Most popular stories of 2015 - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Most popular stories of 2015

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A growing homeless population, a spate of shark attacks, and the skyrocketing cost of housing dominated Hawaii’s headlines in 2015, and were among the most popular stories at HawaiiNewsNow.com.

There are also a few surprises on the list of HNN's most-read stories.

Readers were intrigued by a monster marlin, a monster mansion and a, well, very big Kahala auction.

Here’s a look at our top stories of the year, with the most popular piece first:

1. That’s a really big fish!

In February, a New York City teenager reeled in a 1,058-pound blue marlin while deep-water fishing off the Kona Coast.

The monster fish was a whopping 11 feet long and took 30 minutes to reel in -- impressive enough to make this story go viral. It was HNN's most popular story of the year.

2. Mega mansion on the market

It’s everybody’s dream home: A five-bedroom, 8,100-square-foot estate on the Hamakua Coast with spectacular ocean views and its own waterfall.

Other amenities included a 450-seat tennis stadium, a basketball court, a nine-tee golf course, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, and a rooftop helicopter landing pad.

The home, on nine acres of land, was originally listed at $26.5 million.

3. Five-0 mania

There is no shortage of love in the islands for the popular television series that showcases Hawaii every week.

In July, a story about the planned premiere of Hawaii’s Five-0 sixth season at Sunset on the Beach garnered so many clicks it shot to our third-most read story of the year. Looking for more stories to get your Five-0 fix? Click here and here.

4. (Not so) mysterious streaks in the nighttime sky

In August, residents saw mysterious streaks jet across the nighttime sky. Everybody had a theory. It was a government experiment gone awry. It was a UFO. It was a meteor headed to earth.

Turns out, it was something more mundane: Space junk.

5. The mega mansion is back

Remember the Big Island mega mansion? It wasn’t off the market long. About two months after its new owners purchased the estate at auction for $5.8 million, they relisted it for $8.2 million.

Why the quick sale? The couple said they wanted to move back to the mainland to be with family.

6. Kihei fatal shark attack

There were eight shark attacks in Hawaii waters this year. The only fatal attack happened in April, when 65-year-old Margaret Cruse sustained severe lacerations to her right shoulder and arm while snorkeling with friends off Maui.

The eight attacks in 2015 compare to six in all of 2014 and 14 in 2013.

Scientists have some theories for why Hawaii is seeing more shark attacks. One simple explanation: There are more people in the water these days, enjoying recreational sports.

Most of this year’s shark attacks occurred in the fall -- five of the attacks happened between late September and early November.

7. Sovereignty debate

There was much discussion in 2015 about Native Hawaiian sovereignty.

The most popular story at HawaiiNewsNow.com on this issue was a bit of an explainer piece, laying out what was at stake.

It's no surprise why readers felt they needed to take a breath and understand all sides of the issue. There were lots of developments afoot in 2015, including an election for a Native Hawaiian convention aimed at forging a path for self-governance.

The election was challenged in court and subsequently scrapped. The convention is moving forward, though, with delegates who had been running in the election invited to attend.

8. A high-end auction

In February, the contents of a 17-bedroom, 18,000-square-foot mansion in Kahala went on the auction block.

Among the items for sale: a custom tatami bed with a koa head board, a full samurai armor ensemble and a tepanyaki dinner table with built-in cooking mechanisms.

The beachfront mansion at 4747 Kahala Ave. was the well-appointed home of the late Honolulu attorney David Schutter.

Readers were as intrigued by the home as they were by its contents. One particularly interesting item up for auction: a 300-foot rolled red carpet used to welcome guests at dinner parties. Now who doesn’t need their own red carpet?

9. Kakaako homeless encampment

The state’s homeless crisis was undoubtedly one of the biggest Hawaii stories of 2015. As the number of people experiencing homelessness grew, the city and state ramped up social service programs while also rousting the homeless from parks and sidewalks.

In the spring and summer, the Kakaako homeless encampment became the symbol of the state’s homeless woes – and its dearth of affordable housing. The encampment grew to more than 400 people, including families with children, and generated local and national headlines.

In October, the encampment was cleared, after advocates had worked with homeless in the area to try to move them into shelters

But the situation is far from resolved. Kakaako continues to have a significant population of unsheltered homeless, and advocates have pointed out that simply putting people into emergency homeless shelters doesn’t solve the homeless crisis.

Most everybody agrees the long-term fix is building more affordable housing. And that’s a solution that’s years away.

10. The future of Kalaupapa

In May, HNN’s Mileka Lincoln visited Kalaupapa to tell the story of a place whose future is uncertain. It’s been nearly 150 years since the first Hansen’s Disease patients were exiled to the small Molokai town. Today, just a few patients remain.

The community and National Park Service is now trying to determine what becomes of Kalaupapa in the long-term.

Readers were moved by the story, and many supported protecting Kalaupapa as a memorial for those who had been sent there. One commenter on the story wrote, “Respect the Kalaupapa settlement and its long history should be paramount. It is a special place and should be treated that way.” 

Mobile users: Click here to see HNN's most popular slideshows of 2015.

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