Unlike some of you, my personal connection with this area doesn’t go back generations, decades or heck, even a year.
But, although my connection lacks longevity, its one I hold close to my heart.
Just six months ago, my wife and I were drowning in uncertainty as our surprise pregnancy turned into an ER visit. That visit turned into bedrest at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies. And on Oct. 9, 2016 — more than 10 weeks too soon — it turned into an emergency C-section and the birth of a 2-pound, 12-ounce miracle baby girl we named Calliope Quinn.
Truth be told, I didn’t know what the outcome would be in that operating room. I didn’t know if Calliope would make it; I didn’t know if my wife would, either. I had fleeting seconds of hope smothered with intense — and seemingly more realistic — doubts that everything would be OK.
But when Calliope came out screaming — with the most delicate cry I had ever heard — those doubts faded. And from behind his hospital mask, her NICU pediatrician was there to congratulate us. Dr. Thais Queliz, whom we would get to know simply as Dr. Q, is a Baldwin Park resident. And in the most trying time of our lives, he provided a sense of calm and more importantly, hope, that carried us through the seven weeks Calliope spent in the NICU.
I will forever be grateful to Dr. Q and all the doctors, nurses and hospital staff who cared for my wife and daughter. To our family, they’re all heroes, deserving of high praise and celebration.
As a 16-year veteran of Observer Media Group and new executive editor of the Winter Park/Maitland Observer, I welcome you to this new, revamped and relaunched version of your favorite community newspaper.
Loyal readers might feel a little confused — the look certainly is different. But I invite you to take a deeper dive into the content, and I hope you find this edition — at its core — contains all the same DNA you’ve come to love. Our company, publishers of 11 other newspapers, three magazines and seven websites throughout the state, is built upon good ol’ fashioned hyperlocal community journalism. We’re the watchdogs of local government; we’re here to celebrate your accomplishments; we’re here to help when we can; and we’re there to connect you with your community. Our goal is to deliver to you the best local community newspaper in the country, and, as we move forward with the evolution of the Winter Park/Maitland Observer, that’s what we will strive to deliver to you.
In addition to the Winter Park/Maitland Observer, I serve as executive editor for OMG’s two other Orange County publications — the West Orange Times & Observer and Windermere Observer. Prior to my work here, I spent nearly 12 years with the East County Observer, OMG’s newspaper covering greater Lakewood Ranch in Manatee County. In 2012, my family moved to Plant City to launch the Plant City Times & Observer.
In the coming weeks, you’ll see more changes. Content found on wpmobserver.com also will be migrated to our larger website, Orange Observer.com. If you haven’t done so already, Like us Facebook, facebook.com/WPMObserver. We’ll be expanding our social-media efforts.
Of course, a community newspaper is only as good as its readership; we need your participation. Let us know when your son or daughter earns a full-ride scholarship. Tell us when your grandmother turns 100 years old. Tell us about your neighbor who does heroic work in the NICU.
Furthermore, hold us accountable. Let us know what we could be doing better. You can reach me directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From all of us: Thank you for your continued support. We could not do this without you.