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CLEVELAND (WJW)– From viral trends to devastating headlines, here are the top 10 national stories of 2021 on FOX8.com. The list is based on total pageviews.

Stimulus checks

It should come as no surprise that the status of stimulus checks generated a great deal of interest this year. The third round of checks started in March 2021. While there have been pushes for a fourth stimulus, nothing has passed.

But some parents are getting a different kind of stimulus in the form of the Advance Child Tax Credit Stimulus Payments. The sixth and final payment is in December.

Cleaner air, increasing temps

Earth spiked a bit of a fever in 2020, partly because of cleaner air from the pandemic lockdown, a study found.

For a short time, temperatures in some places in the eastern United States, Russia and China were as much as half to two-thirds of a degree (.3 to .37 degrees Celsius) warmer. That’s because of less soot and sulfate particles from car exhaust and burning coal, which normally cool the atmosphere temporarily by reflecting the sun’s heat, the research in the journal Geophysical Research Letters reported.

““The COVID-19 pandemic changed emissions of gases and particulates. These gases and particulates affect climate. In general, human emissions of particles cool the planet by scattering away sunlight in the clear sky and by making clouds brighter to reflect sunlight away from the earth,” the study said.

Tampa woman’s Social Security benefits

Mamie Walker didn’t received Social Security benefits for two months. Then, she received a letter from the U.S. Social Security Administration saying she owes more than $237,000 in “overpayments” and won’t receive benefits again until September 2034. She would be 100 years old.

“You know I ain’t got that kind of money, baby,” Walker said. “If I did I wouldn’t be calling you about this.”

Former child star commits suicide

Child actor Matthew Mindler committed suicide in August near the campus of Millersville University, where he was a student. His cause of death was sodium nitrate toxicity.

His mother told TMZ she believes he ordered a product from Amazon to use in his suicide. She said it was enough to kill four people.

Mindler starred in the film 2011 “Our Idiot Brother” with Paul Rudd.

If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Matthew Mindler, seen here in 2011 with Paul Rudd at a screening of “Our Idiot Brother,” was found dead after going missing from his college campus. (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

New COVID symptom

In August, doctors reported the emergence of a new COVID-19 symptom: an earache. It’s becoming more common for patients to experience this issue from the virus, which is most often associated with respiratory problems.

“The reason we are seeing earaches more often is because sore throat is so prominent, and the earache is coming from sore throat,” said Dr. Nicole Frommann, medical director for TGH Urgent Care

The world continues to deal with new variants. While delta remains the dominant one around the globe and in Ohio, doctors are eyeing the omicron variant. It was named after several cases in South Africa. The World Health Organization said it is unknown if omicron is more severe or more transmissible than other variants.

McDonald’s manager quits mid-shift

A manager at a McDonald’s in Louisville, Kentucky, allegedly walked off the job in June and informed customers of the decision with a sign posted to the drive-thru’s speaker.

“We are closed because I am quitting and I hate this job,” the sign explained, according to a photo shared to social media.

Twitter user GreatApeDad posted a photo of the sign and said an employee confirmed the night shift manager suddenly quit. His tweet has more than 204,000 likes.

Gorilla Glue debacle

A Louisiana woman who used Gorilla Glue spray on her hair captivated the internet earlier this year. Tessica Brown said she mistakenly finished styling her hair with a coat of the high-strength adhesive after she ran out of hairspray.

“My hair, it don’t move,” Brown said in the video, slapping her hands on the top of her head to prove it. “I’ve washed my hair 15 times and it don’t move.”

The company released a statement, saying the product is not meant for hair, and should avoid eyes, skin and clothing.

“We are very sorry to hear about the unfortunate incident that Miss Brown experienced using our Spray Adhesive on her hair,” Gorilla Glue said.

Brown went to the emergency room and eventually had surgery to remove the glue. She’s since launched her own line of haircare products.

Bill Cosby conviction overturned

Bill Cosby, once known as “America’s Dad” for his role on “The Cosby Show,” was released from prison on June 30 after serving three years. The comedian was found guilty of drugging and violating a woman at his home near Philadelphia in 2004.

CHELTENHAM, PENNSYLVANIA – JUNE 30: (L-R) Attorney Jennifer Bonjean, Bill Cosby, and spokesperson Andrew Wyatt speak outside of Bill Cosby’s home on June 30, 2021 in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania. Bill Cosby was released from prison after court overturns his sex assault conviction. (Photo by Michael Abbott/Getty Images)

Pennsylvania’s highest court threw out his sexual assault conviction, ruling the prosecutor who brought the case was bound by his predecessor’s agreement not to charge Cosby. More than 60 women have accused him of sexual misconduct.

“I have never changed my stance nor my story. I have always maintained my innocence,” Cosby wrote. “Thank you to all my fans, supporters and friends who stood by me through this ordeal. Special thanks to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for upholding the rule of law.”

Phylicia Rashad, who played Cosby’s wife on 1980s TV show, tweeted her reaction.

“FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted — a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” she said in the since-deleted tweet.

Rashad, who is the dean of Howard University’s College of Fine Arts, drew negative reaction from students, parents and faculty. She later apologized, saying she opposes sexual violence.

Derek Chauvin found guilty

Former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted Tuesday of murder and manslaughter for pinning George Floyd to the pavement with his knee on the Black man’s neck in a case that touched off worldwide protests, violence and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S. The 45-year-old was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison.

“This is not a momentary gunshot, punch to the face. This is 9 1/2 minutes of cruelty to a man who was helpless and just begging for his life,” said prosecutor Matthew Frank.

Chauvin’s mother, Carolyn Pawlenty, appeared in court to plead for mercy for son, saying his reputation has been unfairly reduced to that of “an aggressive, heartless and uncaring person” and a racist.

The murder of Gabby Petito

Gabby Petito, 22, and Brian Laundrie, 23, were on a summer road trip in their van, documenting the trip on social media. Laundrie returned to Florida on Sept. 1 without Petito, whose remains discovered in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. She died of strangulation.

This Aug. 12, 2021 file photo from video provided by the police department in Moab, Utah, shows Brian Laundrie talking to police after he and Gabby Petito’s van was pulled over near the entrance to Arches National Park. The FBI on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, identified human remains found in a Florida nature preserve as those of Laundrie, a person of interest in the death of girlfriend Gabby Petito while the couple was on a cross-country road trip. (The Moab Police Department via AP, File)

Laundrie, the main person of interest in his fiancée’s death, was last seen on Sept. 13 when he left for a hike, sparking a weeks-long search that ended when his remains were located in Carlton Reserve. Autopsy reports said he died of a self-inflicted gunshot and his death was ruled a suicide.

The manhunt for Laundrie sparked supposed sightings and theories about his parents involvement, which their attorney worked to dispel. Dog the Bounty Hunter was also involved in the search.