Gabrielle Giffords, Twinkies Strike, Dick Clark Dead: What’s Spiking (Wednesday)

The weekday report for the topics and people that are trending on

Yahoo! and across the Web for Wednesday April 18, 2012.


Research by Search editor Liz Streng

The nation mourned the news that America’s oldest teenager had died. Meanwhile, in the ongoing election season, one of Arizona’s district stands out for surviving a political tragedy. And the future is uncertain for the baked goods icon Hostess, known for Ding Dongs, Twinkies, and those peculiar pink coconut balls. Chew on what else has been trending online.


  • Dick Clark Dead: TMZ reported that the 82-year-old producer and America’s eternal teenager died of a heart attack at St. John’s hospital in Los Angeles.
  • Gabrielle Giffords: Arizona’s 8th congressional district holds its primary today for the June 12 election. Ron Barber, the former district director for the congresswoman, is running unopposed with Giffords’ endorsement.
  • Twinkies Strike: Hostess Brands Inc., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January, made its union a final offer Tuesday in a court proceeding that should last two days. Unions threatened a strike, but the company threatens liquidations and the end of Twinkies (except for those which live in preservative perpetuity).


  • Mark Wiles: Corrections in “procedure” allowed Ohio to execute the 49-year-old death row inmate on Wednesday, the first such execution in five months. He fatally stabbed a teen after the boy found him robbing a horse farm in 1985, then Broom turned himself in.
  • Texas Baby Abducted: Texas woman Verna McClain was charged with shooting Kala Marie Golden and abducting her three-day-old son. The boy was found unharmed Tuesday night and has been reunited with family. McClain, a mother of three, allegedly told her sister she wanted to adopt.
  • Brittany Killgore: A suicide note of San Diego woman Jessica Lynn Lopez led investigators to what could be the remains of Brittany Killgore, missing since Friday. Lopez survived her suicide attempt and may be charged with murder. A man has also been questioned about Killgore.
  • Leon Panetta: Commuting between Washington D.C. and the U.S. Secretary of Defense’s California home costs taxpayers $860,000, a figure being compared to the GSA spending scandal.
  • GSA: The General Services Administration still faces blowback over its 2010 Las Vegas trip in two more hearings in the Senate Wednesday.
  • Heidi Hankins: The four-year-old British girl gets into Mensa thanks to an IQ measuring 159, “just below acknowledged eggheads like Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, and way above the 100 score that is considered average.
  • Rita Crundwell: The 58-year-old comptroller and treasurer for the city of Dixon, IL, faces a detention hearing Wednesday afternoon, one day after she was arrested for embezzling $30 million, allegedly to operate her horse farms. The city, which has cut its budget over the years due to shortfalls, has hired an investigator.
  • Ann Romney Cake: Donald and Melania Trump hosted a $1,000-per-plate birthday/fundraiser luncheon for Mitt Romney’s wife. “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro designed the extravagant equestrian cake.
  • Ted Nugent Secret Service: The singer will be polite when he meets with the Secret Service after making colorful threats at a National Rifle Association convention in St. Louis: “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will be either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” No Colombia jokes, please.



  • Dirty Dancing Hotel Fire: Put yourself in that corner and weep, Baby. A Saturday fire that involved 43 fire companies from three counties destroyed Grandview Palace, the inspiration for the setting of the 1987 “Dirty Dancing” movie, and left 400 homeless. The New York resort-turned-condos had fire-code violations, including non-working sprinklers and alarms. An investigation is still underway.
  • NBC The Voice 2012 Eliminations: “RaeLynn of Team Blake and Ashley De La Rosa of Team Christina were sent home from popular TV singing competition ‘The Voice’ on Tuesday night.” Meanwhile, fans of Jesse Campbell, the contestant voted off the show earlier in the week, are petitioning to have him reinstated.
  • Rockford Files: Rumors are casting Vince Vaughn as big-screen version of the TV private eye Jim Rockford, originally played by James Garner. Fans are not pleased. “Vaughn is far too imposing physically,” wrote reader Sheldon W. “Owen Wilson would be far more appropriate for the role.”
  • Stolen Tom Petty Guitars: Found! A security guard from Culver Studios, where the singer’s guitars were stolen, is under arrest for trying to pawn one.



  • Jamie Moyer: The 49-year-old became the oldest pitcher in the MLB ever to win a major league game, when his team the Rockies beat the Padres 5-3 Tuesday night.
  • Nastia Liukin: The 2008 Olympic gold-medal winner will compete in 2012 London games.
  • Kim Clijsters: The Belgium tennis player will be laying low during the clay season and miss the French Open to allow her hip injury to heal, in hopes of being better for the grass season and Olympics.
  • Ozzie Guillen: The manager returned to coaching the Marlins last night after a five-game suspension for his comments about Fidel Castro. “I don’t think I’m going to change, but talking about some issues that’s not my business, you learn from that,” he said. “You learn from mistakes. I hope this mistake makes me a better person.”
  • Rick Ankiel: The former pitcher-turned-center fielder received a standing ovation from fans for some powerful throws.
  • Sean Payton: The former New Orleans Saints coach can’t have any contact with the team throughout his year-long suspension.
  • Steelers Throwback Uniforms: The 1934 throwback uniforms should be thrown away, says fashion critics.


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