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Happy Birthday to Studio City Patch!

Our sister site just up the street is celebrating its 1-year birthday today.

Studio City Patch editor Mike Szymanski is of his site today!

Mike has been a trailblazer at Patch and was the first to launch a site in the city of Los Angeles. Pound for pound he runs one of the most successful Patch sites in the country and frequently gets more monthly visitors to his site than there are people who live in Studio City.

I first met Mike last year just a few weeks before he launched his site. I was told by my Patch boss to go to the Radford Avenue bridge at 9 a.m., find him and help him . I remember being very nervous on the way there. Studio City, North Hollywood, Toluca Lake and Valley Village are such intertwined and connected communities. I knew I was going to have to end up working with the Studio City editor, or at least trying to. I remember thinking, "What if this guy is a jerk? What am I going to do?"

I laugh thinking of that now, because from the moment we met Mike turned out to be one of the kindest, generous and easy-going people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. As an experienced journalist who has lived and worked in the Valley for 25 years, he offered amazing advice, help and support as I prepared to launch my own site just a month later.

We don't just share borders, we share the same police station, public high school, city councilmembers, and dozens of businesses and organizations that are located in one neighborhood but say they are in the other. For example, there is the First Christian Church of North Hollywood, which is located in Studio City. The list of confusing border issues goes on and on. Is the Beverly Garland Hotel and Rio Vista Elementary School ? Depends who you ask.

Because our communities are so closely connected, and sometimes impossible to separate, we share many stories, columnists and also collaborate together often. Mike has many highlights listed on his , so I will only share one.

Last Halloween, Mike and I set out to shoot a video about Halloween decorations. The story is particularly memorable for me because it's also the day I met Doug Kriegel, who had just been hired as the Sherman Oaks Patch editor. Doug had known Mike for a long time and wanted to tag along while we filmed. As I was shaking his hand, I remember thinking, "I know this guy. Where have I met him before?" Turns out, we hadn't met, I'd just been for many years. Like Mike, Doug has been a kind and generous co-worker and collaborating with these two titans of Los Angeles journalism has been an exciting learning experience.

I look forward to many more stories and many more years.

Mike Szymanski September 13, 2011 at 04:42 PM
Awww thanks, you made me tear up! Couldn't have done it without you! Now back to work, I owe you some stories!

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