A year ago, we said good riddance to 2020, and, like a scene from “Groundhog Day,” we now say the same to 2021. But let's rise above kvetching.

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Much that is good took place in Arlington this year. Let me consider what I know best: YourArlington increased its strength as a media organization by becoming a nonprofit, led by a board and open to public support for local journalism. You can donate here >> 

What's more, YourArlington, now 15 years old, saw its public impact grow.

The news site continued a tradition that no other town media outlet, except for ACMi, follows -- regular reporting of Select Board and School Committee meetings. Freelancers Susan Gilbert ably provided clear summaries of the former, while Judith Pfeffer delivered accurate school news.

In addition to continuing people features, the site introduced a new beat in 2021, the Arlington Housing Authority. No media organization has covered it before on a regular basis, but freelancer Melanie Gilbert has stepped in and has broken new ground in an accurate, fair way.

If you wonder what your donations support, look at the impact of local news reporting in 2021.

Other impacts

As for other kinds of impact, consider this: The YourArlington report with the second most hits in 2021 is the one about Jeff and Sue Thompson, of Firefly Moon fame, whose health issues have set them back. Beyond the 12,000-plus hits the feature by Marjorie Howard has received, the GoFundMe appeal has raised more than $69,000.

Finally, as to impact, the true top local-news story in Arlington was, of course, the pandemic. YourArlington published 21 separate news stories about Covid-19. That includes the ongoing report of local cases, updated nearly daily since March 2020.

These 21 stories, listed below, totaled 60,115 hits.

Apart from subjective factors determining what puts a story on top, an online site provides the numbers telling which stories had the most hits, as measured by the website's host, SiteGround. The listings below, of news stories and opinion pieces, include the number of readers reaching the story by the date of this report, Dec. 29.

Note: A top-10 list is for pop songs. A top-11 offers a bit more.

The top-11 most-hit stories in 2021

1.) Town rates 100 again in latest Municipal Equality Index24,126

2.) A diagnosis of ALS leaves couple in need,12,252

3.) Early morning blaze hits 2 E. Arlington businesses8,540

4.)  AHS '21 class graduates outdoors,7,079

5.) Egerton house fire displaces 56,987

6.) Chairful Where You Sit auction held6,970

7.) Shattuck to buy Wanamaker, merging years of hardware experience6,727

8.) Thai Moon fund-raiser reaches $21.6K after $500K blaze6,663

9.) 15-year-old activist cycles through town for safety6,260

10.) 2021 town election information6,214

11.) Feeley, 35-year member of Board of Assessors, dies, 6,021

The top-11 most-hit opinions in 2021

1.)  Coronavirus edition: DocYard’s ‘Choice,’ stretched-out superheroes, ‘Tina’ doc, film review, 9,816

2.) Teacher asks: What are the Covid odds? 5,182

3.) Upbeat Cycling to close; owner explores underlying factors, 4,301

4.) Arlington realty market takes a hit, bounces back, 3,941

5.) A professor gone too soon, 3,926

6.) No. 69: Red Letter Poems 3.0: Haiku sampler, 3,925

7.) ADUs part 1: All about Article 43, 3,865

8.) 22 letters support Susse campaign, 3,864

9.) Those burned by April blaze coming back, 3,836

10.) YourArlington hits record traffic3,800

11.) Support for article seeking Prince Hall Day, 3,795

21 top-hit Covid-19 reports in 2021

1.) Signups for 75+ underway (state vows call center); Covid-19 cases rise by 51 since Jan. 22, 5,609

2.) Town Covid cases June through August5,333

3.) U.K. coronavirus variant found in Reading5,086

4.) Baker eyes teacher vaccinations by mid-March, depending on doses, 4,006

5.) Vaccine site by on-leave engineer keeps going3,969

6.) Arlington Covid update November through December3,783

7.)  Mass. school mask mandate extended to Jan. 153,710

8.)  9 Metro North communities, health alliance, Tufts launch Covid, 3,019

9.)  Public schools must be in-person this fall, state says2,987

10.) Face-covering order changes, effective April 302,846

11.) Resident questions town mask order; counsel responds2,823

12.) First responders get vaccine at AHS as part of 4-town effort2,769

13.) Town order requires masks in public, private in indoor public spaces2,209

14.) Survey tells how many at Middlesex Jail want, 2,194

15.) Grass-roots action to register for Covid shots dreamed up here2,163

16.) Initial regional first-responder vaccination clinics wrap up1,705

17.) First-responder vaccinations: Arlington aims to expand effort in state rollout,1,627

18.) Last of 4 booster clinics for 18+ held at Town Hall1,625

19.) 1,200 kids 5-11 get Covid shots at AHS1,375

20.) Fewer vaccination doses curtail town's clinic1,358

21.) Town woman offers Covid-19 aid via lending library1,228

Dec. 30, 2020: Top 'hits' in 2020 at YourArlington

This listing, which includes opinion, was published Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021.