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Big Changes at Ulsan Online!

February was quite a month of changes at UlsanOnline.com. Martin Rehder, the former Editor in Chief, has left Ulsan to rejoin his friends and family in the US. While those of us left behind are rallying to keep UlsanOnline going, and to grow it even further, Marty’s presence here, and in Ulsan in general, will be sorely missed.

I first met Marty at a pick up game of Ultimate Frisbee, back when the park beside the Taehwa bridge was more of an empty stretch of wasteland. It’s amazing no one broke an ankle in the deep pock marks on the field, or got tetanus from falling on a rusty nail, but I digress. The larger-than-life Texan impressed me with his friendly, outgoing nature, and his clear policy of not tolerating any bullshit. But our friendship really developed on the rock climbing cliffs at Munsu. He steadily coached me through my (many) fears, and convinced me to trust my gear, trust my belayer (the person on the end of the rope, literally holding your life in their hands should you fall) and most of all, to trust myself. He wouldn’t let me wimp out on a route, no matter how hard. A mixture of cajoling and encouragement, sometimes with flat-out insults thrown in, would get me to the top of the climb. He taught me that my limits were often well beyond where I thought they were.

When I came onboard UlsanOnline after my brother (Fin Madden, the founder of UO) left Korea, Marty showed me that same, steady encouragement for my writing, editing and management skills that he’d shown on the rock cliffs. I didn’t even realize at first that he was priming me to take on the role of EIC when he left.

Although certain facets of Korean culture (mainly ajeoshis on the bike riding paths) were making him a pretty grumpy sod by the time he left, (“My greatest accomplishment will be making it out of this country without killing some motherfucker” M.R., 2013) underneath it all he’s always been that same patient coach and encouraging friend I first encountered on the rock climbing crag.

Marty, in the 8 years we’ve known each other, you’ve been my climbing partner, my ski buddy, my nouraybang accomplice and my EIC, but above and beyond all of this, you’ve been my mentor and close friend. I wish you much luck back in Texas, and in this next chapter of your life.

Now, to the rest of you, let me introduce the crew at UlsanOnline.com who will be keeping this site running, and working on projects to make it even more user friendly.

On the technical side of things, we have Veena Srinivasan and Carl Schreep. They’ve been working closely with Marty for months, both learning all of intricacies of the site, such as updating movie listings, and working on improvements, such as Carl’s creating the Interactive Map of Ulsan, which plots all of the important places in town, from hospitals to government offices to bars and restaurants. They have all kinds of ideas, so keep an eye on the site to see how it evolves over the next few months!

Jason Teale  will be an editor with UlsanOnline.com, and has always been quite active on the site, both with his photo contributions (the majority of shots in the home page slide show are Jason’s) and his restaurant reviews and articles.

David Alexander has offered to take a step up from being a regular contributor in our review section and take on an editors role, and keep us informed on what’s happening on the peninsula, by taking over Marty’s News Tidbits column.

Hazel Smith is helping out with moderating the Facebook page, making sure everyone plays nicely and deleting spam.

And finally, I’ll be your new Editor in Chief, taking on Marty’s role of heading up the site, keeping it cohesive and adding to the wealth of information offered.

Please keep in mind that we are always happy to welcome new contributors. If you’ve visited a new restaurant or bar and think other expats should know about it, write a review for our Restaurant and Nightlife sections (we pay 25,000 won for well-written reviews of 500+ words). Travel somewhere interesting and have advice for others? Write it up for our Travel section. Share experiences with Korean culture on our News and Culture page. Write a How To Guide to help people figure out something, ask questions for our Official Word, add shops and services to our Where to Find, and share the addresses with the Interactive Map (contact Carl Schreep on Facebook to send him the addresses or coordinates). This site is for the community in Ulsan, and by the community. Join us in making this site, and this city, the best in Korea!

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