News was made at such a breakneck speed in 2017, it was rare for any one story to attract attention for a prolonged period. But there were some that broke the mold.
From spontaneous protests and shocking defeats to a dragged-out, in-state budget crisis and a murder mystery gone viral, a new story captured the world’s — and the state’s — attention seemingly every day.
Of course, there were some stories that stood above the rest, especially when it came to attracting an audience online.
The Courant published thousands of stories this year. Here are the 25 that were read the most on Courant.com.
25. Longtime Manchester High School Security Guard Remembered As A Friend To Thousands
The new year had barely started for students at Manchester High School when tragedy struck. Barry "Mitch" Mitchell, a beloved security guard who had worked at the school for 18 years, died of an apparent heart attack. Read more.
24. Five Years After Sandy Hook, Emilie Parker's Family Finds Joy, Solace
This year marked the five-year anniversary of the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook, and we followed up with one family who had made the difficult decision to leave their Newtown home and move across the country after their daughter was killed. Read the heartbreaking story here.
23. Era Of The Litchfield Courthouse Comes To A Close
More than 250 years of history came to a close this summer when the historic Litchfield Judicial District Courthouse shut its doors. All business was transferred over to a new $81 million courthouse in Torrington, which opened Aug. 28. Read more.
22. At Least 90 Hospitalized, 50 Charged With Underage Drinking At Hartford 'Hot Jam' Concert
Tripling the norm for hospital transports during a concert in Hartford, the Hot 93.7 Hot Jam resulted in a chaotic scene that “overwhelmed” local law enforcement. A large number of the patients were underage concertgoers experiencing "severe intoxication," according to Deputy Chief Brian Foley. Read more.
21. Citing Trump Fallout, Connecticut Voters Go Big For Democrats
The Nov. 7 election was the first opportunity to gauge what impact Donald Trump has had on local politics, and it turned out to be a good night for Democrats. Local Democrats claimed victory in historically Republican-heavy towns such as Farmington, Glastonbury and Trumbull. Read more.
20. Left Behind: 20 Years After Sheff v. O’Neill, Students Struggle In Hartford's Segregated Neighborhood Schools
A stunning investigative series exposed the crumbling, segregated Hartford schools left in the shadow of the Sheff v. O’Neill ruling as dazzling magnet schools paint a different picture elsewhere in the city. “I’m not blaming the kids, because the kids are who they are,” said Karen Lott, principal of the Milner School. “They can’t change their circumstances, they can’t make themselves have political power and socioeconomic power.” Read more.
19. Op-Ed: Chief State's Attorney: Emboldened Juveniles Endanger The Public
Prompted by a recent spate in crime committed by juveniles, state’s attorney Kevin T. Kane took to the Courant’s opinion page. He pointed to a handful of new laws that have made it easier for juveniles to slip through the criminal justice system. Read the entire op-ed here.
18. Canton School Officials Apologize For 'Trump' Chant Against Hartford Basketball Team
High school sporting events can bring out the best in communities, but they can also bring out the worst. A high-stakes basketball game in March left one school, Canton High, apologizing to another, Classical Magnet School in Hartford, after chants of the president’s name were used as what many perceived as a racially motivated rallying cry. Read more.
17. Moody's Warns of 'Likely' Hartford Default, Decades of Deficits Ahead
The state’s finances attracted a lot of attention in 2017, but its capital city had struggles of its own. The discussion of bankruptcy swirled for much of the year, so it was no surprise when outside analysts issued a dire warning to Hartford in October. Read more.
16. Trinity Professor Flees Campus After Threats Over Facebook Comments, Issues Public Apology
The perils of unfiltered social media musings are well documented, particularly as it pertains to people in the public eye, and in June a Trinity professor found that out the hard way. The furor that ensued after a pair of inflammatory Facebook posts by Johnny Eric Williams forced the professor into hiding and the school’s closure. Read more.
15. Malloy Signs Portions Of Budget Bill But Rejects Hospital Tax
After 123 days without a budget, Connecticut became the last state in the country to adopt one when Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed portions of the 900-page document on Halloween. At long last, the passage brought to an end a story that captivated the state for nearly half the year. Read more.
14. Sources Say Hall Of Famer Jim Calhoun Has Been Offered St. Joseph Coaching Job
Since his retirement from coaching the UConn men in 2012, the occasional rumors and rumblings had Jim Calhoun returning to the sideline. But it finally became a reality this summer when the Hall of Famer officially became a consultant for the fledgling men’s program at Division III St. Joseph, a role that figures to eventually put him back on the court. Read more.
