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Thank You, Hartland — For Everything

Local editor Christofer Machniak leaves Hartland Patch for a new job.

Good morning, Hartland … I have news that may surprise you: Today is my last day as your local editor.

Recently, I accepted a job with MLive Media Group in Ann Arbor. And while moving on wasn't an easy decision, it was a career opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. I'll be helping one of the state’s largest media companies with the ongoing online journalism revolution.

Filling in on an interim basis will be Hartland resident Tatum Ryan, who has done amazing work as a freelance contributor. You can reach her via email at tatumryan@gmail.com.

As I look back, I am exceedingly proud that I’m leaving a vibrant, engaging, community-focused website that did not exist when I started 16 months ago. We’ve more than tripled our monthly audience over this time, generating just more than 800 likes on Facebook and attracting more than 275 Twitter followers — huge numbers for a tiny community like Hartland.

And the real reason Hartland Patch has succeeded is all of you. It’s been the photos you submitted, the stories you shared and the comments that you posted. It's also been the dedicated freelance contributors who worked long hours to help cover the community since October 2010 (Tom Tolen, Tina DeBord, Jan Cartwright, Anne Seebaldt, Blake Hasenzahl, Jennifer Whitbeck, David Lee, Mike Scott, Sherri Yezbick-Taylor, Tony Kendall, Megan Baughman, Chris Wall, Linda Brown, Dan Strawser, Josh Henschke, Bob Ruby, Jon Morgan, Kaylee Lentz, Stacy Swann and Alexa Marsh-Anderson).

My humble role has been just helping to unearth and share snippets of something special that already was here.

From producing a video about the from a courtyard at to the marsh behind it to chronicling one of Hartland's most important traditions on Memorial Day, it has been a privilege to reflect what it's like to live here and cover the news of the day.

And it’s a story that needs to be told because before taking this job, my family had lived in Hartland for five years and we really didn’t know the community. I think there are many Hartland residents, who, like us, could benefit from visiting our wonderful , discovering our very own Hartland Community Aquatic and Fitness Center and watching live theater at the historic .

And if you have children, there are so many opportunities with youth sports (baseball, softball, football, basketball, cheer, equestrian, soccer, swimming, gymnastics, wrestling, archery, hockey and lacrosse) and club activities ranging from scouting to 4-H — all right here.

We are so much more than the bustling intersection of M-59 and U.S. 23.

Not that there aren’t problems or faults — and we’ve documented some, too, as is our job — but they are typical and similar to most any town of our size. What sets us apart, I believe, is how everyone is so willing to help out when times are tough.

We've rallied behind Kendal Lividini, , , , , and … just to name a few.

To add to that positive momentum in our community and hopefully spark a conversation or two, let me offer a modest suggestion — We should consider painting our water tower with something that signifies how special the community is. Maybe it could be a big red heart, or a barn — but it should be something emblematic of Hartland to show people as they drive down M-59 that there’s something unique here.

In addition, a simpler, daily way to recognize and remember who we are would be to just keep using Hartland Patch and telling everyone you run into to do the same.

Don't stop commenting on stories and sending in news tips. Post an announcement, upload an event or share photos and videos. Keep using this powerful virtual tool that can help make our lives easier and bring us closer together.

I will.

Editor's note: If you'd like to stay in touch with Christofer Machniak, feel free to email him at tofermachniak@yahoo.com, friend him on Facebook or say 'hi' when you see him around town. He and his family will continue to live at their home in .

