Top 10 stories of 2017

This year has been a spectacular one for us at The Livingston Post. We’ve worked hard to deliver the kind of content you can’t get anywhere else, and it’s paid off: Traffic on our site has increased a whopping 210 percent in the past year, from 210,000 page views in 2016 to 651,000 in 2017, with trend lines shooting even higher into 2018.

We’ve got big plans for the upcoming year. We’re going to give you more: More features. More news. More columns and opinion pieces.

But moving forward is never as valuable without a look back.

Here are 2017’s top stories on The Livingston Post:

10. Iconic downtown Howell building sold to local builder
Originally built in the 1920s, the three-story building was at one time home to a bowling alley and a roller-skating rink. In 1935, the building suffered severe fire damage, which resulted in it becoming a two-story structure. Before becoming an auto-parts store in the 1950s. it had once housed an armory and a Catholic school as well. See what builder Jeff Doyle has in store for it.

9. Merkel puts all his eggs in Howell’s basket
Restaurateur Adam Merkel recently relocated Diamonds Steak & Seafood to the southwest corner of Grand River and Michigan avenues, revamping and updating the spot that formerly housed Mr. B’s Rustic Tavern. Twice the size and able to accommodate upwards of 200 customers, the new Diamonds also features a separate dining room for private parties or large groups, a two-way fireplace and an expanded menu. See how Merkel is leaving his stamp on downtown Howell.

8. The Legend of Dave Hibner: 40 years ago today, he was a first-round draft pick
Dave Hibner — the greatest all -around athlete in Howell High School history — is the only player from Livingston County ever taken in the first round in any sport, when the Texas Rangers picked him. What’s he up to these days?

7. Michigan Democratic Party chair calls Howell the “Home of the KKK”; now he owes a big apology
In a tweet he sent back in August, Brandon Dillon, a former state rep and current chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, referred to Howell as the “Home of the Michigan KKK.” That’s a myth that’s been floating around for decades, and there’s absolutely no truth to it. Howell is not the home of the Michigan Ku Klux Klan, and it’s never been the home of the Michigan Ku Klux Klan. Buddy Moorehouse demanded an apology, and he got one.

6. Dear Mr. Smigell
How does one man get hundreds of angsty teenagers working together to make interesting, often-complicated, challenging music that leaves their audience breathless? You’ll have to ask Jason Smigell.

5. John Rogers’ legacy lives on in Brighton community
John Rogers, the patriarch of Brighton’s first family, died in November. There will never be another John Rogers, and Rich Perlberg remembers him and the legacy he leaves in the Brighton area.

4. The high gas prices in Fowlerville are ridiculous; are they illegal?
Gas has always been more expensive in Fowlerville – maybe 10 or 20 cents a gallon more than in Howell and other surrounding communities. Why?

3. Restaurant Poll 2017
For years, residents of Howell have lived with restaurant envy for Brighton’s dining scene. But no more. Howell has smashed through the restaurant envy ceiling. Of the top five restaurants in the “Best Overall” category of our restaurant poll, four are located in Howell.

2. Death of a klansman, 25 years later: How the sick legacy of Bob Miles continues to haunt Howell
This is the story of one evil man and how he single-handedly ruined a town’s reputation. And how he continues to ruin it to this day.

1. Here’s why the Judge Brennan case is Livingston County’s biggest political scandal ever
Livingston County has seen other political scandals before, but nothing like this. This current episode involving 53rd District Court Judge Theresa Brennan is Livingston County’s biggest political scandal ever, and nothing else is even close. It has everything – sex, murder, lies, cover-ups. Maybe even a judge who’s going to end up going to prison.

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The Livingston Post is the only locally owned, all-digital information and opinion site in Livingston County, Mich. It was launched by award-winning journalists who were laid off from the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus by Gannett Co. Inc. in 2009.