Michigan’s stay-at-home order was finally lifted in June, but COVID-19 wasn’t the most pressing issue on people’s minds last month. Protests and riots occurred across the country in the wake of the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd, and the effects reached as far as Lowell.
The city has seen multiple marches and demonstrations in recent weeks. Some were in support of the Black Lives Matter movement while others were to show solidarity with Steve Bukala who was forced to resign his post as Police Chief after making what the city deemed to be “ill-considered” social media posts.
Overall, our website was viewed 14,183 times in June, and our Facebook page reached 6,228 people in the past 28 days. Since the top three articles of the month all centered on the same subject, we have combined them into one entry on this list.
Based on website views, here are the most popular articles from June 2020.
June marked the end of a school year unlike any other. On March 13, students across the state were told that they would need to remain home for two weeks in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. That morphed into the cancellation of all in-person classes for the rest of the year and sent schools scrambling to develop an online and distance learning curriculum. We spoke to Greg Pratt, superintendent of Lowell Area Schools, and Scott Czarnopys, principal of St. Patrick School, to see how they felt the school year went under the circumstances. At the time, the state hadn’t issued guidelines for the fall yet, but those have now been released. There should be in-person classes, but whether students will be required to wear masks will depend on whether we are in Phase 4 or Phase 5 when doors open.
During its first meeting of June, Lowell City Council received a COVID-19 update, finalized the details of a land swap with the RiverView Flats condominium project and discussed the use of city streets and a parking lot for a garden sale. At the end of the meeting, a citizen shared his concerns about rainwater runoff in his backyard. There was a lot packed into this meeting, and our recap was one of the most-read articles on Lowell’s First Look last month.
In news that probably surprised few people but saddened everyone, LowellArts and the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce announced the Lowell Showboat Sizzlin’ Summer Concert Series was cancelled for 2020. The groups had previously sent out a survey to gauge interest and comfort in proceeding with the weekly concerts in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Those survey results are said to have played a factor in the decision to cancel.
We’re not sure what made this article such a hit, but the recap of the five most popular articles in May ended up being one of the five most popular articles in June. Among the articles to make the May list was the first entry in The ABCs of Lowell History, a planning commission recap regarding marijuana facilities and a Scenes from Lowell featuring 2020 floodwaters.
1. Articles Regarding the Resignation of Lowell Police Chief
The top three articles of the month all revolved around the forced resignation of Steve Bukala from the position of Police Chief for the Lowell Police Department. The number one article was the announcement of Bukala’s resignation while the second most-read article of the month outlined the reasons given by the city for his ouster. Rounding out the top three was a city council recap that included more than an hour of public comment both in support and opposition to the city’s action.
Did your favorite article make the list? Tell us which story you liked best by leaving a comment below or on our Facebook page.