What We Cover
Comprehensive and trusted local coverage of Loganville-Grayson, GA. Featuring news and events, business listings, discussions, announcements, photos and videos.
Meet Your Local Patch Team
Sharon Swanepoel, Editor
Sharon was born and raised in Durban, South Africa, before immigrating to the U.S. in the summer of 1989. She became an American citizen in 1996 and has always lived in either Gwinnett or Walton County. In 1997, she gave up a career in economics and finance to pursue her passion for journalism. After being given a start as a correspondent with The Walton Tribune and The Gwinnett Daily Post, she began working in the GDP newsroom as editorial assistant/staff writer in 2001. After a brief stint as a small business owner with her husband from 2003 to 2005, she joined The Loganville Tribune in 2005, moving to The Walton Tribune in 2010. Between them, Sharon and her husband, Gordon Winterburn, have four grown children - three sons and a daughter and their families - as well as one granddaughter and two grandsons. They live in Monroe with their three rescue cats. When not working, Sharon and Gordon can be found headed for Flagler or Cocoa Beach for Gordon to feed his addiction to waveski surfing and Sharon to spend the time taking photographs or shooting video.
Leslie Johnson, Editor
My journalism career started as an intern for the Baltimore Evening Sun. My first full-time newspaper job was in Fort Lauderdale at the Sun-Sentinel, where I covered small business and the boating industry. Later, I moved on to Jackson, MS as a business writer for the Clarion-Ledger. I worked for the Charlotte Observer for four years in its business news department, where I covered the utility industry and small business.
Sarah Bakhtiari, Contributor, Editor
Before joining Patch, Sarah wrote for multiple publications in the metro Atlanta area, including Creative Loafing and Atlanta magazine. She became a contributing writer for Patch in November 2011 and reported for the sites in Lilburn-Mountain Park, Snellville, Norcross, Tucker and Stone Mountain-Lithonia. She took over as the Norcross Patch editor in February 2012.
Sarah can be reached via email at email@example.com and by phone at 770-362-7268.
Bob Pepalis, Contributor, Editor
Bob joined Patch in October 2010 after 14 years as a reporter and business editor for Appen Newpapers, publishers of The Revue & News, Johns Creek Herald, Forsyth Herald and Milton Herald. He was named Associate Regional Editor in the fourth quarter of 2012, adding a supervisory role, helping editors in Patch communities in North Fulton, Forsyth, Cherokee and Bartow counties.
A graduate from West Virginia University's Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism, he freelanced before landing a job at a five-day daily in southern West Virignia. He moved on to jobs at daily newspapers in West Virginia, Kentucky and South Carolina before returning to Georgia to work for a Woodstock paper.
Kevin Madigan, Contributor, Editor
Kevin Madigan began writing in his early teens, when he helped publish a magazine while at boarding school in England. Since moving to Georgia in the late 1980s, he has written for various publications, including Atlanta Business Chronicle, Atlanta Music Guide and Creative Loafing, where he was the Online Music Editor. Madigan contributed to the launch of the local CitySearch.com and wrote a regular column for Atlanta Style & Design. He is also a licensed Spanish translator and interpreter who earned his certification from the Department of Modern Languages at Georgia State University.
Liz Kennedy, Contributor, Editor
News has been part of Liz's life ever since she secured her first job as a "paper girl" delivering newspapers (rain or shine) on her bicycle. She worked for CNN Radio for seven years as a producer and editor and now is your editor for Cumming Patch. She has more than 20 years of experience as a broadcast media professional and graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Throughout her career she has interviewed and written on many issues involving newsmakers like Congressman Barney Frank, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Civil Rights Activist Jesse Jackson, Michigan State Governor Jennifer Granholm, Bono and The Edge of U2, Sting and Celine Dion to name a few. She is excited to be reporting and writing about our community. Liz has been a resident of Forsyth County for more than 12 years and in Cumming since 2005.
Melissa Collins, Contributor, Sales
Melissa grew up in the Patch town of Lilburn and currently resides in another Patch town, Loganville. As a life long resident of Gwinnett County, she is enjoying getting to spend more time in the local communities and working with local businesses. She comes from a sales and marketing background in the music industry.
Interested in advertising on Patch? She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (678) 575-8499.
Melanie Fleury, Contributor, Editor
Raised as an army brat until starting High School, Melanie finally placed roots down in the Atlanta area and earned her Bachelor's in Psychology from Oglethorpe University. She later went on to earn her Master's in Education.
Melanie now resides in North Atlanta with her husband, four kids, and a Maltese-Shih Tzu named Toto. When not playing chauffeur for her kids, she enjoys reading,writing, and finding the best online deals.
What is Patch?
Simply put, Patch is an innovative way to find out about, and participate in, what's going on near you.
We're a community-specific news, information and engagement platform driven by passionate and experienced new media professionals. Patch is revolutionizing the way neighbors connect with each other, their communities, and the national conversation.
We want to be the most trusted, comprehensive, and relevant news and information resource in your community. What can you do on Patch?
