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.