This collage shows some of the stories and categories you clicked on this year. Clockwise from left: Dominick Adrian Zazweta, Yellowstone flooding, a Secret Sandra recipient Jen and her son, Lance Rubio, Chelsea Brittney Infanger, Jed Hall, questionable roses, Chad Daybell, and the sign of a place that isn’t a department store. Background is of West Thumb Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park. | EastIdahoNews.com photo illustration
IDAHO FALLS — 2022 was a year of heroism, tragedy, and mysteries solved.
Based on our analytics, here’s our list of the 10 most popular stories of the year.
10. Kohl’s isn’t a department store anymore
Kohl’s management was working on rehauling its brand amid stiff competition and decline in department stores in general.
It planned to add Sephora mini-shops to many of its stores, open smaller-sized locations in the next four years, boost its Kohl’s Cash rewards program and grow online.
“We’re evolving our position from a department store to a more focused lifestyle concept centered around the active and casual lifestyle,” Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass said in a presentation to investors in March.
9. How sinister are the roses?
A bucket of roses for sale on the corner of 17th Street and Holmes Avenue in Idaho Falls in August. | Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
People selling roses on street corners, in parking lots and around other parts of Idaho Falls sent the local rumor mill into overdrive in August. But we talked to the flower vendors and didn’t find they were trafficking drugs or sex. Law enforcement came to the same conclusion. Sometimes a rose is just a rose.
8. The manhunt
Dominick Adrian Zazweta | U.S. Marshals
U.S. Marshals were looking for 31-year-old Dominick Adrian Zazweta, who had a “history of drug use and violence,” was likely armed and was considered dangerous. Zazweta was wanted for a federal supervised release violation. The feds caught up with him at a Pocatello house a few days after they alerted media. He dropped the knife he was carrying, and no one was hurt in the arrest.
7. Retired park ranger rescues boy from submerged pickup
Scene at Smith and Morehouse Reservoir in August. | Kimberly Meibos via KSL.com
When a pickup truck rolled into Smith and Morehouse Reservoir in Utah in August, Joe Donnell got into action to save a 9-year-old boy inside. The vehicle was no longer visible, but he could see the bubbles on the water’s surface.
“So I swam in, I looked for him, I couldn’t hold my breath more than 30, 40 seconds probably, and I had to resurface. So I just kept going up, getting air, going back down. I think I went down a total of seven times, maybe, and I think the seventh dive is when I finally found him,” he said.
Read more of the emotional story here.
6. Pilot killed in plane crash
Recent photo of Infanger next to her plane. | Courtesy photo
Chelsea Brittney Infanger, 30, of Salmon, was killed when her plane crashed into a potato processing plant in Heyburn.
Family and friends remembered her as a kind, adventurous person.
“I think everybody who knew her felt like she was their best friend,” her sister said.
5. Secret Santa
Isaiah, one of the many recepients of Secret Santa’s generosity this season. He had withdrawn from high school to work full-time to support his mother, who had undergone surgery. As many of Secret Santa’s elves as could come helped deliver his gifts (and ate pizza). | EastIdahoNews.com
The EastIdahoNews.com staff has been making deliveries for an anonymous Secret Santa since 2015, and more of the world was watching this year than ever before.
We can’t count the number of calls, emails and social media messages we’ve gotten from enthusiastic viewers in 2022. For many of you, watching the daily Secret Santa became a ritual of the Christmas season. We are incredibly humbled to be a part of spreading joy to people in eastern Idaho. We wish we could do more!
Some of you have asked who Secret Santa is. Here’s the big reveal: Secret Santa is YOU. Or could be! We invite you to help your struggling neighbors in any way you can throughout 2023 — not just Christmastime.
Check out all the Secret Santa stories here!
4. Flooding in Yellowstone
Damage to a park road after flooding this summer. | Courtesy Yellowstone National Park
It was a rocky summer tourist season for Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding communities.
Torrential rain and a rapidly melting snowpack hit the area hard. Roads and bridges in Montana and Wyoming were knocked out, and all entrances to the park were closed for a time. Footage of the damage was incredible — see the photo galleries here, here and here.
The financial damage is staggering too. Not only did businesses that relied on summer tourism have to deal with mass cancellations, but repairing the damage could take years and cost billions.
6. Missing father found deceased in Arizona desert
Lance Rubio | Courtesy photos
Lance Rubio, a 35-year-old father of four with ties to eastern Idaho, disappeared in Arizona. His body was later found in the desert north of Casa Granda.
Police did not suspect foul play.
3. The Daybells have their (many) days in court
Lori Vallow Daybell leaves court in August. | Tony Blakeslee, EastIdahoNews.com
For the three of you who don’t know who the Daybells are (would you be interested in serving on a jury?): Chad Daybell and his wife Lori Vallow Daybell are charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan – two of Lori’s kids – along with Chad’s previous wife, Tammy Daybell. Prosecutors are pursuing the death penalty against the couple, who have both pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Many of you have expressed frustration at how this case is dragging through the courts. Although Lori’s children disappeared in 2019, and their bodies were found in 2020, this case hasn’t gone to trial yet. Indeed, observing the proceedings is like watching a tennis match in slow motion. Between Lori being declared incompetent and then competent, Chad unsuccessfully trying to get them tried separately, and cameras being banned from the courtroom (grr), it’s been a back-and-forth in procedural molasses.
One Daybell story stands out from the rest, however. In December, the couple appeared in the courtroom together for the first time. Neither of the Daybells so much as glanced in each other’s direction. Whatever that means, we’ll leave it up to you to interpret.
As of Tuesday, the trial was set for April 3 in Boise, but Chad’s attorney is trying to get that date pushed back further. EastIdahoNews.com will continue to cover this case in 2023.
2. Remains of Jed Hall found
Jed Hall | Courtesy photo
The remains of Jed Hall, a 16-year-old who had disappeared in 2018, were found in his car in the Snake River in May. He was found by a search and recovery dive team from Adventures With Purpose, along with the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office and the Idaho Falls Police Department.
Adventurers With Purpose specializes in helping families locate missing loved ones underwater. Its team found the car within 20 minutes.
1. Human foot found in Yellowstone
The West Thumb Geyser Basin and boardwalk at Yellowstone National Park. | Courtesy Yellowstone National Park
In August, a Yellowstone National Park employee made a gruesome discovery: a partial foot inside a shoe floating in Abyss Pool in West Thumb Geyser Basin.
Through DNA analysis, authorities discovered the appendage belonged to Il Hun Ro, a 70-year-old male from Los Angeles.
The park released the following statement:
“The investigation determined, to the best of our knowledge, that an unwitnessed incident involving one individual happened on the morning of July 31 at Abyss Pool, and no foul play occurred. Based on a lack of evidence, the circumstances surrounding the death of Ro remain unknown.”
The post What you were reading on EastIdahoNews.com in 2022 appeared first on East Idaho News.
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