Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thank You!

The last day of 2011 and my 3,249th and final post on NOC (as first announced at Thanksgiving). Since the first post tracked by Google Analytics there have been 460,000 visits by nearly 98,000 unique visitors and 725,000 pageviews. Wow, and these numbers are less than actual readership since I fragmented traffic in 2010 by posting to Twitter, Facebook, and Posterous. 

Regardless, I'm so pleased that so many people have found the site to be a source of local news and information. I had wanted to have a variety of contributors, but in reality only a handful ever offered to publicly post on the site: Brad Moulton, Jacob Allen, and Chris Moren. My thanks to each of them. Chris provided coverage and started his own blog that I often referenced about Tatamy. Brad and Jacob contributed posts regarding the NASD. I also had reports emailed by Becky Butz regarding Nazareth Borough Council. I have to thank them all.

There have been many groups and organizations that sent me material to share about their events and needs and many thanks to them. Some were students and their families, others were our Library, Fire Department, and other well known groups that we probably take for granted more often than not. To them I have to say thank you for your service to our community!

So many individuals who asked to go unnamed have sent me tips, questions, links, suggestions, and I tried very hard to make a post when possible and to respect the request of the individual to remain unknown and/or anonymous. Many of these I maintain regular email correspondence and that has been a great benefit of having the site.

For me this has been a great way to pull together my interest in my community, its history, digital media, and writing, while keeping abreast of new technology/services being made available and using them.

At the end of the day, this has been a great experience. I've seen that people contribute in a variety of ways. While there may not be a lot of people attending the various meetings, there are some, just as there are some volunteering at their church, civic organization, commission, service organization, scout and brownie troops, youth sports leagues, and cause based organizations.  I've seen first hand that people do care about many issues regarding their local community. I've also seen local governments being more responsive and in some cases proactive as a result of online reporting, not only from this site, but from the many others operating in the Lehigh Valley, particularly Lehigh Valley Ramblings and Lehigh Valley Live (the Express-Times online). I expect this to continue, expand, and evolve.

Residents now have Facebook to connect with one another, ask questions, and share links. FB itself creates Lists (there is one for Nazareth) that pulls people's updates who self-identify as being from Nazareth. While I'm not a fan of the site for a variety of reasons, I'm on it and will probably continue to check-in at least until enough friends move to G+. Having said that who knows what platform will be presented in the next five years, certainly there is a game changer given location based services and the shift to handheld devices.

Looking back at our community since August of 2005 there were many big issues (Teachers Strike, New Nazareth Borough Building, Skate Park, New NASD Middle School were probably the biggest, while ongoing ones included my favorite pedestrian safety, drugs, and vandalism), but there were also many instances of reporting on good things and I always enjoyed reporting on the things that make Nazareth special, our people, heritage, traditions, and events.

I was also very pleased to hold a "Resident to Candidate" night, which was a non-partisan 'how to become a local candidate' session and a pair of "Meet the Candidates" nights back in 2007 when several local issues had many residents upset and complaining, well if you want it done right, here's how to do it yourself;-) They were very successful and the Express-Times covered the event. I had told Editor Joe Owens I wanted to have 20 people, he replied that 20 would be a smashing success. We had 40 not including the presenters and media.

If I told someone in Iowa (popular place right now) that we have an adult soap box derby race each year and Mario Andretti hung out with the locals waiving the checkered flag for an afternoon, I'd be willing to bet they wouldn't believe me. If I told them we have a Kazoo Parade on the 4th of July, I'm sure they'd write me off as telling tales.

Having Martin Guitar in town is special and I'd personally love to see our downtown honor our musical heritage (Moravian Heritage, its historic instruments, and our Community Band) and draw tourists who visit the plant daily in. It is a huge opportunity for us and given the success of Martin on Main it seems with effort this could happen. The foundation is in place, we now need a framework.

Each year our town is home to several parades and great respect is given to our servicemen and women both current and former, from the Memorial Garden at Shafer Elementary to the Parades and Ceremony in Town on Memorial and Veteran's day, not to mention the Quarters for Military Family drives. We saw the re-Dedication of the Canon in the Circle to honor the 100th anniversary of its placement as a Civil War Memorial.

The Halloween Parade has been expanded and is something our family and friends enjoy going to each year. Soundfest draws hundreds to Andrew S. Leh Stadium each fall featuring a band competition held by the NASD Blue Eagle Marching Band.

This year saw the return of the Farmers' Market after a five year absence (I had reported on it ending and happily its revival) and it seemed to be quite a success. Most Saturdays in addition to the fresh local food there was live music from local performers. Unfortunately Evening on Main Street ended, but the Holiday Season now has many activities including the Tree Lighting Ceremony, Nazareth to Bethlehem Peace Walk, Walking Tour, Holiday House Tour, Christmas at the Henry Homestead and many more.

For several years Nazareth was host to the Miss PA Pageant, but unfortunately it was relocated to Western PA.

Summer wouldn't be complete without Nazareth Days, the Sidewalk Sales, the Nazareth Carnival, and the Holy Family Festival.

Back in 2006 the Borough Park Pool turned 70 and I tried to feature the other 'community' parks spread throughout Nazareth, which again is something special we have and hope the Borough continues to maintain and support (here I wrote about Kiwanis Park).

I'm sure I missed more than I included here, but I really wanted to focus on all the positives we have in Nazareth. It is so easy to dwell on negatives, complain, and criticize, but much harder to build on positives, offer alternatives and options, and work toward building coalitions to get things done in the right way. Having said that, I've seen first hand that there are many more people doing the latter in a quiet way here in Nazareth than there are the former. If we each continue to keep one another informed and contribute in the ways that work best for each, then we will be able to continue to build a better community.

The goal from day one was simple, "Life keeps getting busier. NewsOverCoffee is the place where neighbors connect to share news and information about Nazareth, PA. In short, it is where Colonial Hospitality meets information technology to ensure an even better community."

I know this will continue only in a different way than via NOC. Thanks again to everyone this has been a truly unique experience that has taught me so much.

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year!

Posted via email from Ross Nunamaker

6 comments:

Andy's Web Page said...

Hey Ross,

Thanks for all the information you gave people for the last 5 1/2 years.

I Will definitely miss your website!

I Would like to tell folks that for future information they can check out my blog which is located at http://nazoeagle.blogspot.com/.

I Will have tough holes to fill because you were a awesome reporter Ross, I Will do my best!

Best Wishes Ross,

Andy Weaver

Proudest Monkey said...

I am sad to see NOC go. I got so much great information from this site. Thank you so much for the years and dedication you put into this site. It is greatly appreciated! I wish you the best in all of your future en-devours.

Have a happy and healthy 2012!

Joanne said...

Well done, Ross. I will miss NOC; I read it daily and the site feels like an old friend.

Thank you!
Joanne

Bernie O'Hare said...

Sorry to see you go.

Darla said...

It has truly been a riveting year. When can we expect your 2012 post?

Darla said...

Well after reading it properply I realize youre leaving. I feel sad!:(