5 Most Popular Articles on Lowell’s First Look for March 2022

Spring is in the air, and it isn’t only the weather that is changing. The Lowell Police Department has made changes to its personnel, Lowell Area Schools has made changes to how the public can communicate with school board members and the Kent County Youth Fair is in the process of making the biggest change of all: moving to new fairgrounds.

All these changes are reflected in the top five articles of March. What you won’t find is an article about an online bruhaha related to an LPD officer rolling a live opossum off the road with his foot. While the incident resulted in an outpouring of outrage on the LPD Facebook page – mostly from folks who live out of the area – our article on the matter barely broke the top ten for the month.

The incident was depicted online as a violent encounter with an enraged officer, but we presume most residents viewing the body cam video saw – as we did – a possibly annoyed and mildly disgusted officer trying to clear the road for traffic and decided it was much ado about nothing.

This could have been used as an opportunity to share with the department information about local wildlife refuges and how to handle injured animals, but the resident involved chose to hype the incident online instead of waiting to discuss the matter with the department. Unfortunately, by churning up the social media outrage machine, all opportunity for any meaningful dialogue on the matter seems to have been lost.

But enough editorializing from us, let’s get to the top articles of the month. The following were the most-read articles, based on website views, during March 2022.

5. Sgt. Scot VanSolkema: Caught on Camera

This article is making its second appearance on our top five list. This time, trespassing charges brought against Officer Scot VanSolkema – for an incident that happened when he was out of uniform and off-duty – probably generated the new round of clicks. This profile article narrowly edged out a press release on the matter for the number five spot.

4. The Lowell Riddler: First Clue for Riddle #1 in 2022

The Lowell Riddler is back! After a hiatus, the Riddler has returned with new clues that will lead to hidden medallions. Whoever finds the medallion first gets a prize pack of gift cards to Lowell shops and restaurants. To easily find the latest clue as well as view past riddles and winners, bookmark this page.

3. Wizard of Oz Opens This Weekend at LPAC

The Lowell High School drama department knows how to put on a show. We went to see The Wizard of Oz and, quite frankly, it rivaled anything we’ve seen at venues such as the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre (and we really like the Civic Theatre too!). If you missed out this time, make plans to see the next performance. There is a play in the fall, but the department seems to really pull out all the stops for the spring musical. No wonder this was the third most-read article in March.

2. School Board Recap: Board Communication, Digital Hall Pass Discussed

Like school boards across the country, the Board of Education for Lowell Area Schools has encountered unhappy parents this year. At its March meeting, the board heard concerns about board accessibility, critical race theory and a digital hall pass system being used in Lowell Middle School. However, to improve communication, it was announced that board members will now all be getting their own district-issued email addresses.

1. Changes Afoot at the Kent County Youth Fair

With three times as many views as the month’s runner-up, the top article for March outlined changes that have occurred and are on the horizon for the Kent County Youth Fair. Elliott’s Amusements won’t be returning for the carnival this year, and there has been a shake-up in membership on the board. However, despite challenges, the board president remains upbeat and optimistic about forward progress being made to move the fair to its new location in Lowell Charter Township in 2023.

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