Top 5 online news stories of 2020 | TheUnion.com
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Top 5 online news stories of 2020

Samantha Sullivan | Digital Engagement Editor

There isn’t much to say about 2020 that hasn’t already been said. From the coronavirus to the Jones Fire to protests in the streets, this has been a turbulent year for Nevada County residents.

The following five news stories received the most page views online this year.

1. Nevada County Public Health reports first confirmed case of COVID-19



In March, Nevada County Public Health reported the first case of COVID-19 had been confirmed in an adult residing in eastern Nevada County.

The person, who was not identified, had acquired COVID-19 through international travel. The person, along with members of their household, went into quarantine. Nevada County Public Health reported the person was “not out in the community while ill.”



“Our team has been planning to see COVID-19 in Nevada County and we have been working with local partners such as local health providers, schools, and business community to prepare,” said Nevada County Public Health Officer Dr. Ken Cutler at the time. “We have seen how the virus has been transmitted through the community in other states and in parts of California, and we recommend the public prepare for community transmission in Nevada County, unrelated to this case, as well.”

Gov. Gavin Newson ordered the first state-wide stay-at-home order a few days after Nevada County’s first confirmed coronavirus case.

Read the full story here.

2. Jones Fire prompts evacuations west of Nevada City, closure of section of Highway 49

The Jones Fire burned 705 acres, destroyed 21 structures — including the Sierra Streams Institute’s laboratory and office space — and caused the evacuation of thousands of people.

A Single Engine Air Tanker drops a load of retardant on the fire.
John Hart

The fire also destroyed many areas of the Independence Trail, including several wooden flumes, the overlook platform, benches, handrails and the Rush Creek Ramp.

Essential structures lost in the Jones Fire, including the wooden flumes, overlook platform, benches, handrails and the Rush Creek Ramp, will be revisioned.
Elias Funez

The fire was first reported before 3 a.m. Monday, Aug. 17, in the South Yuba Canyon, according to the Nevada County Office of Emergency Services. It was declared 100% contained on Aug. 28.

Read the full story here.

3. Nevada City opens investigation into ‘outrageous’ actions during march

Locals clashed in August during a Black Lives Matter march in Nevada City, where counter-protesters confronted demonstrators.

The march erupted into violence which resulted in three arrests and national headlines.

Nevada City Police Chief Chad Ellis called the actions of the counter-protesters “outrageous” and decried any violent actions made “under the guise of Back the Blue.”

A group of men engage with Black Lives Matter protesters Aug. 9 along Broad Street, where they tried to block the protesters. Three people face charges in connection with the event.
Video still courtesy Josh Wolf

Read the full story here.

4. Alexandra Tara Reade discusses her sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden

In April 2019, Nevada County resident Alexandra Tara Reade alleged President-elect Joe Biden touched her inappropriately while working in his U.S. Senate office in the early 1990s. In May 2020 she told The Union that Biden sexually assaulted her.

Tara Reade
Associated Press

Reade made national headlines earlier this year when she said Biden cornered her, put his hand under her clothes and penetrated her.

“Just that objectification,” Reade said in the story. “Not so much objectification, just there for his pleasure. Period. But it’s sexual assault. What he did to me was a sexual assault.”

Read the full story here.

5. UPDATE: Grass Valley police arrest seven men on murder charge

In November, a marijuana deal gone bad ended with a woman on life support and seven men in custody on murder charges.

According to authorities, the suspects tried to purchase a “significant” amount of marijuana with fake money on Nov. 7 and a confrontation ensued. The would-be buyers fled in an undetermined number of vehicles and two people began chasing them up Rough and Ready Highway into Grass Valley. Shots were fired and one struck Shanta Olsen (who was taken off life support on Nov. 13). Grass Valley police detectives tracked the suspects to a Davis hotel and arrested them three days later.

Authorities said William Levise, 31; Trey Rondal Richard, 22; Ronney Turner, 31; Juan Jerome McHenry, 31; Devon Deontae Jennings, 21; and Laderrick Timothy Wynn, 20, all of Dallas, Texas; along with Dakari Mondell Harris, 22, of Shreveport, Louisiana, were booked into custody on charges of murder, criminal conspiracy and grand theft at the time. Richard is currently the only one facing a murder charge.

Read the full story here.


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