A friend of mine just asked “Why My Little Falls, aren’t you busy enough?”
Well, there are several reasons why I have started this, so a little history is in order to explain it all.
I was born in Western Massachusetts, just three hours from here on the NY Thruway which turns into the Mass Turnpike. Exit 7 was my grandfathers property that was purchased when they put in the pike. I remember that they picked up his whole house and rolled it down the road to another location. I was really young then, but still remember it. What I didn’t know, was that I was literally on the road to Little Falls.
At 17, I went into the Air Force and spent the first four years as a Security Policeman and dog handler. Loved working with the dogs, but not the job itself. So, I cross-trained into air traffic control (ATC). Seems like I wanted 90 percent action and 10 percent boredom instead of the other way around when I was a cop.
The great thing about ATC was that I was only scheduled for about 20 hours a week, and being an 80 hours a week guy, I was left with a lot of spare time.
I had been interested in photography since I was eight years old, so starting to take pictures, opening a studio and becoming a photo-journalist for several newspapers just seemed like a natural route.
Along the way, I got the bug for newspapers and literally overnight, started a newspaper called The Community Focus in Universal City, Texas. My (then) wife and brother were both involved in the initiative. Our goal was to just cover the good, happy, positive news. We had the San Antonio Light that covered all the murders, accidents, and more morbid things that were going on, but what about all of the fun stories? They seldom got the attention they deserved.
Well, The Community Focus was an overnight crazy success. Advertisers flocked to us (of course with our low overhead rates were REALLY low) and people actually waited by their doors for us to deliver their copy. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a more enjoyable experience and positive feedback.
Not that long after I started it, the military came calling and said I had to take an assignment…so much for the newspaper business as I still had a couple of years on my contract with them. So, we closed it.
I moved up here ten years ago as my wife was born and raised in Little Falls and she wanted to move back closer to family and where she had grown up. Our deal was that only one of us had to work and the other could pursue their passion, so first one to find a job was out of luck so to speak.
I had the first big opportunity and went from one of one hundred to one of two people being interviewed for the director of aviation at the former Griffis AFB. It would have been a great job, but I think my ‘Texas’ attitude probably scared them off. People who know me can tell you I don’t sugar coat much.
Deborah had the next opportunity and she got the job. So what did I do? I created a podcast called “LensFlare 35” where I interviewed the top photographers and filmmakers around the world. At it’s peak, it had about 30,000 listeners to the show each month.
However, bandwidth where I live was horrible (Spruce Lake – Little Falls address) and as I got into more live podcasts and all, the service got worse and made the show almost impossible to do. Then, the Chinese hackers decided that the website needed to be destroyed…no matter what I did, it was always getting taken down. So, I stopped the show.
I went out and let Deborah leave her job to come home to work on her passion. That turned out to be Adirondack Landscape oil painting. And wow, in just a short few years, she has gotten REALLY good! If you attended the last art walk in Little Falls, you would have seen her in front of her brother Jimmy’s shop – Kaufman & Davis – with some of her pieces. In fact, her work is still being shown in his window right now (I know, a shameless plug)!
I got a job working for a 137 year old newspaper out of Amsterdam. It was initially owned by Wm J. Kline, then purchased by Port Jackson Media, LLC and finally, by McClary Media, Inc. I was the Chief Technology Officer, but every once in awhile got the chance to write and take photos. I missed that…
I worked there eight years before retiring this March and all the while, I was working on my ‘other’ digital newspaper – Art in the Adirondacks. Its purpose is to cover the 14 counties of the Adirondack region with coverage of anything that is arts and culture related. It’s still going and is a heck of a success.
But, a funny thing happened on the way to the Adirondacks and all those counties. I noticed a couple of things. One, it was getting too big for two people to handle. That’s a LOT of territory to cover! So, there is a 501C3 looking at taking it over, getting grant money to grow it, etc.
The second thing I noticed was that any time I posted something on Art in the Adirondacks about an event in Little Falls, the response was the BEST of any of the articles and events that I covered. They would get the most views, retweets, shares on Facebook, you name it, the Little Falls crowd seemed hungry for the coverage and most appreciative when I gave it.
An idea started brewing in my head about a micro-local site covering just Little Falls. To me, it was The Community Focus all over again. In fact, over the 4th of July holiday, I toyed with using just that name – Community Focus. But what community? My Little Falls of course. So THAT name stuck with me and just seemed to click.
I registered the domain, got the website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, content delivery network, SSL certificates, MailChimp accounts, you name it, all set up on the 5th of July and launched it.
Surprised that this only took one day? Well…remember, I have had just a bit of experience doing this, having been a techie and photographer most of my adult life, so for me, it was easy.
What now? Well, I want and need your support. Tell us what is going on, who is doing what, what events are coming up, how’s the bowling league doing? You name it, we want to know about it.
For me, I’ll get the satisfaction of being involved in another Community Focus. For you, well, finally, you’ll have a publication strictly focused on one of the best communities in New York State – Little Falls. It’s a place that has tremendous potential – and I, for one, will do my part – My Little Falls.