Column: Patch Editor to Leave After 2 Years

Brendan Kuty reflects on covering his hometown.

For the past couple of hours I've tried thinking of a way to start this farewell column. But I’m not sure what to say. So, like you've so gracefully done for the past two years, bear with me as I figure this out.

I’m guessing you’re thinking one of two things right now: either good riddance, or, what's the deal, Patch Guy? I’m hoping for the latter.

Friday will be my last day at Patch. I've decided to take another media opportunity, starting Monday. If you want to know more or to keep in touch, email brendankuty@gmail.com. If you want to chat one more time I'll also spend from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at and 9 a.m. to noon Friday at .

Now, how will my departure affect you? It shouldn't, really. Patch will continue to cover the borough. With council and Board of Education elections coming up, not to mention the start of the school year, Patch believes it's more important than ever that Hopatcong residents have a trusted news source and a place to share ideas and opinions.

And I agree with Patch. I never knew the borough was so bustling. There are plenty of myths about Hopatcong. That it's a boring place is among them. You just have to know where to look to find the crazy. That was something I didn’t know while growing up here.

Speaking of growth, Hopatcong has given me two opportunities at it. Considering Ghostbusters is still among my favorite movies and that I can't get my Chevy to pass inspection, we'll say the jury is still out on my maturity. But the growth I've felt as a journalist has been undeniable.

Before Patch I spent three years as a sports reporter, covering everything from girls lacrosse to the final game at the old Yankees Stadium to an arm-wrestling competition in the middle of an alcohol showcase … at age 20. But since joining the AOL-owned hyper-local news organization I've learned so much about almost everything—education reform, government spending, public records, the judicial system, crime, volunteerism, business. Too much to rattle off at once.

And a lot of it was because of you. You didn't know me. You didn't have to speak with me—just some guy with a notebook and a website you'd never heard of.

But you did. You gave me your time. If you're reading this, there's a good chance we've spoken before and even a decent chance I've quoted you. That's one of the best things about Patch: the community connection. I've gained so many friends since starting here in June 2010, since making that year's Hopatcong Days my first assignment.

. The site had still yet to launch, but my boss at the time asked me to set up a table and pass out generic flyers detailing Patch's mission. If you wanted to know what Hopatcong.Patch.com was going to look like—because why would you take the word of some over-caffeinated stranger?—I had to pull out my laptop and show you Westfield Patch.

Still, some people didn't totally ignore me. Some even let me take their picture. And that welcome-you-in sentiment has been what I've felt in Hopatcong since that afternoon.

And I've seen that sense of community translate from borough streets and parks onto Hopatcong.Patch.com. Sure, almost everyone—even you—complains about the comments section, how users get nasty behind fake names for reasons ranging from absurd to understandable. But there have been many examples of the borough banding together around good causes on the site.

The three that stuck out to me: , and when .

When the 2011 storm rocked the borough, I hit the streets, taking a ride with a pair of police officials to , rushing to hardware and convenience stores , and camping out to provide minute-by-minute reports of the effects of the downpour. But you helped me, jumping into the comments section to say which areas were without electricity, where roads were closed or trees had fallen and to share tips on keeping safe.

You showed similar outpourings of support for Connolly, who worried people thought he was a serial killer for walking the borough streets, and Rosco, who served the his entire life.

It was during those moments I felt I had served a real purpose with Patch. Had made real connections with many of you. Had at least in a small way helped the place in which I grew.

And I believe I'm going to enjoy watching Hopatcong Patch grow with the rest of you.

Send news tips to to Regional Editor Mike Pignataro at mike@patch.com or Associate Regional Editor Rick Burchfield at rick@patch.com.

Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:04 AM
Karen, I'm glad I was able to make a difference here and there. Sometimes it felt like some stories went unread. But other stories felt like they made an impact, especially when it came to storms and helping people during power outages. Anyway, I'm sorry I didn't make it to more high school sports over the last year. You know my first job was in sports. Best of luck, Karen, and I'm looking forward to seeing you around.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:06 AM
Kyra, that means a lot. I'm glad I was able to help from afar. Let me know next time you're back. That way I'll grab Dan and we'll actually hang for a little as opposed to catching each other in passing. Hope things are going well in Florida. And I hope you come back soon.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:07 AM
KSolimando, thank you! Oh, man, I miss flocking. A couple of friends of mine still bring that up. I can't believe there's a video of me doing that on the Internet. Clearly I'm without shame. Either way, it was so much fun, and covering Hopatcong was a great time, too. Hope to see you around.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Jean, that's what one the best things I've heard in a while. Bill seems like such a good guy. He shouldn't get the rap he does. Either way, thanks for sending me some great photos way back, and for keeping up with us. Really, I'm bringing it up again, thanks so much for the word on Bill. That was my goal.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Donna, thank you so much. I'll miss covering you guys. Hope the ceremony goes well in September. I'm sure Patch will want to reflect it.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:10 AM
Anna, I hope you're right. New ventures, while exciting, are a little scary. Though I think I'll be OK. Thanks so much.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:12 AM
Jessica, yeah, it's a shame. I remember your name via the comments section. I'm glad to hear maybe we got to know each other through the site. I'm sure the next person will show a level of enthusiasm that matches what's necessary to cover Hopatcong. Maybe mine went a little overboard here and there. Thank so much, Jessica.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:13 AM
Tammy, while I'm leaving Patch, I ain't going nowhere. Thank you so much.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:14 AM
Gina, agreed. The borough—and the school system—is what you make it. While I'm doing so well so far, I hope someday to be a real Hopatcong success story. Thanks so much.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:15 AM
Michael, talking to you and your wife about Dylan. He's a great kid. You've got a great family. It was my pleasure. I hope next year's 5K is bigger and even better.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:16 AM
Jule, thanks so much. Covering Hopatcong has been one of the best experiences of my life. As you can tell, since I can't seem to leave the site, even after I've been removed from it. I'm going to miss you guys. Best of luck.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:17 AM
I'm sure I couldn't do bad at either spot—Hayde's or Affordable.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Willa, what can I say? You're awesome. You've always been a breath of fresh air, whether just around town or at the recreation commission. Thanks for all your great photos over the last couple of years, too. I'm sure I'll see you around.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Lynn, thank you! I hope you're right. And I hope Carmen keeps kicking butt on the screen. And on the football field.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:19 AM
Judi, you've raised a hell of a son. He's been my right-hand man since Day 1. I couldn't have done my job without him. Thanks so much for the well wishes.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:19 AM
Thanks, Michelle. Spam my email and it's going down.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:21 AM
Rich, you've always kind of been the voice of reason in many of the comments sections on Patch. You've also been a pleasure to see each day in Hopatcong. I think you told me you're heading on vacation. I hope it's great, and I hope to see you around. Thanks for everything.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:22 AM
Lillian, thank you! I think you're related to Kevin. Tell him I said thanks for everything, too!
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:23 AM
Mike T Sr, thank so much. Just because I'm leaving doesn't mean we won't keep in touch. Be well, my man.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:23 AM
You're the man. Thanks so much for that. And thanks for coming out tonight and for the slogan ideas. I like the one about ... nah. Not for here.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:24 AM
David, I went out for dinner with Dr. R and a few former CCM paper people I'd say more than a year ago. She's doing well. Sorry we never really connected on freelance work. But I'm sure you'll do well at Rutgers and carve a name for yourself.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Rick, you already know. Anything you need, any time. Same goes for Heather. Especially considering you're right down the block. But even if you weren't, I got you.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Briana, mom, dad: I love you.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:26 AM
Michele, thank you so much. Best of luck with the new nonprofit venture. And with everything.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:26 AM
Looks like I'm out for good now. But thank you so much, Observer. I hope you're right. And I hope some time to meet you around town.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:28 AM
Danette, thank so much. And tell John I said the same for the help he gave me during his time as chief. It's been great getting to know you guys. You were both always a pleasure, always with positive outlooks for Hopatcong. Hope to see you around.
Brendan Kuty July 28, 2012 at 04:28 AM
Emily, I hope you're right. I'll do my best. Be well.
michele perrotti August 09, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Wow, I just saw this.... I wish you the best of luck in your new endeavors, Brendan. I hope you don't forget the block party. We'd love to have you stop by!
Jeanette Bushell August 16, 2012 at 01:37 AM
I just saw this as well. Congratulations on the new opportunity! You did an awesome job with the patch, I was wondering why it was not the same the last few weeks, had to backtrack and find this good-bye from you.
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