Wednesday, June 7, 2023

About Us

Local news by local folks

It started with an idea.

Back in January 2021, a small group of community residents applied for a grant from the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium, a non-profit created by the State of New Jersey to grow access to local news and information. We were a group of local folks, some long-timers and some new to the area. Our quest was to provide accurate and unbiased news on local government, school board and community affairs. We believed that reliable information would result in more community involvement.

In May 2021, we were awarded that grant, thank you NJ CIC, and the Ridge View Echo was born. We have worked very hard to develop an online news source that will keep you up to date on local news. Right now we have a handful of reporters who truly have a passion for contributing to our news site. As time goes on, we hope to increase the number of contributors and be able to cover more issues and events.

We are starting small and plan to publish every two weeks. But, should there be some important breaking news, we will publish the news as quickly as possible. Our coverage area will include the townships of Frelinghuysen, Blairstown, Hardwick and Knowlton.

Our inaugural, online edition will break in February 2022. We hope we become your source for reliable local news. We also hope that with better information our local citizens will become more involved in contributing to a thriving community.

Please support our effort by visiting these pages, telling your friends about us, attending local events, supporting our advertisers and, most importantly, becoming a more informed citizen.

Paul Avery, Gail Keogh-Dwyer, Carol Cook and Desi Dunn
Our New Banner @ the Buck Hill Brewery this summer! With a mission to increase local news in local communities, the founding members seen here got a $35k NJ CIC grant to create the Ridge View Echo, L-R: Paul Avery, Gail Keogh-Dwyer, Carol Cook and Desi Dunn. (not shown, Grace Guida, Sam Tilney and Kevin Doell). Each played a critical role.

Meet Our Founders

Paul Avery

Board President, Networking, Grantor Liason, Executive Editor

I have happily been a resident of Blairstown for the past 37 years. One of the benefits of small town living is that it allows individuals to participate in the town’s functioning and progress. I have served on the Blairstown Committee and Board of Education and in other capacities. More pertinent to my participation in the creation of the Ridge View Echo, is my background in journalism. I was a beat reporter for the Hackettstown newspaper, have been a feature contributor for the New York Times and New Jersey Herald, published and edited the Warren County Companion magazine and, for a couple of years, shortly before it’s demise, was the Editor of the Blairstown Press. I have a BA from Purdue University in Literature and History. When the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium (CIC) announced it was offering grants promoting the creation of reliable news and information sources for smaller communities like ours doing without, I couldn’t resist. Join us. Let’s make it happen!

Paul Avery Headshot
Gail headshot

Gail Keogh-Dwyer

Board Member, Treasurer

I was a member of the first graduating class at North Warren Regional High School. While I moved away after completing college, I returned to Blairstown and raised my family here. I joined the Ridge View Echo team because I want our local residents to have the best information about our area so they can become citizen advocates. My career has focused on consumer insight and consumer centered design. I have a BA in Sociology and an MBA in marketing.

John H. Maxman

Board Member, Advertising Sales

John has lived in Blairstown for the past 56 years, he is the former owner of JHM Signs in Alpha for 25 years and was publisher of 6 magazines with Maxco Publishing Company in Morris County in the late 80’s. John was the Chairman of the Blairstown Economic and Development Committee in the ’80’s for over 4 years. John is married to Brenda Lenkey a Blairstown native and has 2 daughters, Jenna and Melissa and has 4 grandchildren.

John Maxman
Desiree Dunn

Desi L. Dunn

Managing Editor

Born & educated in NY with an Environmental Science degree, my husband and I reside in Hardwick with our young daughter and several spoiled pets. This is a true gem in Northwest New Jersey, and my commitment to the people and environs has been shown in the many different fields I’ve worked – municipal & county official, election clerk, open space plan writer, newspaper & radio journalist, grant writer, events coordinator and farm market manager as well as retail, waitressing and once for a short while in a huge warehouse.

My favorite was as a reporter where I could take my camera and notebook to capture some of the interesting people and stories around us. I’m thrilled to now serve as RVE’s Managing Editor and hope to help fellow writers hone their skills and show you the issues as well as treasures that exist in North Warren, through their eyes.


Staff, Contributors...

Kyra Dosch-Klemer

Kyra Dosch-Klemer

Web Development, Social Media Management & Design

Kyra (she/her) is a lover of all things creative. She loves to create things and to think outside of the box. A pixel pusher who has been designing for over 15 years, Kyra specializes in branding and website design and enjoys bringing a story to life with integrity and purpose. Over the span of her career she has worked as a designer, developer, project manager, art director, strategist, and owner. She is dedicated to her craft and pragmatic in her approach to design and has developed an effective process over the years that's evolved through working with different types of clients with different passions and goals from various walks of life. This has helped determine the right design approach systematically and time efficiently. Also, she's learned to dig deep and ask the right questions!

Susan Wilinski

Susan Wilinski

Associate Director

Susan has been a freelance writer, editor and proofreader for more than 30 years after earning her BA degree in communications/journalism from Shippensburg University. Before joining the Ridge View Echo, Susan served as content coordinator for Neighbors of Green Township as well as content manager for Sparta Living, Chester Neighbors and Mendham Neighbors. In addition, she spent years freelance writing for other local publications and media outlets including Lake Hopatcong News, Vicinity Media Group and Straus News. Susan loves to put words to “paper” and believes that every person has a story to tell, which is one of the reasons that she enjoys working in local media. When not working, Susan enjoys reading, traveling, photography, crocheting and spending time with her family which includes her husband, two adult children and two very sassy cats.

John Hovell, Illustrator

John Hovell

Logo Design

John has been an illustrator and retoucher since he was about three years old. After working as an Art Director for 13 years in the pharmaceutical industry, John recognized that he’d much rather be illustrating than farming out work to others. For the past three decades, John has illustrated for Brian J. Ganton and Associates, Blair Broadcast Designs, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. He has also illustrated for several publishers including Houghton Mifflin, McGraw Hill, Pearson Education, and Learner Books. John is currently a freelance art director and illustrator.

and of course our


Joe Phalon

Joe Phalon

Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of The Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court. 

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.

Alex Tironi Headshot

Alex Tironi

Contributing Writer

A recent graduate of George Mason University in Virginia, I’ve moved back home to Knowlton, NJ where I was born and raised. At school, I pursued a degree in journalism with a double minor in American Sign Language and nonprofit studies. In my three and a half years at Mason, I was an RA and worked as assistant news editor to the Fourth Estate, our university newspaper. I reported on many things but spent most of my time following campus crime and PD activity.

Outside the classroom, I’ve worked for a nonprofit called the Borgen Project where I wrote about global health and poverty in third-world nations, and recently finished an internship writing and editing for a business consulting company in NY. Growing up in the area, I have always been active in my community and will move forward in my role as a contributing writer for the RVE with the same intention.

Marybeth Journe

MB Journe

Contributing Writer

I feel blessed to be living in this part of New Jersey. I have enjoyed this community - taking advantage of the lakes and woods, always supporting the local businesses that make this my home. I know many of our residents, if not by name, at least by sight. I feel comfortable interviewing others. I have worked for The Paulinskill Valley Chronical where I provided articles, photographs and billing. I consider myself an artist, journalist, naturalist, gardener and a teacher for the YMCA Camp Mason. I look forward to the work ahead.

Jennifer Major in garden

Jennifer Ann Major

Contributing Writer

Jennifer is a health and wellness advocate. Her company All Things Good creates a variety of herbal and natural cosmetic products as well as teas, spices and herbal infused syrups. She leases a one-acre parcel of farmland and uses the herbs and flowers grown on the land to make many of her products. She is a teacher of herbal studies, and her favorite classroom is within nature where she shares her knowledge of herbs and natural cosmetic making as well as gardening. Jennifer is a graduate of Rutgers University having graduated with a major in History. Her Post college education include massage Therapy Certification from Dover business College, Yoga Teacher certification as well as continued study in Herbal courses for over twenty years. She is a resident of Hardwick Township NJ, and loves being involved in community events. Always having loved writing, she is thrilled to be back at it and reporting for the Ridgeview Echo.

Andrew Nowel

Andrew Nowel

Contributing Writer

Currently enrolled at Pope John XXIII High School in Sparta, New Jersey, Andrew Nowel is an up-and-coming journalist. He has restarted the school newspaper at Pope John as well as writing sports' articles for the school. Andrew has worked with Morris Sussex Sports in sports broadcasting and analyzes professional sports in his free time. He also has had articles published in the Sparta Living monthly magazine. Andrew plays two sports at Pope John, baseball and soccer. He strives to inform the people about the local sports and the young athletes of our community.

Chip O'Chang

Chip O'Chang

Contributing Writer

Chip O'Chang is an educator, fiction writer, and lifelong resident of New Jersey. He has also written for My Life Publications and NJ Indy. He lives in the NJ Skylands with his partner, two cats, and and a bearded dragon.

Gail Conski

Gailanne Conski

Contributing Writer

Born and raised by my Mom, Dad and Grandmother, as well as the most awesome brother, I've had Gods grace and had two amazing daughters. I taught in Staten Island, Brooklyn and NJ. For that I'm terribly grateful. I enjoy meeting and greeting as well as the arts.

Priscilla Heffernan

Priscilla Heffernan RN, BSN

Contributing Writer

Priscilla has 29 years of clinical nursing experience, specifically in the fields of open heart recovery, lung transplant, and home care. She graduated with a BS in Nursing from Rutgers University and works now in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit for a St. Luke's University Health Network hospital in NE PA. Priscilla has worked in some of the top-ranked hospital systems in the New York City Metropolitan area including NY-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, Northwell Health, NYU Langone, and Atlantic Health System. She is currently in a Master’s Degree program at Wilkes University to become a board-certified advanced nurse practitioner specializing in primary care and family health. Priscilla grew up in the Jersey Shore and now lives in the Pocono Mountains with her husband, young daughter, and four-legged son Elmo, the boxer pup. Her goals as a health writer are to incorporate her clinical experience with evidence-based data in order to responsibly inform the community of health topics and healthcare issues that affect our daily lives.