West Hartford’s Top Stories of 2016

Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

We-Ha.com looks back at West Hartford’s most read stories of 2016.

Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

By Ronni Newton

As the calendar year comes to an end, I always think it’s interesting to take a glance into the rearview mirror to see which West Hartford stories and issues attracted the most attention.

We-Ha.com was officially launched in September 2014, and in our second full year of operation we experienced tremendous growth in readership. The year is not quite over, but since Jan. 1, 2016, the We-Ha.com site has had more than 2.4 million page views! This time last year we were proud to report 750,000 page views. If I’m doing the math correctly, that’s 220 percent growth! 

This year’s stories covered a wide range of topics, including business openings and closings, events, features on residents, sports, school activities, missing persons, burglaries and other crimes, sports, animals, and weather. We also covered several sudden and tragic deaths of West Hartford residents, as well as the passing of several iconic business leaders.

These stories touched everyone’s lives in different ways and left impressions that won’t soon be forgotten.

It’s hard to decide how many stories to highlight but since we did 15 in 2015, it seems to make sense to highlight the 16 most read and most talked about stories of 2016. Are you surprised at any of these? We’d love to hear what you consider the top stories of the year.

Food stories continue to receive plenty of attention, and a few just missed making the top list. They include a sneak peek inside Bar Louie just before it opened in mid-April, the opening of speakeasy/Roaring Twenties-styled Noble & Co. in November, the official Town Council approval of Chick-fil-A’s application for its New Park Avenue location in May (construction has been progressing and we will report on the opening as soon as we have details), and the opening of Savoy Pizzeria and Craft Bar in October.

There have also been several closings/ownership changes of longtime family businesses. Thousands read the story about Dana Gordon’s decision to close Sedgwick Cleaners, a 30-plus year family business, and Dec. 31 is actually their last day open. Sally & Bob’s Eatery was owned by Rhonda and Ronnie Zieky for more than 30 years, and before that was owned by Rhonda’s parents, but when the Ziekys decided to retire and sell, West Hartford couple Helen Brower and Cesar Contreras purchased the restaurant – an opportunity that Brower said was a “dream come true.”

The surprise announcement in January that Scott Slifka planned to step down as mayor was, not surprisingly, also a very well-read story.

Looking back at the top stories is, for me, a great review of the year. A few of my personal favorite stories include the rescue of several swimmers off the Puerto Rico Coast by resident Sheri Shea, her son, and her son’s friend, and the “Getting Personal” interview with new Mayor Shari Cantor. Another top story – a sad one with deep personal meaning that was one of the toughest I have ever had to write – was the tribute I wrote to my friend Lucio Lefante who passed away from brain cancer in October.

A final mention of another top story – about a top town – was the news in September that West Hartford was included in the top 20 of Time/Money’s 2016 list of top places to live!

I’m excited to see what 2017 will bring. I’m sure there will be plenty of great stories to tell, and I look forward to another year of bringing hyperlocal news to West Hartford!

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About the author


We-Ha.com is the place to go for the latest information about West Hartford – a town that "has it all"! We-Ha.com is part of and proud of our community, and we bring a hyperlocal focus to news and features about the people, schools, businesses, real estate, sports, restaurants, charitable events, arts, and more. Contact us at: [email protected] or [email protected].


  • Thank you for your recollections of 2016. Don’t forget the first annual Center Streets event which took place in
    August and will become a signature West Hartford event , taking place in 2017 on August 27th! Happy New Year!

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