Wow! What a month March has been. If you had asked us at its start to predict the most popular stories of the month, we probably would have guessed the proposed cell tower in Elmdale or the Lowell High School production of Freaky Friday. But then COVID-19 swept across the country, closing schools and businesses in its wake. Given the profound impact of the novel coronavirus on our lives, it’s not surprising stories related to it dominate the most popular articles for March.
Lowell’s First Look was viewed 15,478 times last month, and our Facebook page reached 9,719 people in the past 28 days. Based on website views, here are the most popular articles from March 2020.
The February Police Beat is the only non-coronavirus related article to make it into the top five. Reading about the activities of our local police force offers a nice distraction from the health crisis going on around us. Among the February cases were a vehicle found in the water, an injury accident at a major intersection and a lost (and found) iPad.
Through a series of Executive Orders, Governor Gretchen Whitmer closed down schools, restaurants and non-essential businesses. Today, the entire state is under a “stay-at-home” order which requires people to remain at their houses except for essential reasons. This article on local closures has been continually updated since March 13 to provide the latest cancellations for the Lowell area.
While government mandates put an end to business as usual, Lowell establishments have been working to creatively keep their doors open and their workers employed. Without the support of the local community, there is a risk that many of our small businesses will close their doors and never reopen. This article originally included both restaurants and retail business updates. However, we later separated retail and online shopping into its own article. As with the cancellation article, these news stories have been continually updated as we become aware of business changes.
With Lowell Area Schools closed, a major concern for many people was how students who rely on the district for breakfasts and lunches would continue to get fed. The district quickly formed a plan had has twice weekly food distributions at Alto Elementary and Impact Church. While the initial press release noted that Flat River Outreach Ministries would be offering its Lunch Buddies program during spring break, that plan has changed, and LAS will continue its regular distribution for the week of April 6. LAS Superintendent Greg Pratt told Lowell’s First Look that the district is currently serving around 600 students through the food distribution program.
The top article of the month was a nice break from all the bad news brought by the coronavirus. Lowell High School sophomore Jordyn Vriesman decided to use her time off from school to do something positive. She pulled out her sewing machine and fabric and got busy making masks, some of which have been distributed to people locally while others have gone to the east side of the state which has been particularly hard hit by COVID-19.
Did your favorite article make the list? Tell us which story you liked best by leaving a comment below or on our Facebook page.