PAs we round up the year’s top news stories, it’s interesting to take a look back at the opinions and commentaries that attracted the most attention.

Brian Shugart of Alpine, a frequent contributor to our op-ed pages, penned the most-read column. On Feb. 19 the Avalanche published a piece he wrote about Rep. Will Hurd’s co-sponsored bill, the Secure Our Borders First Act of 2015, (HR399).

In the piece, Shugart argued that the legislation would negatively impact Big Bend National Park, where he had worked as the head of human resources for a number of years before his retirement.

“Bill would devastate Big Bend National Park was viewed more than 11,600 times at Its popularity was boosted when the link went “viral” on social media.

Not only was Shugart’s column the top opinion piece of the past year, it was the second-most popular post behind the “Tony Flint not guilty” story.

Since “Badlands Texas” has been airing on the National Geographic channel, anything related to the death of Glenn Felts in Terlingua has gotten lots of hits.

The column I wrote last week, “Terlingua defies TV stereotypes,” rose to second place in the opinion pieces for the year, likely a result of the publicity surrounding the broadcasts.

Anything to do with the Trans-Pecos Pipeline was well read in 2015, but former and would-be U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego’s “Stop the digging” guest column was the number three op-ed of the year.

Every week, we ask readers to vote in our online poll.

Four of the five questions that received the most responses were related to the pipeline: Has your opinion changed about the Trans-Pecos Pipeline? Should the city of Alpine pass a resolution banning all activities that engage in the siting or operation of equipment to support extraction of oil or gas, including pipelines, compressors, boosters, blow-down stations, purging apparatus or other infrastructure, within the city of Alpine? Should Energy Transfer Partners be allowed to build a 42-inch pipeline from Waha near Coyanosa to Presidio? Should the city of Alpine sell water to Pumpco to aid in building the Trans-Pecos Pipeline?

The fifth was about Union Pacific railroad and the location of their crew-change station.

Gwin Grimes is the editor and publisher of the Alpine Avalanche. She can be reached at 432-837-3334, and 118 N. 5th St.

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