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Goodbye, Farewell, Adios

Some reflections on my time at Newtown Patch

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven-Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

It is with decidedly mixed feelings that I herewith submit my last column for Newtown Patch. 

While this decision was not mine to make, be assured that I am not sitting here sobbing in my soup.  I certainly won’t have any trouble filling my time.  For one thing I can now devote more time to my personal website and blog both of which I’ve had for over 5 years.

Almost exactly two years ago, Patch's first editor Hoa Nguyen left a telephone message for me stating that she wanted to speak to me about something new coming to Newtown.  The idea of writing a biweekly and eventually a weekly column for an online media website was the last thing on my mind.

In fact I thought it was just one more of a long list of phone calls I seem always to be getting—in spite of having put my name on the no-call list!

When I first started this, I felt a little panicky at the thought of having to come up with initially two columns a week.  I sat there realizing that was over 100 per year.  How on earth was I going to find enough interesting things to write about?

I shouldn’t have worried.  Close attention to Newtown politics, government, education and just life in general has provided more than enough fodder for the grist mill.

This is my 148th column for Newtown Patch.  I wrote another 60 for Monroe Patch before they too made cutbacks.

In reviewing my list of columns it seems I’ve covered every conceivable subject.  While I was charged with keeping my subject matter pertinent to local issues, I even managed to get in my two cents on some national issues.

Along the way, I’ve received enormous feedback from a great many people.  Most of that feedback was quite positive but as anyone who reads the comments knows, I, too, have my share of detractors.

I’ve also received verbal feedback from people I run into around town, phone calls from others, private emails and letters—all very positive. 

I even received a message from a person from Pennsylvania commenting on something I wrote.  It would seem Newtown Patch has reached some distant places.

In looking back  I found two pieces in particular that resulted in more comments and private feedback than any other. 

The first was a column I did about special education in the Newtown schools.  As I mentioned in a follow-up column, I received numerous private messages from parents who wished not to be identified describing the ordeal of dealing with the Newtown schools special education department.   That is still very much an open issue.

The second column drawing the most comments was my profile of soon-to-be-unemployed owner operators Marsha Moskowitz and Phil Carroll.  That one brought a huge response—and left the town with a very bad feeling indeed of how the leaders of our school system conduct business.

There have been many more but time and space prevent further elaboration.

Yes, it has been quite a ride.  And the opportunity for me to do this was because you—loyal Patch supporters—took the time to read what I had to say.

Thank you one and all—and be assured,  you can look forward (or not) to seeing an occasional comment from me as various issues develop in our town.

Sam Mihailoff February 19, 2012 at 11:38 AM
How much should I read into this George?...What, Patch bounced your "One Man's Opinion?" If so, a mighty big mistake on the part of the new regime!!! "While this decision was not mine to make" "I wrote another 60 for Monroe Patch before they too made cutbacks." George, I enjoyed your insight as a long time resident and educator. Although they were "one man's opinion", most times I most heartily concurred...except for the rubbing of salt in the wounds when you told of the mounting snows last year. Best wishes! ~Sam~
George Stockwell February 19, 2012 at 12:09 PM
Yes, Sam. Due to budget issues, One Man's Opinion has indeed been "bounced".
Kenneth C. Kopsco February 19, 2012 at 12:22 PM
While our perspectives are different I always respected your opinions and appreciated your point of view and am disappointed that I can no longer look forward to reading them. Perhaps you will find another venue. Best regards, Ken Kopsco
Sam Mihailoff February 19, 2012 at 12:25 PM
and so Patch appears to be going towards bland Vanilla...not "Ben & Jerry's" but the low quality ice milk variety. My antenna raised when “Aaron” threatened to shut down a thread because two folks were mildly bickering. This certainly does not at all bode well for something that Hoa had going rather well...perhaps something should be read into her departure as well
Christine Sekelsky Hermes February 19, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Is it possible (are you allowed) for you to write your blog address? I would like to continue reading your opinions on what is happening in Newtown and Nationwide! Thanks for all of the work you have done!
George Stockwell February 19, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Sure. Thanks. It's gstockwell.blogspot.com or you can get to it from my personal website georgeswebpage.com
John M. Joy February 19, 2012 at 01:01 PM
AOL has been losing a ton of money on Patch, so, sadly, it's possible that Patch's days are numbered.
Alex Tytler February 19, 2012 at 01:33 PM
It's a product that needs to be profitable. George You did a good job. This is clearly a great format and there is a way to make it work. Maybe part subscriber?
Carla Kron February 19, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Loved your column George. Hate to see it go. It brought local issues to light with a nice dose of humor.
Jayne Long February 19, 2012 at 03:59 PM
I loved your column George. I think it is a shame The Patch are not continuing with it. i will miss reading you on the Patch, but will be following your blog from now on.
Kevin Fitzgerald February 19, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Thank you for your column George. I will be sure to check out blogspot in the future.
nancy martin February 19, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Sorry, George. Always looked forward to hearing your voice on paper!
cathy sullivan February 22, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Great Job!!!!! Best reading in and out of town. See ya soon.
Kay Dee February 24, 2012 at 12:57 AM
You have always been straight forward and upfront with your column. You certainly will be missed.
Douglas Brennan February 24, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Dear George: I am sorry to see your column leaving the "Patch." I thank you for beginning discussions on what are some important local issues. We rarely agreed, however neither did those that wrote the Federalist Papers. Good luck and God bless.

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