What on Earth is Patch? I've never answered one question in my life more frequently than that one over the last year. But 365 days, over 2,500 articles, immeasurable amounts of coffee and a measurable lack of sleep later, South Brunswick Patch is turning one-year old today.
To answer the question of what Patch is required the explanation that this is more than just an online newspaper. It's also a community destination where South Brunswick residents can come to post events, share news, and debate their neighbors on the issues that matter most to them.
To our faithful readers, I want to say thank you for a great year. There has been some fantastic news, with outstanding highs, contrasted with sad lows. I thank our readers for welcoming us into your lives and for embracing this change in news coverage.
Numerous people have also asked how can you possibly run a daily news site devoted to South Brunswick, how much news comes out of one town? The answer is quite a lot. So here's a quick look back at a few of the most popular, strangest, most tragic, most jaw-dropping and most inspiring stories over the last year on South Brunswick Patch.
South Brunswick Patch launched on a somber note, as the first story to appear on the site captured the heartbreak from when three residents of the Monmouth Mobile Home Park, including a young infant, were killed shortly after Thanksgiving in a car accident in Kentucky.
Throughout the last year we've had the opportunity to meet a number of amazing people with inspiring stories that illustrate what makes South Brunswick great. One of those stories was that of Erica Hernandez, a township resident who fled an abusive relationship with her two daughters and soon found themselves homeless. What happened next showed the strength of a woman and her two young daughters, as well as the community who reached out to support them.
There is nothing more heartbreaking than covering any story involving a child battling a life threatening illness. Getting the privilege to meet and hang out with 8-year-old Brandon Dominguez, as he faces a new battle with brain cancer, was an unforgettable experience with an amazingly courageous kid.
Under similar circumstances, Patch first met our friends at the Hugs for Brady Foundation at a dedication ceremony for a park pathway named after Brady Wells, a Kendall Park child who died at the age of 23-months from pediatric leukemia. Brady's amazing parents Mike and Sherrie Wells started their charity in Brady's name and continue to share a blog on Patch detailing Brady's story.
This year has also provided a number of head-scratching moments involving South Brunswick Police. One of the more memorable was a Kendall Park man who had a considerably odd reaction to synthetic marijuana.
From the “you can't make this stuff up” files, also comes the story of a robbery suspect who alerted police to his presence by falling asleep and snoring at the scene of a break-in.
The single most unbelievable news tip ever: "Did you know Beyonce is shooting a video in a trailer park on Route 1?"
No I did not.
A national story found its way to South Brunswick, when young murder victim Leiby Kletzky was laid to rest at Washington Cemetery. The Hasidic child from Brooklyn was killed and dismembered by a stranger he had asked for help after getting lost returning home from camp.
Two people were seriously injured when a helicopter crashed in Dayton, just missing a collision with Indian Fields Elementary School. The skillful actions of the young pilot helped avert a greater disaster.
No story has generated more controversy over the last year than the ongoing debate over the Princeton International Academy Charter School (PIACS). The zoning hearings have led to several contentious meetings and a lawsuit, as the application is expected to return to the zoning board later this month.
The story with the most comments this year occurred in March during the school budget cycle, when the South Brunswick teachers union rejected a proposed wage freeze from the South Brunswick Board of Education.
The largest amount of positive feedback we have received at Patch came during our continuous coverage of the devastating and the . Because after all, when a disaster strikes people don't need to know what's going on in a different part of the state, they need to know what's going on in their neighborhood at that moment.
The Most Popular
The most-read story of the year came when South Brunswick High School was honored by Newsweek Magazine on its annual list of the Best High Schools in America.
There are a lot of people I want to thank for making this a great year, especially my fellow local editors, and the rest of Patch for their support. Thanks to every reader who sent me a news tip, submitted a photo, or suggested a story.
Special thanks to our columnists, bloggers, photographers and contributors for helping the site grow in ways I couldn't have done on my own. Here's to hoping year number two is even better than the first. Thank you South Brunswick.