Unfortunately, I’m putting the Anchor on hiatus.
To bring you timely contextual journalism, professional analysis and general coverage of the community requires more than a full-time commitment, and it cannot be done by a part-time editor.
So, for now, I need to pause until I can somehow return to this endeavor at a time when I can make it my vocation.
Make no mistake, journalism, in its best forms, is not a job, or a career, it is a lifestyle.
I love Keyport, and I wanted to be a part of the community that I love so much and make it stronger.
The Anchor was my way to do that.
I believe that we can only be a strong community if we are informed. And I strove to do that even when my decisions to cover certain stories were met with intense outcry.
My only regret in this endeavor is that I was not able to devote more of myself to it.
Putting the Anchor aside reminded me of a question once asked during an interview for a new job. He asked: what is left unwritten?
What he wanted to know where my attention was focused on my old beat, and how much do I know about my assigned community.
There are three areas that are the most important where stories immediate and continuing will not be written.
Keyport is on the cusp of a development explosion.
Plans for a new Brown’s Point are set to be unveiled.
Plans for Aeromarine redevelopment are being retooled.
The Manchester Avenue factory is for sale and is a target for redevelopers. So too are the Ye Cottage Inn lot, what’s known as the Longview Ventures lot, and St. Joseph’s school and convent.
Redevelopment is a tool for town governments to use as a means to enact a vision for a section at large in a community.
Redevelopment in Keyport is, in my opinion, being abused. Developers are using it as a tool to circumvent the borough’s master plan and zoning regulations. Developers seem to be dictating the standards to the borough rather than the other way around.
Redevelopment should not be a dirty word, but redevelopment needs to work for a community, and it needs to help build a community. The decisions being made now are going to impact our small town for the remainder of our lives. It may be 100 years before the opportunity to reinvent our community is presented again. Should we squander this moment for the benefit of a few private developers? Or, should we use it to enact a vision for what we want our community to be.
A decade ago, our downtown was in the midst of a revival. Drew’s Bayshore Bistro, Espresso Joe’s and McDonagh’s opened at that time. Then the recession hit our town and everything stopped.
Yes, there are far too many antique and second hand stores in our downtown. I’m not alone in that opinion. And the second-hand stores are here by design. A district, of sorts, is being cultivated, which in and of itself is not a bad thing. But that district is at the expense of the community at large.
Many of us want a community, but we have to participate in it to achieve one.
We need to, as much as possible, go to the businesses that exist here today to support them.
Do you buy pints of ice cream? Instead of Haagen Das or Ben & Jerry’s chose Mr. Green Tea, which is made in Keyport.
How many of Keyporters have gym memberships at gyms outside of our community? Why not pay to use Real Gymm?
Get your hair cut here. There’s plenty of options.
Take a Keyport first approach to whatever you need to buy.
The restaurants here are grabbing attention statewide. They are only going to grab more headlines. Help them out whenever you can. Encourage more and equal quality restaurateurs to make Keyport their home.
There are too many stores that are vacant. There are too many aborted projects.
People are investing in their properties again. Businesses are opening throughout town.
The new Trinity will be a big deal.
We need some sort of theater and venues for live music. We need places to display art.
Who will be the next wave or merchants to make the attempt to tap into Keyport’s potential, and will we all support them?
More than anything, I wanted write profiles of all the amazing people who make Keyport their home.
We are a community of volunteers. That goes beyond our army of firefighters. The Garden Club, the Friends of the Library, the Art Society. The people that drive these organizations are the most important resource Keyport has, and I desperately wanted to tell their stories.
Maybe, one day I will.