Hometown Edgartown, Mass.
Birthday Dec. 17
I've been reporting in Napa for more than 12 years, and it's been my home since 2003. But when I saw the job opening for Martha's Vineyard Patch, I couldn't resist the pull of the place where I grew up.
I had my first byline in the Vineyard Gazette, as a teenaged sportswriter in the 1970s reporting on sailboat racing at the Edgartown Yacht Club. My Mom worked at the Gazette before me and our family was friends with longtime editor Henry Beetle Hough.
But it wasn't until my then-husband's job transfer sent us to northern California that I got involved with journalism as a career.
My first job was as education reporter for the Napa Valley Register. The managing editor there took a big chance in 2000 when he hired a newcomer with no journalism experience or training, whose entire career had been in the music world. Thanks, Frank! My years at the Register were all the graduate school I've ever had; but I learned a tremendous amount there, both in the newsroom and from the community at large.
In 2004, I earned the "Best Regularly Scheduled Feature" award from the regional Associated Press Television and Radio Association for a series of three-minute radio documentaries I called "North Bay Rambler."
I was also an on-the-air personality, anchoring news broadcasts and matching wits with afternoon hosts Jeff Schechtman and Jamie Brown Miller. (Jamie, by the way, went on to become an award-winning recipe developer and the premiere food columnist for Napa Patch.)
After an on-the-job injury effectively ended my broadcast career in 2006, I spent years in physical therapy and gradually became an active freelance writer, contributing to the Register, its subsidiary periodicals and the independently-owned local magazines Napa Valley Marketplace and Napa Valley Life.
I also wrote the "Napa Insider" column 14 times a year for Santa Rosa-based NorthBay biz magazine, and appeared from time to time on Napa TV Channel 28 as an election-night reporter, telethon guest-host and co-host of Arty "Party" Reyes's live Wednesday-night "N.A.P.A. Show."
Earlier, I attended Harvard University, worked for Rounder Records, produced more than 100 music CDs and was a well-known jazz and classical host on Boston-area radio stations including WGBH, WBUR and WFNX.
When I was preparing to launch Napa Patch in late 2010, I described myself in the following words:
I was raised among liberal, intellectual East Coast Democrats in southern New England, but since moving West I have grown deeply skeptical of party politics. I'm thrilled to be working at the city/county level, where officials and candidates for office set their party affiliations aside.
I registered "Decline to State" while I was at the radio stations, where I felt it was important for the news department to be as independent as possible from political influence. I haven't changed that registration and over the years, as I've voted for candidates from various parties, the main thing I've learned about myself is that when I support someone who supports the death penalty, I wind up regretting it.
My Roman Catholic upbringing is a long-ago memory. I practice no religion beyond "do as you'd be done by," but I respect the beliefs of those who do, and I always feel a sense of homecoming when I enter a house of worship. I have a particularly warm feeling for Napa's many congregations, because every one of them I've encountered has been working to help people in need. Also, they tend to have great music.
Local Hot-Button Issues:
Napa's economy: Our workers, homeowners, families, businesses, schools and government alike are caught in the same web of tightening funds and growing demands in a rapidly changing 21st century. After decades of relative obscurity, our downtown is attracting international attention for its restaurants, wine bars and riverside improvements. Yet while visitors are essential to our local economy, Napa residents must buy most of their everyday necessities outside of the downtown area, where many storefronts still stand empty.
I'd like to see downtown landlords make more of their untenanted shops available to small businesses and community groups.
Growth and development: Inside our city limits, no-growth and slow-growth advocates clash with property owners and officials over the best use of unbuilt land. Whether it's in Browns Valley or the Terrace-Shurtleff neighborhood on the east side of town, longtime residents are rarely happy when a new subdivision rises over the back fence. The same is true of Napa as a city, with the possibility of a major new development just outside the city limits at Napa Pipe.
I'm still in favor of the county's Agricultural Preserve, which limits development to land that's already been lost to farming – like Napa Pipe.
Another challenge that persists in Napa is integration. For decades, the city's English-speaking and Spanish-speaking communities have lived in virtually parallel worlds, separated by a thin but remarkably resistant barrier of language and culture. It's easy to say "Learn English now," but language acquisition is harder than it seems, especially as one grows older. Local literacy programs are always at capacity, with more would-be English learners than tutors to teach them our complicated tongue.
I'd like to see more Napans of both cultures mingling in bilingual meeting places--Arty "Party" Reyes has the right idea with his "N.A.P.A." show on Channel 28. Dan and I are working with other Patch staff to find a way to go bilingual, and we could really use your suggestions.
These are just a handful of the topics on my mind as I prepare to launch Napa Patch. Over the past decade, I've covered our community for newspapers, radio, television and the internet--here's where it all comes together, and it's as close as your phone.
The one thing to keep in mind is that, just as in the city and county around us, on Napa Valley Patch, we're all in this together.
That's what I wrote in 2010 when I was starting my first Patch. Now I'd like to hear from Islanders about the hot-button issues and concerns I should be informed about as editor on Martha's Vineyard. Please contact me at email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you.
For a Napa blogger's perspective on my work as editor, please see Martha's Vineyard Patch is in for a treat!