5 Top Stories from Lowell’s First Look in 2016

The past 12 months have been marked by tumultuous times. There have been hotly contested elections – both nationally and close to home – terrorist attacks, shocking celebrity deaths and, for some people, personal tragedies that never made the news.

Despite all the negativity surrounding 2016, the citizens of Lowell seem focused on the positive and on the future. When we look back on the articles we’ve published, it wasn’t the controversial biodigester or the recall election results that garnered the most views and shares. It was the stories of the people and businesses who make a difference in our community.

Top Stories from Lowell’s First Look for 2016

Here’s a look back at the Lowell’s First Look stories with the most views and shares in 2016.

Coffee Makes a Comeback on Main Street

Our article on the soft opening of Vela Bake Shop hit the spot with many readers. The storefront at 307 E. Main St. seems made to sell coffee and pastries so it was just a matter of time before a new shop opened. It took longer than some coffee connoisseurs would have liked, but Vela Bake Shop is now open for business and ready to provide your caffeine fix. (Note: store hours may have changed since our original story ran.)

There’s a Brewery in Town

Lowell residents are apparently just as enthusiastic about their beer as they are about their coffee. New Union Brewery opened this fall, and people can’t seem to get enough. The owners are looking into the possibility of bringing food trucks on-site occasionally, but that may require an ordinance change. Keep an eye here as Lowell’s First Look will be following this issue into the new year.

Is a Lowell Icon Closing?

New businesses are nice, but it’s the old ones that remind us we’re home. When Lowell’s First Look heard RollAway Fun Center may be closing shop, we sent our intrepid reporter to get the scoop. What she found is a story of an iconic business that is struggling amid 21st Century changes in how people spend their free time.

Preschool Offers an Education Down on the Farm

Lowell is full of hidden gems, and the Farmtime Preschool is one of them. It didn’t have a splashy opening on Main Street, but it got our attention nonetheless. Run by a long-time early childhood educator, the preschool is literally located on a farm. It’s an innovative and engaging program, and we aren’t surprised its open slots filled within hours this year.

Lowell PD in on the Case

Virtually everyone agrees: the Lowell Police Department is one of the community’s crown jewels. Our officers have been highlighted in a viral holiday video and the Lowell PD Facebook page has fans from across the nation. When we published a round-up of November police department activities, Lowell’s First Look readers were quick to click and share the news.

What will 2017 bring? We hope it will be more peace and more unity that we saw in 2016. However, whatever happens, Lowell’s First Look is committed to providing you unbiased news reports as well as profiles of the people, places and businesses that are important to you. As always, we welcome your suggestions, feedback and other comments.

From all of us at Lowell’s First Look…

                            Happy New Year!


(feature photo credit)



  1. I am commenting on the editorial entitled Final Thoughts on the Help Yourself Garden, dated September 25, 2018. In paragraph 3, the following was written:

    “Most disappointing is the lack of initiative shown by most members of the Lowell City Council in responding to this matter. According to the FOIA documents we received, council member Greg Canfield is the only member to be asking questions, requesting a meeting and appearing to seek a positive resolution to the situation.”

    My husband, Jim Salzwedel, is on Lowell City Council. He spoke with Laura Huth-Rhoades at City Hall, at the Coffee with Council Meeting she attended, and once at her home, all with the intent to gather first-hand information and seek a positive resolution to the situation.

    It is possible that other council members also reached out in some way, as my husband DID respond and in person to Laura Huth-Rhoades, yet the writer was not aware of that.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Lynette Salzwedel

    • Hi Lynette,

      Thank you for sharing this additional information. Here is a link to the editorial if you want to post your comment there so others can easily find it:


      In the course of reporting on this story, we did email all the councilmembers for their comments but only received a response from Mayor Mike DeVore. In the absence of communication from councilmembers, we had to rely on FOIA documents to piece together city action on the issue. We appreciate your filling in the details of your husband’s response to the situation.

      Thank you again,


  2. Really happy to see such in depth reporting on things that matter to Lowell families. Love everything you write but I’m super partial to what’s happening in our schools.

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