It’s a given that parents love to celebrate the milestones of their offspring.
And today, the Cranberry Patch site, which has been my baby for the last year, turns one. We’re so excited!
Cranberry Patch took its first tottering steps into the community on Dec. 14, 2010. On that day we brought you a story on a rain barrel project completed by students at Haine Middle School and an article on holiday fashion tips from local retailers.
My, how we’ve grown.
With that said, here’s my take on some of the biggest and best stories we’ve covered at Cranberry Patch. Along the way, I’ve met some really outstanding people. I have to say, covering the community where I live has been (and remains) such a privilege.
Have I mentioned, dear readers, how wonderful you all are?
Speaking of inspiring people, Cpl. Dan Hahn certainly is one of them. In February, the veteran Cranberry police officer fell 20 feet from an overpass on Interstate 79 after a high-speed car chase. I remember how my heart hammered in my throat as I jumped into my car on that cold Valentine’s Day night and headed to the scene.
At the time, I didn’t know who the injured officer was. Now, I’ll never forget him.
Hahn’s determination to make a full recovery has been an inspiration to many. Since his fall, he has progressed from a medically induced coma to taking steps on his own. His goal is to one day return to the police force full time.
Another unforgettable community member was Rehanna Lydon, who had a rare form of muscular cancer. I interviewed the bubbly 11-year-old student at Evans City Middle School in June when the local Alex’s Lemonade Stand was honoring her.
It was the perfect girly day.
Not only was Rehanna a blast, so was her mom and her two younger sisters. I laughed when Rehanna — who had an interest in photography — showed me her camera, which was way nicer than mine. I remember how Makenna, Rehanna’s youngest sister, giggled and pinched my butt when I tried to take a picture of the family.
I left their home with a smile on my face. It was one of those days when I couldn’t believe how incredibly lucky I was to have such a fun job.
When Rehanna died in August, my heart broke with the hearts of everyone else in our community. Writing a story to honor her life was one of the most difficult things I’ve done as a journalist.
After battling inoperable liver and colon cancer since May 2010, the 43-year-old died in November, but not before he saw his Pinehurst neighborhood take the CUP’s trophy during the nonprofit’s annual August softball tournament. On that day, the O'Donnell family, including O’Donnell’s wife, Tina, and their children, Nathan, Alex, Brayden and Mia, received a standing ovation as they arrived at Cranberry Community Park on a township fire truck.
Other notable 2011 stories include the $10 million shortfall faced by the Seneca Valley School district in the 2011-12 school year and the arrest of former Cranberry EMS executive director Steve Tedesco on charges that he raped an unconscious 19-year-old man.
Also dominating the site were updates on continuing developments of Cranberry businesses, homes and road infrastructure.
Retail-wise, wheels are in motion for the Cranberry Crossroads shopping center and office space on Route 228 and the Cranberry Promenade retail complex on Route 19. A Hilton Garden Inn is under construction at the intersection of Franklin Road and Route 228 in The Village of Cranberry Woods, and a Candlewood Suites Hotel opened on Route 19 in the spring.
PennDOT also is set to work with the township to build new northbound and southbound ramps from Route 228 to Interstate 79.
I could go on and on, but I think I’ve said enough. This site is all about the community, so I invite you to share your favorite stories from the Cranberry area with our readers.
It’s our birthday, but you are the gift. Thank you for letting us into your life.
Here’s to many years to come.