We are growing!

As our loyal readers know, in early April we combined our three newspapers into one comprehensive paper covering the main communities of the West Side. The Press (Avon, Avon Lake, North Ridgeville, Sheffield Village and Sheffield Lake), The North Ridgeville Press and West Life (Bay Village, Fairview Park, Lakewood, North Olmsted, Olmsted Falls, Rocky River and Westlake) became one edition we named West Life.

I expect some push-back and we got it. But the overwhelming response has been positive. We have been thrilled to provide coverage of the communities that readers won’t find in any other publication, as papers around us cut dramatically back on staff and coverage, focusing only the occasional feature and “if it bleeds, it leads.” We brought popular area writers James McCarty and Michale Sangiacomo into our fold. And we are about to make another major announcement of writer joining our ranks.

Which brings me to another point. This week, we are proud to welcome two new reporters to West Life. They bring with them a wealth of experience and energy. We are excited!

Reporter Mike Sakal joins us after starting his career in Lorain County. While a reporter there, covering the city of Lorain, Sakal won First Place for Breaking News by the Cleveland Press Club; First Place Enterprise Writing by the Ohio Associated Press Society; and Second Place, Best Special Section category by the Ohio Associated Press Society.

In addition, while working at newspapers in Arizona, Sakal won Story of the Year from the Associated Press Managing Editors Association; a First Amendment award, a Freedom of Information award, first-place in public service writing, first place in creative online use reporting; first place, best education reporting, and two first-place awards for best breaking news story.

Sakal will be reporting on Avon, Avon Lake and North Ridgeville for West Life. He can be reached at msakal@westlifenews.com.

The second new reporter is Alex Kamczyc, a 2018 graduate of the journalism program at Kent State University. Kamczyc has been print experience and online reporting skills. He most recently was the political reporter for Vozwire. He wrote two weekly columns, as well as collecting data and facts for weekly stories. He was a reporter, feature writer and columnist for The Kent Stater, and a blogger with The Burr Magazine. He served as an intern for Cleveland Magazine, in which he wrote articles and helped with fact-checking.

Kamczyc will be covering the news and people stories in Bay Village, West Lake and Rocky River. He can be reached at akamczyc@westlifenews.com.

Sakal and Kamczy joined Jack Kopanski, our sports writer (and also a Kent State University graduate) and Jeff Gallatin, who has worked for West Life for nearly 20 years.

Please contact anyone of our reporters (and myself) if you have a concern, issue or story idea. We love hearing from you! Our phone number is 440-871-5797.

Please spread the work about West Life! We are YOUR newspaper.

Contact this reporter at editor@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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