13. Partial Eclipse, Complete Awe For Connecticut
In August, a total solar eclipse carved a path across the entire contiguous United States for the first time since 1918. While the path of totality did not make its way to Connecticut, that doesn’t mean the state’s residents weren’t all in on the Great American Eclipse. Meanwhile, others made cross-country trips to be in the path of totality. Read more.
12. Surveillance Video, Records Offer New Perspective On UConn Student's 2016 Death
The Courant obtained video of the tragic incident in 2016 that claimed the life of 19-year-old UConn student Jeffny Pally, shedding new light on the nightmarish circumstances that led a campus firefighter to fatally run her over with an emergency vehicle. Read more.
11. At Cromwell High, Transgender Athlete Competes With Girls For First Time
"I do hope I inspire people,” Andraya Yearwood, a Cromwell High School freshman, said earlier this year. Yearwood, a transgender woman, competed on the girls track team for the first time this spring, and her inspirational story — of both her and her teammates — struck a nerve with our audience. Read more.
10. Jeff Jacobs: Auriemma Takes Stunner In Stride; Salutes 'Itty Bitty' Star After UConn's Shocking Defeat
Swish. Buzzer. Bedlam. That’s how columnist Jeff Jacobs described the unthinkable: a Final Four exit for the UConn women at the hands of Mississippi State. The Huskies had been thwarted in Dallas after 111 straight victories, falling short of a 12th national title, and the scene was about as surreal as you’d expect. Read more.
9. Google Doodle Contest Winner From Connecticut
The Google Doodle holds a certain place in internet ubiquity. How many millions of people see the drawing each day? In March, a teenager from Stratford saw her work sit atop the search engine’s homepage. Read more.
8. Despite Plea From Malloy, Aetna Will Move Forward With Plans To Move Headquarters Out Of Hartford
Aetna’s plans have since been complicated by a merger with CVS, but in the spring the insurance giant was looking to move its own corporate headquarters to either Boston or New York — despite a plea from Malloy to stay put. Read more.
7. Katherine Berman, Former Educator And Wife Of ESPN's Chris Berman, Killed In Double-Fatal Crash
Tragedy struck one of Connecticut’s most famous residents in 2017, when Katherine Berman, the wife of ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman, was killed in a double-fatal crash in Woodbury. Katherine Berman, who was 67, was remembered as an educator and an advocate for sharing literacy in underprivileged communities. Read more.
6. Trump Silent After Newtown Asks Him To Denounce Sandy Hook Deniers
In yet another news item featuring the actions — or inactions — of the president, Donald Trump in April got the state’s attention for neglecting to respond to a letter penned six weeks earlier by the Newtown school board in which it asked him to denounce right-wing radio host Alex Jones, who has called the Sandy Hook School shooting a hoax. Read more.
5. State Braces For 1 To 2 Feet Of Snow, Blizzard Conditions
Harsh winter weather is nothing new to Connecticut, but a mid-March blizzard seemed to catch many residents by surprise. Travel and parking bans, school closures and business closures spread across the state as up to 2 feet of snow fell in some places. Read more.
4. A Marriage Marked By Secrets, A Murder Case Months In The Making
The 2015 murder of Connie Dabate was shrouded in mystery for more than a year before a stunning narrative emerged: her husband, Richard, who had allegedly fought with her killer, would in fact be charged with murdering Connie after several of those pesky, electronic clues — including her Fitbit movements — made him a suspect. Read more.
3. Rare Conjoined Twins Seek Ordinary Life In Extraordinary Circumstances
In April, the remarkable story of Carmen and Lupita Andrade captured the attention of our readers like few other stories could. The 16-year-olds from New Milford are one of the few sets of conjoined twins in the U.S. and the details of their day-to-day life — from attending agriscience class at Nonnewaug High School to their activity in Connecticut Students for a Dream — brought into a focus the resolve of two girls making the most out of the extraordinary hand they were dealt. Read more.
2. Coast Guard Tracking Russian Spy Ship Near Submarine Base In Groton
What was a Russian spy ship doing in the waters just 30 miles off the coast of the Naval Submarine Base in Groton this past February? Some downplayed it, others classified it as an act of hostility. And in 2017, with the specter of Russian interference lingering long after one of the most contentious presidential campaigns in recent memory, readers devoured the story. Read more here.
1. Former University Of Hartford Student Faces Hate Crime Charge In Case Involving Former Roommate
In 2017 there was a spotlight on growing racial divisions, so perhaps that’s why a story about animus between two roommates at the University of Hartford captured national attention early in November. Freshman Brianna Brochu was arrested after she admitted licking her roommate’s dining utensils and smearing used tampons on the woman’s backpack. Brochu, who is white, bragged about the incident on Instagram, prompting her roommate, who is black, to respond in a widely viewed Facebook Live. Read more.