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The most-read stories on tampabay.com 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 tampabay.com. [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 tampabay.com. [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 tampabay.com.

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 tampabay.com in 2016 12/30/16 [Last modified: Friday, December 30, 2016 7:56am]
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  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)

    World

    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.