December 8 has been a downer day for me since 1980. It was the day John Lennon was shot. He was my hero. My walls were adorned with so many posters of him, that it looked like it could be wallpaper. I remember it like it just happened. I was living in Connecticut. We had an early flight in the AM to come up here because my Dad’s Mom had died the day before. I was in the shower and suddenly my brother was POUNDING on the bathroom door. I was annoyed, turned off the water and screamed “WHAT?”. He screamed back “John Lennon has just been shot!!”. My heart just sank, I dried off quickly, get in my robe and sat in front of my brother’s Merantz HiFi (remember those?) to listen to Carol Miller (the person who made me want to be a DJ in the first place) report on what had happened. Since we lived outside of NYC, our local stations were NYC stations so we got the news very quickly. I was devastated, and pretty much every year since, on this day, I sit and listen to his music anywhere I am. Not that I don’t do that anyway, but on this day it’s different somehow.
Last year on this day, I was fresh off selling a good chunk of my real estate rentals in Batavia. Being a landlord takes a lot of time, energy, and patience. For the past 20 years or so my life revolved around screening tenants, chasing people for money, cleaning up after human garbage, rebuilding places that had been damaged by people who have no respect for anything (or themselves), and inspections. The fear of an impending snow storm, that’s when everyone’s heat breaks, and trees fall. A Polar Vortex, on alert for more furnaces and hot water tanks failing. Then when the thaw comes, pipes bursting and roofs leaking, maybe even an ice dam or 2 just for fun. Spring would bring it’s own set of problems, mostly flooded basements that then kill off the water heater (again). Oh, the stories. I could write a book, or start a career in stand up comedy.
With all that stress out of my life, I was looking for something to do. Landlording had just always taken up so much of my time. So, I started wandering around Akron. In my wandering I noticed something. Almost every storefront on Main St was covered in flyers about all of the upcoming holiday events around town. So……Many……Flyers…..Everywhere. I thought to myself, surly there must be a web site with all of this stuff listed. I went home and searched. Nothing, or rather, there were things listed, but all over the internet, not in one central place.
So, an idea was born: With my skill set, I could easily pop a site up for everyone with a list of events all in one place. Perfect. Why not?
I went ahead and bought the domain, made a Facebook Page, a Twitter account and started with posting a little events calendar, with the weather. I actually printed out flyers with my domain and asked shopkeepers on Main St if I could put them in their windows (those flyers are gone now!) I started attending a few events around town.
Who knew The Octagon House was so cool? Certainly not me. Even though I had lived here for 10 years, I just never really payed attention to what was going on here because I was constantly dealing with real estate crisis in Batavia! Then the weather alerts started happening (remember Winter Storm Wednesday last Winter?). That is when all the stuff that I actually went to school for (radio broadcasting and communications) kicked in, and I started posting the weather for OUR area, not the Buffalo Airport (totally different). People started following me for the local weather. More people started following me after every storm. People asked for the Police Blotter, so I added that. Fast forward a few months, and I added a local weather station for live weather on the web site, upgraded the shoddy calendar app I was using and have just grown from there.
In a year, this little events site has grown to include: Weather, Police Blotters, Obituaries, Town/Village Minutes/Agendas, and much more! The Newsteader has helped get missing pets home, missing people home. We had our first ANNUAL Halloween decorating contest , and it was a TERRIFIC success! Seriously, who knew this thing would even fly?
So now December 8 has changed in my life. Now it is a day to celebrate the birth of The Newsteader instead of mourning the death of my favorite Beatle. Yoko always said we weren’t supposed mourn him, we were supposed to celebrate his life instead!
I didn’t know what The Newsteader would morph into, I just sort of did it with no “real” plan. Going into year #2 there will be a few changes, but I will do a post about that later. I’m looking forward to year #2, making The Newsteader even better, and meeting more of you out and about. This past month has been a bit light as there has been some family emergency stuff that has taken a bunch of my time away (Familia First), but that is about to be resolved, and I will be back at it full time!
I want to especially thank my sponsors for my first year (cause keeping this going does cost some money). If I forget anyone, my apologies:
All the shopkeepers on Main St that let me put up flyers last December
Champion Hill Horse Farm
The American Legion
The Akron/Newstead Senior Center
Newstead Fire Company
C Dee Wright Center
Ross Funeral Home
Everyone at Allstate for my sanity 🙂
The Candy Apple for being my “Office”
All the random people that have thrown me $20 here and there to run a little promo for them, every little bit helps keep The Newsteader on the air!
And a shout out to Legislator Rath for writing a letter to Council regarding Cedar and Carney (I read all the minutes to see who was responsible for that). I really think people are much more aware that they need to STOP there now!
And of course THANK YOU ALL for supporting, reading, following, even hating on me 🙂
It’s been a YEAR already. How time flies! I am looking forward to 2020 and making The Newsteader even better! Thank you so much! -JAP-