COVID, catfish, and worms: Review 2021’s top stories on


Water skier Brian Engelhard of Lake St. Louis, Missouri skis past the Gateway Arch on the Mississippi River on New Years Day, in St. Louis on Friday, January 1, 2021. Water skiers have shown up to ski on the Mississippi River for the past 36 years on New Years Day, raising money to teach those with developmental disabilities the art of water skiing. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

ST. LOUIS–The end of the year has us thinking about the biggest stories of 2021. We did some digging to see what had you clicking on over the past 12 months. We combed through our reports, and in the interest of full disclosure, we did exclude national stories. But all of the following were among the top 75 stories we reported out in 2021:

When there were waiting lists for COVID vaccines, you found them here. You also looked at our interactive map showing where COVID cases were in Missouri.

The February incident where inmates broke windows and set fires inside the St. Louis Justice Center, the first of several incidents at the facility, also got your attention. The city is still in the process of fixing some of the issues that came to light as a result.

Many of you wanted to know more about a pair of sad stories involving lives taken much too soon. In March, St. Louis County authorities say Bob McCulley III killed a mother and her two children and abducted his biological child before taking his own life.

In August, five young siblings died in a tragic house fire in East St. Louis. The community came together to cover funeral costs for Deontay Davis, Jr., 9, twins Heaven and Nevaeh, 8, Jabari Johnson, 4, and Loyal Dunigan, 2. Their mother, Sabrina Dunnigan, has been charged with five counts of felony child endangerment.

Where St. Louis fell in the annual rankings for US News and World Report’s annual ‘best places to live’ list was of interest. The Gateway City trailed Kansas City and Springfield in the latest report.

Stories about animals can also tend to be popular, but in 2021, they weren’t about dogs and cats. One popular dispatch highlighted the spread of so called “Jumping Worms” to Illinois and Missouri. Another chronicled the catch and release of a rare catfish in the Mississippi River near West Alton.

While we did avoid national news stories in trying to find the most read content, we did also note that St. Louis had embraced the meme of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders at the Biden Presidential inauguration, thanks in part to a meme generator that, when active, could put him sitting outside just about anywhere, from the Arch grounds to Crown Candy.

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