Much has changed in the last year at Patch, and many users and fans of our sites have been asking us questions since Patch was sold in January 2014. More questions have arisen as we've taken the first steps to introduce our new website to the public. We're working to recast Patch in accord with its founding vision — to be a place where people can come together to share stories, engage with neighbors, learn about their towns and discuss issues of the day with other Patchers. We understand there are many questions, even some hurt feelings, and a sense in some communities that we've broken a bond by pulling back valued coverage.

Patch today is very much a work-in-progress for a small group of hard-working journalists, engineers and sales-and-marketing pros rebuilding the website and the company. We ask for your patience during this journey — and your feedback, too

Here are answers to your most-asked questions.

What happened to our editor?

Many of you miss your local editor and wonder why your local Patch no longer resembles the news source you relied upon, even loved, the last few years. We miss our colleagues, too. On Jan. 29, Patch spun out of Aol as an independent venture now owned by Hale Global, with Aol as a minority stakeholder. Prior to the sale, Aol laid off hundreds of employees. Aol invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Patch, employing more than 1,000 staffers nationwide. A small team — about 125 people — became part of the new company, and in February 2014 we went to work rebuilding Patch, pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps.

What's with all of these changes?

On July 25, 2014, we took the first step to get off of Aol's platform and start walking on our own. We're working diligently to implement improvements on an ongoing basis. We've always envisioned Patch as an online town square where everyone can participate freely in the exchange of local news, information and ideas. To accomplish that, we needed to create a new website to make that experience easier and more enjoyable for you. The former website did not meet our needs or your needs in critical ways. We know this because many of you told us so throughout 2013. And you were right!