Man in tree. Sir Mix-A-Lot's old phone number. A massage parlor sex sting. Marshawn Lynch. They're the subjects of just a few of our most-read Seattle Times stories of 2016. Check out the full list.

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2016 was a doozy of a year. So much happened in the news, it’s difficult to remember it all.

To celebrate the new year, we’re taking a look back at the most-read stories of 2016 on seattletimes.com — along with showcasing some of our most insightful journalism.

We’ll admit, when compiling the list below, we caught ourselves asking each other, “Wait, that happened in 2016?!”

If you find these stories valuable, consider supporting The Seattle Times’ local journalism by subscribing — and thanks to those who already support the time-consuming work we do. Just ask John Oliver. He gets it.

All right, on with the show.

 


 

(Sy Bean / The Seattle Times)

1. Ingrid Lyne slain, dismembered

A Renton nurse vanished in April after going on a date with a man she met online. A few days later, Ingrid Lyne’s remains were found in a Central District recycling bin. A suspect, John Robert Charlton, was arrested and charged shortly after in the slaying of the 40-year-old mother of three. He later told detectives he had a drinking problem, couldn’t remember what happened to Lyne and that he was “not a normal person.” | Read more »

 


(John Lok / The Seattle Times)

 

2. ‘I have Sir Mix-A-Lot’s old number’

When Jonathan Nichols got a new cellphone in 2012, he didn’t expect to get the number once used by Seattle hip-hop legend Sir Mix-A-Lot. Since then, he’s gotten countless calls and texts asking for Mix. Columnist Nicole Brodeur talked to both Nichols and Mix (at his new phone number) to investigate. | Read more »

 


(Lindsey Wasson / The Seattle Times)

 

3. Shooting at Cascade Mall in Burlington

Five people were killed by a gunman who opened fire at Burlington’s Cascade Mall on a Friday night in September. The suspect, Arcan Cetin, gave investigators no indication of his motive. It was our state’s seventh mass shooting this year (there have been eight). | Read more »

 

 


(Evan Vucci / AP)

 

4. Trump impact: How will Amazon fare?

Donald Trump and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos didn’t express much fondness for each other during the campaign. But the two billionaires appear to have settled some of their differences after a “very productive” meeting in December. So what are prospects for Amazon, the fifth-largest U.S. company by market value? | Read more »

 


 (Ted S. Warren / AP)

 

5. ‘Deadliest Catch’ cast member attacked

After a passer-by called 911, police found Jake Harris, a cast member of reality TV series “Deadliest Catch,” beaten on the side of Highway 526. He initially refused attention and was taken home. Police arrested a man and a woman on suspicion of the robbery. | Read more »

 


(Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)

 

6. Five people shot in downtown Seattle

A gunman opened fire outside a downtown Seattle convenience store in November, injuring five people. The suspect in the shooting, Alrick Hollingsworth, was quickly identified by police using surveillance footage. But he remained on the lam. | Read more »

 

 


 

(Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

7. The October storm that never was

It was shaping up to be a repeat of the “murderous” Columbus Day storm of 1962 as remnants of supertyphoon Songda barreled toward the Pacific Northwest in October. But what was being forecast as possibly the worst storm of the century turned out to be .nothing much at all. The National Weather Service got the storm hype blowing when it predicted a one-in-three chance of a direct hit of possible hurricane-force winds. | Read more »

 


(Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

 

8. Dick’s Drive-In co-founder dies

Dick Spady, co-founder and namesake of beloved local burger joint Dick’s Drive-In, died at 92 in January. Throughout the years, Mr. Spady took pride in providing his workers with the highest pay in the industry, 100 percent paid health-insurance coverage and more than $1 million in scholarships. | Read more »

 


(AP photos)

 

9. Reviewing the third-party candidates

Third-party candidates attracted more attention this year as factions of both major political parties expressed distaste for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. We broke down where Green Party nominee Jill Stein and Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson stood on various issues. | Read more »

 


(Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

 

10. Bernie Sanders rallies KeyArena

In March,Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders brought his political movement to the Pacific Northwest. And people turned out in droves for his KeyArena rally. We were there on the ground and followed developments as they happened. | Read more »

 

 


(Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

 

11. Richard Sherman: NFL ‘isn’t fun anymore’

Richard Sherman’s year was eventful, to say the least. In 2016, we saw the brash, outspoken and, at times, controversial Seahawks star resurface after a tepid year (by his standards) in 2015. One of Sherman’s most striking comments came in November, when he lambasted NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, saying the league “isn’t fun anymore.” | Read more »

 


 

(Social Security Administration)

12. The perplexing mystery of Lori Ruff

The Seattle Times in 2013 published a real-life mystery story about Lori Ruff, who died in 2010, leaving a husband and child in Texas. Years earlier, she had stolen another person’s identity. Who was she really? This year, we found the answer. | Read more »

 


(Framegrab)

 

13. Dramatic video of SPU shooter takedown

It was an act of heroism, caught on camera. Seattle Pacific University student-safety monitor Jon Meis took down school shooter Aaron Ybarra, who had already shot two students. The Seattle Times released a small scene from the 2014 video that shows the extraordinary, lifesaving actions. | Watch video »

 


 

(Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

14. Schools rally for Black Lives Matter

About 2,000 Seattle educators wore Black Lives Matter shirts to class this fall to call for racial equity in education. Schools across the district held “Black Lives Matter at School” rallies before classes began for the day. Students, parents and teachers also wore stickers and buttons emblazoned with the “Black Lives Matter” slogan. | Read more »

 


 

(Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

15. Apartment the size of a parking space

At $750 a month, a new apartment opening in the University District is one of the cheapest in Seattle. So what do you get for that price? A room the size of a parking space with a toilet that’s not even behind its own door. Some described it as a “prison cell,” but apparently that didn’t stop a lot of people from expressing interest in it. | Read more »

