In this digital age, Aurora Advocate readers, and those of our sister newspapers, frequently check out our stories and other content online, and it's always fun for us to see which stories are the most read each year.

In 2016, four of the top 10 most read stories in the Advocate dealt with the former Geauga Lake Park / Wildwater Kingdom property.

It was no surprise that the top story -- with 8,916 page views as of the second week of January 2017 -- was Cedar Fair's announcement that Wildwater Kingdom would shut down. That announcement came in August, and the park closed for the final time on Labor Day.

The third most read story focused on problems with trespassing on the property. Several trespassers were charged by Aurora and Bainbridge police in 2016.

Cedar Fair officials were concerned about the possibility of trespassers being injured, since some of them were climbing on the Big Dipper roller coaster. Those concerns led officials to demolish the 91-year-old ride in November.

The fourth most read story was published in December, and focused on the possibility that the Liberty Ford dealership might move its Solon location to a parcel of Cedar Fair land at Route 43 and Treat Road in Aurora.

The fourth Geauga Lake land story to finish in the top 10 was a piece published in February informing readers that Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin was positive about efforts to redevelop the 650-plus acres.

That leaves six other stories to round out the top 10. Some weren't necessarily the biggest stories of the year in Aurora, but they turned out to be popular among readers.

The second most read story actually was published in summer of 2015, but its popularity carried over into 2016.

That story was about John and Terri Updyke's efforts to renovate the 1815 House, Aurora's oldest residential structure, into the 1815 Tavern. The business opened in 2016.

The Updykes, by the way, earned the Chamber of Commerce's business of the year award for their other restaurant -- Mad Jack's -- which is a block down the street from the 1815 Tavern.

Coming in fifth on the most read list in 2016 was the unfortunate suicide of local police officer Stephen Cieslak in April.

Right behind that story in sixth place was an announcement of the village of Reminderville's plans to open a $5.1 million recreation center. It was published in February, and the Reminderville Athletic Club opened later in the year.

No. 8 on the list was a story in June about a Rotek employee's death in an industrial accident at the plant on South Chillicothe Road.

The last two stories in the top 10 were: the non-renewal of longtime Aurora High boys soccer coach Chris Gentille's supplemental contract and a story about an alleged Hells Angels motorcycle club member from Aurora who faced weapons and drug charges in New Jersey.

We hope Aurorans will continue to read our print edition and our stories online throughout 2017.


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