Looking back on 2015: These Sacramento Bee staff stories connected with readers

California Attorney General Kamala Harris reacted to a proposed ballot measure calling for gays to be executed.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris reacted to a proposed ballot measure calling for gays to be executed. hamezcua@sacbee.com

The year 2015 produced many significant stories written by Sacramento Bee reporters. From politics to social issues to crime, topics were varied.

The following are staff-written stories that received the most page views on sacbee.com.

(This list does not include sports stories.)

Also, take our news quiz at the bottom of this collection of stories.

1. California proposal to legalize killing gays hard to stoppublished March 19, 2015; written by Christopher Cadelago

For less than the cost of an Apple iPad, Matt McLaughlin started a statewide legal conversation. An attorney from Huntington Beach, McLaughlin in late February spent $200 to propose a ballot measure that authorizes the killing of gays and lesbians by “bullets to the head,” or “any other convenient method.”

2. Critics take aim at Nestlé bottled water plant in Sacramentopublished April 25, 2015; written by Robert D. Dávila

As Californians face deepening cuts in water usage because of the drought, critics are raising concerns about tens of millions of gallons of Sacramento municipal water being tapped by a local plant that bottles and resells it at a profit.

3. Florin High principal body-slammed in student fight that results in 3 arrestspublished Oct. 28, 2015; written by Diana Lambert and Bill Lindelof

Three Florin High School students were taken to juvenile hall Monday after a wild lunchroom fight in which Principal Don Ross was lifted off his feet and slammed to the ground.

Florin High Principal Don Ross talks about how the image of the school has been tarnished by the publicity over a lunchtime brawl.

4. Borrow a sewing machine? Sacramento Public Library to start loaning more than bookspublished Feb. 1, 2015; written by Ellen Garrison

Have you ever had the urge to play around with a music synthesizer or take a GoPro camera on an adventure, but didn’t want to own one?

5. Jerry Brown’s climate warning: ‘We are talking about extinction’published July 21, 2015; written by David Siders

Gov. Jerry Brown, issuing an ominous appeal on climate change, said that the world may already have “gone over the edge” on global warming and that humanity must reverse course or face extinction.

Gov. Jerry Brown, issuing an ominous appeal on climate change, spoke at a climate change conference in Vatican City on July 21, 2015, saying the world may already have “gone over the edge” on global warming and that humanity must reverse course o

6. Robert Kennedy Jr. warns of vaccine-linked ‘holocaust’published April 7, 2015; written by Jeremy B. White

With lawmakers preparing to vote on a bill blocking parents from skipping vaccinations for their children, prominent vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr. arrived at the Sacramento screening of a film linking autism to the vaccine preservative thimerosal and warned that public health officials cannot be trusted.

Parents, delegates and an actress rally against Senate Bill 277, a controversial legislative effort to require vaccinations.

7. Drug companies donated millions to California lawmakers before vaccine debatepublished June 18, 2015; written by Jim Miller

A subplot to the vociferous debate over the student vaccination bill moving through California’s Capitol is opponents’ allegations that the effort reflects the influence of the pharmaceutical industry.

8 Odds of stroke rise sharply among young peoplepublished Jan. 4, 2015; written by Anita Creamer

Although stroke has long been considered an illness of advanced age, statistics show a startling demographic reversal in recent years. Even while strokes are on the decline in older adults, decreasing by more than 25 percent for people older than 45, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures, the chances of stroke have soared alarmingly among people in early adulthood and middle age.

9. The state of California is hiring, and it may want people like youpublished July 26, 2015; written by Andrew Holzman

Every day, California government officials are looking for people to fill thousands of full-time vacancies. Their recruiting is heating up. Forty percent of state employees are eligible to retire, and only about 10 percent of the workforce is under age 30, compared to about 25 percent of the overall workforce in California in that age group.

10. California community colleges board approves 15 pilot bachelor’s degreespublished Jan. 20, 2015; written by Alexei Koseff

Under legislation signed last fall by Gov. Jerry Brown, California's community college governing board tentatively approved four-year degree programs at 15 community college campuses that will be introduced over the next three academic years.

Bonus story: The multi-story saga of three Sacramento men stopping a terrorist attack on a train in Europe riveted the country and much of the world. It included a near-tragic twist when one of those men, Spencer Stone, was stabbed outside a Sacramento nightspot. Here is that story:

▪  Train hero Spencer Stone stabbed, in serious condition

Here is a shorter, clearer version of the video showing the Spencer Stone stabbing. Stone appears to be larger guy in white shirt.

Sacramento police chief Sam Somers Jr. said during a news conference on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015, that the suspect arrested on suspicion of stabbing Spencer Stone, James Tran, 28, did not know the victim was the hero of the thwarted French train te

Bonus No. 2. The most-viewed post on sacbee.com – by an extensive margin – was our evergreen feature, the State Worker Salary Database. Seems many of us want to know how we compensate members of the state’s sprawling employee group. Here are other entries on the Data Tracker page that garnered significant reader engagement:

▪  See how much income you'd need to buy a home in most California cities

▪  Five pictures of Yosemite's Half Dome that capture California's historic drought

▪  Roughly 5 million people left California in the last decade. See where they went

▪  See what California cities pay police, firefighters