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The most-read stories on in 2016

Marco Rubio and  Donald Trump argue during a Republican presidential primary debate. A post about Rubio warming to Trump was the most-read story of the year on [Associated Press]

Marco Rubio and Donald Trump argue during a Republican presidential primary debate. A post about Rubio warming to Trump was the most-read story of the year on [Associated Press]

As the year comes to a close, we're looking back on the top trending stories and blog posts from our website. Here are the 10 most-read items from 2016 on

1. Marco Rubio warming up to Donald Trump

A month after Sen. Marco Rubio dropped out of the presidential race and a contentious primary that saw no love lost between him and then-candidate Donald Trump (remember the "little Marco" and tiny hands insults), readers paid attention when Rubio said publicly that Trump's performance had "improved significantly."

2. At Tampa Bay farm-to-table restaurants, you're being fed fiction

Times food critic Laura Reiley's multi-part Farm to Fable investigation exposed the way that restaurants in Tampa Bay failed to back up claims their ingredients were local, sustainable and farm-to-table, showing that "local" veggies came from the grocery store, "gulf shrimp" came frozen from India and other misleading claims. While Farm to Fable stories looked at farmers' markets, case studies and chain restaurants, it was Part One of the series, focusing on popular, local restaurants, that was most widely read.

3. Pulse nightclub shooting: choice and chance

This harrowing, interactive 3-D map of the Pulse nightclub shows "how chance and choice collided" inside the Orlando building on the night that gunman Omar Mateen killed or wounded more than 100 people. Some ducked for cover. Some ran for an exit. Some shut themselves into rooms. In the spray of bullets, lives hinged on which way they turned, who fell in front of them, where they chose to hide.

A story using a 3-D map to illustrate the path the gunman took at the Pulse nightclub was one of the year's most read.

4. Trump fans boo, walk out on Amy Schumer show in Tampa

Several stories about Amy Schumer and Tampa were among this year's most read, including a post on the Tampa diss included in her new book and critic Jay Cridlin's review of her performance at Amalie Arena, but it was a post on The Buzz politics blog that expanded on one part of that review — when Donald Trump supporters walked out when Schumer started talking politics — that attracted national attention.

5. Thousands of people flew Allegiant last year thinking their planes wouldn't fail in the air. They were wrong.

This yearlong investigation found that Allegiant Air's planes were four times as likely to break down in mid-flight as other major U.S. carriers. The investigation also showed that the Federal Aviation Administration could have cracked down on Allegiant in the wake of high-profile incidents and a near-accident, but did not.

6. Tampa buddies form mother of all Powerball pools

When the Powerball jackpot rose to a record-breaking $1.5 billion, plenty of people started pools to combine their resources for a greater chance of winning, but none could match the one started by Tampa residents Ryan McGuinness and Shane Krugman. They raised $146,000 for 73,000 Powerball tickets and attracted attention from around the country.

7. Democrats object to Chick-fil-A voter registration drive

In October, the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections held a series of voter registration drives as part of the lead-up to the November election, but controversy erupted among Pinellas County democrats when Deborah Clark decided to hold them at nine local Chick-fil-A locations. The fast-food chain is known for putting faith ahead of profits and supporting conservative causes.

A voter drive turned into controversy when the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections chose to hold it at Chick-fil-A restaurants.

8. Tampa Bay Walmarts get thousands of police calls. You paid the bill.

A Tampa Bay Times review of records showed that police were called to local Walmarts thousands of times in a single year, far more than anyplace else, and at a considerable cost to local taxpayers. The story led to questions about the stores' drain on public resources and if there is a better way to handle minor disturbances and petty thefts.

9. Top 50 Restaurants of Tampa Bay 2016

Food writer Laura Reiley's roundup of her top restaurants in categories such as casual, upscale, pizza, brunch and Asian fusion, with star ratings, price information and the ability to search by location and cuisine type, was well-read throughout the year.

10. LGBT pride flag raised after Orlando shooting 'unbearable' for Christian employee, Hillsborough commissioner says

A pride flag waving outside the Hillsborough County center was meant to be a sign of respect for the victims of the shooting at the Pulse nightclub, but became a controversy when county commissioner Stacy White's letter stating that the flag "will be nearly unbearable" for a Christian employee to walk past was published on the Bay Buzz blog.

More of the year's most-read stories:

11. St. Petersburg couple active in business and civic leadership die in murder-suicide, police say

12. The Long Fall of Phoebe Jonchuck

13. 11 places to see Christmas lights in Tampa Bay

14. Orlando man accused of throwing Pinky the flamingo to her death at Busch Gardens

15. Warren Sapp bit in arm by shark while lobstering

The most-read stories on in 2016 12/30/16 [Last modified: Friday, December 30, 2016 7:56am]
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  1. Search for missing Army helicopter crew suspended in Hawaii


    HONOLULU — Officials have suspended the search for five Army soldiers who were aboard a helicopter that crashed during offshore training in Hawaii last week.

    Water safety officials hand over possible debris from an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash to military personnel stationed at a command center in a harbor, Wednesday in Haleiwa, Hawaii, a day after. an Army helicopter with five on board crashed several miles off Oahu's North Shore. Officials  suspended the search for five Army soldiers in a helicopter crash during offshore training in Hawaii on Monday. [Associated Press]
  2. Rubio praises Trump for 'excellent' speech on Afghanistan


    Sen. Marco Rubio praised President Donald Trump's "excellent" speech on Afghanistan. Sen. Bill Nelson was less effusive but agreed with the goal.

  3. Gov. Rick Scott blasts report of shifting words on Charlottesville


    Gov. Rick Scott, one of the most scripted politicians in modern Florida history, said Monday that "both sides” bear blame for Charlottesville.

  4. Record $417 million awarded in lawsuit linking baby powder to cancer


    LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles jury on Monday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $417 million to a hospitalized woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene.

    A bottle of Johnson's baby powder is displayed. On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, a Los Angeles County Superior Court spokeswoman confirmed that a jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million in a case to a woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene. [Associated Press]
  5. Search under way for missing sailors; Navy chief orders inquiry


    SINGAPORE — The U.S. Navy ordered a broad investigation Monday into the performance and readiness of the Pacific-based 7th Fleet after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker in Southeast Asian waters, leaving 10 U.S. sailors missing and others injured.

    Damage is visible as the USS John S. McCain steers toward Singapore’s naval base on Monday.