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Mendham-Chester Patch: Your Voice Is Heard

Prodigal "sorta son" returns home

Hi — I'm Russ. Welcome to my site.

Scratch that. Welcome to our site.

I'm Russ Crespolini, editor of Mendham-Chester Patch—a community resource where you'll find news, blogs, events, lots of questions and maybe even a few answers. If I do my job right, sooner than later you'll think of this as the place to be to learn what's going on in the Mendhams and Chesters, and to interact with your neighbors and neighborhood.

The chance to cover these communities represents a homecoming for me in many ways, and I am thrilled we are in full swing.

I grew up on the edge of Chester, in Mt. Olive. Literally, the fence in my backyard was the dividing line between the communities. I spent the majority of my youth there. I read comic books off the rack in the bookstore while my sister went to class at the . My father took me to see my first movie at the . I made my first communion at , and performed on stage for the first time when the Williamson building still housed a theater.

As I got older I filled up on too much grub at the , took leisurely drives through Jockey Hollow and took more beatings on than I care to remember.

I left for college and was determined to make my mark on the world! I spent 10 years after graduation commuting to all manner of places as I pursued this wacky romantic notion we call journalism. But as I wrote and edited for increasingly larger media, I realized something was missing.

I had lost my sense of purpose. I wasn’t serving a community any longer. What I did no longer mattered. Dorothy Gale had it right—I never should have looked further than my own backyard.

I am so very fortunate that Mendham-Chester Patch gives me a chance to serve a community again. And a community I am so familiar with.

I look at Patch an opportunity to carry forward the spirit of a traditional town newspaper—but in the process offer so much more. We modernize the concept and conventions without sacrificing the foundation and tradition.  

But most important: At Patch, no one is talking at you. As a reader, a viewer, a member of our community, you have a voice.

Want me to prove it? Check out the top 11 ways you can be heard. (Why 11? Because like to take things one step further at Patch. Also, I counted them up and they happened to go to 11.)

1. Blog on our Site
Ever dream of being a columnist, maybe sharing your opinion? Well if you blog on our site, you can do that and more. Post updates for organizations, post videos and photos, let us know what's on your mind and what you've got going on. Update as much or as little as you want. The content is yours and we will give you pretty much free reign with it. It just has to be locally relevant (and, of course, appropriate for a family-friendly news publication). E-mail Russ.Crespolini@Patch.com.

2. Sign Up for our Newsletters
Look for the Follow Us and Newsletter links on the front page of this and most every page to sign up for daily and weekly updates. Once you sign up, the digital message will be sent directly to your email inbox. 

3. Review Restaurants and Other Businesses
You can post a review of your favorite restaurants here as well. Additionally, you can review any business in our directory.

4. Make Your Directory Listing Your Own
We spend a lot of time working to make sure our directory of businesses and institutions in town is complete and accurate. But no one knows your business better than you. Go to our directory page and hit the button to claim your listing (there's no cost). You'll be able to upload more photos, update hours and key contact information, and get an easy way to communicate with us if we need to correct any info. We want our readers to always know how to find you—help us make that possible.

5. Upload Your Photos and Video
. Post photos from local festivals, or a video from a sporting event or concert. Our is a catch-all for pretty much any moment in your life you want to share, but you can also add photos and videos to any article, event or announcement!

6. Post an Event or Announcement
Have you used our Patch calendar yet? Well, what are you waiting for? Sell tickets to your show, remind people of an important meeting or broadcast to the world your happy meal toy collection is up for grabs at your yard sale! Just remember our Terms of Service as events and announcements should be for personal use, and not for advertising.

7. Oh Yeah, Advertising!
Our sales team would have killed us if we'd forgotten that one. Hit the big "advertise" button on the bottom of the page or go directly to our contact form here, and we'll get in touch about the opportunities we have for display ads, daily deals promotions and other special products.

8. Comment on an Article
Sharing your thoughts and reactions to our articles allows us to continue the conversation. Post a comment directly below each article and get involved. Start with this article, even if you're just saying hi.

9. Send a News Tip
You are now all officially tipsters! At the bottom of the homepage, there's a link that says, "Send Us News Tips.” Your tip will be sent straight to me, Russ Crespolini, the editor of Mendham-Chester Patch. You can also drop me a line at russ.crespolini@patch.com, or call 973-370-0045. All of these messages are beamed directly into my brain. And by brain, I mean phone.

10. Ask a Question
Wonder why the heck the flea market is in Dover now? Or what happened to the Turkey Farm? I know I do. Go ask a question, or answer someone else's.

11. Be Social
Follow us on Twitter to get the fastest updates on breaking stories and on Facebook where you have another chance to comment on what we’re posting and share photos and video. So come on and “like” us. We already like you.

As editor of this site, my goal is to provide you with the best representation of your towns I possibly can. With four municipalities, it is going to be a tall order, but with your help I know we can get it done.

The last few weeks I spent reintegrating into Mendham and Chester have been a gift for me. As a new father, I have a stronger sense of community than ever before. I certainly have a stronger appreciation for what all of these towns offer: a home to be proud of.

And that is what I want to share. Stories that remind you of why you moved here in the first place. We won’t always agree on content. And in your eyes I may fall short, but it will never be from lack of trying.

Who says you can’t go home?

I’m back, and I’m loving it.

Thanks for leaving the light on for me.

Chris Dehnel January 27, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Looking Good Russ! Congrats from way up here at Vernon Patch in Connecticut!
Janet Mansky Gerber January 27, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Yes, I second that !!!!!
Dawn J. Benko January 29, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Congrats, Russ. I know you'll do a great job. Can't wait for Montague Patch.
Sue Underwood January 29, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Hooray! Finally a site where our Chester township church, The Church of the Messiah (Episcopal), can post our events and be able to flag our location in the correct spot (at least I hope the Chester Patch.com will remedy the problem we've had with this before). Thank you Russ for taking on the new position and good luck with all that entails!
Russ Crespolini January 29, 2012 at 11:09 PM
@Chris: thanks so much, man! Hope things are going well in Vernon. @Dawn: Thanks, Dawn! Hope I get to see you soon! @Sue: Let me know if you run into any trouble with the location on your event! And think about maybe starting a blog to let people know whats happening in the Church of the Messiah?

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