Happy Birthday to Eureka-Wildwood Patch
This Patch community news site was launched one year ago today as the 325th one in the United States. THANKS SO MUCH to all contributors, photographers, readers, advertisers, bloggers, fellow business representatives, supporters and colleagues.
A year ago this morning, some of us eagerly got up super early to witness the launch of Eureka-Wildwood Patch, after typing in what felt like a magical URL. The start of this online community news site propelled several new concepts into our market, and changed local journalism in several ways. We hope we have met your news needs, facilitated connections, and surprised you along the way.
A strength of Patch is the interaction with the site. We encourage you to comment on articles, and to share your reactions, suggestions and questions, as Patch was designed to reflect our community. Together, we share details and truly embody the essence of Eureka and Wildwood.
View the video originally made about our community.
I actually started building the site on July 25, 2010, as we initiated free, online directory listings for local businesses, nonprofits, schools and organizations. We appreciated everyone's patience with that process; taking photographs and amassing details for thousands of entities takes a while. Click here to review what was happening at the time of my personal company anniversary this summer, or here to see what was happening six months into the site.
Looking back over the year, a few developments come to mind. Just days after the site was launched, an accident that involved a fatal head-on collision between a driver and a Rockwood School District bus on Route FF needed to be reported on Nov 18. It was a sorrowful event when the community lost one of its young residents, Kaela Archambault. I was one of the few to get photos of the SUV wreckage, reporting live from the scene as well as from the school affected. I, too, shed tears when I interviewed Kaela's grandmother at the time, and we discussed the need to do something about the frequency of accidents on that roadway. People who wanted to assist the Archambault family used Eureka-Wildwood Patch as a way to spread the word about a funeral fund established. I also reported coverage on May 27 of the Geggie Elementary School fifth grader, Andrew Schnurbusch, who assisted the bus driver and led students to safety after this crash. It was an amazing, complete-the-circle type of moment to join concerned citizens last month on Oct. 13, and to report on a new, grassroots initiative to push for road safety improvements on Route FF, just like Kaela's grandmother desired.
Another standout moment also was terribly sad when in December we had to say goodbye to another young Eureka resident, Kevin Buck, who lives on through a variety of organ donations. Kevin's was the most unique obituary I've ever written, and I thank his family for sharing details with me at one of their most difficult moments in life.
Another highlight came when Eureka-Wildwood Patch broke the news in February about the coordinator of the annual St. Louis Home Fires Barbecue Bash opting to relocate the event from Wildwood. An immediate public outcry occurred on Patch, readers asked me to take their requests to the Wildwood city council meeting — which I did so they were entered into the city's records — and organizer Frank Schmer credits Patch readers for prompting him to reconsider and ultimately deciding to keep the bash, St. Louis' largest barbecue competition, in Wildwood this year.
I also am proud to have broken the news in March about the caving-in problem and huge crack in Missouri Route 109, although I obviously wish the incident had not occurred. Patch kept readers up-to-date regarding the road's closures, the mudslide, the businesses affected, community meeting and the highway's updates, including graphic photos. Many readers took advantage of the Patch feature through which they can get personally alerted when updates are published about selected topics.
We captured internal attention when Patch added blogging as part of its community communication, and Eureka-Wildwood had one of the oldest — if not the oldest — participant: 86-year-old George Weber, aka "The Old Blogger." George has had an interesting life, and we are proud of him being a cancer survivor and getting stronger with each blog.
Eureka-Wildwood was one of the first Patch sites in the St. Louis metropolitan region to offer a reader poll when the feature became available in September. It's great to report how responsive readers are, in that the poll generated three votes within the first 17 minutes of its existence, and 28 votes shortly after — culminating in 130 votes. Thank you all for embracing new ways of sharing opinions and trends.
Readers also have proven that they care, as evidenced by 257 people recommending the article we published Tuesday about the proposed St. Louis County budget cuts threatening to close three of our local parks. We appreciate all 24 reader comments on the article as well.
Are you getting the most from your Eureka-Wildwood Patch?
- List your events on the Patch calendar.
- Announce your developments and milestones, such as weddings, births, graduations and promotions.
- Business owners and managers: You can claim your Patch directory listings, and through that, add photos and promotional information, keeping the details about your offerings evergreen.
- Have you subscribed to the free Patch morning newsletter?
- Send emails about your company's news or your organization's fundraisers and events.
- Submit photos, game scores, event summaries and details about interesting neighbors or community leaders.
- Share your opinion through letters to the editor.
- Sell items through the classifieds.
- Become a Patch blogger.
View a quick video for learning how to use the free Patch tools.
We also started the first community Facebook page for Eureka and Wildwood, and now are a large, online group. Please do "like" the page and recommend it to your Facebook friends, especially those who may have moved away and who would like to keep up with local developments. You also can follow Patch on Twitter.
Whichever method you prefer, please do plug into Patch conversations and sharing about Wildwood and Eureka — afterall, it's our community we're talking about!