Upper Saucon Patch Editor Says Goodbye

Editor Elizabeth Rich is leaving Patch, but not without some great memories and a few life lessons.

Two and a half years ago, I came over South Mountain to cover a fire on Hillside Dr. in Coopersburg. It was the first story I ever wrote for Upper Saucon Patch, and I never looked back. 

But now that Friday will be my last day at Patch, I think I'm going to take a second to do just that. I hope you'll indulge me a longer article; a lot has happened around here in two and a half years! 

(Before I get into the spiel, I promised I would add how to connect with me through my LinkedIn account, or email me over the next few days and I'll let you know where I land.)

Covering Southern Lehigh has been one of the best, most rewarding, complex, *intense* jobs I have ever had. One of the first things people would tell me is that "no one ever comes down here to cover news, they don't think anything happens here." Well, I can write with impunity...wow are they wrong. 
From that first story about the fire, Southern Lehigh has never failed to deliver news. 

Some of the stories that people remember most are the big crime stories, and we've had some big ones. It was only two months into Patch when I stumbled across the criminal complaint about Michael Scheeler, the man arrested for allegedly (later convicted of) videotaping foreign exchange students in his home. Thanks to the amazing staff at the office of Magisterial District Judge David Harding and the patience of veteran journalist (and Lower Macungie editor) Mariella Savidge, Upper Saucon Patch was able to bring you the story and follow it through sentencing. And inevitably when readers talk to me, they mention  with (and later pleaded to) hiding a camera in a co-worker's private office to tape her pumping breast milk. 

We've had our share of huge crime stories while I was editor, but those aren't the articles that really stick out for me. It was the quiet pieces, the ones that may not have caught your attention that made every day of this job something worthwhile. When Coopersburg  I was able to cover it. When Lower Milford Fire Company was called into action in the middle of time trials in Coopersburg, we were able to bring it to your inbox. Because it's the small acts right in your back yard that really make a community home. 

The amazing Southern Lehigh school district goes a long way to imbuing the area with that sense of community. One of my first cheerleaders was the late Superintendent Joseph Liberati. When I came to introduce myself and explain Patch, he was very interested in seeing Patch in action. I loved covering a classroom visit he conducted where Southern Lehigh students worked with Fountain Hill Elementary on a project via the web. He loved Southern Lehigh, and his spirit was (and continues to be) infectious. 

Elections and government have always been a passion of mine, and getting to run a . Ask any of the army of poor freelancers attached to that project, it was no easy task. But it meant something to me, and to the community. Those articles with information on each candidate and answers to questions asked during the forum were some of the most-read articles in 2011. People kept going back to them to read as the election neared. Hopefully, regardless of Patch involvement, forums will be held for this year's Southern Lehigh School Board race and the (already hotly contested) race for Magisterial District Judge. 

I've taken a job in the Lehigh Valley, so if you see me (probably at Barnes and Noble at the corner table), please don't hesitate to say hi. Let me know how things are in Southern Lehigh, what you've been up to. After all, you can take the girl out of the Patch, but you don't ever get Southern Lehigh out of your system. Thank you for letting me cover this amazing community. 

Take care everyone. 


