Friday, May 20, 2011

Introducing Darci Faiello.....aka Perry Rochester......

Hi….my names is Darci Faiello.  I am a resident of Ross Township and for the last two months, I have been contributing to North Hills Exposure as Perry Rochester.  I have lived in Ross Township for my entire life, minus the time I was away at college.  I graduated from North Hills High School, where I was active in sports.  I was also a Lifeguard and taught swimming lessons for many years.  My husband is also from Ross Township and is an active member of a Ross Township Fire Department.  We chose to live here years ago because our family is here and we enjoyed the community.
However, in the recent years I have seen a decline in the community.  It is mostly noticeable in the business corridor with the empty storefronts, but as you look closely, there are other apparent “cracks” that you can see.  I drive down McKnight Road or Babcock, looking at these “holes” and usually just think to myself “nothing I can do about that”.  I’m sure many of you have thought the same thing.
About a year ago, I noticed the Ross Township Good Government Committee on Facebook and my interest was piqued.  Reading through it, I noticed that others had the same thoughts that I did.  They could see the same decline that I was seeing.  They had the same worries about what was happening to their community and their property values that I was having.  So I became a “follower” and read along.  I soon found my voice (you can ask my husband, it is rare that I am quiet) and chimed in with some of my thoughts.  I utilized my voice and jumped right in.  After all, I am a stay at home mom and this gave me a chance to exercise my skill set and education during the little bit of free time I gained when my son started preschool. 
I started to post things relevant to Ross Township on the Facebook page.  I posted things that I was interested in and topics from other news sources that caught my eye.  I was shocked when the traffic increased and astounded to discover once again that others were looking for the same things I was.  A few people did question me about the Ross Township Good Government Committee title and my marketing background kicked in.  The name was re-done, the design was refreshed, a blog was developed to expand on the interest, and an impact statement was created.  North Hills Exposure was launched.
North Hills Exposure has been growing by leaps and bounds.  So much so that I am shocked!  We just passed the 3000 hit mark and average about 50 hits a day, quite an accomplishment for a small town blog that gets noticed through word of mouth.  The only help I have had is from Ross Township residents and readers that pass the word along and have an interest in the community.
Understand something though….the opinions I express are my opinions alone.  I do not represent anyone or pretend to be a representative of anyone or anything other than myself.  It just so happens that those opinions seem to be shared by many other residents of Ross Township.  The information that I find or stumble across is public information and anyone in the public has access to it.  I know that some have shared rumors or innuendo of scandal with me but unless it is public knowledge that can be verified and documented, I’m not interested in spreading it. 
There has been one persistent piece of criticism that is getting tossed around out there.  That the blog is nothing more than a political mechanism for a candidate.  Well, as you can see from my name….I’m not a political candidate (nor am I related to one or even friends with one).  I’m a regular everyday Ross Township Resident…….just as many of you are.  I live in the community and am raising a child that will enter the North Hills School District.  My friends and family live in the community.  I shop in the area, go out to dinner in the area, and go to events in the area (heck, no one with a little boy would dare miss all the fire trucks at the 4th of July parade!).  I enjoy Ross Township and would like to continue to do so.  I appreciate the police, fire departments, and EMS that service the area as well as the people who drive the street sweeper and plow trucks (that wave to my son who has his face smashed up against the door as they drive by).  I will forever be grateful to the Public Works employee that made sure I safely got home during the flooding of Hurricane Ivan!  I enjoy the small town feel that this community radiates.
So why am I doing this?  Well, to be honest, I’m not exactly sure.  I started out doing it for me and in essence, I still am.  Yet I realize that there are many more out there like me that want to get involved but don’t know how.  They want to understand, but there really isn’t anywhere to figure it out.  I want North Hills Exposure to be the place to help others figure it out so that more can get involved. For example, attending a Commissioners Meeting can be scary and intimidating.  You have no idea how it works, what goes on, what you are allowed to do, or what all is happening.  I admit, the first meeting I attended was a bit terrifying.  I didn’t know the order of things, didn’t understand that you could pick up an agenda from the stand in the middle, didn’t know if the light snacks in the back were meant for everyone or just those involved. I sat there afraid to move.  Then a woman sat down in front of me, turned to me and said “Do you have any idea how this works?” and I realized that I wasn’t the only one utterly lost.  After that one meeting, I felt more comfortable and at ease.  I wasn’t intimidated anymore and realized that the Commissioner Meetings are a vital part of our local government process and a good opportunity to view our tax dollars at work.  It clicked in my head that as a Ross Township Resident, I had a right to be there.  Today I feel like an old pro when facing a Commissioners meeting and I’d like to enlighten others as to the process in the hopes that more will participate.
So now I am stepping out from behind the screen so that you can see that I am just an average ordinary Ross Township resident like many of you that are reading this.  I am a person that knew virtually nothing about local government (aside from the fact that we had a Board of Commissioners and a Township Manager) and didn’t enjoy my American Government class in high school.  Yet I am a person that as I have “grown up” has started to take an active interest in the community and learn how the process works.  Just goes to show you that anyone can get involved….. and that anyone can include even YOU!
Now that there is a name involved, maybe the focus can be on what is ON the screen instead of WHO is behind it......

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