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The 10 stories you were reading most in 2018
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Matt Handte, executive vice president at Tribe Transportation, monitors GPS data coming from his trucks in Gwinnett County on Friday, March 16, 2018. The data is coming from the trucks’ electronic log systems, which are now mandatory in all large, commercial trucks.

As the year 2018 comes to a close, here’s a look back on The Times’ stories that made the biggest online impact. These stories are chosen based on the number of clicks they received as well as the time readers spent with the stories, both as recorded by Google Analytics.

Trucking changing significantly on April 1

This story about federally mandated electronic tracking of commercial trucks was by far our most popular story of the year — and the biggest surprise to the analytic experts in our office. It got more than twice the number of clicks of any other single story of 2018. Less surprising, it came from truckers across the country who got hold of the story via the traditional method: Facebook.

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Authorities responded Feb. 16, 2018, to a report of a student with a gun on a Hall County bus in the area of Dawsonville Highway near Gainesville Marina. - photo by Nick Bowman
Authorities say student joked he had gun on Hall bus

School security has been a hot topic as law enforcement and school officials continue working to determine whether supposed threats are real, rumor or prank. In this case from February, a 16-year-old student on a Hall County bus was arrested after school officials say he joked about having a gun. Hall County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Derreck Booth said in December the student was charged as a juvenile and that there was no update in the case. Records pertaining to Juvenile Court are not accessible to the public.

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Hall County Sheriff's Office deputies work a crime scene along Ga. Highway 365 on Friday, May 4, 2018, after at least two men were shot in the area of Whitehall Road and Ga. 365. - photo by Scott Rogers
Shooter dies on way to hospital after wounding 2 drivers on Ga. 365

A gunman opened fire on passing cars on Ga. 365 in May. The gunman, Rex Harbour, 26, shot himself after wounding two. Disturbing writings were later found at his Snellville home that indicated he idolized Nikolas Cruz, the shooter in the Parkland, Fla., massacre that killed 17 at a high school.

Parents accused of killing their 6-month-old boy, putting body in freezer

A 6-month-old boy was found dead in an Alabama hotel room in June, and police believe his parents, who are from Hall County, are to blame. The mother was charged with manslaughter and the father with murder. The mother was indicted in December and the father was still incarcerated in Levy County, Florida.

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A 13-year-old Dawsonville girl was killed in a head-on crash with a Hall County school bus Wednesday morning, May 16, 2018, in North Hall. - photo by Scott Rogers
Dawson Middle student killed when car hydroplanes, crashes with Hall school bus

A 13-year-old Dawsonville girl was killed in a head-on crash with a Hall County school bus in May. No formal accusations or indictments by the Hall County District Attorney’s Office or Hall County Solicitor’s Office have been filed in the case, according to the Hall County Courts database.

Northside Hospital acquires Gainesville’s Northeast Georgia Diagnostic Clinic

Northside’s move into the region has been a hot topic in the community. The most concrete example of the move into Northeast Georgia Health System’s territory was this acquisition.

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State Sen. Michael Williams, R-Cumming, walks past his campaign’s “Deportation Bus” Wednesday, May 16, 2018, following his sudden departure from his campaign office on Monroe Drive. Williams and the bus left his office as protesters gathered along the road. - photo by Scott Rogers
Candidate for governor brings ‘deportation bus’ to Gainesville

Michael Williams has been in the news again in December as fraud charges were brought against him. But he first made a splash with his “deportation bus” during his campaign for the Republican nomination to governor during the May primary.

South Hall residents trying to stop La Luz del Mundo's plans for property

Translated as City of the Light of the World, this religious group proposes a 272-acre, development featuring housing, retail, hotels, offices and church space in Flowery Branch. No proposals have been filed with the South Hall city, but residents have mobilized just in case, largely through social media.

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Brian Kemp, Georgia’s Secretary of State and Republican candidate for governor, speaks to a crowd Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, at Longstreet Cafe. - photo by Austin Steele
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp strikes populist tone in run for governor

This piece was actually published in 2017, but as Kemp marched toward the governorship he eventually won, readers kept coming to this story, in which he sat down with one of our reporters to lay out his views and campaign goals.

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A rendering of the Parkside On The Square condos and businesses that were planned for the square in downtown Gainesville. The project has now been canceled. - photo by Scott Rogers
At least 4 eateries coming to new development on Gainesville square

Construction still hasn’t started on Parkside on the Square, but downtown development has been top of mind for anyone who drives through the area. A new place to eat is always a popular topic with readers. In March, The Times learned of plans for a Mexican cantina, a French bakery, an ice cream and dessert shop, a smoothie joint and more on the ground floor of the development planned on the fourth side of the square. Later in the year, more specific details about those plans were announced.

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