Jenae Holtzhafer February 28, 2013 at 03:08 AM
It will never be the same without you! I can say in my two years as a freelancer for ALL of the Lehigh Valley Patches, yours was one that people knew what I was referring to when I'd ask them for their name for a photo caption. It would go something like this ..."Can I please get your name and town where you live? I'm with Upper Saucon Patch. Have you heard of us?" And 9 out of 10 times the response would be something like this ... "YES! We LOVE Upper Saucon Patch! Elizabeth is amazing! Where is she today?" It was as if they were disappointed to see me instead of you in the field! You truly had a direct connection with your readers, and it was reflected in all of your work. You covered not only the hot breaking news, but made sure to keep a healthy balance of things like school awards, festivals, events like Santa's visit at the animal shelter, and Town Hall train exhibits. Many of my favorite freelance gigs were with Upper Saucon Patch thanks to YOU. Thanks for the beautiful memories and the mountains of experience. Can't wait to see you in action at your next position!
Mike Zweifel February 28, 2013 at 12:08 PM
I am going to miss you Elizabeth! I wish you all the best in your new endeavor.
Limeport Resident February 28, 2013 at 12:51 PM
Best of luck in your new endeavor! The Patch has become integrated into our daily lives. It is essential to knowing what is going on. The vigorous and heated comments served to reveal the frailties of some of our leaders and more often the dedication of the majority. Yet we felt that there was an even handed arbitrator that would hold the line when it became too personal. Journalism today is at a low point. It either mouths position of all sides without further analysis or it injects itself into the story. Treading the fine line of impartiality and the story should be the goal and it is something that Ms Rich embodies. Elizabeth do not become a stranger. If you change you social media home, please tell us so we can "like","tweet" a friend. You will be missed; you enriched our lives in Southern Lehigh.
Mark Jamison February 28, 2013 at 01:39 PM
Good luck Elizabeth and thank you for all your hard work at the Patch. We will miss you.
Colby Kent February 28, 2013 at 02:01 PM
Elizabeth, We thank you for your good efforts on getting the news to everyone. We appreciate your coverage of the Historical Society's meetings so more people would learn about us and Coopersburg. We wish you the best in your next endeavour, Colby Kent
Carol Cheshire February 28, 2013 at 02:30 PM
Thanks for your good work, Elizabeth. Hope you find your next job rewarding!
Ed McNamara February 28, 2013 at 03:40 PM
Since moving from Coopersburg to SW VA a little over a year ago, Upper Saucon Patch has been my link to the news of the region. I enjoy the breaking news as well as the simple stories of life Coopersburg and surrounding environs. I hope those who follow you will continue your good work. Best of luck to you.
Leslie February 28, 2013 at 03:59 PM
Thank you for all your hard work! It was/is much appreciated! Good luck and God Bless.
Shane February 28, 2013 at 04:08 PM
Sorry...but...glad to see you go. You did my family absolutely no justice in a situation where the truth was extremely evident even to a fool. Im sure your avoidance to pursue and expose the truth was not due to your skill set as a journalist but more so to avoid losing your foothold within the township. Shameful none the less and something a true journalist with the correct level of integrity doesnt fear. Journalistic ethics are designed to maximize integrity and minimize behaviors like plagiarism, falsification of information and blatant lying. However, in the end it falls to the journalist herself to adhere to a code of honor. A journalist who wants to tell the truth and who is thoroughly self-aware of her biases and limitations will generally do well. A good journalist questions everything she writes, reports and investigates and seeks answers and truth for the people she serves.
Elizabeth Rich (Editor) February 28, 2013 at 04:22 PM
Hey @Shane, No hard feelings on my end. As I've always said, everyone is entitled to voice their own opinion Upper Saucon Patch. I see you've commented several times on the site since the beginning, and that's all I can ask regardless of what you think of me. I hope that continues. I'm here until Friday, so if you'd like to talk about the article you're referring to (not sure, since your handle is ambiguous) I'm around. And I'm always willing to correct valid mistakes.
Shane February 28, 2013 at 09:19 PM
Your willingness to "correct valid mistakes" is a bit moot at the point.
Leslie February 28, 2013 at 09:23 PM
Sounds like you just want to wallow and be resentful.
Jeff Dimmig February 28, 2013 at 09:34 PM
Elizabeth: I enjoyed participating in the Patch's first candidate forum. It was a great service to the community and invaluable for those citizens trying to discern each candidates positions and ethics. You're coverage of small government in the southern lehigh area has provided information to the public that no other news organization bothers to address; and finally, thank you for paying attention to the local running scene, it was nice to see you support local races with fun coverage. You are are real professional and a joy to be around. I wish you fair winds and following seas in your next assignment!
Cathy Deschu February 28, 2013 at 09:45 PM
I am sorry you are leaving the Patch. Success in your new endeavor.
Shane February 28, 2013 at 09:51 PM
No Leslie, life is far to short to "wallow and be resentful" but it still doesnt change the events that transpired. It's always easy to judge when you are only a spectator. If my goal was to have been resentful in nature I would have taken a whole different approach along time ago but thanks for your comment.
Tim Gill March 02, 2013 at 01:28 AM
Thank you for your service to the Southern Lehigh Community. Best of luck and may God Bless you in your new endeavor.
slyfox March 08, 2013 at 11:58 PM
I wish I had seen this sooner. At home since last November with a broken leg I haven't been able to read the news or get online. It has been a tough couple of months. I will certainly miss you Elizabeth and all the support you gave to ME. I, along with my little Miss Mazey May want to thank you for sharing your talent with us. May God bless you always and keep you in his care. Peace. Lee


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »