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Friday, June 14, 2024

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 AveryBoard President, Networking, Grantor Liaison, Executive Editor

Paul has been a resident of Blairstown for the past 37 years and believes that one of the benefits of small-town living is that it allows individuals to participate in the town’s functioning and progress. Paul has served on the Blairstown township committee and the board of education and has a background in journalism as he worked as a beat reporter for the Hackettstown newspaper, a feature contributor for the New York Times and New Jersey Herald, published and edited the Warren County Companion magazine and was the editor of the Blairstown Press. Paul earned a B.A. from Purdue University in literature and history. When the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium (NJCIC) announced it was offering grants promoting the creation of reliable news and information sources for smaller communities, Paul couldn’t resist. “Join us. Let’s make it happen!”

Gail Keogh-DwyerFounding Member

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

John H. MaxmanFounding Member

John lived in Blairstown for more than 55 years and was the owner of JHM Signs in Alpha for 25 years as well as publisher of six magazines with Maxco Publishing Company in Morris County in the late 80s. John was the chairman of the Blairstown economic and development committee in the 80s for more than four years. John was married to the late Brenda Lenkey, a Blairstown native, and has two daughters, Jenna and Melissa, and four grandchildren.

Desi L. DunnFounding Member

Born and educated in New York with an Environmental Science degree from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Desi resides in Hardwick with her husband and daughter and several spoiled pets. Considering northwest New Jersey to be a true gem, her commitment to the people and environs is exemplified by the many different jobs she's had - municipal and county official, election clerk, open space plan writer, newspaper and radio journalist, grant writer, events coordinator and farm market manager as well as retail, waitressing, archaeological digger and once for a short while in a very huge warehouse. Her favorite was as a reporter for many years with the Recorder newspapers, Blairstown Press, Paulinskill Chronicle, Gannett publications plus WNTI Public Radio producing public affairs and human interest stories on-air. She often has her camera ready to capture interesting people and events. Desi served as Ridge View Echo's first Managing Editor.

AND OUR DEDICATED

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 20 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. She currently owns and runs her own design firm and enjoys working in various aspects of design as well as development at Ridge View Echo.

John Hovell, Illustrator

John Hovell

Logo Design

John has been an illustrator and retoucher since he was about 3 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.

Susan Wilinski

Susan Wilinski

General Manager

Susan has been a freelance writer, editor and proofreader for more than 30 years after earning her B.A. 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.

and of course our

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

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 graduate of George Mason University in Virginia, Alex moved back home to Knowlton where she was born and raised. At school, Alex pursued a degree in journalism with a double minor in American Sign Language and nonprofit studies. In her three and a half years at Mason, Alex was a resident assistant and worked as assistant news editor to the Fourth Estate, the university newspaper. She reported on many things but spent most of her time following campus crime and police department activity. Outside the classroom, Alex worked for a nonprofit called the Borgen Project where she wrote about global health and poverty in third-world nations. Alex also completed an internship writing and editing for a business consulting company in New York. Growing up in the area, she was always active in the community and will move forward in her role as a contributing writer for the Ridge View Echo with the same intention.

Marybeth Journe

MB Journe

Contributing Writer

MB feels blessed to be living in this part of New Jersey and has enjoyed this community, taking advantage of the lakes and woods and always supporting the local businesses that make this her home. She knows many of the area residents, if not by name, at least by sight, and feels comfortable interviewing others. MB has worked for The Paulinskill Valley Chronical where she provided articles, photographs and billing. MB considers herself an artist, journalist, naturalist, gardener and a teacher for the YMCA Camp Mason. She looks 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 degree in history. Her post-college education includes a massage therapy certification from Dover Business College, a yoga teacher certification as well as continued study in herbal courses for over 20 years. She is a resident of Hardwick, and loves being involved in community events. Always having loved writing, she is thrilled to be back at it and reporting for the Ridge View Echo.

Andrew

Andrew Nowel

Contributing Writer

Currently enrolled at Canisius University in Buffalo, New York, Andrew is an up-and-coming journalist/photographer and broadcaster. He has written and provided the Ridge View Echo with sports articles from his high school, Pope John XXIII Regional High School, since he was 16 years old. Andrew has worked with Morris Sussex Sports in sports broadcasting and analyzes professional sports in his free time. He and his friend Ryan have a podcast that talks about professional sports and Canisius athletics and also runs his own website about Canisius athletics. He strives to inform the people about local sports and the young athletes of our communities from Buffalo to New Jersey and beyond.

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 Skylands with his partner, two cats and a bearded dragon.

Danny O'Neill

Danny O'Neill

Contributing Writer

Danny began writing as a teenager in his hometown of Long Valley and has attended creative writing programs at both Middlesex College and Warren County Community College. A lifelong Jersey boy, Danny finds delight in traveling, cooking and unearthing the hidden stones of history wherever he goes. Danny joined the Ridge View Echo in 2023, and in his spare time enjoys reading and writing poetry and creative non-fiction. He lives in Belvidere with his teenage son and a dog named Willie.

