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Farewell, Yorkville! (And Thank You)

I've had so much fun in Yorkville for the past 22 months, but it's time to pass the torch to someone else. Let me introduce you to guest editor Alex Keown.

I've known for about two weeks that my days in Yorkville are numbered.

I received a job offer in DeKalb that held so much promise for growth and adventure, exploration and good, fun journalism that I knew it would be a mistake to decline it. Leaving a place and a job that made you happy isn't easy, but everyone needs new challenges to keep growing. So today is my last day as editor of Yorkville Patch.

As I started writing lists for guest editor Alex Keown, who jumps in with both feet Monday, I started thinking about all the things that don't fit in neat bullet points.

Could I explain to him how the disappointment of the playground being removed at Bicentennial Riverfront Park faded with new businesses opening in city buildings? How it was a little funny to watch city staff string a red ribbon across the whitewater course so Mayor Gary Golinski and other leaders could host a ribbon-cutting from an inflated raft? And how organizers just didn't expect the excellent turnout at the inaugural Ribs on the River festival this summer? I have a feeling great things are in store for our riverfront.

Did I need to tell him how the community that grappled so strongly with building bike trails along major thoroughfares founded a PADS program that is entering its third season? Or that while city leaders tersely discussed increasing property taxes in the face of a strained budget, some residents rushed to open their church as an emergency shelter for stranded motorists last year?

I'm sure Alex, who spent seven years covering state and local politics for daily newspapers in North Carolina before taking on a number of roles at Patch, will see what makes Yorkville special.

Yorkville Patch itself has grown so much in just under two years, with active bloggers, community contributions to photo galleries and a rousing, sometimes rambunctious comments section. I hope you'll continue contributing to this little online community, and if you haven't yet, that you'll consider posting an event in our calender, adding a press release to our announcements section, or starting a blog of your own.

I also struggled a bit trying to explain how much Yorkville Patch and Yorkville has meant to me. Journalism isn't always easy. It's not easy to write articles you know will hurt people, as political pieces and court stories often do. Yet, the bad and the complicated are as much as part of life here as the good and the uplifting. And, for the first time in my career, it also was part of my job to give back to the community, which I did by helping organize the Yorkville Area Chamber of Commerce's River Night and participating in several other events.

As I tried to find the right words, I kept remembering an impromptu speech Maria Spaeth, executive director of the Kendall County Food Pantry, gave a few months after Yorkville Patch launched in December 2010. As she accepted a community award in February 2011, she said very simply: "I am blessed by you."

And so am I. Thank you. Cheers to you, Yorkville.

Marika Valos-Wasmund October 19, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Jillian, I wish you the very best!! You, my friend have places to go and people to meet. I think I know you well enough, to know that a statement from Mr. Fox, will never break your stride!! I will miss you & your reporting on PATCH, but I know I will still be reading what your writing. Best of luck!!!
Amy Cesich October 19, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Ok, that thumbnail of the empty chair at cobblestone made me tear up. I'm so happy for you, but must admit I will miss seeing you at Yorkville events and your patch presence! I know DeKalb is lucky to be getting such a dedicated journalist.Good luck, I wish you the very best and keep in touch! :)
Dusty October 19, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Thank you Jillian for all your help with my misc. fundraisers and for keeping us current on local information. Sometimes opportunities present themselves and it's time to move on to the new chapter in your life. Best wishes to you in Dekalb.
Steven Jack October 20, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Great job, Jillian! Thank you so much for all your hard work. @Chris Fox The reason we encourage people to call us is to welcome a free and open discussion. As Jill said, we've never removed one of your comments, nor will we unless they violate our terms of use. I'm sorry you don't seem to like Patch very much, but I do appreciate you reading it.
Chris Fox October 20, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Steven-Thank you so much for the explanation of why the Patch encourages people to call in. I was baffled until you gave that. Thank you so much for completely changing the context and actual words I used in my original post. I thought I knew what I was saying in my original comment but boy did you sure show me. Even though I never said "don't seem to like the patch very much"...thank you. Even though I never said any of my comments had ever been removed by the Patch...thank you. I am truly grateful that you appreciate me reading the Patch news feed. I sincerely apologize for making a simple post on your website even though I am a resident of Yorkville who owns his house here and pays taxes and wants accurate reporting. My opinion to Jillian is just that- "my opinion". As an editor who provides news to the local community I bow to your obviously superior right to weight in and change the meaning of my opinion. I feel completely humbled now. Since there are such a wide variety of news sources dedicated specifically to the city of Yorkville I apologize for picking on yours. My original statement simply said in a hypothetical way that "This post will probably be taken off". I was in error. I apologize for the sarcasm in that portion of my original post. I stand by the crux of what I said though. Now that I have cleared the air and admitted that I was wrong and you are right I hope you do not feel that I need to call in and further grovel.

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