Wednesday October 4th, 2023 10:00AM

AccessWDUN's top stories of 2016 include everything from criminal arrests to movie making

By AccessWDUN Staff

While the presidential election captured the attention of the nation, only one story about the election showed up on the list of AccessWDUN's Top Stories of 2016. In fact, the story about a local pastor's appointment to then-GOP candidate Donald Trump's evangelical advisory board went viral after other news agencies picked up on it.

Aside from that, AccessWDUN readers were most interested in stories from the local crime beat, accounts of traffic fatalities and coverage of a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie that was filmed in Dahlonega.

Here's our list with links to the top stories of the year:


1.  Gainesville minister named to Trump Evangelical Advisory Board 

June 23/419,708 page views

The Donald J. Trump campaign has created a new executive board to provide advisory support to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee on issues "important to Evangelicals and other people of faith in America."

The make-up of the board includes Jentezen Franklin, Senior Pastor of Free Chapel in Gainesville.  Another member with Georgia ties is Ralph Reed, founder of the Christian Coalition, who ran an unsuccessful race for Lt. Governor in 2006.

Read the full story here.


2.  Union General Hospital CEO arrested 

Feb. 4/98,614 page views

The CEO of a hospital in Union County was arrested Thursday afternoon by Union County sheriff's deputies, along with four other hospital employees and one former employee.

Dr. Michael Gowder was taken into custody at the hospital, according to Tim Henry, Union General chief financial officer.

Read the full story here.


3. Christmas movie currently filming in Dahlonega/Christmas movie filmed in Dahlonega to air Thanksgiving night

Sept. 28/40,640 and November 6/39,842 page views

[Editor's note: AccessWDUN chose to combine these two stories, since they essentially contained the same information. The November 6 story simply announced the air date for the movie. Bottom line: 80,482 total page views were recording, meaning lots of readers were interested in "Christmas in Homestead.]

The City of Dahlonega is looking a lot like Christmas. That's because a made for television Christmas movie is setting up production there.
Dahlonega Director of Tourism David Zunker said on WDUN's Afternoon News Wrap Wednesday that the production crews were hard at work, as there's a quick turnaround time. The filming should be wrapped by October 13, one day ahead of Gold Rush on October 14, Zucker said.

Read the full story from Sept. 28 here

Read the full story from Nov. 6 here 


4.  Gainesville police arrest 6 on drug charges for Snapchat post

Dec. 28, 2015/55,317 page views

[Editor's note: While this story was posted in late December 2015, it generated tens of thousands of page views in 2016, making it one of the top-viewed stories of the year.]

Six people, including a juvenile, face charges following a Snapchat post on Christmas Eve that showed the group using drugs, drinking alcohol and flashing weapons.

Sgt. Kevin Holbrook with Gainesville Police said in a phone interview that it was a "very short" period of time between the posting and the arrest, which police received via a tip.

Read the full story here.


5. Operation Rolling Thunder suspended after suspect shot and killed, three troopers injured

June 26/43,292 page views

A man was shot and killed and three Georgia State Patrol troopers were injured Saturday night during an Operation Thunder Task Force road check in Hall County.
GSP Capt. Mark Perry, speaking to media outside Northeast Georgia Medical Center, said the incident started around 8:25 p.m. when two suspects, who have been identified by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation as vehicle driver Rodrigo Guardiola, age 36, and passenger Epitacio Gudino, age 31, fled from the troopers during a road check on Highway 53 in Oakwood.
6. Baldwin wreck claims two lives
March 13/40,733 page views
A Tyrone woman and her daughter-in-law were killed in a two-vehicle wreck on Ga. 365 southbound in Baldwin late Sunday morning.

Teddye Hall-Martin, 63, of Tyrone, had pulled her Honda CRV onto the shoulder of Ga. 365 and activated the flashers after becoming ill, said Habersham County Coroner Kasey McEntire. She was outside at the front of the vehicle when it was struck from behind by a second compact SUV.

Read the full story here.


7.  Jackson County two-car wreck kills man, infant 

Jan. 23/39,473 page views

The Georgia State Patrol has released the names of those involved in a Jackson County wreck that killed two, including a one year old, Friday morning.

The accident happened at 11:45 a.m. on Commerce Road at Mauldin Road, said Jackson County EMS Director Steve Nichols.

Read the full story here.


8.  Clayton man killed, Loganville man seriously hurt in Banks County crash 

Feb. 18/39,449 page views

A collision between a small car and a dump truck claimed the life of a Clayton man and seriously injured his passenger Thursday afternoon in Banks County.

The wreck happened at the intersection of Ga. 198 and Ga. 63 beside Patel's Grocery near the Franklin County line.

Read the full story here.


9.  North Georgia school systems close early as winter weather system approaches

Feb. 9/38,374 page views

Winter 2016 was mostly mild in North Georgia, but some wintry precipitation prompted the closure of some school systems on February 10, and plenty of readers were checking the list the night before, making sure they had a day to sleep in. 

Read the full story here.


10. Gainesville McDonald's employee fired for refusing to serve law enforcement

Aug. 1/35,476

An employee at a local McDonald's was fired Monday for reportedly refusing service to uniformed law enforcement, Hall County Sheriff's Office officials said in a news release.

The incident, which happened at the location on Jesse Jewell Parkway at Limestone Parkway, came to light via a Facebook comment.

Read the full story here.

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