Letting go of Milford
It finally hit me last Monday. I am no longer the New Haven Register's Milford reporter, a city I’ve covered for the past almost 13 years.
In mid-April I was named the New Haven Register’s Metro Editor, which means I supervise coverage of Milford and the Valley and Amity towns.
I was essentially performing both jobs for about the last six weeks because I didn’t have someone to replace me as of yet.
That all changed recently. Two weeks new Milford reporter, Rich Scinto, began. We drove out to Milford last Monday morning and our first stop was City Hall. I introduced Rich to Mayor Blake as my replacement, and as I uttered those words it started to sink in.
We went across the street and met Superintendent of Schools Elizabeth Feser, and again I introduced Rich as my replacement. By then it had sunk in.
It’s still strange. There was a Board of Aldermen meeting last Monday, and I didn’t attend, which is something I haven’t been able to say much over the past decade.
Letting go can be hard. I love Milford, and I am so glad to be involved in the day-to-day coverage. I know I will still be writing a little as well, and have a presence on the Milford Matters blog, and the blog has only gotten better since Rich came on board.
Letting go is made much easier when the person, who is replacing you is as talented as Rich. He’s proven in two weeks to be a tireless worker, who is committed to telling a balanced story in an honest and straightforward manner.
He also has skills that I am a little in awe of. He created an infographic on this blog, and a Google map of all the places in the U.S. that are also named Milford.
The last 13 years have been a wild ride for me both personally and professionally. I quit smoking cigarettes six years ago. I wore the patch for two weeks and never smoked again!
Most of the people that I’ve known in Milford a long time including Jack Fowler, Jim Richetelli, Rich Smith, Kevin McGrath, Kathy Bonetti, Linda Michel, and so many others knew of my battle with the bulge.
Over the past six years I was able to lose more than 200 pounds the old fashion way, which truly changed my life for the better. It opened so many doors for me and led me to get married just over two years ago to my wife, Sarah.
I have a lot to be thankful for, and have been blessed to work with so many great people in the New Haven Register’s Milford Bureau including great courts and police reporters including Sarah Walker, Meggan Clark, Phil Helsel, and James Tinley. And of course I’ve made life-long friends in Chris Rhatigan and Neal McNamara.I just want to know when Tinley is going to finally try and beat me in tennis?
The one constant through my entire 13 years covering Milford was having the same boss, and that is City/State Editor Helen Bennett Harvey. Everything I learned in this business is a result of her and my former Branford Review Editor Cindy Szabo. I still laugh when I recall my early days at the Branford Review where I'd leave the leads blank because she would always change them. I needed to learn a lot.
Professionally, covering Milford has been a wild ride. I was in the old Milford bureau on New Haven Avenue in 2001 during the terrorist attacks, and remember being dispatched to Bridgeport on a report that burn victims were being transported from New York to Bridgeport Hospital. It turned out not to be true, but I just remember being consumed by a deep feeling of despair and helplessness for what seemed the longest time.
In 2004 there was the Bobby Dulin arrest that morphed into the Superintendent of Schools Gregory Firn controversy that resulted in the school board buying out Firn’s contract.
More recently there was the Harvey Polansky scandal. I had positive professional relationships with both Firn and Polansky, and took no joy in how their tenure ended in Milford.
But looking past the hot button issues that dominated coverage the one thing that stands out to me is how nice everyone was to me. There were definitely some tense moments, but I tried my best to be respectful and fair to people, and they returned the favor. I was always impressed by how Milford residents rallied to the aid of one another. I’m sure all communities do this, but I was proud to document this time and again in Milford.
Milford is truly a special place and community.
New Haven Register