Thursday, August 23, 2012

New editor at the Enterprise

We've had a lot of staffing changes over this past summer at Heritage Media, but I'm happy to tell you all that I'm taking over as editor at The Ypsilanti Courier and Manchester Enterprise.

I'm Krista Gjestland, and I've been at Heritage since November as a general assignment and government reporter. Prior to that, I freelanced for Heritage for about nine months. I graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2011, where I earned a degree in journalism and worked at The Eastern Echo.

Although I'm a Washtenaw County resident, most of my experience has been on the east side of the county. I'm incredibly excited to get to know Manchester and its community better. Who wouldn't want to be the editor in a town that hosts its own Oktoberfest?

I'm always looking for more community contributors, bloggers and freelancers so please reach out to me if you're interested. Please feel free to let me know what you want to see in the Enterprise. Let me know what issues are most important to you.

If you have any suggestions, feel free to email me at, find me on Twitter @kgjestland or give me a call at 734-429-7380 ex. 18.

I'm also regularly stationed in our Community Media Lab, located at 215 W. Michigan Ave. in downtown Ypsilanti. I'm there every Monday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. so stop in and say hi.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A new face for the Enterprise

Starting tomorrow, a new face will be in editing the Manchester Enterprise.
Carrie Kennedy, who previously worked at the Oakland Press, will be taking over the Enterprise and Ypsilanti Courier as I transition into a new role, community engagement editor for Heritage-West.

As Carrie starts to get settled in her new position, I'll still be in the Manchester community, covering school board, chamber of commerce and Sharon Township meetings. I'll also be covering a few local events. You'll probably see me petting baby rabbits, or in line for an elephant ear, at the fair.

I'm grateful for the Manchester community's kindness and help as I became acquainted with the community and am looking forward to continuing to cover local events.

If you'd like to submit story ideas, content or have a question, Carrie can be reached at or's a pleasure to work with and I have no doubt she'll exceed expectations in her new role.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Thanks for the memories, Manchester

This is my final blog post for The Wire.

I'm leaving Heritage Media to begin a new reporting job covering Redford Township near Detroit, but wanted to leave some final thoughts on working with and in Manchester for more than a year.

Covering a village like Manchester was the right thing for me to do after graduating college. I had worked in the big city for 7 months previously, but craved more. I wanted a community, I wanted to get to know a town well. I felt like I had more of an opportunity to do that covering Manchester, and did what I could to make that happen.

Even though my role at Heritage shifted over the last 6 months, I still identified with covering Manchester. I tried to make sure the stories I did write were in Manchester, and enjoyed all of the community events I covered.

I tell stories to my friends back near Detroit and across the country about how this small town can do so much. I talk about the Chicken Broil, and I marvel to them about how this village attracts thousands for a delicious chicken dinner every year. I saw events such as the medieval festival and Crazy Ca$h night, and was in awe of the participation and enthusiasm everyone involved had. They are impressed with the stories I tell.

I've appreciated all of the feedback I've received from residents, both positive and negative. I realize I came into a town as an outsider, and I worked to make myself recognizable around town. I've spent plenty downtown eating lunch and sometimes dinner, and I found myself loving spending the afternoons writing at the Manchester District Library.

Thank you to everyone who I've worked with in the village and surrounding townships. I hope our paths cross again in the future.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Wire's blog posts earns third place in SPJ Detroit awards

The award certificate for blogging I received for my writing on
The Wire.

I started blogging on Manchester more than a year ago, as a directive for work. But in that time, I've embraced the inside look at Manchester, and the time spent has earned some recognition.

I attended the annual Society of Professional Journalists Detroit Chapter banquet in Troy Wednesday night. There, I received a third place award for blogging, which was all done here on The Wire.

I submitted three posts, including my one on redistricting, and come in third. The first and second place finishers in the category, which was open to all publications in the state, were from the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. Not bad names to be mentioned with.

Each entry was judged by non-local journalists from all over the Midwest, and each winner had comments left by them. Here's what they said about this blog:

"Veselenak's blog is a great read because it goes beyond the story, to reveal the details of 'local reporting' that used to be the grist of community journalism. It's exceptional because its so simple. Interesting stories about the community. His piece on a local candidate who failed to obtain a single vote, even her own, is great journalism because at its most basic level, is what we're here to do."
The write-up on the "local candidate who failed to obtain a single vote" is slightly misleading, as I used an example from the Flint-area as a way to show the power of the vote, not Manchester (Everyone in the village elections this time got a vote, even though there weren't that many).

Even though I'm not doing as much Manchester blogging these days, I'm still popping in and writing when something hits me as a blog post. I'm hoping to continue to find interesting tidbits that might not be story-worthy, but quick post-worthy. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My day with Mark Ouimet

My Monday morning started off like any other day. I began my 40-minute drive to Saline with 102.9 FM on the radio. That morning, State Representative Mark Ouitmet, R-Scio Township, was a guest on the morning show, playing "Make me Say Wow." If callers told a story that made Ouimet say, "Wow," they would win concert tickets. Ouimet felt all the stories had a wow factor and all the callers walked away with concert tickets.

I thought Ouimet sounded very awake and that it must have been an early morning for him. Little did I know, it would be an early morning and a late night.

At 12 p.m., I arrived in downtown Manchester to attend the Manchester Area Chamber of Commerce meeting. Shortly after I sat down, in walked Ouimet, who stayed for the entire meeting.

At 7 p.m., I walked into the Sharon Township Hall for the monthly board of trustees meeting and who was there? Ouimet of course. After talking with the residents and answering questions, Ouimet said he was headed to Saline Township for another meeting.

I was impressed with Ouimet's drive. I had been stressed covering just two meetings, but Ouimet made it to a radio show, three meetings and who knows what in-between, all in one day.

As he left to go to Saline Township, Ouimet joked that he'd see me tomorrow.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sunblossom Solar Gifts makes it onto "Made in Michigan" on WWJ Radio

Another Manchester business is being highlighted in a bigger media market.

Sunblossom Solar Gifts, 131 Adrian St., was recently featured on WWJ 950 as a part of the Made in Michigan series.

Marie Osborne, host of the show, interviewed President Bonnie Greenwald about the products at the shop during the minute-long clip.

Miss hearing it on the radio? Take a listen to the clip below:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Construction season is upon us; we've updated our cover photo to reflect it

With construction now fully in force throughout the village, we thought it would be time to update our cover photo here on the blog.

The trees have been removed, and the concrete is being cut up as a part of the streetscape project. The plan is for this phase to be completed by Memorial Day, which will work well for this year's parade.

We'll keep this photo up until more updates have been done, and a brand-new photo will look great once the downtown streetscape is completed.

We're also looking for new submissions for our Facebook cover photo. Right now, we've got one of the River Raisin on our cover, but we're always looking for new photos to feature. You'll be sure to see images celebrating the Chicken Broil, community fair and Riverfolk, too.