Is that a trick question?

I just got the following announcement from the Town of Chapel Hill's news list. The Council has apparently decided that it is now interested in beginning to maybe start thinking about possibly utilizing communication technology in the service of local government. It's about time.

Do you have comments or suggestions on ways the Town of Chapel Hill can use information technology to provide more effective and efficient services to the community?

The public is invited to provide input on government information technology issues at a community focus group meeting to be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21, in the meeting room of the Chapel Hill Public Library, 100 Library Drive.

The purpose of the focus group is to provide citizens an opportunity to comment on the components of an information technology environment that would assist Town government operations to provide for the effective and efficient delivery of services to the community. Receiving public input is a part of the process of developing a needs assessment, which is being developed by RHJ Associates Inc. under contract with the Town.

Breaking: blogs impact local politics

Thanks to the News & Observer for reporting that "Blogs are changing politics." I know that's a real newsflash for all you OP readers.

This story raised two questions for me:

1. Didn't Tom Jensen already write an informative column about this exact same subject (elected officials blogging)? Ah yes, here it is: "Blogs keep us plugged in on politics," 12/16/06.

2. How many of the people in this article had blogs before OrangePolitics started?

Pearce said the Triangle's political bloggers are centered in Orange County because its politics tend to be more liberal.
- | Blogs are changing politics, 2/2/07

Hmm, yeah that's probably it. There's no other reason Orange County would have a disproportionate number of political bloggers.

Local newspaper using blog effectively

Kudos to the News & Observer for using their blog to expand the information in the paper, and vice versa.

While all they had time to write was a "staff report" (excerpted below), they also encouraged readers to Learn more about Lot 5 before the Town Council takes action by including a link to their blog at the end of the story and posting the Town of Chapel Hill's full summary of issues document for download from the blog.

The town has released a draft copy of its contract with Ram Development Co. for a $75 million downtown redevelopment project.

The town is partnering with Ram to build an eight-story condominium and retail complex on the site of a municipal parking lot along Church Street between West Franklin and West Rosemary streets.

Welcome to the fray

The News & Observer has a new blog dedicated to their Orange and Chatham County coverage called Orange Chat.

Did you ever read a story and say, "I wish the reporter had asked ..."

Well, the truth is sometimes we did but there wasn't space to put it in the paper.

Welcome to Orange Chat, where we hope to expand on the Orange and Chatham County coverage we provide in The News and Observer and The Chapel Hill News, and where we hope you'll tell us how we're doing.

Send us your questions, criticisms and suggestions.

And thanks for reading.

Mark Schultz
- Welcome to Orange Chat, 1/18/07

Thanks to Brian for the heads up.

NC Science Blogging Conference this Saturday

Local bloggers are continuing the tradition of great live events. First there was the Triangle Bloggers Conference (video), then PodcasterCon, and now we have the North Carolina Science Blogging Conference.

Its this Saturday January 20 on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill in Murphey Hall, Room 116. The event gets going at 8:30 a.m. and wraps up at 5:30 p.m.. There are pre-events and post-events like dinner. See the NCSB Con schedule for more info.

So far over 150 people have registered. People are coming from all over the country and the world. Because of the limited seating and food there is a registration waiting list, so you can register now to try and squeeze in.



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