CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — This year has been full of twists and turns in Central Illinois, from COVID-19 updates to restaurants coming and going. We thought we might take a look back and see what our most popular stories were in 2022, and some of them might surprise you.

We broke them down into how you came to our website: from Facebook, from Google, and the overall number of pageviews.

Top 10 stories from Facebook

10. One person shot at Marketplace Mall
In February, we reported one person was shot in a fight outside Market Place Mall in Champaign.
9. Coroner confirms Urbana student’s death
This December, the Urbana Police Department confirmed the identity of an Urbana Middle School student who had a medical emergency and died during the school day.
8. Two found dead near Neoga
In the small town of Neoga in Cumberland County, two people were found dead in a home in early December.
7. Big changes coming to Dick’s Sporting Goods, Field & Stream in Champaign Many stores in Champaign closed in 2022. In December, our news team shared the new plans for Champaign’s Dick’s Sporting Goods to become a new concept store.
6. Neoga left with questions, grief after two people found dead
In a follow-up to the Neoga deaths, a sister of one of the people who died told WCIA about her younger brother and the shock of telling her family that he’s dead.
5. Urbana Middle School Student dies
The fifth most popular WCIA story from Facebook announced the death of the Urbana Middle School student.
4. Missing University of Illinois student found dead
From our sister station WMBD, a University of Illinois student went missing in November and was found dead later that week in Peoria.
3. Champaign restaurant abruptly announces closing
Customers of Everyday Kitchen were shocked in December that the restaurant abruptly closed.
2. Illinois adopts employer vaccine, testing mandate after U.S. Supreme Court calls OSHA rules into question
Early at the start of the year, the Illinois Department of Labor officially implemented Occupational Safety and Hazard Association’s policy that all in-person workers for companies that employ more than 100 people must either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or wear masks and submit testing to enter the workplace.
1. DCFS worker stabbed to death during home visit
In January, DCFS caseworker Deidre Silas died in the line of duty during a home visit after being stabbed.

Top 10 stories searched on Google

10. Senator Bennett dies from brain tumor
In December, Champaign’s state senator Scott Bennett died from complications from a brain tumor. He was 45.
9. State Police: Westbound I-72 shut down in Springfield
Part of I-72 in Springfield was shut down for a night in July.
8. Illinois adopts employer vaccine, testing mandate after U.S. Supreme Court calls OSHA rules into question
Early at the start of the year, the Illinois Department of Labor officially implemented Occupational Safety and Hazard Association’s policy that all in-person workers for companies that employ more than 100 people must either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or wear masks and submit testing to enter the workplace.
7. Poison Hemlock blooming in Central Illinois, posing health threats
A man from Monticello had a reaction to the toxic plant Poison Hemlock in June.
6. Nursing facility ‘held’ patient against family’s wishes, provided ‘substandard care’
Our Target 3 Investigation in September told the story of a patient at Champaign-Urbana Nursing and Rehab who did not receive the treatment her condition needed and had the facility extended her stay against her family’s wishes.
5. COVID-19 closures and rules take effect Monday in Illinois
Governor Pritzker reinstated some bans on elective surgeries and closing Secretary of State offices back in January due to increases of transmission of the omicron variant of COVID-19.
4. Illinois State Police warn of phone scam
Back in September, State Police warned the public of a scam where people spoofed their numbers to look like a ISP official and asked people for personal information.
3. Expanded bereavement leave rights in Illinois take effect on Jan. 1
A new law expands the definition of bereavement in Illinois to include miscarriages and failed adoptions will go into effect in 2023.
2. Ten new laws going into effect in 2023
Similarly to #3, we listed out 10 laws going into effect at the start of 2023, from an increase of the minimum wage to a prescription that prevents the spread of HIV available from a pharmacist.
1. Mountain lion killed in Illinois, sent to U of I
In one of two instances where Central Illinois spotted a mountain lion in October, a mountain lion killed by a vehicle in DeKalb County was sent to a lab at the University of Illinois for DNA analysis.

The Top 10 most popular Central Illinois stories on WCIA.com

All but two of our top stories made either the Facebook or Google lists.

10. Illinois State Police warn of phone scam
Back in September, State Police warned the public of a scam where people spoofed their numbers to look like a ISP official and asked people for personal information.
9. Missing University of Illinois student found dead
From our sister station WMBD, a University of Illinois student went missing in November and was found dead later that week in Peoria.
8. Woman charged in connection to deadly shooting
A 35-year-old Champaign woman faced five charges in March for her involvement in a shooting where the victim died.
7. Ten new laws going into effect in 2023
For December, we listed out 10 new laws going into effect at the start of the new year, from an increase of the minimum wage to a prescription that prevents the spread of HIV available from a pharmacist.
6. November 8, 2022 Midterm Election Results
2022 was an election year, and as Your Local Election Headquarters, viewers checked the webpage after the polls closed for updates on state and Central Illinois races.
5. Champaign restaurant abruptly announces closing
Customers of Everyday Kitchen were shocked in December that the restaurant abruptly closed.
4. Senator Bennett dies from brain tumor
In December, Champaign’s state senator Scott Bennett died from complications from a brain tumor. He was 45.
3. Expanded bereavement leave rights in Illinois take effect on Jan. 1
A new law expands the definition of bereavement in Illinois to include miscarriages and failed adoptions will go into effect in 2023.
2. Illinois adopts employer vaccine, testing mandate after U.S. Supreme Court calls OSHA rules into question
Early at the start of the year, the Illinois Department of Labor officially implemented Occupational Safety and Hazard Association’s policy that all in-person workers for companies that employ more than 100 people must either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or wear masks and submit testing to enter the workplace.
1. Mountain lion killed in Illinois, sent to U of I
In one of two instances where Central Illinois spotted a mountain lion in October, a mountain lion killed by a vehicle in DeKalb County was sent to a lab at the University of Illinois for DNA analysis.