Linda Bowen January 13, 2012 at 11:19 AM
Chris, congratulations on your new opportunity! Thank you for all you have done for Hartland Patch.
Stefanie Furge January 13, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Thank you Chris for your work on the Hartland Patch! We will miss you but wish you luck at your new job!
Christofer Machniak January 13, 2012 at 11:54 AM
Thanks, Linda and Stefanie … But you know what else this means … you'll have a new competitor on the trivia question :)
Amy Roach January 13, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Best of luck to you Chris. Thank you so much for your dedication to our community. You will be missed.
NotLazy January 13, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Chris, Good luck in your new position. You did great work on this medium, and it has become a daily read for me.
Gary Cornillaud January 13, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Chris, Thanks for the time and effort in learning about Hartland and telling its unique story. Good luck in your new position Gary Cornillaud
S. Enderle January 13, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Best wishes on your new job! Thanks for your dedication in highlighting Hartland's community news and events. Thank you again!
Tammy Chinn January 13, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Congrats Chris!! Best wishes for your new job and hope to see you around...
Stacy Swann January 13, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Yay for MLive and for you! What a great opportunity! Congrats Chris! I wish you all the best.
Christofer Machniak January 13, 2012 at 02:27 PM
You do a darn good job of spreading the word about local history, too, Gary :)
Nicole Krawcke (Editor) January 13, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Chris - Congratulations again and good luck at MLive. We will miss you!
Karen Wisinski January 13, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Thank you, Chris! The Hartland Patch has been a tremendous addition to the sense of community here. We appreciate your hard work!
Anne Seebaldt January 13, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Congrats again, Chris! Best of luck. Will miss you.
Tatum L. Ryan January 13, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Chris- you will truly be missed here at Patch. As a community member, I just want to send you a big thank you for everything you've done. As your freelancer, a HUGE thank you for everything you've taught me. It has been a pleasure working with you and learning from the best. As your friend, I will really miss your help and guidance and want to wish you luck in your latest endeavor. You really won't need it though 'cause I know you will continue to do great and wonderful things. See (and talk) to you soon, neighbor!
Jordan Genso January 13, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Denial- I don't believe it. Anger- This is really upsetting. Bargaining- What can we do to make you stay? Depression- This has ruined my day. Acceptance- Congrats Chris. I'm truly happy for you, and you've done a remarkable job with this site. I may have to start checking out MLive if you're going to be over there.
Christofer Machniak January 13, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Thanks, Jordan … I've really enjoyed your participation on the site … Thoughtful engagement like yours and others really is a big part what Hartland Patch is and can be. PS … I appreciate your Hallmark-like talents … I think you have a new career option :)
Christofer Machniak January 13, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Thanks, Tatum … And BTW, Happy Birthday … Everyone should wish Tatum her happy 29th birthday!!!!!! ;)
Jana Warford January 13, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Chris - you are truly a top notch guy. Thank you for all you have done for the Hartland Chamber and for this wonderful community. I'm so glad that you will stay here locally, but are moving on to do great things. Best of luck to you and your growing family and Happy 29th Tatum. If someone has to replace Chris, let it be YOU.
Jason Alexander (Editor) January 13, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Chris, You will be missed by your readers, contributors and colleagues. Mlive is lucky to have such a dedicated and intelligent employee. Best of luck to you.
Robert Ruby January 13, 2012 at 04:35 PM
So sorry to see you go, but you have to take those opportunities when they are available. I fondly remember that Hartland Heritage day in 2009 when you talked with Shyrl and I, and I heard about the Patch for the first time. Things have come so far since then. Good luck, and I hope we will still see you at Hartland events.
Donald Thompson January 13, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Thanks Chris and good luck in your new job.You have made a great contribution to this community by making everyone aware of all the great things that go on in our community.
Karen Jo Crouse January 13, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Chris, you have introduced many of us to our own community. You have encoraged us to use our voices. And, you have given us an avenue from which to be heard. Through your hard work and dedication you have not let us forget what a great community we have here in Hartland - something we sometimes take for granted. MLive Media Group has chosen the best to join their ranks. Congratulations! Karen Crouse
Karen Jo Crouse January 13, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Happy Birthday Tatum! And may I say, The Patch is being left in very capable hands! Karen Crouse
ShyrlAnn Cone January 13, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Wow, Chris, SO, SO sorry to see you go, but I wish you all the best in your new endeavor. Congratulations, and please stop by and see us from time to time (you know where Bob and I will be on Heritage Day, anyway.....)!
Sherri Yezbick-Taylor January 14, 2012 at 02:14 AM
Chris, I can't thank you enough for everything you have taught me! I am sorry to see you go but am happy for you on your new position. You have brought the Hartland Patch far! Thank you again for all of your patience!! Your loyal and frustrating freelancer Sherri And...Happy Birthday Tatum!!!!!!!!!!
Michael A Rosinski January 24, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Chris - best wishes for success in your new endavors.

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