This past December ushered in a different sort of holiday season for Lowell. There were no visits with Santa on the Riverwalk, and many in the community held subdued family celebrations instead of large parties. The top articles of the month included a mix of history, holiday and city news. However, the most popular article was one that reminds us that Lowell’s greatest asset is its deep sense of community and support for one another.
Here’s a look at the most-read articles on Lowell’s First Look, based on website views, during December 2020.
We couldn’t hold our normal community Christmas events in 2020, but COVID-19 couldn’t stop holiday lights. Many people lit up their homes with Christmas lights, and 19 residents and businesses entered the Lowell Light & Power Holiday Lighting Contest. On behalf of entrants, the utility made a donation to the Lowell Rotary Club Youth Services Committee. Then, representatives of Lowell Light & Power and Rotary headed out to judge the competition. Our story announcing the winners was the fifth most-read article on Lowell’s First Look in December.
The ABCs of Lowell History has been a popular feature since it debuted earlier in 2020. Written by staff of the Lowell Area Historical Museum, each week, we learn something new about Lowell’s long and rich history. The December article on Cherry Creek was especially well read and nabs the number four spot for the month.
One reader asked why the creek is referred to as Lee’s Creek on some maps, and we don’t have an answer for that. We wonder if maybe the Lee comes from the family of Dr. Solomon L. Lee. We also found a document from Trout Unlimited that lists Lee Creek as a tributary running through the Wittenbach/Wege Center and Cherry Creek as the name of the waterway as it winds through the city.
Changes are afoot at the Lowell Area Fire Department as it looks to move from a fully paid on-call force to incorporating some full-time firefighters. Shannon Witherell, a longtime veteran of the department, was chosen as its first full-time fire chief, and he takes over from Ron van Overbeek who retired in the fall. As we head into the new year, Witherell says the challenges facing the department include hiring and retaining staff and continuing to work safely under the current conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s been a tough year for area restaurants. They had to close their doors from much of the spring and when they reopened in the summer, it was at a reduced capacity. By mid-November, COVID-19 cases were on the rise, and the state put an end to indoor dining for the rest of the year.
To keep business flowing, restaurants have had to get creative. Flat River Grill, which normally closes its patio for the winter, has kept it open for outdoor dining, and New Union Brewery has added a popular outdoor seating and warming area. Now, Lowell City Council is looking to create a social district which is hoped to help other establishments by creating a common outdoor gathering space. This article outlining the council’s plans was the second most-read article of the month.
When we interview people who are new to Lowell, one thing we hear time and time again is how impressed they are with the sense of community here. Everyone seems to look out for one another. So it’s no surprise that our top article in December was one that was all about showing support for one of our longtime residents.
At 92-years old, Rosie Fonger is battling cancer, and her family wanted to show her that Lowell was behind her all the way. They organized a Rally for Rosie event, and our article about it was the most-read article of the month. While the rally is over, residents can still show support for Rosie by sending her a card in the mail.