Some of the stories which had a huge impact on the Northern Rivers in 2020.
Some of the stories which had a huge impact on the Northern Rivers in 2020.

10 stories that changed the Northern Rivers in 2020

We all know 2020 was a big year, and for many reasons.

On the Northern Rivers, we faced bushfires, droughts, floods, wild weather and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic.

But we also had our share of local heartbreak and drama.

We analysed our data and collated this list of the stories that resonated the most with our readers.

These are stories that shaped us, changed us, and brought us closer together.


1. Northern Rivers drug dealers named

What do a talented golfer, a dodgy fisherman and a father-of-four all have in common?

They've all been convicted in the last year for drug supply.

Our region has had no shortage of men and women who have been charged with supplying dangerous drugs to people in our community, and our list naming and shaming them was the most popular story on our website last year.


2. RIP Eddie Allen

The death of talented young football player Eddie Allen broke our hearts. Our thoughts are with his family and friends as they grapple with life without him.


3. Ballina brothers charged over stabbing

Two brothers are going through court over a stabbing at Byron Bay last year. Tory John Martin-Manton, 24 and Jarett Martin-Manton, 25, were arrested in September after the alleged fight at Apex Park. Police allege the Martin-Manton brothers, from Ballina, assaulted a man, 34, before stabbing him in the back, chest and neck. The brothers have been released on bail and the court case is continuing.


4. Splendour tickets

Even though Splendour in the Grass ended up being cancelled, this early story about how to get tickets was one of our most popular articles in 2020. Hopefully our festival scene can get back on track sooner rather than later. It's a huge boost to our local economy and we love seeing great live music.


5. Subscribe to The Northern Star

If you want to stay up-to-date with all the latest news on the Northern Rivers, a subscription to The Northern Star is a must. We have dedicated local journalists on the ground covering all the big stories. One of our most popular stories last year was an explainer piece on how to sign up to our website and get the most out of your subscription. Details of our latest deal are here.


6. Casino childcare centre in court

After a long court process, a Casino childcare centre was found guilty and fined $7000 of failing to report hazards that left children enrolled in the centre in harm's way.

Magistrate Brett Thomas found the operator of Rainbow Station Early Education Centre in Casino, LPN Childcare Pty Ltd ATF Liesl Pyke-Nott Family Trust, guilty of not protecting children from harm or hazard and failing to notify the regulatory authority about complaints raised.


7. COVID-19 hits home

There was no doubt a story (or two) about coronavirus would be among our most-read stories of 2020. This one was about the first two cases in Northern NSW. At the time, health boss Wayne Jones urged people to monitor for symptoms and get tested a message he is still spreading to this day. Other popular COVID-19 stories from last year included this one about a massive spike in cases, and a story about a patient in ICU.


8. Heartbreak after river death

Evans Head teenager Logan Bradford was driving southbound along River Dr, South Ballina, with a female passenger in July last year, when her car left the road and plunged into the water. The passenger was able to escape the sinking vehicle, but Logan sadly died at the scene. This tragedy shook our region to its core and we know Logan is missed every day.


9. Casino driver sentenced

In May, a Casino man responsible for a fatal car crash on New Year's Day last year was sentenced to five years in jail.

Mitchell Geofrey Grimston, 22, was driving a vehicle involved in a fatal crash on January 1, 2019 in Casino that killed his front-seat passenger Jayden Hogan.

Mr Hogan, 24, died at the scene after he was trapped in the burning vehicle, while his girlfriend sustained serious injuries as a result of being back seat passenger of the vehicle.


10. Council's plan to sell off homes

Lismore City Council announced plans to sell off 15 properties which had racked up between five and 10 years of unpaid rates.

The goal was to recover more than $360,000 owed to the council.

It was the first time in a decade the council had planned such drastic action, but it didn't last long.

Just three days before the auction in November, the council abandoned plans for the auction after coming to an agreement with landowners to only sell vacant land.

Man, 76, allegedly spent $200K on cannabis

Premium Content Man, 76, allegedly spent $200K on cannabis

A court has heard he travelled to Northern NSW to pick up 36kg of cannabis.

$10M spruce up of major secondary road underway

Premium Content $10M spruce up of major secondary road underway

Initial work on the back road between Coraki and Woodburn will take about a week.

30 silos, almost 13m high, proposed for Ballina Shire

Premium Content 30 silos, almost 13m high, proposed for Ballina Shire

The silos would be used for seasonal storage of local produce