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Fenton High Ridge Patch is 1-Year-Old Today

It's been an interesting year for our ultralocal news and sports venture.

What is Patch?

It's a question I'm asked far less frequently these days since the launch of Fenton High Ridge Patch exactly a year ago.Today is our first birthday.

It was Nov. 18, 2010 that Patch was "published" (if that's the right word in this digital world) and it's been quite a ride ever since. We've tried to provide all the local news and sports that readers could want, chronicling the Fenton Board of aldermen, and the school board news in Northwest, Lindbergh and Rockwood, and the goings-on in the neighborhoods. Along the way we've met a variety of interesting people and have told their stories here as well. More people know what Patch is.

Check out the gallery that accompanies this story to see some of the people and scenes that were art of Patch's first year of coverage.

There has been a lot of change in Fenton and High Ridge over the last 12 months, but some things have remained the same. On launch day a year ago we carried a story about the bridge being built over the Meramec River on Old Gravois Road in Fenton. Well, it's still being built. The river has wreaked havoc with the constriction schedule, often swamping the site and causing months of delays. It looks like, at best, the $4.5 million project won't be completed until next March. And we'll be here to write about it -- again.

Looking back over a year of what's occurred in the communities of Fenton and High Ridge has been a fulfilling effort. The people we've met in the last year are examples of why this is such a vibrant community.

Christine Manes is the proprietor, along with her mother and daughter, of the on Old Gravois Road. Not only can you find homegrown and farm produced fruits and vegetables there, Christine will have a big smile for you and will usually take the time to chat. Your day will be better. Christine writes an occasional blog for Patch, too.

Another Patch blogger is truly a hidden gem in Fenton. It's been fulfilling to be able to provide Robert Frank, who goes by the name Ferd, with a platform for his dramatic photography. His striking images never fail to generate comments from his many Fenton fans.

Two of our regular contributors have roamed the highways and byways, sometimes literally, of Fenton and High Ridge to talk with people who have distinguished themselves in one way or another.

Denise Bertacchi has talked with many business owners in Fenton and High Ridge in order to produce her and business profiles. Denise brings an in-depth look at local business owners and infuses her stories with a keen sense of humor. Her subjects during the last year have included tutus, bicycles, Levis, guitars, video games and motorcycles.

Denise also puts together a weekly collection of items that are often humorous but, hopefully, thought-provoking too. The initial installment was  a funny look at the names on the fireworks that are sold in the area on the 4th of July. "11 Crazy Things You Can Blow Up on Your Driveway" led to "5 Local Landmarks" which led to "9 Unusual Thrift Store Treasures." represents another way of looking at the Fenton High Ridge area that we hope you have enjoyed.

Another weekly presence on Fenton High Ridge Patch is Suzanne Corbett, a food historian, author and prolific writer of all things culinary. Her weekly column as been a collection of both cooking ideas and local places to eat.

The last year of Fenton High Ridge Patch also has led us to meet George "The Shoeman" Hutchings who has made his philanthropic home in Fenton.  Gov Jay Nixon was a visitor in June when he made the commencement address at Northwest High School's graduation ceremonies on a sweltering June Saturday.

Gravois Bluffs was in the news a lot as the scene of the many petty crime follies of some ne'er-do-wells and as a shopping mecca. In fact, the retail opportunities provided at Gravois Bluffs led, in part, to the successful go-ahead for a project to build a new Walmart Supoercenter and adjacent development in High Ridge. Patch even spent part of Black Friday at the Bluffs, talking with campers on the hunt for TV sets, to a teenager in a gorilla suit who, apparently, had nothing better to do.

We hope you have enjoyed "the Patch" during the last year. Many of you corresponded with us, which is always welcome. We hope the next year of our ultralocal enterprise will be as rewarding as the first 12 months.

Send me an email anytime at Dan.Barger@patch.com And you can visit us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/fentonhighridgepatch or on Twitter @FHRPatch

Here's hoping that by the time we celebrate our second birthday, that bridge will be done!

See you all around town!

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