LYME/OLD LYME — It is always interesting in early January of one year to crunch the numbers and see which stories drew the highest number of readers in the previous year. This year was no exception — there were some predictable winners like the announcement of the Old Lyme 2021 Citizen of the Year and the unexpected (and unsuccessful, as far as we know) auction of the Old Lyme Shopping Center.
There were several pandemic-related articles such as the opening of applications for ARPA grants in Old Lyme and a dramatic increase in the number of Connecticut towns in the Red Zone in April. The decision by the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme to hold its White Elephant Sale after a two-year Covid-enforced hiatus was greeted enthusiastically by many readers as was news that Lyme-Old Lyme Schools had dropped their COVID mask-mandate.
Controversial issues always prompt a rise in readers and predictably the whole business about the then-insuperable obstacles facing Old Lyme’s Open Space Commissions’ efforts to acquire two parcels of the Ames property fell into that category. Similarly, people wanted to read all about the appointment of a new face to the OL Economic Development Commission against both the recommendation of its chair and over an incumbent. The still-ongoing saga of the Tantummaheag access dispute made the list as did the subject of armed guards in Lyme-Old Lyme Schools.
Sad news also invariably attracts increased readership and so the announcement of the passing of our beloved food writer Lee White is on our list as is the unanticipated departure of the then-director of the Florence Griswold Museum.
There were surprisingly few politically-related stories in our Top 15 for 2022, even though it was a feisty election year. The one that did make the list related to a well-known Old Lyme resident being the major funder of a new Republican PAC in the state.
We knew Maureen Haseley-Jones’s gardening columns were popular, but it was a slight surprise that February’s — of all months — crept into our Top 15. Congratulations , Maureen!
But the biggest surprise of all was the most-read story of the year, which, against all odds, was the second and final segment of a two-part-story about the history of tobacco in Connecticut!
It is a particularly topical article for today — Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — because (and who knew?), MLK worked in the summers of both 1944 and 1947 on a tobacco farm in Simsbury to earn money for tuition. He wrote to his father that, “there was no discrimination at all,” north of Washington DC, adding that up North, “We go to any place we want to and sit anywhere we want to.”
King wrote in his autobiography, “It was a bitter feeling going back to segregation after those summers in Connecticut.”
Corey Kilgannon wrote in the New York Times that the dream of equality that MLK first glimpsed in Simsbury helped reshape his world view, adding, “It was during those summers that King began his path to becoming a minister.”
Congratulations to our very own Tom Gotowka on being the author of our most-read article in 2022!
We have a feeling the article was picked up by some research entities, which may have increased its readership numbers, but that takes nothing away from the simple fact that it recorded more readers than any other article in the whole of 2022!
The complete list of our Top 15 most-read articles for 2022 in descending order is as follows:
- A View from My Porch: The Shady History of Connecticut Tobacco — The Finale by Thomas Gotowka
- Has the Pandemic Affected You or Your Business? Old Lyme Opens Applications for ARPA Grants to Businesses, Nonprofits, Town Entities
- Old Lyme Shopping Center Goes Up for Auction
- Old Lyme’s 2021 Citizen of the Year is Cheryl Poirier!
- April 21 COVID-19 Update: More Than Half of CT Towns Back in Red Zone, Including Lyme, Old Lyme; Three New Cases in Lyme Raise Cumulative Total to 268, Two in OL Take Total to 1085
- Old Lyme Open Space Commission Announces Efforts to Acquire Two Parcels of ‘Ames Property’ Have Ended, Obstacles “Impossible to Overcome”
- Letter to the Editor: Armed Guards in Lyme-Old Lyme Schools — More Questions from Betsy Groth
- Death Announced of Our Beloved Food Writer, Lee White
- After Two Year COVID-Enforced Hiatus, Old Lyme Church’s White Elephant Sale is Back
- Griswold, Ward Vote to Appoint Colwell to Old Lyme EDC Against Recommendations of Commission Chair
- Mask Mandate for Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Lifted From Feb. 28, But Masks Still Recommended; “Individual’s Decisions” Must be Respected (Neviaser)
- Old Lyme Town Attorneys Issue Findings on Tantummaheag Dispute, Owners Describe Report as “Filled with Factual, Legal and Historic Errors“
- Old Lyme’s Florence Griswold Museum Director Beaulieu Leaving to Become President/CEO of Cincinnati’s Taft Museum of Art
- Old Lyme RTC Chair Kelsey Donates $500,000 to Launch New PAC
- Gardening Tips for February from ‘The English Lady,’ Lift Your Spirits by Thinking Spring … and Beyond