Wednesday July 27, 2016
If you’re a current resident at Mountain House, then you know all about Mountain House Matters, our local online distributor of all community news. We had a little chat with Bryan Harrison, the creator of MH Matters, about what gave him the inspiration to start the publication and his love for the community.
What made you decide to call Mountain House home, and how long have you been living in the community?
We were living in Livermore before moving to Mountain House in 2009. My wife, Patricia, works in Manteca and I work from home, doing publication and website work for several groups all around Northern California, so it made sense to be on this side of the Altamont. Mountain House provided an affordable option for us, as well, in a truly lovely community.
What do you love most about living in the community?
A lot of what I find appealing is the pioneer spirit this town has, by its very nature. To be able to be part of a town that is developing out of nothing more than a printed plan is pretty unheard of in this day and age.
What motivated you to start Mountain House Matters?
The seeds for the idea for MH Matters started infecting my brain about the beginning of Summer 2012, and it was actually Patricia who came up with the name. I recognized that there was no medium available for folks in town to connect with everyone. The online forum (MHvillages.com) is a great resource, and the Facebook group page was taking off. But, it became clear that there was still a large segment of the population not connected online. All signs began pointing to me as the guy to start some sort of regular publication.
Was writing a passion of yours before you started Mountain House Matters?
I’ve always enjoyed writing. I have been writing and publishing numerous industry publications for more than 20 years, and have been a practicing songwriter for even longer. So, yes.
Where do you get your inspiration for content?
From our great community. We depend on the various groups and movers-and-shakers in town to submit their news and info for the paper. I have also become a regular at our Community Services District Board meetings, as well as the school district whenever possible.
Tell us more about Moe the Hobo Cat! What sparked the idea?
Moe The Hobo first appeared as the logo for the Mountain House Feral Cat Rescue, which was a big inspiration in starting the paper. My stepson, Kyle Thomas, developed the imagery for Moe the Hobo Cat. We worked together on developing storylines for the comic strip, which ran for nearly two years in the paper. Ultimately, other life pursuits moved Kyle in another direction. We’ve since periodically re-run some of the best strips.
Do you have any future projects in the works for the community?
Well, I started an online TV channel that I still have hopes to develop further. This came mostly out of my own frustration of having the paper come out only monthly. So often news and events happen just after we distribute. A video format seemed, and still seems, to me a viable enhancement to what we’re doing. It has proved a bit more challenging to maintain, but we’ll keep trying.
Have you written any other publications other than Mountain House Matters?
Mountain House Matters is currently my only publication of its kind. I do still continue to publish newsletter periodicals for a network of local Property & Casualty Insurance Claims Associations throughout Northern California, which I’ve done since 1993.
What has been the most rewarding part about creating a newspaper exclusively for Mountain House residents?
The general response to MH Matters from our community and readers has been, and continues to be, a gratifying and sometimes overwhelming realization of the work I started. We have such a great community here, and I continue to be honored to get to play what I like to think of as an important role in our growth and development.
What advice do you have for future homebuyers looking to move to Mountain House?
Do it soon, do it now, if you can. Mountain House will continue to thrive, in my humble opinion, if for no other reason than it’s located as the first stop over the hill from the Bay Area, which is more than a little likely to continue to grow and push outwardly. Within the next five years, the vision of this town will become much more fully realized. Homebuyers moving here will no doubt benefit in numerous ways: great home values; quality schools; an eventual downtown that could very likely become the envy of the region; and an amazingly tight community like none I’ve ever known or seen.
To learn more about Mountain House Matters, you can follow the Facebook page HERE, and visit the website daily HERE.