The breakneck speed of Patch journalism doesn't always afford us the pleasure of pausing and reflecting. But December 27 is Holmdel Patch's first year anniversary, and after the publication of more than 1,950 articles in 2011, it is good to take a breather.
Patch's ambition is to make life easier for you and your neighbors by being useful and relevant. We want to be the leader in neighborhood content and conversation, to share local knowledge, and inspire people to take action.
In lots of ways, it feels like its happening. Our news story about a locker room thief skulking around the boys changing room at the high school motivated the Board of Education to enforce an electronic key pass system. A preview of the Holmdel PBA's Special Olympics Torch Run alerted interested residents to come out in the heat to cheer them along, for the first time. And a rally around Eric Hinds' tabled application to serve as a volunteer to the high school soccer team coach won in overtime, when the BOE heard the community's voice (the story drew more than 35 comments) and figured out how to send him a pass.
Our coverage of the developments in the Alcatel Lucent Redevelopment Plan has allowed people living in and outside Holmdel some insight into the fate of the architecturally significant former Bell Labs building and 473-acre property, as well as a chance to have their say. Nearly 90 people showed up to a re-scheduled afternoon meeting at Town Hall, during the busy week of Hanukah and Christmas holidays -- proof to us that people are interested in what happens in their corner of the world and will choose to be involved if they are informed.
No doubt Holmdel people love to read about Holmdel. Little stories like the one about Lisa Hettler tending the garden at the town's 9/11 memorial, or the public workers toiling in the 95 degree heat, or the replacement of the township Christmas tree are well read on Holmdel Patch. Writer Grace Modla's articles on Holmdel life, particularly of local artists and historical landmarks, has added richness to our daily journal.
Your submissions make the site even better. Holmdel Patch gets the best "Letters to the Editor" on subjects people care about, such as the annual slaughter of Holmdel Park piglets, the merits of Pop Warner and American Youth Football, or the destruction of the Hendrickson Burial Ground at Beau Ridge Townhouse Development.
Our Local Voices blogging platform continues to be a special asset. We have the pleasure of reading dispatches from fields of the DePalma farming family in Holmdel. We followed a bride's journey to getting hitched at the Holmdel's Bayonet Farm. And Office of Emergency Management's Mike Simpson has kept us informed about stuff we need to know.
And how about that unforgettable photo sent in from Carol Beckenstein showing the enormous tree that fell after Hurricane Irene!
As for me, your editor, I would like to salute the community volunteers I've had the pleasure of getting to know on this beat -- like the First Aid and Fire Company volunteers who sacrificed the finale of a holiday weekend to respond to the triple fatal accident on the Garden State Parkway on July 6 and all of those who transformed Holmdel High School into a shelter during tropical storm Irene.
There are the ones planning all year long to give their neighbors a great time on Earth Day, Community Day, and the Bayonet Arts Festival. And the citizens who have stepped up to serve on all kinds of committees, advisory boards and governing bodies to improve life in their hometown. It can be thankless, we know! You are unsung heroes, all.