The most read stories of 2017
Each year, we here at KTVA.com like to round up the stories that had the biggest impact on our readers. This year, the most-read stories on our website cover myriad topics, from bad behavior at school, a standoff with law enforcement that ended badly and a deadly year of bear encounters.
Here are the 11 most-read stories of 2017 on KTVA.com:
An Anchorage School District spokesperson says inappropriate dancing was not tolerated at this year’s homecoming dance at South Anchorage High School, but students who were there say it’s what happened after the principal warned students that ultimately brought the evening to an early end.
Both lanes of the Seward Highway at Beluga Point closed for 12 hours overnight in early-April due to a standoff between law enforcement and a "distraught male who fired gunshots and threatened a citizen." The distraught male, who was later identified as 36-year-old Kevin Thibodeau, was said to be a suspect in two recent cases, Alaska State Troopers said at the time.
Authorities were never able to locate Thibodeau that night, but days later, a body was found in the water; troopers identified the body as Thibodeau.
The standoff highlighted public safety concerns as troopers were just weeks away from halting regular patrols along the Seward Highway.
A man "dancing around waving a gun" closed the Seward Highway days later.
Back in January, a popular sports complex had to be evacuated after heavy snow caused the structure to slowly collapse. Now, almost a year later, The Dome is looking to reopen its doors.
A story out of Kentucky resonated with Alaskans to not judge a book by its cover.
On January 6, five people were killed and eight were wounded after a lone suspect opened fire at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport.
The man arrested in connection with the shooting was determined to be Anchorage resident Esteban Santiago-Ruiz.
A dead humpback whale was found on the bow of a ship arriving in Ketchikan in early-August.
Later in the month, a humpback whale became entangled in a small cruise ship's anchor chain near a Southeast Alaska fjord.
Kenneth Manzanares is accused of killing his wife, Kristy, during a domestic dispute aboard the Emerald Princess cruise ship off the coast of Alaska in late-July. The couple was celebrating their wedding anniversary with their children in tow. A witness reported seeing Kenneth bruised, cut and covered in blood on the balcony of his stateroom. Another witness says when they asked Kenneth what happened, he replied, "She would not stop laughing at me".
Kenneth has pleaded not guilty in his wife's murder.
4 - Summer of the bears
It was a dangerous summer in Alaska when it came to bear encounters.
A group of hikers was injured after an encounter with a grizzly bear at the Eagle River campground in mid-June. None of the injuries were life-threatening.
A 16-year-old boy was killed by a "predatory" black bear while running the Bird Ridge Junior Division Race in June. Patrick Cooper's death prompted conversations about runner safety and caused the organizers of the Crow Pass Crossing race, a 24-mile mountain run from Girdwood to Eagle River, to be canceled.
Just two days later, a newlywed and Anchorage resident, 27-year-old Erin Johnson, was killed by a bear while working as a contract employee at the Pogo Mine. A spokesperson for her company said in the following days that Johnson and her coworker, Ellen Trainor, who was injured in the attack, were stalked by the bear.
Then, a pair of cyclists encountered a bear and her cub on JBER near Clunie Lake. One of the cyclists was "knocked down and roughed up" but didn't sustain life-threatening injuries.
In late-April, "a group of unruly teenagers were [sic] fighting inside the store; breaking merchandise and even one urinating in the aisles," according to Anchorage Police. Another employee suffered a broken orbital socket after being punched in the face. At one point, one of the teens pulled a gun and shot a store employee. APD arrested an 18-year-old for the shooting.
Alaskans responded to the incident in droves, one saying, "This is not Alaska behavior."
Early in the summer, the Ohio Attorney General made a plea to Alaskans for information regarding the Wagner family, who were the focus of an investigation into the execution-style killings of eight members of the Rhoden family in Pike County, Ohio, in 2016.
A Kenai man answered the call after recognizing the family in news reports.
Later, an attorney for the Wagner family said the Ohio Attorney General was harassing the family.
1 - Alaskans among deceased, injured in Las Vegas shooting
A gunman perched high on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas Strip casino unleashed a shower of bullets down on an outdoor country music festival below, killing at least 59 people and wounding more than 527 as thousands of frantic concert-goers screamed and ran for their lives.
Among the deceased were two Alaskans: Adrian Murfitt and Dorene Anderson, both of Anchorage.
A North Pole realtor, Robert McIntosh, was shot four times, including three shots to the chest.
Murfitt, a Dimond High School grad and hockey player, spent the summer commercial fishing in Bristol Bay. He's believed to be one of the first victims, and his friend and fellow concertgoer says Murfitt died in his arms.
After learning one of their employees lost their mother in the shooting, Moose's Tooth held a fundraiser for the Anderson family-- which set sales records for the pizza parlor.
Copyright 2017 KTVA. All rights reserved.