As BeaverCountian.com prepares for another year filled with eye-opening investigative reports, heart-touching stories, and innovative site features, here’s a look back at the work we did in 2019 to keep you informed.
We Attended 155 Public Meetings In 2019
Beaver County is home to 54 municipalities, each with its own local government and elected officials who spend the public’s tax dollars. It had been many, many, years since a reporter showed up to most of their public meetings. In some instances, officials told us they hadn’t seen a reporter at a meeting in more than a decade.
We made the decision in 2019 to start prioritizing coverage of these municipalities. The videos we captured of meetings, along with our synopses of what occurred, gave the public unprecedented insight into local governments in Beaver County.
BeaverCountian.com multimedia contributor Matthew LaComb attended an astounding total of 155 public meetings in 2019.
BeaverCountian.com’s John Paul spent a year working closely with a group of talented CBS News journalists out of New York City, including nine-time national Emmy Award-winning reporter Erin Moriarty, to report about the murder of Rachael DelTondo.
We examined accusations of public corruption in Aliquippa and its police department. We also explored controversies in DelTondo’s personal life, including her breakup with fiancé Frank Catroppa and her association with a young man named Sheldon Jeter Jr.
We Introduced Community Dashboards With 911 Call Logs
Along with increasing our coverage of public meetings, 2019 was also the year BeaverCountian.com introduced our “Community Dashboards.”
Our automated systems monitor hundreds of social media accounts run by local governments, police and fire departments, school districts, and other official sources of information, to update these pages daily with news about happenings in each of Beaver County’s towns.
We also gather and publish information on every call made to 911.
These dashboards are the result of significant development work done by BeaverCountian.com, and we continue to innovate behind the scenes with plans to make these dashboards even more powerful for our readers. Expect exciting new features ahead in 2020.
When a green fog began to spread across the valley late one night in July, BeaverCountian.com was the only local news source providing real-time coverage of what turned out to be a serious chemical fire that forced a community to shelter-in-place. We continued to report the story in the days and weeks that followed.
We Brought Attention To A Crisis Situation In Emergency Services
Our reporting on the chemical fire in Rochester started to reveal some very troubling truths about emergency services in Beaver County and so many other counties throughout Pennsylvania. BeaverCountian.com contributing editor Lori Boone dug deeper and her three-part report forced the community to face a terrifying possibility, “What if your family called 911 in an emergency, but no help arrived?”
You can’t do the type of work BeaverCountian.com does week after week without ruffling some feathers. As in years past, 2019 saw some interesting reactions by public officials in response to our reporting.