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From Triple D and Guy Fieri to a Newark Family Smiling in the Face of Hate: TSD’s Most-Read Stories of 2019

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Some of the top stories of 2019 (clockwise from top left): Appalling Letter Sent to Newark Family Goes Viral; Food Network’s Guy Fieri Tells us Why Triple D Came to Delaware; Margie Mays Rocks American Idol

Two thousand and nineteen was a terrific year for TSD – our best ever, in fact – as our audience (YOU!) and content offerings continued to grow. Thanks to every one of you for your support and sharing of our stories – more than 30,000 of you visit the site every month (some months twice that) and in 2020 we look forward to that momentum accelerating as we continue to improve our reporting and add exciting new features and sections we know – from asking a lot of you – you will love.

We thought you’d be interested to know what people read the most in 2019 – a range of stories and news that couldn’t be found anywhere else.

(Note to all: Thanks too, to all our advertisers and partners – we are so lucky and proud to work with some of Delaware’s top companies, nonprofits, arts organizations and schools.  Their advertising makes this site possible so we thank and encourage all of you readers for supporting and engaging with these great outfits however you can.  Thanks!)

On Guy Fieri’s first trip to Delaware, he visited Mrs. Robino’s. Owner Andrea Wakefield said the Diner’s, Drive-ins and Dives notoriety has been a boon to business.

Triple D and Guy Fieri Come to Delaware

Readers couldn’t get enough of our coverage of The Food Network’s Guy Fieri and his visit to Wilmington to film his smash hit Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  TSD was the only news organization to catch up live with the spiky-haired one on-site at one of the restaurants he visited – grabbing his pic and a quick interview outside lower Market Street’s the Farmer and the Cow. You loved our photo of his famous red Camaro, snapped in the parking lot of Maiale off Lancaster Pike.

Our articles including one focused on Fieri’s visit to legendary Mrs. Robino’s in Little Italy that included an interview with the founder’s granddaughter Andrea Minuti Wakefield garnered tens of thousands of hits and 900+ shares on Facebook.

 

A Newark Family Smiles in the Face of Hate

When a wonderful family in Newark received an ugly, anonymous letter in the mail saying their special needs daughter should stay away from the local Little League field while her mom worked the snack shack, readers were outraged and responded with compassion and support.  Many in the TSD audience shared their own stories of caring for special needs family members and they applauded the Jerram family for their bravery, kindness and grace.  The early September article got massive traffic and rousing, heartwarming response for the Jerrams.

Important Real Estate Developments and Road Construction Got Your Attention

Our extensive coverage of developer Greg Pettinaro’s plans to transform the long-vacant Barley Mill Plaza on the edge of Greenville was of significant interest to TSD readers.  The plan to bring a Wegman’s Grocery store and upscale housing and shopping to the former DuPont Company office site where a King of Prussia-sized project had once been proposed was first reported on TSD. We also broke the news of the planned sale of Wilmington Friends School’s lower school campus to pharmaceutical company Incyte as well as the eye-popping $50 million price tag.

 

On a somewhat related note, we had multiple stories on the massive road construction project that caused lane and ramp closures on Rte. 141 throughout the year. Clearly, TSD readers are also big-time 141 drivers – as are we.

You Love Reading about New Delaware Restaurants and Hot Spots

Guy Fieri wasn’t the only one making restaurant-related news in 2019. 

This was a banner year for the opening of new eateries and bars, including several great new places to wine, dine and enjoy life in downtown Wilmington.  TSD stories on the nation’s first Robot Restaurant in Pike Creek, new beer gardens Makers Alley and Torbert Street Social and the pop-up Christmasy-themed Blitzen all got your attention, generating tons of traffic and engagement on TSD social media platforms.

Clockwise from top left: Robot Captain Crabs restaurant; Blitzen pop-up Christmas bar; Makers Alley Beer Garden in Wilmington.

Delaware-born Celebrities Had a Big Year

Two talented young Delaware women made entertainment headlines in 2019, and you read about it here first. 

We loved following the magical run of singer Margie Mays, a Tower Hill School and Stanford University grad who made it through the qualifying rounds of the ABC hit American Idol only to just miss making the top 20 contestants. Our first article was way back in January when her goofy and charming tryout first caught the judges’ eye and fans’ delight. Margie was a delightful and forthcoming source to TSD throughout, providing us a rare perspective on the highs and lows of the famously nerve-wracking national competition.

Nineteen-year-old Sofi Tyler Brown, a Tatnall School grad, made her movie debut in High Strung Free Dance, an occasion she and her family celebrated with a premiere event at AMC Painter’s Crossing.  Clearly, TSD readers enjoyed her star turn because the article got mega views.

Although Jess and Matt Farina aren’t seeking a career in showbiz like Mays and Tyler Brown, they had their own time in the national spotlight thanks to their appearance on HGTB’s popular House Hunters.  Our story about the Farina’s experience picking their new North Wilmington home was a big hit with TSD readers.

Yet another local guy – tech entrepreneur Markevis Gideon – had a chance to dazzle on the national stage with his appearance on Shark Tank, where he impressed judges with his pitch for NERDiT NOW kiosks but didn’t come away with their money.

Susan Ledyard’s Murder and other Crimes

On a much sadder note, the mysterious death of Susan Morrissey Ledyard in July proved to be of immense interest to our audience.  Our most recent report on the murder case shared the news that her family has requested a meeting with Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings to help keep the hunt for Susan’s killer alive.

In other crime news, you were enthralled by our story about a woman who infiltrated a local mom’s Facebook group and, appealing to their kindness, went about ripping dozens of moms off by taking thousands of dollars for housekeeping work she never completed.

 

The Best Sportswriting Around

Kevin Noonan is one of the most talented sportswriters in America.  Period.  We’re truly fortunate to have him as TSD’s sports columnist – from the first days of this site’s early, meager existence.  Kevin’s elegant, punchy storytelling about everything from the glory days of the Delaware Blue Bombers and Baynard Stadium to the NFL All-Stars like Chris Godwin who hailed from the First State to the professional basketball careers of Elena Delle Donne and Donte DiVincenzo drove major clickage.

Elena Delle Donne on 9.8.19 in Washington, DC. Credit: Ned Dishman / Contributor; Donte DiVincenzo now starts for the Milwaukee Bucks

Ending the Year on a High Note

Middletown’s Kathy Ouma (and Padua alumna) couldn’t have predicted that the video she posted of the Amazon delivery driver dancing a happy jig on her front porch would get more than 10 million views on Facebook. But that’s exactly what happened – and our article on her kindness to the good souls delivering packages during the holiday season got tens of thousands of views itself.

Naturally, we have to mention the several stories on the #Delabear that we and other media outlets breathlessly covered – you loved that bear and he was good for site traffic.  Come back anytime!

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