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Here are The Salt Lake Tribune’s most-read stories of 2020

List includes everything from the desert obelisk to this summer’s protests to the pandemic.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brandon McCormick was beat up by protesters after allegedly brandishing a bow and arrow, after driving his car into the crowd, Saturday, May 30, 2020.

In 2020, you turned to The Salt Lake Tribune for news and information on the coronavirus, the earthquake, civil rights protests and local and state elections.

You also went beyond the news of the day. You read about the state’s “troubled teen” industry, the loss of prominent Utahns and a mysterious sculpture in the desert. As we close the door on 2020, we are sharing a look back at the stories that drew the most online readers.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Friends Julia Stark, left, and Sophie Gordon join other students protesting outside the student center at Brigham Young University in Provo, Wednesday, March 4, 2020, after an official with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a clarification to the school's Honor Code, which said that same-sex romantic behavior is still "not compatible" with the rules at BYU.

15. After BYU Honor Code change, LDS Church now says same-sex relationships are ‘not compatible’ with the faith’s rules — by Courtney Tanner, Erin Alberty and Peggy Fletcher Stack

Despite removing the section on “homosexual behavior” from its Honor Code last month in April, The LDS Church clarified in March that same-sex romantic behavior is still “not compatible” with BYU rules. The announcement came after weeks of questions about the change and after LGBTQ students had celebrated what they hoped it meant. Many said they recently came out as gay only because they believed — and were told by some Honor Code staff — that the school and faith now allowed it. [Read the full story here.]

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Hoang Ha selects groceries for a customer May 20, 2020. Ha created Neighbors Helping Neighbors, connecting volunteers to people who need food, prescriptions, supplies and books delivered during COVID-19.

14. So you have your groceries. Here’s how to make them safe amid the coronavirus — by Kathy Stephenson

One of the earliest questions Utahns had when the pandemic hit was, “Can I get the coronavirus by touching the boxes, bottles and bags I buy at the grocery store?” We rounded up the best ways to protect you, your family, your food and others while you shop. [Read the full story here.]

Young people who say they were abused at Provo Canyon School. Top row l-r: Sarah Stevenson, Elizabeth Abeyesekera, Kylee Havey and Kayla Smith. bottom l-r: Aaron Morris, Kyra Lewis, Jen Robison and Jeremy Whiteley

13. Provo Canyon School’s history of abuse accusations spans decades, far beyond Paris Hilton — by Jessica Miller

When Paris Hilton went public with allegations she was physically and mentally abused at Provo Canyon School in the 1990s, the treatment facility’s owner brushed it off. Hilton isn’t the only one criticizing the organization. Eight former students whose stays spanned decades shared their experiences with The Salt Lake Tribune. [Read the full story here.]

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Bricks that fell from the facade of Red Rooster Records in Magna after last week's earthquake, as seen on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

12. Utah’s big earthquake: Buildings damaged, but no major injuries, as state braces for days of aftershocks — by The Salt Lake Tribune staff

A magnitude 5.7 earthquake struck Magna at 7:09 a.m. on March 18, shaking homes from Logan down to Utah County. It was the state’s largest since a 1992 earthquake in St. George. One person died, and there were power outages, gas leaks and a chemical spill. [Read the full story here.]

(Photo courtesy of Save the Kids) Collin Kartchner, founder of the Utah-based advocacy group Save the Kids, died Oct. 21, 2020, at the age of 39.

11. Collin Kartchner, Utah advocate for keeping kids away from social media, dies at 40 — by Sean P. Means

The Utah videographer, who transformed his satirical Instagram account into a national campaign to urge parents to keep their children away from social media, died Oct. 21 from “natural causes” that his wife said were unclear. [Read the full story here.]

President Donald Trump addresses the crowd at a campaign event at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020, in Latrobe, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

10. Trump’s ‘plane loaded with thugs’ appears to be a Salt Lake City flight with Black Lives Matter protesters — by Bryan Schott

President Donald Trump raised some eyebrows in September when he stated a plane “loaded with thugs wearing dark uniforms” flew into Washington, D.C.. It was part of his claim that shadowy groups were controlling Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. It turned out this conspiracy theory had a connection to Salt Lake City. [Read the full story here.]

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Angry residents react when the Utah County Commission meeting was adjourned before it even started, Wednesday, July 15, 2020, in Provo, Utah.

