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From Nightbirde to the Vax-A-Million lottery: These are the 10 top stories of 2021 in Northeast Ohio

What a year it has been.

CLEVELAND — Editor's note: Video at the top of this story, which features the first $1 million winner in Ohio's Vax-A-Million lottery, was originally published on May 27, 2021.

As COVID-19 dominated the headlines once again throughout 2021, the battle against the virus took center stage with the rollout of vaccinations and Ohio's COVID vaccine lottery. 

But that's not all that captured the focus of Northeast Ohio in 2021 as stories from Cedar Point to America's Got Talent also generated a lot of interest.

So what was the biggest story of the year? Find out below...


How close is Ohio to reaching 50 COVID-19 cases per 100,000? Putting Gov. Mike DeWine's goal of lifting health orders in context

Back in early March, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced a plan to lift all of the state's COVID-related health orders once new cases dropped to 50 or below per 100,000 people.

Read the full story HERE.

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Muni Lot brawl goes viral after Cleveland Browns' home opener

Despite the Cleveland Browns' 31-21 victory, it wasn't a happy home opener for all of the team's hometown fans. Hours after the Browns' Week 2 win over the Houston Texans at FirstEnergy Stadium, a video showing fans fighting in the city's Muni Lot went viral, appearing in such outlets as TMZ, The New York Post, Fox News and Barstool Sports.

Read the full story HERE.


Cedar Point closing the Wicked Twister roller coaster forever

The Cedar Point skyline is changing once again as the Sandusky amusement park announced the removal of its Wicked Twister roller coaster back on Aug. 6. The ride, which first opened in 2002, gave its final rides on Sept. 6 and the dismantling process is currently underway. So what's next? Park officials have not yet announced what will be taking its place.

Read the full story HERE.

RELATED: Cedar Point shares update on renovations at Sawmill Creek resort property


Near year, new laws: Statewide changes in Ohio for 2021

From an increase to Ohio's minimum wage to legislation that allowed law enforcement to seize any animal believed to be the subject of animal cruelty, 2021 began with several new laws in effect.

Read the full story HERE.


"I've always expected miracles": Ohio singer known as Nightbirde shares another update amid battle with cancer

The Zanesville native known as Nightbirde became a household name in 2021 after her Golden Buzzer performance on America's Got Talent. Months after voluntarily leaving the competition amid her battle with cancer, Nightbirde shared an update on her life in early November that quickly captured the nation's attention.

See what Nightbirde had to say HERE.

RELATED: ‘Still got dreams’: Ohio singer Nightbirde shares powerful posts amid battle with cancer months after leaving America's Got Talent


Ohio's COVID vaccine registration site opens

When COVID vaccines were first made available to the general public, demand was extremely high earlier in the year. That's why the state of Ohio launched its "Get the Shot" registration site back in March.

Read the full story HERE.


COVID-19 vaccines in Ohio and appointments at a store near you

Vaccines were clearly top of mind for many Ohioans as visitors were coming to WKYC.com in search of more information on how to find an available shot near them -- including local grocery stores.

Read the full story HERE.


First winner pulled for Ohio's Vax-A-Million lottery

Ohio crowned the first millionaire in its Vax-A-Million lottery back in late May -- and learning who won took the state by storm.

Read the full story HERE.


Zanesville singer known as Nightbirde ends America's Got Talent journey as health takes "turn for the worse"

Nightbirde made our top 10 list once again as the world reacted to news that she had left AGT in early August.

“Since my audition, my health has taken a turn for the worse and the fight with cancer is demanding all of my energy and attention,” she wrote. "I am so sad to announce that I won’t be able to continue forward on this season of AGT. Life doesn’t always give breaks to those that deserve it—but we knew that already.”

Read the full story HERE.


Ohio's COVID vaccine lottery: How to enter the Vax-A-Million contest

And for the story that generated the most interest on WKYC.com in 2021...

When the state announced it was giving away five $1 million prizes to Ohioans for receiving a COVID-19 vaccination, registering for the Vax-A-Million contest became hot topic. That's why this story easily claimed our top spot this year.

Read the full story HERE.

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