Here are 10 of the stories that most engaged Vineyard Gazette readers in print and online in 2020.

1.     Coronavirus Pandemic. The outbreak of Covid-19 and the shadow it cast on the health, culture and economy of Martha’s Vineyard was the story of the year here as elsewhere, coloring or eclipsing every other news event. The Gazette’s daily updated list of what’s open, what’s closed on the Island was among the best-read feature ever on the Gazette’s website, with 175,000 pageviews by year end.  A sweeping stay-at-home order in March was followed by news in April of the first reported death of a person with a Vineyard connection.  A Gazette survey in May tapped a flood of concerns about the coming summer. An initiative by Edgartown seasonal residents to provide free Covid testing to Island residents was lauded by readers. Edgartown and Oak Bluffs got creative  to accommodate summer visitors, and Main street businesses did what they could to survive.

Erosion changed the profile of Lucy Vincent beach overnight. — Hellie Neumann

2.     Cliff Collapses. The oft-photographed cliff at Lucy Vincent Beach Chilmark disappeared in early May after last the finger collapsed overnight, punctuating a long period of erosion.

3.     Ferry Woes. As the pandemic unfolded and the hospital urged second homeowners to stay away, ferry traffic went into freefall, forcing the Steamship Authority to seek an unprecedented state bailout. Traffic rebounded over the summer, and the SSA cut its deficit, rendering state aid unnecessary, but still compelling rate hikes for 2021.

4.     Kennedy Property Preserved. Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation and the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank teamed up to purchase more than 300 acres of the Kennedy family’s oceanfront Red Gate Farm in Aquinnah in the largest conservation deal on the Island in decades.

Albies ruled the waves after stripers were eliminated from the 2020 derby. — Jeanna Shepard

5.     Christmas Week Crash. A 22-year-old Oak Bluffs woman, Emma Hall, was killed in a tragic head-on collision on Beach road in Vineyard Haven on the weekend before Christmas, the only traffic fatality of the year.

6.     Bass-less Derby. Citing a precipitous drop in striped bass stocks across the Eastern seaboard, the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby voted to eliminate stripers from the 2020 derby.

7.     Real Estate Frenzy. In the midst of the pandemic, buyers started snapping up homes on the Vineyard, creating a real estate boom that shattered records for both volume and price. 

Demonstrations for racial justice followed the death of George Floyd. — Tim Johnson

8.     Firehouse Flap. Long-simmering issues at the Oak Bluffs fire department broke into the open with the settlement of a sexual harassment and discrimination case and disclosure of an FBI investigation, resulting in the resignation of  Chief John Rose.

9.     Black Lives Matter. Peaceful demonstrations and marches for racial justice drew hundreds to Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven over the summer, and in Chilmark, a daily vigil to raise awareness of the Black Lives Matters movement continued through the fall.

10.  Katama Farm Dispute. Tensions mounted between the town of Edgartown and the Trustees of Reservation over its use of the town-owned Katama Farm, resulting in the town terminating its lease in August. As the year ended, discussions were under way on a possible compromise.