Welcome to Limerick-Royersford-Spring City Patch!
What's going on here? What's this all about? Editor David Powell fills you in.
During a recent dinner at the Outback, I ran into an acquaintance who sits on the board of the Spring-Ford Area School District. I was not as surprised as I should have been when he lamented that nobody from the local media was covering the board's meetings. He asked me where I'd been. I had, after all, previously covered the school board's meetings for Royersford's weekly newspaper.
That paper, however, closed its only local office two years ago and is now produced from a central office nearly an hour away. The people who worked for it—both full timers and freelancers, like me—have all moved on, some of them leaving journalism entirely.
As he took this in, I told him I had good news. The weekly newspaper office was still closed, but soon I would cover the school board again as part of my new job.
Telling people about that job has required some explanation. When I told friends and family I was taking a full time position as a local news editor, the first question was often, "Which paper?" Telling them that I would not be the editor of a newspaper, but rather a web site, evoked a variety of interesting reactions. Some were skeptical, others were enthusiastic. Many didn't understand. They wanted to know who would hire me to do such a thing. "Patch," I said.
Who or what is Patch? If you punch our name into Google, you might learn that we're a media company owned by AOL. That's true. But that's not the whole story, and certainly not the most important part. Patch is also me: a guy who moved to town with his family in 2005. Before that, I lived in Lansdale, North Wales, and Drexel Hill. I go to Nelson's for ice cream to cool off on summer nights. My kids play at the Manderach playground and take swim lessons at the Y off Township Line Road. Further east on Ridge Pike, Patch is Ann Cornell, who covers Perk Valley. She grew up in Skippack and was news editor of the Norristown Times-Herald for five years. Down in Phoenixville, Patch is Lynn Jusinski, an Ursinus grad who has lived in the region for ten years, several of those as a local news reporter.
In other words, Patch is not a distant corporate behemoth trying to make itself look local. We live just down the road from you. We are local.
It's because we're local that we will tell you about what's happening in the school district, the activities of which easily comprise the largest part of your property tax bill. But we won't stop there.
We'll tell you who won last night's JV girls' basketball game. We'll keep you abreast of our volunteer fire departments' constant struggle to raise the money they need to protect your home. We'll try to find out what's going into the vacant storefront next to the supermarket. We'll ask the township manager why the code violation on your street continues to go unresolved after numerous neighbors' complaints. We'll ask our area's three police departments what happened last week, and we'll pass that information on to you. If they won't tell us, we'll tell you that, too. You won't have to wait until the paper shows up on the newsstand at Wawa next Wednesday, either. When news happens, it will be posted here, often within minutes...if not seconds. You can visit the site, get updates via e-mail, visit our Facebook page, or follow our Twitter feed.
It's my intention to weave this site into the fabric of the area. In that regard, Patch has given me a head start. Above, just beneath the name of the web site, you'll see a collection of tabs. One of these is called "Directory," and it's here that you'll find the schools, churches, businesses, and other places that contribute so heavily to the character of the community. For the past several months, Patch has had people hoofing it all over the Spring-Ford area, taking photos, noting business hours, and writing descriptions. This directory is the fruit of their labor.
Look and see if your favorite place is there. It probably is. If it's not, let me know. You can even use the "Add It!" link near the bottom of the Directory page to put it in yourself. If you own or manage one of the places in the directory, you can claim it—for free!—through the link near the bottom of its page. If you don't like the photos we took, you can add your own. Did we mistakenly write that you close at 5pm on Saturday, instead of 6pm? You have the power to fix it. It's easy.
This is your Patch. You can use it to announce the birth of your child, or the passing of a loved one. Tell the community that your niece made honor roll at Spring-Ford High School. Put your church's 50-50 raffle on our Events calendar. Selling your old bicycle? Post it in our Classifieds. Do you need volunteers? Are you looking for somewhere to donate your time and talent? Check out our Volunteer board. It's all available from the menu up there, and it's all free of charge to you.
Today is a big day for me, and a big day for Patch. I believe, in time, it will turn out to have been a big day for the Spring-Ford area, too. I'll be out there, keeping my ear to the ground. Say hello! And welcome to Patch!