The year’s five top stories: Big Bird, Al Gore and credit unions
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 at 5:04 am
What do Big Bird and Al Gore have in common? They draw readers to the site in droves. Ditto marijuana and Bank Transfer Day. Here are the five most read stories of the year.
5.) The people want their Big Bird. They want their Car Talk. They want their NPR and PBS. It seems that whenever budget talks get tense in the nation’s Capitol, some fiscal conservative makes a play to defund public broadcasting. This past year was no exception.
Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn led the charge to save taxpayers the $450 million a year that goes to public broadcasting and then turned around and filmed a television spot supporting Rocky Mountain PBS.
4) When Al Gore spoke in Aspen last summer, he didn’t pull any punches, calling out corporate polluters and congressional climate change deniers alike.
The former vice president’s remarks and our coverage of them stirred up a hornet’s nest nationally, with a Fox News talker saying the speech was evidence of Gore’s “dementia.”
3) The story of Bill Smith, a name we made up for Chaz Moore, a Colorado Springs high school student, caught the fancy of more than just Colorado Independent readers.
Smith has a rare disorder that causes his whole upper body to go into convulsions that can sometimes last for hours. He spent much of the year in hospitals and missed most of a year of school before his doctors recommended cannabis. Today if he sucks a cannabis lozenge when he feels an attack coming on the severity and length of the attack is greatly reduced.
We wrote about Smith numerous times throughout the year, but the story that made the top 10 was one in which we reported that his school, which had already forbidden him from bringing his medicine to school, had gone a step further and told him he couldn’t come back to school after taking his medicine.
The school district later relented and said he could come back to school after medicating.
As Smith’s fame grew with television interviews and speaking engagements, he allowed his real name to be used, and the name Bill Smith is now used as something of a rallying cry for medical cannabis users.
2) When the Montana House voted to repeal that state’s voter-passed medical marijuana laws, people in Colorado noticed.
We took that as a sign that what happens in other medical marijuana states could affect what happens here and that people who care about medical marijuana laws and their implementation in Colorado also care about how such laws are handled elsewhere.
1) Hands down, the most read story of the year was “14,000 Coloradans move $100m into credit unions.”
As we like to say in this business, it went viral in a big way, getting Facebooked like crazy. The Occupy Wall Street/Occupy Denver movement touched a nerve in this country and in Colorado. People aren’t happy with corporate America or with banks that are too big to fail and they began voting with their money even before Bank Transfer Day.