2017 has been an unpredictable year, and the list of most read stories on our site is no different.
Some of them got their spike in traffic from fake news swirling around the internet (more on that later). Others are years old. One of them has to do with a religious theme park (okay, maybe it's not so surprising that that made the list).
Without further ado:
1. Marijuana Legalized for Fun in 4 More States and Medicine in 4 Others
No, eight more states didn't legalize marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes this year. This story is actually from last year's election, but people couldn't get enough of it.
2. Trump Leaves Obama's Last-Minute Child Support Rule Alone
Every word of this story from January is real, but it received a big bump in traffic in September after a fake news website falsely claimed that President Trump would end child support in 2018. The fake news spurred Google searches of the terms "Trump" and "child support," which led users to our story on that topic.
3. No Help From Noah: The County That Banked on a Religious Theme Park to Solve Its Money Problems
Facing bankruptcy, Grant County, Ky., invested in the park hoping for a new revenue source. But cash had yet to start flooding in. Read more.
4. Meet the Mayor Who Used Millennials to Revive Her Small Town
(Wikimedia Commons/Brian Stansberry)
For more than a century, the small town of Erwin, Tenn., has had a strange and rather morbid claim to fame: In 1916, a five-ton circus elephant named Mary was publicly executed there after killing her trainer during a parade. Thousands of people gathered to watch as Mary was brutally hanged from one of the huge derricks used to move equipment near the railroad.
“That event has been a stigma on this county for more than 100 years,” says Erwin Mayor Doris Hensley. “[But] the young people living here decided it was time to change our image.” Read more.
5. How Did America's Richest State Become Such a Fiscal Mess?
Connecticut is home to many wealthy residents. Its state government, on the other hand, is feeling the consequences of what some call "two decades of bad decisions." Read more.
6. 2016’s Top Legislative Issues to Watch
It's anyone's guess why so many people wanted to read our old list of issues to watch. Maybe they wanted to see how our predictions from last year fared? Maybe they have trouble adjusting to a new year on the calendar?
7. The States That Spend the Most (and the Least) on Education
(TNS/Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune)
Keep in mind that this story is from 2016 and the data is from 2014.
8. 13 Issues for States to Watch in 2017
Now this makes sense. These were our legislative predictions for this year. How did we do?
9. 2017-2018 Governors' Races: Where Power Is Most and Least Likely to Flip
10. The Pros and Cons of Privatizing Government Functions
(FlickrCC/John W. Iwanski)
This is the story that keeps on giving. It's no stranger to our most read list, even though it's from 2010.