An otter spying out of the water during a daily swim.  <span class='image-credits'>Sam Eggleston</span>

And then it was over -- a look back at 2015

It's easy to say something along the lines of "Wow, I can't believe how fast 2015 went by," and if you do, no one would fault you for it. The years (unlike so many days) go by in what often feels like the blink of an eye. You struggle with writing the new year on everything, crossing out 2014 for 2015, to begin the year, and then just about the time writing the correct date begins to feel natural -- BAM! -- a new one has arrived.

A new year is something to celebrate for multiple reasons. First, we can all take that deep, collective breath and give ourselves some hope that either this new year will be the different from the struggles of the one before, or perhaps that we have continued successes that carry over to the new calendar.

It's also a good time to reflect. In the news and publishing industry, it's a chance for us to take a look back over the year at the stories that received the most attention from our readers. Here at Michigan Second Wave, we decided to take a moment and look at some of our top stories from across the state as determined by our readership through the number of views each story received.

In the Upper Peninsula, the top story of the year was about a restaurant called The Marq preparing to open. And the year has gone well for the restaurant, which has some outstanding dishes to offer up to customers. They've continued to receive top reviews throughout the year on multiple platforms. Yoopers do enjoy a good bite to eat, and the success of the story on The Marq showed just how excited diners were to have it opening.

In Southwest Michigan, another food story dominated the views and proved just how excited the folks in Kalamazoo and the surrounding areas get when it comes to top-quality cuisine. The plans to create Principle Food & Drink went off without a hitch, and the restaurant and bar have been booming with business and positive reviews since.

In Ann Arbor, our publication Concentrate told the story of how Ann Arbor is truly a swimming town, and readers took note. The city is always teeming with swimming talent, from the youth club level to the university and beyond. If you're a competitive swimmer in Michigan, you've probably lost at least a few events to someone from Ann Arbor.

In Lansing and our pub Capital Gains, our top story is one that will make all the children shudder in fright: Year-round schools and their future in Michigan. There is no doubt that studies have shown there is a value to year-round education, but Michigan has been known to be slower than many states on implementing change at the grade school and high school levels. Could it finally lead the charge instead?

The publication MetroMode led the way for all the stories of the year with a story that suggested folks actually LEAVE the metro Detroit area. Of course, it was about day trips and where you could go on a tank of gas to get away from it all. The story just kept making the rounds, staying atop the leaderboard for several months and resurging when we would least expect it.

There is no doubt 2015 saw growth in our readership across the board, and that's something we are excited about. We look forward with anticipation at what 2016 will bring us in the form of stories, growth and, of course, interaction with readers.

Sam Eggleston is the managing editor of Michigan Second Wave. With the exception of a year in Alaska, he has lived his entire life in either the lower or upper peninsula. He can be reached via email.
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