Michael Ratcliffe
Email: Michael.Ratcliffe@patch.com
Phone: (609) 414-5792 Hometown: Lawrence Township, N.J. Birthday: Jan. 3 Bio:Mike is the editor of Lawrenceville Patch. A lifelong New Jersey resident who was raised in Metuchen (Middlesex County), he is a graduate of St. Joseph High School in Metuchen. Mike came to Lawrence Township in 1991 to attend what was then known as Rider College. He spent the first semester of his junior year attending Queen Mary and Westfield College in London, England, as part of Rider's Study Abroad program. Although he graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications in 1995 (by which time Rider had become a university), Mike chose to remain in Lawrence Township, having built strong ties to the community. Mike spent 15 years working as a reporter and photographer for The Times of Trenton, specializing in covering the crime and breaking news beats. During his career with The Times, Mike was honored for his writing and photography with seven awards from the New Jersey Press Association, Garden State Journalists, the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the North Jersey Press Club. Mike has also worked as a freelance reporter and photographer for several other publications, and his work has appeared in The Trentonian, The Virginia-Pilot, The Tampa Tribune, Business Travel News and Firehouse Magazine. In 1992, still in his freshman year at Rider, Mike joined Lawrence Road Fire Co., one of the three volunteer fire companies that protect Lawrence Township. Mike has been an active firefighter ever since and has held several fire-line and administrative positions over the years. Mike also served for a year as an emergency medical technician with Lawrence Township First Aid Squad, back when the township's ambulances were staffed by volunteers. Unable to commit the time necessary to remain active in both volunteer organizations, Mike gave up riding the ambulance. Mike is a diehard New York Giants fan whose interests include photography, local history, and most British television shows. Mike and his wife Ann bought their home in Lawrence Township in 2003. Their son James was born in 2007. Beliefs 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 you to inject your beliefs into stories or to dictate coverage according to them. In fact, the intent is the opposite: we hope that the knowledge that your beliefs are on the record will cause you 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. Politics How would you describe your political beliefs? I understand the need for politics and political debate, and for political news coverage. But, truth be told, politics in not my favorite subject. I do vote, but I have no allegiance to any particular party. Religion How religious would you consider yourself? (casual, observant, devout, non religious) I was raised Roman Catholic, but I have not been a regular church-goer in a very long time. I guess I would described myself as non-religious. Local Hot-Button Issues What do you think are the most important issues facing the community? Property taxes are obviously one of the biggest issues facing Lawrence Township and the entire state of New Jersey. The amount in taxes that New Jersey residents pay is amazing in comparison to what those in other states pay. With the new 2 percent tax cap, Lawrence Township is going to have some difficult decisions to make in terms of what services are going to be cut. And everyone is going to have a different opinion of what should or can be cut.
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