9. In separate rallies, Utahns protest mask mandate and demand in-person classes — by Courtney Tanner

In July and as the state reported 30,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, Utahns gathered for multiple rallies, demanding the mandate requiring all K-12 students to wear a face covering be lifted. At a Utah County Commission meeting, mostly-maskless protestors packed in a small room for more than two hours. [Read the full story here.]

(photo courtesy Intermountain Healthcare) Hospital staff at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray care for patients with COVID-19 on June 9, 2020.

8. Utah’s hospitals prepare to ration care as a record number of coronavirus patients flood their ICUs — by Erin Alberty and Sean P. Means

Under the rationing plan, which would have required Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s approval, patients who were getting worse despite receiving intensive care would be moved out first. In the event that two patients’ conditions are equal, the young would have gotten priority over the old. [Read the full story here.]

(Photo courtesy of the Paramount Network) Kevin Costner stars in the made-in-Utah TV series "Yellowstone."

7. ‘Yellowstone’ actors say they’ll miss Utah — but the ‘incredibly messed up’ family drama will go on — by Scott D. Pierce

Utah’s limited film incentives budget meant that the state couldn’t offer “Yellowstone” the same rebate it did for the first three seasons. Producers also said they believe they stand a better chance of isolating the cast and crew from the COVID-19 outbreak in sparsely populated Montana. [Read the full story here.]

(Screenshot via Salt Lake City Police Department/YouTube) A screengrab from body camera footage shows the interaction between police and Linden Cameron, a 13-year-old boy with autism, on Sept. 4, 2020. Cameron was shot multiple times as police were called near 500 South and Navajo Street to help with what officials have called a “violent psych issue.”

6. Bodycam shows Salt Lake City police shooting 13-year-old boy with autism — by Jessica Miller

In the body cam footage, 13-year-old Linden Cameron can be heard saying “I don’t feel good. Tell my mom I love her.” [Read the full story here.]

5. Woman speaks out on physical, mental state of her sister Holly Courtier as she was found at Zion National Park — by Alex Vejar

Holly Courtier’s sister said the hiker had lost between 15 and 18 pounds after not eating or drinking for 12 days, and that she thought Courtier “had a mental breakdown and was not in the right state of mind when she decided to take this journey and not tell people where she was going.” [Read the full story here.]

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) The cardio room is open at the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center, Saturday, May 16, 2020.

4. How the coronavirus spreads in those everyday places we visit — by Andy Larsen

Shortly after we learned about superspreading events, The Tribune’s Jazz-writer-turned-data-analyst dug through research to find out how likely we were to catch the coronavirus at work, school, church, bars, gyms and more. [Read the full story here.]

(Zak Podmore | The Salt Lake Tribune) A view of the obelisk from the slot canyon above on Nov. 25, 2020.

3. Utah’s desert obelisk has disappeared — by Sara Tabin, Brian Maffly and Zak Podmore

The tower of stainless steel found in a remote alcove in San Juan County disappeared barely a week after it was first spotted. The Salt Lake Tribune went to the former location and all that was left was a triangular metal piece that used to be on top and a hole where the base of the tower stood. [Read the full story here.]

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brandon McCormick was beaten up by protesters for allegedly brandishing a bow and arrow, after driving his car into the crowd, Saturday, May 30, 2020.

2. Man who drew bow and arrow on Salt Lake City protesters is in jail, charged with three felonies — by Nate Carlisle

Brandon E. McCormick said he showed up at the downtown protest May 30, armed with a bow and arrow, to protect police from unruly demonstrators. Now the 57-year-old Taylorsville man, who has spent nearly two decades of his life behind bars in California and once was convicted of battery against a public safety officer, faces three felony counts. [Read the full story here.]

(Photo courtesy of Logan Police Department) Pictured is former Officer Miguel Deras.

1. University of Utah police officer showed off explicit photos of Lauren McCluskey to his co-worker — by Courtney Tanner

A year and a half after Lauren McCluskey first brought extortion concerns to the University of Utah Police Department, the college confirmed then-officer Miguel Deras showed explicit photos of McCluskey to a co-worker. The university said it didn’t know about the abuse of evidence until after Deras left the department in September 2019. Officials looked into it, said U. police Lt. Jason Hinojosa, because The Tribune’s records request first brought it to their attention. [Read the full story here.]

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