When business reporter Morgan Chilson first revealed the future of St. Francis was in jeopardy, many of our readers were shocked.
The ensuing decision by SCL Health to announce it would close the hospital was an even bigger shock, and Chilson’s coverage became one of our most-read stories of the year, bringing tens of thousands of worried community members to read the news at CJOnline. Her exclusive reporting sparked an outpouring of support for St. Francis and its 1,600 employees, forcing Denver-based owners to renew talks and ultimately sell the hospital to Ardent Health Services and the University of Kansas Health System.
In other top stories, reporters held officials accountable, revisited a 19th century killing spree, and informed the community of deadly shootings, suicides and accidents.
Here are the 10 most-read news stories published to our website in 2017.
1. Tragedy after title
Published online: Nov. 26
Hours after the Sabetha High School football team won a state title in Hutchinson, a two-vehicle crash on US-75 highway north of Holton claimed the lives of the mother, sister and uncle of football players Tanner Ukele and Carson Ukele while seriously injuring their father.
Reporter: Tim Hrenchir
Published online: July 29
In 2013, two filmmakers traveled to Kansas to make a film based on a true legend of the western frontier. They settled on the infamous story of serial killers. Four years later, “Bender” made its debut.
Reporter: Savanna Maue
Published online: April 14
Struggling with a dire financial situation, multiple sources in Topeka were told of SCL Health’s intention to close the hospital.
Reporter: Morgan Chilson
Rep. Patsy Terrell, a Democrat from Hutchinson, died in a Topeka hotel room near the end of the legislative session, shocking her colleagues.
Published online: June 7
Published online: Jan. 7
A multifaceted internal inquiry by Kansas military officers into alleged malfeasance within the Kansas National Guard found widespread problems with leadership. Story was first in an ongoing series about leadership concerns within the Guard and Adjutant General’s Office.
Reporter: Tim Carpenter
Published online: Aug. 5
Katherine “Katie” Rose Malone, who grew up in Topeka, died when she was struck by a logging truck while jogging near the city of Priest River in northern Idaho.
Published online: Sept. 28
Two Topeka police officers shot and killed a 30-year-old black man who was running away from them following a struggle for his gun. The death led to months of protests while waiting for a criminal investigation to conclude. District Attorney Mike Kagay ruled the shooting was justified.
Reporter: Phil Anderson
Published online: April 30
Josh Gueary — who struggled, a friend said, with paranoia and edginess after returning from military duty — killed his brother and two employees at a southwest Topeka home for disabled adults.
Reporters: Katie Moore and Justin Wingerter
Published online: Sept. 3
Three high-level, Topeka-based VA employees were reassigned in the wake of an internal investigation that concluded there were deficiencies in the governance and oversight of the Veterans Crisis Line.
10. Autopsy report
Published online: July 17
Emily Rhoades said she felt a sense of calm she hadn’t expected after reading her teenage brother’s suicide note. Seaman High School student Andrew Green died when his car collided with another vehicle.