The top 10 stories of the year about to pass included an area-wide power outage, personnel moves within a local school district, vehicle accidents and the case of a local man facing charges of murder and arson.
The stories, other than letters to the editor, obituaries and follow-up articles, are chosen according to the number of hits the articles received on the newspaper's web page.
Here are numbers one through five, along with the date the most viewed story ran and total pageviews:
1. (Jan. 31, 2012; 4,444 pageviews) Also in January, a local man who was arrested for his alleged involvement in a deadly October 2011 house fire made his first appearance in Bourbon County District Court. Brent Bollinger, appeared via video, and his lawyer, former Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison, as well as prosecutors in the case, Bourbon County Attorney Terri Johnson and Assistant Kansas Attorney General Kristiane Bryant, were present for the initial proceeding before District Magistrate Judge Rebecca Stephan.
The first of a planned series of pretrial motion hearings took place Nov. 29 before Bourbon County District Judge Mark Ward. Bollinger was bound over for trial following a two-day preliminary hearing in July.
He faces charges of murder and arson in connection with the deadly house fire. Bollinger's wife, Brenna, died in the blaze. Bollinger and his young son, Bryson, survived and were flown to hospitals with critical burns.
Another hearing for the next series of pretrial motions is scheduled for 9 a.m. March 6. Bollinger was arraigned before Ward in September and pleaded not guilty to the alleged crimes.
He remains in the Southeast Kansas Regional Correctional Center on a $1 million cash surety bond.
2. (Jan. 21, 2012; 3,314 pageviews) Bid It! Bourbon County, an online auction website similar to eBay, was created in January and began growing rapidly.
The site, which was formerly found through Facebook, grew so large that administrators decided to create a separate website for the free service, www.bidsanddibs.com, and a physical store located at 19 S. Main St. They also added features and made other changes and upgrades, including changing the name of the service to Bids and Dibs.
3. (Jan. 4, 2012; 2,695 pageviews) Mansour Khajehpour, former pastor of First Presbyterian Church, resigned his post in January, citing theological and differences in personal beliefs. A former Muslin from Iran, Khajehpour had been with the church since August 2010. Khajehpour said countless church and community members visited, supported and stood by him and his family following the decision. In June, Jared Witt was called by a vote of the congregation to become the church's designated pastor in July.
4. (Sept. 7, 2012; 2,142 pageviews) High winds and heavy rains knocked out electricity for more than 5,000 customers -- mainly in Bourbon County in early September. In Bourbon County and into Bronson, 4,500 customers were without electricity for more than 30 hours. The hardest hit area was Fort Scott, Westar Energy officials said. Nearly 800 KCP&L customers in Nevada, Mo., were also without power following the outage. About 40 transmission poles were down in the area. Downed trees, power lines and a few minor vehicle accidents were among the reports that came in during the outage.
5. (Feb. 16, 2012; 2,094 pageviews) After 32 years with USD 234, superintendent Rick Werling announced in February his plans to retire and was one of four administrators who left their positions this year; longtime Fort Scott Middle School Principal Barbara Albright, Winfield Scott Elementary Principal Billie Jo Drake and Penny Province, special education and testing coordinator, were the other three.