VENICE — Media outlets often work to bring the most important stories to their community.

It’s not a science but a skill set journalists try to hone through their years of experience.

And while there has been more than a century of asking what people want and need, the last few decades have given the technology to see what the community is actually reading.

There’s usually some sort of reason apparent — but sometimes there’s not.

Based on clicks from our website,, these were the most popular stories of 2019 as of Dec. 24. Some of these are in our list of most newsworthy stories in this edition or the top business stories of 2019 featured in our Dec. 25 edition. Others are stories that gained interest online. The bracketed number denotes the number of clicks.

10. Marshalls opens. [3,334] The new store in the Jacaranda Plaza hosted its grand opening Oct. 3 at 1679 South U.S. 41 Bypass. Product lines include tops, jackets, handbags, sneakers, hoodies, educational toys, pillows, fragrances and more.

Benderson Development of Lakewood Ranch acquired the 401,129-square-foot shopping center in 2007 for $5.5 million from Southeast Partners. Soon after, Benderson began revitalizing the existing store fronts and slowly began improving the appearance of the plaza.

In 2018 it announced Lucky’s Market and Marshalls would be opening stores. Lucky’s is set for a 2020 opening.

9. Venice Top 10 beach town. [3,486] A devastating red tide outbreak in 2018 didn’t seem, overall, to hurt the reputation of Venice when it comes to its beaches. The city was 10th in WalletHub’s list of best oceanfront towns, out of 146 cities evaluated.

According to the online financial services company, together the list included all cities with a population between 10,000 and 150,000 and at least one beach listed on TripAdvisor. Venice ranked 15th a year earlier.

All the towns were evaluated in six broad categories: affordability; weather; safety; economy; education and health; and quality of life. Venice’s ranking improved in all of them.

8. Bill Buck Chevrolet sold. [3641] Bill Buck Chevrolet, a fixture in the Venice business community for more than 50 years, was sold.

The buyer was Ocala-based Jenkins Auto Group. The dealership, at 2324 South Tamiami Trail, Venice, is now known as Jenkins Chevrolet of Venice.

Robyn Calkins, the owner of Bill Buck Chevrolet and the granddaughter of Bill Buck Sr., the founder, had disclosed the sale in an email earlier in the day. She said it was done with a “heavy heart but a very thankful one, also.”

Bill Buck Sr. was a dealer for more than 64 years, a record in General Motors history. He died in 2012 at the age of 97.

7. Missing woman. [4,306] This story, which only went online, showed how the internet works when it comes to missing people.

A 40-year-old Venice woman was reported missing Nov. 8. Within 24 hours, she was located — but in the meantime, people shared the story with neighbors and the rest of the community.

6. Venice named second best city in Florida. [4,386] In another “listicle” of sorts, Venice finished a strong No. 2 in’s list of best cities to live in Florida. Palm Beach Gardens claimed the top spot.

Calling Venice “an idyllic city of around 22,000,” the online business support company lauded the city for “a thriving arts district, with the largest community theater in the country and a long stretch of beautiful coastline.”

5. Man found dead in convenience store. [4,596] Another story that was only online. The Venice Police Department responded July 22 to The Corner Store/Citgo gas station at 610 South Tamiami Trail after a resident called to report finding a dead man at a table behind the business.

4. Detwiler’s expands. [4,619] Work enlarged Detwiler’s Farm Market, 1250 South U.S. 41 Bypass.

The market shared the building with Venice Auction Company. A dividing wall was moved to add space to the market.

Demand for its fresh vegetables and fruit, meats, fish, baked goods and other products has grown considerably since the market opened in a portion of the 47,000-square-foot building.

3. More than 2,000 attend veteran’s funeral. [4,659] A veteran without family who was living in Naples died. A funeral home from that city made note of it online and a few newspapers did small stories about it.

And people cared, with thousands showing up at Sarasota National Cemetery for his October burial service.

Edward Pearson was honored for his sacrifice in the military by people he would never know, including many residents from the Venice area.

More than 2,000 people showed up, causing heavy traffic along Interstate 75.

2. Two teens injured in wreck that kills man. [4,768] A Minnesota man died and two Venice teenagers were seriously hurt in a crash Dec. 21.

Tristan Burroughs, 17, Venice, was driving along U.S. 41 near North Port. Thomas Roushar, 70, of Chisago City, Minnesota, attempted to turn left onto Lazy River Road.

Roushar’s Dodge minivan turned in front of Burroughs’ car. Roushar was killed in the wreck.

The crash remains under investigation.

Burroughs and his passenger, Keegan Burroughs, 15 were both taken to Sarasota Memorial Hospital in serious condition.

1. Saltwater Cafe torn down. [7,530] Journalists will sometimes wonder why a story becomes so popular online. This is one of those cases where the story seems to be more about memories than news.

It wasn’t just the most popular story — it was the most popular story by thousands of clicks.

The former Saltwater Cafe building, in Nokomis, was torn down in October.

The eatery, at 1071 Tamiami Trail, will not be replaced.

Publix owns the Nokomis Village Shoppes Center at Laurel Road and Tamiami Trail.

The Saltwater Cafe closed in July 2018 after 22 years in business.

The building had become infested with rodents since its closure, according to workers of American Demolition & Environmental Services of Orlando.


Recommended for you

Load comments