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Happy Birthday, Virginia-Highland Patch!

On our first anniversary, here are 14 reasons why a daily dose of VaHi Patch is good for you.

It's been exactly one year since Virginia-Highland/Druid Hills Patch went live. During that time I've been lucky enough to meet quite a few of you while covering meetings and enjoying all our neighborhood has to offer. There have been more than 1,500 articles posted on the site so far and many of you have provided feedback and news tips via comments and email.

We've been constantly updating the site and adding new features, finding freelance correspondents to report the news in the neighborhood, recruiting bloggers (we need more of you to blog!), maintaining one of the best online directories around and making our community calendar as user-friendly as possible. We just added the , which is a handy spot for you to post your own photos and videos to the site. 

The first anniversary of Virginia-Highland/Druid Hills Patch is a good time to remind everyone why we're here and what this site is all about. Simply put, it's about you.

We've built Patch so that you have plenty of opportunities to comment on stories, share your opinions, post photos and announcements and add events to the community calendar. We hope that our site will strengthen the community, but we can't do it without you. So get to it!

1. Comment on an Article

We subscribe to the idea that "news is a conversation." Much of our reporting emanates from what readers tell us in emails, comments on our sites, and in conversations around town. Share your thoughts and reactions to our articles by posting a comment directly below each story.

2. Ask a Question

So maybe you want to know when that pothole is going to get fixed, or maybe you're a local expert on native trees just dying for someone to ask why their allergies are so bad this year. Patch's Q&A section is the place for you to ask your questions and show off your expertise, all while connecting with your neighbors. Visit http://vahi.patch.com/questions and ask a question, or answer someone else's.

3. Post an Event

Do you know of a book signing at a local bookstore, a celebrity chef appearing at cooking store or an art exhibit at a local coffee shop? Is there a garage sale or graduation ceremony coming up? If it's not on our Patch calendar, it should be. Feel free to add events to our site at http://vahi.patch.com/events/

4. Send a News Tip

At the bottom of the homepage, there's a link that says, "Send Us News Tips." Tell us about stories we should cover. Your tip will be sent straight to Virginia Highland Patch Editor Jaclyn Hirsch (that's me).

5. Post an Announcement

Post births, engagements and wedding announcements. Tell us who made the honor roll or share school awards, social notes and thank you shout outs. If you're looking for volunteers or searching for your lost dog, we welcome you to call on your community for help. Just remember, our Terms of Service say announcements should be for personal use and not for advertising.

6. Sign Up for Newsletters

The daily Virginia-Highland Patch newsletter brings you all articles and announcements that have been posted in the last 24 hours. It is delivered to your e-mail every day at 6 a.m. You can also sign up for the weekly newsletter, which shows a subset of the content created and featured on our site over the last few days. It is delivered every Thursday at 10 a.m. Look for the Follow Us and Newsletter links in the right column of this and almost every page.

7. Claim Your Directory Listing

Our business and organization listings aren't skimpy. Our team of researchers actually hit the streets and visited businesses, schools, parks, libraries and more so we can provide photos as well as detailed information such as products sold and hours of operation. To contact us about the listing for your business or organization, email us at directorysupport@patch.com. If you own or manage a business or organization in our directory, claim it at http://vahi.patch.com/search/listings.

8. Shout It Out!

You now have a way to shout out on the site without having to add a comment to an existing article. You can tell us what you have to say right now by using the new shout box at the top of the Activity Stream on the homepage. Whatever you "shout" will go directly into the stream, right on the homepage.

9. Upload Your Photos and Video

Upload videos of high school football touchdowns or your little leaguer's first home run. Post photos from local festivals, or send in a snapshot of your best holiday recipes to the aforementioned . We invite you to share with the rest of the community the memories you've caught on camera.

10. Advertise With Us

For all advertising queries, please send an email to Alyssa Egger at alyssa.egger@patch.com

11. Review Restaurants

Do you want to be the first to tell your friends whether the new restaurant in town gets a thumbs-up? You can post a review of your favorite (or not-so favorite) restaurants at http://vahi.patch.com/restaurants. Or, search to find what you're craving - you can filter results by cuisine, price or seating accommodations.

12. Social Media Engagement

You can "like" us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/VirginiaHighlandPatch and follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/VaHiPatch. Immerse yourself in our content and actively contribute and engage via social media. Let's start a conversation.

13. Send a Letter to the Editor

Patch would like to invite every member of the community to submit a letter to the editor at jaclyn.hirsch@patch.com. Express your thoughts or concerns about anything that might be stirring up conversation around town, and we'll post it.

The more Patch serves as on online space for community dialogue, the more useful this site will be. So next time you have something to share with your neighbors, consider taking a moment to send a letter to Patch. Chances are, you're not the only one who feels that way.

14. Blog on Patch! Email me if you're interested. We'd love to have you.

Louis Mayeux December 23, 2011 at 09:33 PM
Congratulations, Jaclyn, on a great year. As a Va.-Hi. alum and community lover, I enjoy your site.
Ralph Ellis December 24, 2011 at 02:25 PM
Congrats on your first Patch anniversary!
Jaclyn Hirsch December 24, 2011 at 09:52 PM
Thanks, guys!
Stephanie L. Arnold December 25, 2011 at 11:32 AM
Congrats, Jaclyn on your first Anniversary!
Kevin Madigan December 28, 2011 at 11:57 PM
Your site looks great, Jaclyn. There's always something good to read. Congratulations!

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