Email: email@example.com Phone: 973.370.0045
Hometown: Flanders, NJ
Birthday: March 25
I was raised on the outskirts of Flanders—and over the fence in my backyard was Chester. The sign that said WELCOME TO MT. OLIVE was past my street.
My house was on a cul-de-sac filled with a mix of bi-levels and colonials. I could not imagine a better place to grow up. My parents worked hard to provide my sister and I with a childhood filled with challenging experiences, an environment echoing with laughter and a house filled with love.
Graduating from Mt. Olive High School, I attended Rowan University to earn my undergraduate degree and Montclair State for my masters. It was during college that I met my wife, and we now live in Randolph with our daughter, Natalie.
I'm still involved in the performing arts when time permits. While I haven't had time to take on a musical in a while, I still perform regularly with the improv comedy troupe Out of Order, and write and directs original shows for charity. Working with my team on those benefits is one of my favorite things to do. Playing UNCHARTED on the PS3 and eating 911 wings with my buddies are a close second.
Five Things You Don’t Know About Russ:
I wrote my master’s thesis on the Indiana Jones trilogy.
My first car was a 1966 Ford Galaxie convertible that I still own.
My grandmother (with whom I lived in graduate school) was my best friend.
I am a third-generation Yankee fan.
I'm a big fan of the now–defunct soap operas All My Children and One Life to Live.
What’s the Deal With the Hat?
Many people I meet ask me why I wear the hat that I do. There are three reasons I will share here. One of them might be true:
The leader of a band of thugs gave it to me after I stole the Cross of Coronado from his illegal archeological dig. After a wild goose chase through a circus train, I had to return it. He put the hat he was wearing on my head and said, “You lost today kid. But that doesn’t mean you have to like it.”
If the hat comes off I will turn back into the inanimate snow man I was before.
A fantastic columnist and former colleague I had the dumb luck to work beside named Mike Celzic. Mike used to wear a big panama-style hat everywhere he went. Mike was an old-school journalist. The kind I used to imagine I would meet in my romanticized version of a newsroom. He was scary smart and could bend words like few I had known. He told me he never took the hat off because people associated him with the hat. People knew Mike was there and folks became accustomed to finding him and speaking with him. So, I wear my porkpie hat for the same reason. People already refer to me as “the guy in the hat from Patch” and I am happy to be that guy. Mike would be proud ... once he stopped cursing me out for stealing his bit.
Note from the company: At Patch, we promise always to report the facts as objectively as possible and otherwise adhere to the principles of good journalism. However, we also acknowledge that true impartiality is impossible because human beings have beliefs. So in the spirit of simple honesty, our policy is to encourage our editors to reveal their beliefs to the extent they feel comfortable. This disclosure is not a license for us to inject our beliefs into stories or to dictate coverage according to them. In fact, the intent is the opposite: we hope that the knowledge that our beliefs are on the record will cause us to be ever mindful to write, report and edit in a fair, balanced way. And if you ever see evidence that we failed in this mission, please let us know.
How Would Russ Describe His Political Beliefs?
I am not smart enough to believe I know better than anyone else when it comes to politics. I don’t pretend to ascribe to lofty ideals. In my voting history I have voted for both Bill Clinton and Chris Christie. Generally, I vote more conservative on the state level and liberal on the federal.
Is Russ Registered with a Certain Party?
I think I registered as a Democrat in 1996 when I first voted for Bill Clinton. But that is never a deciding factor in my voting process.
How Religious Does Russ Consider Himself?
This question is odd. I believe in the power of the human spirit and I believe there is something inside us that transcends this mortal coil. I was raised Roman Catholic (I actually made first communion at St. Lawrence in Chester). But I can’t honestly say the church and I meet eye-to-eye on many things. I don’t like when folks try to push their singular interpretation of spirituality on you. It happens too often.
What Does Russ Think are the Most Important Issues Facing the Community?
These are affluent, historically successful communities that generally live up to their vast potential. Certainly the tax money surrounding the schools and the administration continues to be a concern to most, as are the struggling local businesses.
These communities are devoted to their children, strong supporters of the arts and will not stand to have their programs threatened by funding concerns.
Where Does Russ Stand on Each of These Issues?
I don’t live in these communities, I live on the fringe so I am not as vested as most. However, I have no tolerance for bullies or for people who try to bluster at others to move forward an agenda. I don’t believe in “big T” truth. I believe in various “little t” truths. Those who believe in the “big T” scare me.
Why Did Russ Become a Journalist?
I became a journalist because I am fascinated by people and their stories. I love attending a function and speaking to two people who saw the same thing and remember it completely differently. What component in their past caused them to focus on something specific that others may not?