 


16. FBI runs child-porn site for two weeks

For two weeks in 2015, a massive player emerged in the world of online child porn: the FBI. The agency took over a “dark web” child-porn site, called The Playpen, and gathered evidence to bring criminal charges against 186 people in the sting, including at least five in Washington state. The operation put internet privacy in the crossfire. | Read more »

 


(Lindsey Wasson / The Seattle Times)

 

17. Justin Bieber skips tab in Seattle

Justin Bieber and seven friends walk into a Seattle bar … a minor scuffle ensues, they forget to pay the tab and the whole incident makes it on TMZ. What is this, Los Angeles? | Read more »

 

 


(Screenshot)

 

18. UW cheerleader recruiting mishap

The University of Washington cheer and dance squad faced an onslaught of social-media backlash when an infographic, featuring a woman in shorts and a sports bra, described the ideal look of a Husky cheerleader just days before tryouts began. “I can’t believe this is real,” said UW student Jazmine Perez. | Read more »

 


(Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)

 

19. Massage parlor sex sting

A Seattle Police Department massage parlor sex-sting operation netted 204 men. Detectives set up shop in parlor they had shut down in the spring. They never expected the volume of business they got from men seeking sex. | Read more »

 

 


(Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

 

20. Meet The Oatmeal’s Matthew Inman

Seattle’s Matthew Inman makes no apologies for his hilarious and twisted web comic, The Oatmeal. Expletive-ridden and filled with pets and pet peeves, they are absurd, juvenile, sardonic, insightful, snort-worthy and, at times, deeply moving. | Read more »

 

 


(Sy Bean / The Seattle Times)

 

21. Bidding war over decaying house

Four years ago, the average house in Seattle cost a little under $427,000. In 2016, that gets you a house with crumbling floors and ceilings, 5 feet of standing water and toxic air. And over forty people bidding for the prospect of owning a home in West Seattle best described as an imminent collapse hazard. | Read more »

 


(MIke Siegel / The Seattle Times)

 

22. Seahawks in the post-Beast Mode era

Marshawn Lynch is no longer a Seahawk, but memories of the legend that was Beast Mode are far from gone. Take a trip down memory lane with Lynch’s former teammates, and hear what kind of impact the iconic running back had on those who knew him best. | Read more »

 

 


(Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

 

23. UW students erect ‘Trump wall’

At the University of Washington in May, supporters of the now-president-elect erected a “Trump wall” in Red Square. The 10 or so pro-Trump demonstrators, standing near their short plywood wall, faced dozens of students who objected to Trump’s candidacy.” | Read more »

 

 


(Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

 

24. Man in downtown tree

A man who climbed an 80-foot sequoia outside the downtown Seattle Macy’s and stayed there for 24 hours in March captured the imagination of the Twittersphere, which quickly dubbed him #ManInTree. Crowds gathered to catch a glimpse of the man, who hurled pine cones, branches and an apple from his makeshift nest before being coaxed down and arrested. | Read more »

 


 

25. Under Our Skin

Terms like “racist,” “safe space” and “politically correct” are often used — and interpreted — in very different ways. As part of an effort to explore the growing debates about race in our region, The Seattle Times asked 18 locals to explain, based on their own experiences, what these and other terms mean to them in an interactive video project. | Explore the project »

 

 


 

Don’t miss this exceptional journalism …

 

(Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

 

Elwha: Roaring back to life

It took an act of Congress in 1992 to finally free the Olympic Peninsula’s Elwha River, taking down the pair of dams that had blocked the 45-mile mountain river for a century. Today, the Elwha watershed is booming with new life after the world’s largest dam removal, and scientists are amazed at the speed of change. | Explore the project »

 


(Simon Baker / Reuters)

 

Seismic Neglect: A special report

About 5.4 million people in Washington live in the zone endangered by a magnitude 9.0 Cascadia megaquake, an increase of 1.6 million since 1990, according to a Seattle Times analysis. Yet Washington lags nearly all other quake-prone states in policies to reduce the risk. Explore the project »

 


(Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

 

Thomas Rawls: ‘I can’t disappoint my city’

Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls is chasing two dreams at once: The childhood fantasy of playing in the NFL, and the grown-up realization of what his success could mean for his hometown of Flint, Michigan. | Read more »

 

 


 

(Alan Berner / The Seattle Times)

Dakota Access Pipeline protests

Seattle Times reporter Lynda V. Mapes and photographer Alan Berner traveled to North Dakota in October to cover the protests against the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline. Their live coverage over three days was among the most comprehensive in the nation. In December, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers blocked the project from crossing sacred tribal lands. | Read more »

 


(Johnny Andrews / The Seattle Times)

 

Ed Lab: Garfield principal navigates racial divide

After leading Seattle’s storied Garfield High School for more than a decade, Principal Ted Howard is having a crisis of conscience, wondering if his hard line with youth of color is hurting the very students he most wants to help. “Are we ready, really ready, to have this conversation?” | Read more »

 


(Susan Walsh / AP)

 

King County sheriff implicated

After a former deputy recently alleged King County Sheriff John Urquhart raped her 14 years ago, Urquhart directed his investigators not to document her complaint, according to sworn testimony. Urquhart denies the woman’s claim and says the FBI had found it not credible. | Read more »

 


(Sy Bean / The Seattle Times)

 

Bellevue football breaks the rules

Bellevue High School’s football program was banned from the postseason for four years (eventually reduced to two years on appeal) after separate Seattle Times and Washington Interscholastic Activities Association investigations into dubious recruiting practices, including a booster club subsidizing athletes’ tuition and a “diploma mill” alternative school from which Bellevue drew football players. | Read more »

 


 

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