe they can add a lightness and a dash of hope to our top 10 below:
On Sept. 16, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen authorized hospitals statewide to use crisis standards of care if needed as many struggled under the weight of an influx of COVID-19 patients.
In October, Idaho Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin issued executive orders regarding COVID-19 vaccinations and mandatory testing while Governor Brad Little was out of state. She made a similar move in May when she banned mask mandates while Little traveled to a different state.
Lisa Leisy, who was serving as Power County Chair for Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin’s gubernatorial run, tweeted and then deleted that she “doesn’t support” a Hershey’s chocolate commercial featuring a Black family. We captured the tweet before it was deleted.
On the afternoon of Monday, Oct. 25 a 27-year-old man opened fire at the Boise Towne Square mall, killing two people and injuring four others before exchanging gunfire with police.
Fatal drug overdoses are skyrocketing, driven by synthetic opioids like fentanyl. The potentially deadly drug has made it to the Mountain West – the last part of the U.S. to face the brunt of the opioid crisis. Our Mountain West News Bureau reporter Madelyn Beck covered the topic in a four-story series.
- #5: Rep. Giddings faces ethics investigation over publicizing information of woman who reported being raped
Back in April, Republican Representative Priscilla Giddings of Whitebird – who is running for lieutenant governor – drew widespread condemnation for posting a link that included the name and photo of a 19-year-old woman who accused then-Representative Aaron Von Ehlinger of rape. We reported the results of her ethics hearing this past November.
The week before Idaho health officials activated statewide crisis standards of care, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare first activated the standards for two public health districts in North Idaho due to a “severe shortage of staffing and available beds.”
Ada County Commissioners interviewed three doctors in August to fill the open seat on a regional health board left by Dr. Ted Epperley, who commissioners informed in June he would not be retained. Dr. Ryan Cole, one of the three doctors interviewed, had repeatedly spread misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. The board would later go on to select Cole to fill the seat, despite his sensational comments.
In the culmination of what was one of the most-talked about stories out of the Idaho legislature this year, Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger (R-Lewiston) resigned following a scathing two-day hearing by the House ethics committee over allegations he raped a 19-year-old intern.
And in our most-viewed viral story of 2021, our Mountain West News Bureau obtained documents that showed Montana's newly-elected Republican governor had violated state hunting regulations when he trapped and shot a collared wolf near Yellowstone National Park in February.