A year ago, Orleans Hub launched

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 April 2014 at 12:00 am

File photo by Tom Rivers – Orleans Hub has published more than 2,000 articles in our first year, including a feature on June 30 of Chet Wheelock, 82, of Kent riding in a hot-air balloon with his daughter, grandson and great-grandson.

Orleans Hub officially launched a year ago today. We were brand new, full of excitement and determination.

In our first year we posted 2,267 news articles, 568 sports stories and 4,513 photos. Those articles generated more than 2.8 million page views in the first year.

Orleans Hub operates under The Lake Country Pennysaver on 170 North Main St. The Pennysaver’s ad salesmen Gary Hill and Brad London sell the ads for the Hub, and The Pennysaver provides much of the back-office and technical expertise to make the site work.

I hoped Orleans Hub would shine a light on a lot of the good in Orleans County, helping to connect neighbors and the community. I think we’ve been able to do that.

We’ve gained strength with each passing month, adding advertisers, traffic and “friends” on Facebook and Twitter. (We’re up to 4,300 friends and followers on social media.)

Provided photo – Kathy Jurs of Albion is pictured with characters at Disney World after running a half marathon in January. She raised $5,123 for leukemia, which was the most of anyone from western and central New York. Jurs battled Non-Hodgins lymphoma in 2010. She ran the half marathon in honor of her friend Susan Bennett.

We have had some lively discussions about local issues on our Facebook page. Readers also sent in more than 150 letters to the editor in our first year. Those letters cover a range of topics.

To help start the Hub, I left The Daily News in Batavia, where I worked for 16 years covering Orleans County, and other news in Genesee and Wyoming counties. I wanted to focus on Orleans, where I live.

I thought Orleans tended to be a tag-on to other news organizations. They tended to only report on our news if it was a sensational crime or something bizarre. I thought that gave the region and Orleans residents a warped view of our community.

We’ve reported on the crimes and some of the strange stories, but we’ve tried to highlight the many positives as well.

Photo by Tom Rivers – A fire truck has a giant glowing Mickey Mouse at the back as it heads down Main Street through a big crowd in downtown Medina during the Parade of Lights last Nov. 30.

We’ve also added staff from our debut on April 2, 2013. Mike Wertman joined us in late August after a long career covering local sports for the Medina Journal-Register.

He retired from The Journal and then joined us to continue his love of chronicling the local sports scene. His wife Cheryl photographs the athletes in action. They are committed with a high level of professionalism.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Orleans Hub started covering local high school sports in the fall with Mike and Cheryl Wertman. They were at the Oct. 18 football game between rivals Albion and Medina. This photo shows Dylan Lewis diving into the end zone for Medina’s first touchdown which sparked the Mustangs to a wild 38-31 victory over Albion at Spierdowis Field.

Sue Cook works as a graphic designer at The Lake Country Pennysaver. Karen Sawicz, publisher of the Hub and the Pennysaver, moved some of Sue’s hours to the Hub about two months ago, and that has boosted our weekend coverage as well as added more community news.

We’ve had some steady contributors since the site started. Bill Lattin, the county historian, provides the Vintage Orleans photographs and the information about the people and places in these pictures, which are often more than a century old.

Nola Goodrich-Kresse, the county’s public health educator, writes a weekly column about health and wellness.

Hub readers also send in photos of sunrises, giant snowmen, Snowy Owls, bald eagles, fires and other news. Those contributions make it appear that the Hub is often several places at one time.

I’m thrilled people are reading and participating in the site. We’re excited and determined as we start Year 2.