It's been more than awesome, but it's time for a change—my time here has ended.
Today is my last day at Patch. I'll head into the three-day weekend before joining a great team at an online car magazine on Tuesday.
The ride here has been wild.
Early in 2010 I was continuing my impossible (but sometimes fun) job as a managing editor for Pioneer Press—I was part of a fantastic team covering northern Lake County—when a longtime co-worker (who had been laid off from Pioneer) called to ask about another former co-worker interested in working for an online-only company called Patch.
She was hired soon after and that's when I started doing a little research. The more I learned the more I wanted to work for Patch. So I through my name out there and on July 1 I was hired (by that same person I was asked about) as the Crystal Lake Patch LE.
Gearing up for the launch was a challenge—gathering everything from business listings to freelancers—but on Sept. 29 2011 we went live and, although it was slow going at first, we've become successful.
Like any job, there were some wonderful moments and some turmoil, but overall it was a blast.
I've learned a lot about this area, including:
- McHenry County libraries are decades behind the surrounding counties (I'm hoping the library can find a way to make it work)
- Central, South and PR are three of the greatest schools to cover (a state title from PR!)
- People like Jacqui Weber, Diana Kenney, Linda Price, the Shipleys, and Robin and Marla Pendergrast make this community awesome
- Youth baseball in Crystal Lake would be incredible if the dads could just get along. It's youth baseball, have fun!
- More people should support great places like the Pioneer Center and the Raue—few communities have organizations like these, show you care by helping them out!
And, of course, the whole Nygren/Bianchi/Sepler/Milliman/Zinke/etc. etc. saga. To give my two cents before parting: This should be about the people, not who you used to work for, who your neighbor is, what your son does for a living or what land you own. I have never worked in an area with people that are so kind and deserving of respect as Crystal Lake and McHenry County. Leaders, you aren't as important as the people you're serving.
There will be times where I'm going to miss covering that soap opera, but I'll keep an eye on it.
Thank you, Crystal Lake, for making this one of the best jobs.