- Keep up with news and events
- Check out photos and videos from around town
- Learn more about local businesses and the people behind them
- Participate in discussions
- Share your perspectives via our Local Voices blogging platform
- Submit your own announcements, photos, and reviews
Who's Behind Patch?
Patch is run by professional editors, photographers, videographers, and salespeople who live in the regions they serve, and is supported by a great team in our New York City headquarters. Patch also gets advice from our Advisory Board and from many members of the community.
We look forward to meeting you and hearing your stories. If you see us around town, don't be afraid to say hi and tell us what you want to see on Patch!
Where You Come In
We hope that our sites will strengthen communities and improve the lives of their residents, but we can't do it without 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. So get to it! And if you're a business owner who wants to be listed, just let us know.
You can't truly serve a community unless you provide the help it needs most, which is why giving back is so important to us. We do it as part of our coverage — in a dedicated space that lets local charities and volunteers find each other — and with a program called "Give 5," through which we donate advertising space to charitable organizations and contribute our own time as volunteers. Want to know more? Email us at email@example.com.
Phil Meyer is Professor Emeritus in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and was inducted into the North Carolina Hall of Fame in Journalism in the spring of 2008. He joined the Journalism School in 1981 and served as Knight Chair in Journalism Professor from 1993-2008. Prior to joining the school, he held a number of reporter and research positions at various media outlets.
He has won numerous awards including the 2005 Sigma Delta Chi Distinguished Service Award for Research About Journalism (with Scott Maier). He was named a Fellow of Society of Professional Journalists in 2005. In 2004, the Newspaper Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication gave him its Professional Freedom and Responsibility Award. And in 2000 he received the American Association for Public Opinion Research Award for Exceptionally Distinguished Achievement.
Meyer is the author of several books including The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age and Precision Journalism: A Reporter’s Introduction to Social Science Methods. Journalism Quarterly in 2000 listed this book as one of the 35 significant books of the 20th century in journalism and mass communication; and the American Association for Public Opinion Research, observing its 50th anniversary in 1996, listed it as one of 50 significant books on public opinion research.
He received his B.S. in technical journalism from Kansas State University and his M.A. in political science from the University of North Carolina.
Steven Berlin Johnson is a pioneer in the web world, as a co-founder of FEED, Plastic.com, and Outside.in, which was acquired by Patch in March of 2011. He also co-created Findings.com, which launched in late 2011. Steven was the 2009 Hearst New Media Professional-in-Residence at The Journalism School at Columbia University, and served for several years as a Distinguished Writer in Residence at NYU’s Journalism School. He is a bestselling author of seven books, and won acclaim and a Newhouse School Mirror Award for his 2010 Time Magazine cover story, "How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live."
Speaking of Steven's editorial prowess, check out this video based on Steven's book, Where Good Ideas Come From, which was named one of the best books of 2010 by The Economist.
Brian Farnham, Founding Editor-in-Chief
Brian was Editor-in-Chief of Time Out New York magazine before coming to Patch. Before that he worked for a variety of publications both online and off, including Details magazine, New York Magazine, and the old, dearly departed Sidewalk.com. He has written for numerous publications, from the New York Times magazine to Harper's Bazaar. He graduated from Bowdoin College and got an MFA in creative writing at Columbia University so he could put his novel in a drawer with distinction. He lives in Manhattan with his beautiful wife, adorable son, angelic daughter and the world's most dog-like cat. He’s proud as hell of what the Patch team has built.
Ken Paulson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the First Amendment Center
Ken Paulson is president and chief executive officer of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University and in Washington, D.C.
Previously, Paulson served as the editor and senior vice president/news of USA Today. He is now a columnist on USA Today’s board of contributors, writing about First Amendment issues and the news media.
Throughout his career, Paulson has drawn on his background as both a journalist and lawyer, serving as the editor or managing editor of newspapers in five different states.
He also is past-president of the American Society of News Editors, the nation’s largest organization of news media leaders.
Paulson also was the host of the Emmy-honored television program “Speaking Freely,” seen in more than 60 PBS markets nationwide over five seasons, and the author of "Freedom Sings," a multimedia stage show celebrating the First Amendment that continues to tour the nation's campuses.
He was an early advocate of making newspaper content available online, launching online newspapers in both Florida and New York in 1993.
For 12 years, Paulson was a regular guest lecturer at the American Press Institute, speaking to more than 5,000 journalists about First Amendment issues. He was honored with the API Lifetime Service Award. In 2010 and 2011, he served as chair of the PBS Editorial Standards Review Committee.
In 2007, Paulson was named fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists, “the highest honor SPJ bestows upon a journalist for extraordinary contributions to the profession.” In 2008, he received the Robert S. Abbott Memorial Award for Meritorious Service in Mass Communications from the Southern Regional Press Institute. He has also been elected to the Illini Publishing Hall of Fame at the University of Illinois.
He is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law and the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He also has served as an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University Law School. In 2008, he received an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from American University.