Birmingham Patch is LIVE!

OK everyone, I’m not dead. After three/four long, stressful days of writing, calling, editing, freaking out, managing, computer-ing, etc, the Birmingham Patch site is ALIVE at last!

This, as you might know, is my day job, thus the reason I have been horribly neglecting Paperback Fool.  But that’s OK.  I’m no helicopter parent.  Paperback Fool is an independent blog, strong, willing to play Barbies by herself if needs be.  Plus, she’s a got some great content (if I do say so myself).  Lots of book reviews here, people.  If you’re mad there’s nothing new being posted, well then, this is the perfect time to wander away from the homepage and click through some links.  Come on, it’ll do you good.

I’ll get back to posting regularly here probably some time next week.  I’d love to write a review of Ella Minnow Pea for Monday, but we’ll see how this weekend goes (old friends from Clifton…who now live in Sandusky…are visiting!).  I also want to tell you ALLLLL about this week, including my panic attacks, bouts of anxiety, my second all-nighter ever, and how Apple totally and completely failed me in the clutch.  *Tsk tsk* Steve Jobs.  I am NOT impressed. (I write, using my SIX-YEAR-OLD Dell that still works. More to come later).

For now though, I’m going to enjoy some quality time with Giada, Ina and the Food Network.  It’s been such a long time…

Oh, and for those of you who are so inclined to read EVERYTHING I have ever written, here’s my first column for Patch.  I am quite proud of it, if I do say so myself.

Welcome to the Birmingham Patch.

What is Patch, you ask? Patch is all around you. Patch is your newest source for Birmingham news and information, bringing everything you want to know to a computer screen or smartphone near you.

As the Birmingham Patch editor, I’m its most dedicated reporter and main champion.  I am also a Birmingham resident, eager to learn more about my new home.

A community that feels like home

That’s right: my new home.  When I moved to Birmingham with my fiancé at the beginning of July, we were understandably nervous.  We were relieved, though, when Birmingham immediately felt like home.

I blame everyone we met.  While we were moving in, our landlady was excited to tell us about the farmer’s market down the street.  City Manager Tom Markus was gracious and informative when I sat down with him to learn more about the city and its government.  And though I was a complete stranger, I am forever grateful to longtime resident Alan Stamm for sitting in Starbucks with me in September, answering my endless questions about the city, its people and its passions.

What Patch will do for you

This is a vibrant and active community and I intend to reflect that at the Birmingham Patch.  At its heart, journalism is the art of telling stories, and I want to share Birmingham’s stories with each and every one of you.  Whether it’s previewing tonight’s hockey game, spotlighting a new business in town or discussing the transition in city leadership, we want to keep you informed and engaged with your community.

This also means keeping you up to date on what’s going on around town.  Our comprehensive directory is your one-stop guide to everything you need to know about Birmingham’s businesses, nonprofits, schools, churches and government offices. Our events calendar has everything from school board meetings to knitting clubs. We also have all the information on leaf pick-up, zumba classes and more in our announcements section.

What’s the best part of all this?  Patch is more than an online newspaper; it’s a conversation.  Submitting your own announcement or event is as easy as registering on the site (which is also pretty easy). While you there, sign up for our daily e-mail newsletter, too. Join in on the chatter by commenting on stories. Continue the conversation at our Facebook or Twitter pages. Turn to Birmingham Patch for updates on breaking news that affects our community, too.

My favorite part of working for Patch, however, is its dedication to volunteerism.  The seed for Patch was planted in the mind of AOL President Tim Armstrong when he couldn’t find a place to volunteer in his Connecticut hometown.  Now Patch sends out hundreds of its employees to volunteer in their communities every year, interacting and giving back to their readers.

Tell me more

That brings me to my final challenge for you, Birmingham reader:  As a new member of this community, what should I do next? Where should I go?  What do I need to know?  What event should I make sure not to miss?  What iconically Birmingham experiences are going to transform me from newbie to savvy resident?

I will be documenting my experiences in weekly columns, and am looking forward to your feedback, tips and tricks on making Birmingham my new hometown.  Shoot me an e-mail at laura.houser@patch.com, give me a call at 248-534-9780 or talk to me on Twitter or Facebook.  I’m looking forward to meeting every one of you.

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