With 2023 upon us, everyone is brainstorming their New Year’s resolutions and trying to decide how to ring in the new year. At the same time, many reflect on the year past and what it held – the good, the bad, and the downright strange.
To join in those reflections, we’ve compiled the most-viewed articles of 2022, month by month. In a series of three articles, we’ll look back on the year that was and the things that piqued our readers’ interests, with curated lists of those articles Kingstonist has published that saw the most readers turning to their screens for more information.
As 2022 began, many were eager to say goodbye to 2021 and 2020 – and, more importantly, to the pandemic. But the end of COVID-19 wasn’t in the cards, and the virus continued to make headlines. On January 24, 2022, then-MPP Randy Hillier made sure of that when he falsely blamed “domestic terrorism” and “supply chain shorting” for empty grocery stores, assertions viewed by many Kingstonist readers.
But the pandemic did not result only in ‘bad news.’ On January 14, an article examining the new and innovative dining options here in Kingston – many of which were brought about by the pandemic – led local readers to find out more and tempt their tastebuds in the process.
As is often the case, the most shocking stories of the month saw the most readers tuning in:
The first homicide of 2022 occurred when David “Jaeger” Hodgson was stabbed to death in the parking lot of the Integrated Care Hub on January 10; Roy Douglas Snyder was arrested and charged with first degree murder the following day. (Readers who viewed this story, and others, can follow the currently ongoing preliminary hearing of Snyder’s case here: Days 1 and 2; Days 3 and 4.)
After multiple local homeowners and businesses reported having contracted – and prepaid for – snow removal services that were not provided, a local man was investigated by police. Follow-up inquiries from Kingstonist found that no charges were laid, as the incidents were all considered “civil matters.”
In a change of pace, Kingstonians clicked to read more about something lighter and brighter: news of an interactive installation of glowing seesaws that played music during use (as well as the delayed installation of them) had people excited over the unique and COVID-friendly outdoor feature.
A story about a family in Roblin losing their homeowner’s insurance because they owned a rescue dog had the most reads in January 2022, as readers tried to wrap their minds around the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the situation.
A young male from Amherstview who went missing in late February had readers clicking for all the right reasons: residents of Kingston, Loyalist Township, Frontenac County, and Lennox and Addington County were all on high alert in the hopes of locating the 13-year-old. The urgent story had a much-welcomed happy ending, however, when Tilden Connaster was located on the night of Thursday, Mar. 3, 2022.
In terms of crime and police coverage, stories about an ongoing investigation into a camper who was found deceased in Central Frontenac, a community safety notice due to the release of a high-risk offender locally, an Odessa driver charged after police stopped a slow-moving vehicle, and a Kingston man charged after a fatal collision tragically killed a St. Lawrence College student all received the highest numbers of views.
The story of an unlicensed dog kennel in Lennox and Addington, which drew concern from local residents, led to widely differing reactions from readers, including those directly involved. A “slow-roll” convoy in downtown Kingston which drew counter-protestors out to block the vehicles was also of interest to many locally, and the community rallying around a young girl hospitalized due to a medical mystery had readers throughout KFL&A sending their support and good vibes to 13-year-old Isabella “Bella” Bush.
Lastly, the community reeled with heartbreak after the tragic death of a grade five student at Mother Teresa Catholic School. The young girl died of injuries incurred after she was struck by a vehicle outside of her school just after classes ended for the day.
Two serious incidents that saw police close off roadways and subsequent investigations ensue caught the attention of readers in early March 2022, especially since they happened in tandem. On Saturday, Mar. 5, 2022, Kingston Police closed off the Daly Street and Weller Avenue area after a serious assault occurred there. James Michael Earley, 47, of Kingston was arrested that night in connection with the incident. The charges against Earley were later upgraded after the victim of the assault passed away.
The same night, a male barricaded himself inside a Mowat Avenue residence, resulting in further street closures. That incident, which began at approximately 3:30 p.m., came to an end just before 1:30 a.m. the following day, when the man was taken into police custody.
A male in a vehicle approaching female pedestrians in the University District on multiple occasions prompted Kingston Police to warn the public of these incidents, something over 10,000 readers learned through Kingstonist. Further in crime and punishment, a Kingston woman was charged following a road rage incident on Yonge Street that police said occurred over a parking dispute in late March, and two Ottawa teens were charged with attempted murder after a stabbing occurred in a west-end park on the night of St. Patrick’s Day.
In one of the odder stories of the year, Kingston Police issued notice that they were seeking public assistance because they believed a female civilian had picked up a magazine (ammunition storage device) for a firearm. The magazine, police said, had “dislodged and fallen to the pavement” during St. Patrick’s Day street parties in the University District. Police updated the media the following day to say the magazine had been recovered and the female earlier suspected of having it in her possession was “no longer a person of interest.” Further inquiries to Kingston Police from Kingstonist found that the female had, in fact, been picking up one of her own belongings that she had dropped. The entire investigation centred around the assault of a Kingston Police officer during the rowdy St. Patrick’s Day events. While police eventually verified that the gun magazine had never actually been in possession of the female civilian – whose photos they had widely circulated – that did not happen until over 12,000 readers had already been following the story.
Sadly, the death of a 22-year-old man from Verona made news in March when Daniel van Heyst was killed in a workplace incident in Oshawa on March 16. He was working for the Kingston-based company Eco Tree Care, removing trees for the Municipality of Oshawa, when an incident involving a wood chipper led to his untimely death, something Kingstonist readers mourned virtually together.
Although the incident occurred near the end of the month, our most read headlines in April 2022 centred on the tragic deaths of four cadets from the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC).
Just after 2 a.m. on Friday, Apr. 29, 2022, a vehicle carrying four people, including the driver, entered the waters off Point Frederick. The cause of the vehicle entering the water remains unknown. While police initially confirmed only that all four people in the vehicle were members of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Department of National Defence confirmed later that day that the four were cadets at RMC; RMC itself later shared that the cadets — Officer Cadet Jack Hogarth, Officer Cadet Andrei Honciu, Officer Cadet Broden Murphy, and Officer Cadet Andrés Salek – were “on the cusp of graduating.”
In crime and police coverage, an incident on April 26 involving one person barricading themselves inside a building at Queen’s University’s An Clachan residence saw police requesting that the public avoid the area on their commute home that day. Similarly, many readers followed along as Kingston Police asked the public to be on the lookout for the suspect in a murder case; over 20,000 readers were relieved to hear that the suspect, John McKenna, had been arrested in the murder of a 29-year-old man on the morning of Saturday, Apr. 9, 2022.
One of the odder pieces of news in the month happened when two local residents claimed to have found their own vehicle – which had earlier been stolen – at a local scrap yard.
And we include this final most-viewed article as an opportunity to thank our intrepid writer and Assistant Editor Jessica Foley. Among the countless ways Jessica helps Kingstonist operate, one thing she does that our readers particularly appreciate is compile the ‘open and closed’ listings we publish at every holiday. On Easter weekend 2022, over 14,000 readers consulted our ‘What’s open and closed in Kingston for Easter 2022’ article to find out what would be open or closed throughout the holiday weekend or to quickly check before running out to a store for a last-minute item. We on the Kingstonist team also say a sincere thank you to Jess for that article and others like it – like everyone else, we find ourselves referring to the holiday closure listings often!