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 B.S. in nursing from Rutgers University and works in the post-anesthesia care unit for a St. Luke's University Health Network hospital in northeastern Pennsylvania. 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 on 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.

Gail Conski

Gailanne Conski

Contributing Writer

Born and raised by her mom, dad and grandmother, as well as the most awesome brother, Gailanne had God's grace and had two amazing daughters. Gailanne taught in Staten Island, Brooklyn and New Jersey. For that, she is terribly grateful. She enjoys meeting and greeting as well as the arts.

Cybele Tamulonis

Cybele Tamulonis

Contributing Writer

Cybele Tamulonis is a writer and editor with more than 16 years in the publishing industry. An avid reader, you can usually find her with the latest new book release from the local library. She currently resides on a farm in Hardwick with her husband and four children. In her spare time, she writes historical fiction specific to New Jersey.

Annalyse Svendsen

Annalyse Svendsen

Contributing Writer

Annalyse recently graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University with her B.A. in humanities. She also minored in creative writing and studied French and American Sign Language in an effort to learn how to communicate with more people. Annalyse only recently moved to Hardwick, but grew up in Stillwater and attended Stillwater Elementary School and Kittatinny Regional High School. While in high school, she was an active member of both the Book Club—where she served as president—and the marching band—where she served as the band’s librarian. At FDU, she served as the secretary of the Ping Pong Club, as well as the vice president of Rose & Thorn. Annalyse has always been passionate about learning. She has a passion for writing and plans to pursue a master’s degree in either library sciences or creative writing.

Douglas Malcolm

Douglas H Malcolm

Contributing Writer

Malcolm (Douglas Malcolm) was born and raised in Wyckoff. He attended Pratt where he studied architecture and interior design and served on the Prattler newspaper. Malcolm enjoyed a long career in architecture and design and worked abroad throughout the years, especially the UK where he was head of design on projects for Wimbledon Tennis Centre and London Heathrow Airport. He also temporarily moved to Oman where he headed the design of the Muscat Oman International Airport as well as the reconstruction of the Intercon Hotel. While in the UK, he became known as “The Horse Whisperer” and appeared in numerous newspaper articles while working with an equestrian vet practice. Recently, Malcolm returned home to New Jersey and settled in Blairstown where he works as a Realtor and actively manages large farm properties in the surrounding counties of north Jersey while contributing to the Ridge View Echo.

Jennifer Correa-Kruegel, Warren County Naturalist

Jennifer Correa-Kruegel

Contributing Writer

Jennifer has a master’s degree in parks and resource management from Slippery Rock University and is a master herpetologist through the Amphibian Foundation. She worked as a park naturalist for the Hunterdon County park system from 2003 to 2006 and then at the New Jersey School of Conservation full-time from 2006 to 2020, starting as the program coordinator and evolving to an environmental educator. Jen is a New Jersey native and has lived in Warren County with her family since 2004. She is excited to be offering programs to this community that she has grown to love.

Fantasia Strickland

Fantasia Strickland

Contributing Writer

Fantasia is a passionate fashion stylist with personalized wardrobe solutions. As a native of New York City, she has extensive experience in the fashion industry and always stays up-to-date with the latest trends. From her experience and interactions with industry experts, she has learned the importance of being organized and flexible in the fashion field. Fantasia believes fashion is not just about clothes, but also about reflecting one’s personality. She helps clients create a unique look that enhances their individuality. By taking the time to understand each person's specific needs and preferences, she provides a personalized wardrobe solution that goes beyond the closet. Fantasia specializes in designing versatile and functional looks that make clients feel good about themselves. Ultimately, she aims to empower clients with the confidence to be comfortable in their own skin.

Morgan Gardiner

Morgan Gardiner

Contributing Writer

Morgan Gardiner is a journalist and broadcaster based in Northwest New Jersey. Born and raised in Warren County, Gardiner graduated from McGill University and was previously an on-air newscaster, reporter and producer for WRNJ-AM. When not chasing down a news story, Gardiner fills his time with books, family, friends and traveling.

Laura Ward with long pink earrings on

Laura Ward

Contributing Writer

Laura Ward is a gallerist at Infloressense in Belvidere, NJ, whose motto is "poetic synthesis of all the cultural arts." Born in West Orange, NJ, Ward had a unique childhood growing up in a three-story, three-generation, 1895 Victorian where she learned gardening with her great-grandfather, theater with her grandmother, and typing with her mom. Ward spent the last two decades in the architectural design industry, followed by her present pursuit into the entrepreneurial world of art and event planning. Ward lives in the esoteric Delaware Village Historic District and volunteers at Ramsaysburg Historic Homestead. Ward spent 11 years in Florida where she graduated with an English B.A. from FAU and later The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale with an art history minor.