There are lots of countdowns at this time of year, you know, when you get to hear from others about the important stories of the year.
But this countdown is the one YOU dictated to us. Which San Juan Capistrano stories were the biggest of the year? You voted with your clicks.
Click through one more time to take a walk down memory lane.
20) 158 CUSD Teachers Enticed to Retire The Capistrano Unified School District offered a financial incentive for older teachers to retire. The savings didn’t come from the younger teachers making less but from the 17 teachers the district planned not to replace.
19) Residents in the Rancho Madrina tract were taken by complete surprise when federal authorities descended on their neighborhood.
18) Capo IDs 374 Pink-Slipped Teachers In preparing for budget cuts, the school board had to let nearly 400 teachers know their jobs may not be available come fall. Most of them – but not all – were rehired.
17) Charter School to Investigate Cheating Allegations When accusations that a local charter school cheated on standardized tests – which led to the highest academic achievement score among Orange County elementary schools – surfaced, readers were riveted.
16) The Untold Story of a Crash that Made Headlines Around the World This is the first – and most complete – story on our list about local teacher and resident Kelli Groves, whose January collision with a big rig in Santa Barbara County did indeed make headlines around the world.
15) LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Fundraising Pays for CUSD Core Programs The best read letter to the editor of the year challenged Capistrano Unified in its fundraising efforts. Its 456 comments also made it the most commented piece this year.
14) UPDATE: Couple Identified in Suspected Laguna Beach Murder-Suicide It didn’t happen in SJC, but this story of a murder-suicide-caninecide captured readers just the same.
13) Fatality on I-5 Blocks Traffic for Hours Readers don’t like it when you mess with our traffic.
12) SJC City Council Election Results: Byrnes and Allevato Win You all were glued election night as the results rolled in. … And so were we.
11) Two Men Shot by Suspected Gang Members Two gang members suspected in a San Clemente shooting were caught in SJC.
10) Del Obispo Elementary is back in session after a teacher (on maternity leave) and a student are seriously injured in accident on a Santa Barbara County bridge.
9) Federal Drug Raid Turns SJC Street into 'Warzone' The follow-up story to No. 19 had readers incredulous how a quiet, suburban street became a warzone.
8) Happened only this month, your San Juan Capistrano Patch broke this story. We hear the mayor is recovering nicely and wish him happy holidays.
7) San Juan Teacher Upgraded to Fair Condition Following Dramatic Crash All eyes were searching for news about how teacher Kelli Groves and her two daughters were doing after being rescued from a car that was hanging more off than on a bridge.
6) San Juan Teacher and 2 Kids Saved From Bridge Plunge The first story of the Kelli Groves accident, and word of the miraculous rescue spread like wildfire.
5) Santa Margarita Coach Fired After Cocaine Arrest An assistant JV coach was fired after deputies in San Juan Capistrano caught him high on cocaine.
4) This story went “locally viral” as a network of friends, family, patients and schoolmates got the word out that a very beloved veterinarian died while on the job and too young.
3) Caught on Camera Running a Red? Many Now Are Fighting — and Winning It’s not usual for a government budget story to go this viral. Then again, the audience may be looking for ways to get out its tickets.
2) Don't Steal from Rite Aid; They Catch You Every Time Sheriff’s blotters do very well on a regular basis, but this one took the proverbial cake. We think it was the snappy headline.
1) 4-Hour SWAT Standoff Blamed on False Report A Labor Day standoff ended up being a whole lotta nothing, but it was sure attention-grabbing as it was happening. It may have been a holiday weekend, but Patch was first on scene.