Year in Review: 2021’s most-clicked stories on counton2.com

Top Stories

View the top ten list under the story below.

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD)- 2021 has officially come and gone and it was packed full of local news.

Merely six days after the start of the new year, pro-Trump protestors stormed the US Capitol building in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election. We watched as the aftermath of the insurrection trickled down to South Carolina as FBI agents worked to track down South Carolinians that might have been involved.

As the country continued to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, Americans who had lost their jobs turned to unemployment insurance for help. In February, we followed the story of a Charleston woman who was arrested for unemployment insurance fraud after using a stolen identity to file claims between March and June of 2020.

The virus raged on, but in March, Governor Henry McMaster rescinded the restaurant mask mandate that had been in place since the start of the pandemic. It was around this time that most Americans started to become eligible for the vaccine.

In April we learned about a Charleston business owner who was arrested for tax evasion. Warrants showed the 44-year-old woman was accused of failing to report more than half a million dollars on income tax returns over a three-year period and more than $300,000 in gross sales on monthly tax returns over four years.

By May 1, every American adult became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Later that month, a record-breaking container ship arrived in Charleston Harbor. The 1,300 foot Marco Polo is the largest ship to ever call SC Ports.

Then tragedy struck. A sleepy South Carolina town was rocked by the brutal double homicide of two members of the prominent Murdaugh family. Maggie and Paul Murdaugh were murdered at their Beaufort property on June 7th, 2021. What everyone didn’t know was that the investigations into the double homicide would uncover a trail of corruption by the family patriarch, Alex Murdaugh.

We had a brush with the tropics as Hurricane Elsa made landfall on the northern Florida Gulf coast and trekked across the Lowcountry in July.

The Tokyo Olympics kicked off in late summer and Summerville’s own Raven Saunders brought home a silver medal in shot put. She gained national attention when she stepped off the podium during the medal ceremony photo-op, lifted her arms above her head, and formed an “X” with her wrists. Asked what that meant, she explained: ”It’s the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet.” Days later, triumph met tragedy when Saunders unexpectedly lost her mother.

The following months were met with constant new revelations in the Murdaugh Investigation including a botched suicide attempt, insurance fraud, financial crimes, and more.

In October, we learned a Lexington elementary school teacher was arrested after a student allegedly found and took a pack of marijuana gummies from a classroom prize box.

As the year came to a close, South Carolina grappled with federal vaccine mandate challenges, crippling supply chain issues, and a new wave of the pandemic.

While these stories gained much attention in 2021, we gathered the top 10 most clicked stories on counton2.com; these are the stories that received the most views over the past year. Some may even surprise you.

TOP TEN MOST CLICKED ON STORIES ON COUNTON2.COM IN 2021

10. Gov. McMaster rescinds mask requirement in restaurants

After having been in place for a year, Governor Henry McMaster issued an executive order to rescind the mask requirement in restaurants. Under the new order, neither employees nor customers were required by state law to wear masks in restaurants, although it was still “recommended.”

9. Counties with highest COVID-19 infection rates in South Carolina

Stacker compiled a list of the counties with the highest COVID-19 infection rates in South Carolina using data from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. At the time of publication, Union County had the highest COVID-19 infection rate followed by Chesterfield County, McCormick County, Oconee County, and Abbeville County.

8. Where people in Charleston are moving to most

Stacker compiled a list of where people in Charleston are moving to most using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The most popular place for Charlestonians to move was Columbia, S.C. followed by Greenville, S.C., and Charlotte, N.C.

7. NBC’s ‘Dateline’ to speak with Satterfield family, reveal new information in Stephen Smith case

In October, members of Gloria Satterfield’s family spoke with NBC’s Craig Melvin during a special episode of ‘Dateline.’ Satterfield was a housekeeper for the Murdaugh’s who died after a fall at the family’s property in 2018. The ‘Dateline’ episode was the first time Satterfield’s brother and sister spoke out about her death.

6. South Carolina teacher arrested after student takes marijuana gummies from prize box in classroom, sheriff says

27-year-old Lexington County schoolteacher, Victoria Farish Weiss, was arrested after a student at Rocky Creek Elementary School allegedly found and took a pack of marijuana edible gummies from a classroom prize box that was used to reward students. Weiss turned herself in days after the investigation began.

5. Record-breaking container ship, Marco Polo, arrives in Charleston on Friday

A container ship with an overall length of 1,300 feet and a capacity of 16,022 TEU called the east coast, making a stop in Charleston. The Marco Polo was the largest mega container ship to ever call SC Ports and Charleston was the last port of call before it headed overseas. Viewers could watch the ship’s arrival from many locations including Mt. Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park, the SC Aquarium, and the Ravenel Bridge.

4. 13 alleged members of Lowcountry gang charged for drug, firearm conspiracies

Back in September, a multi-agency team of state and local law enforcement officers announced they had brought charges against thirteen individuals as part of “Operation Cash Out.” The months-long investigation into gang activity in the Lowcountry targeted alleged members of the ‘West Cash’ street gang.

3. SLED: Alex Murdaugh orchestrated own shooting for $10M life insurance policy, Walterboro man arrested for assisting

Yet another shocking revelation in the Murdaugh saga came after prominent lawyer Alex Murdaugh was allegedly shot in the head on the side of a Hampton County road during Labor Day Weekend. Investigators announced Murdaugh had orchestrated his own shooting so his son could collect a $10 million life insurance policy. Curtis “Eddie” Smith was arrested and charged with assisted suicide, assault, and battery of a high aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud, and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.

2. WANTED: South Carolina woman accused of strategically stealing hoverboard from Walmart

York County Sheriff’s asked for the public’s help identifying a woman who they said strategically stole a hoverboard from a Clover Walmart. According to deputies, According to deputies, the woman purchased groceries and a single hoverboard from Walmart and left the store. She placed the purchases in a blue compact vehicle, put on a dark-colored jacket, a face mask and put her hair in a ponytail and re-entered the store, and stole a black hoverboard. When confronted by store employees, she presented the receipt for the legally-purchased hoverboard.

  1. Mother of local Olympian Raven Saunders has died, family says

Summerville native, Raven Saunders, mourned the loss of her mother just days after bringing home a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

Honorable Mentions:

11. South Carolina man found dead in his home with hands and feet boundREAD MORE

12. South Carolina woman threw chicken sandwich in KFC drive-thru windowREAD MORE

13. PHOTO: Large snake found in floodwaters of Horry CountyREAD MORE

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