TUCSON, AZ — With 2020 finally drawing to a close, take a look back at all the stories that captivated Tucson Patch readers this year.
2020 was an eventful year that provided plenty of news, from the coronavirus pandemic keeping us at home to a controversy surrounding a beloved Tucson landmark.
Here are the most read stories on Tucson Patch in 2020:
A group called Christians Against Dinosaurs denounced the T. rex statue outside of a Tucson McDonald's in August, calling its followers to rally for its removal. The dinosaur has resided outside of the fast-food restaurant since it opened on Grant Road and Tanque Verde Road in 1994. According to its Facebook page and website, Christians Against Dinosaurs seeks to reveal the truth about the "dinosaur lie," claiming that the creatures never existed. It says dinosaurs are a scam invented by scientists to thwart religion.
When reached via Facebook, Christians Against Dinosaurs told Patch that the group's mission is no joke.
"We're fed up with everybody acting like the people of Tucson are imbeciles and we want to help," a spokesperson for the group said. "Having a big dinosaur outside a cultural hub like McDonald's makes Tucsonians look like they're mentally deficient and that isn't right."
When Arizona's stay-at-home order went into effect in late March, law enforcement stepped in to help ensure compliance, though Tucson police focused on education instead of punishment.
Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus said in a news release that, although the consequences of being caught in a social gathering are serious, "The worst consequence would be if you pass this virus on to someone who has a serious illness or dies as a result.
Arizonans went to the polls in droves to vote on (and before) Nov. 3. Pima County voters stayed informed with this voter guide and several candidate profiles ahead of the election.
When the state's stay-at-home order finally lifted, Arizonans flocked to their local hiking trails to enjoy the outdoors after months inside. Many flooded social media with pictures of gila monsters in Southern Arizona, who love spring and monsoon season just as much as humans do.
Tucson's Bighorn Fire was a dark spot in 2020 for many. This photo from NASA shows its devastation across hundreds of acres of land near the Old Pueblo.
The Pima County Sheriff's Department reported in January that deputies had discovered human remains in the Pima Canyon Trail near Tucson. One full-grown mountain lion and two yearlings that ate the remains were shot and killed by authorities the next day. The mountain lions were killed because they were 50 yards from the public and showed no fear of responding officers, which is unusual for the animals and presented a public safety issue.
While 2020 was a difficult year for many, it was especially tough for Tucson's most vulnerable, including the elderly. In response, Pima County set up a program funded by federal CARES Act dollars to allow seniors to stay at home and have someone get their groceries for them.
Sara Mulcahey, a mom from Tucson, brought some smiles to the internet when she filmed her daughter dancing with a car salesman while visiting El Paso, Texas.
In a caption attached to a video, Mulcahey wrote that the man "was trying to get the crowd at the mall dancing." That's when her daughter, Harper, joined in. The moment from June was definitely what people needed in 2020.
The start of a new year brings with it new laws. This year, that meant a minimum wage increase, mandatory testing for marijuana at dispensaries, the tobacco-buying age being raised to 21 and so much more.
More and more Baby Boomers are leaving the workforce for a well-deserved life of relaxation and a WalletHub report ranked Tucson as one of their top destinations.