From the Assistant Editor

Online towns

Posted:  Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 7:00am
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I got onto westportisland.us Friday to see if the town website had the dimensions or other interesting facts on the new salt and sand shed. News Contributor Jane Carpenter’s photo we ran on this page last week had stayed in my mind – for the building’s hugeness. Shed seems like a misnomer.

I realized I might find out more quickly from the selectmen, and Gerry Bodmer found the dimensions within the span of a pleasant phone call: 102 feet long by 50 feet wide. Big enough for bowling lanes, I observed. But he said it’s just for the sand and salt and for the trucks to go in and out of. Regardless, with all the boards coming into place last week, it looked beautiful. Nice to see something change from votes and plans, into a place.

But back to the town’s website–it, too, impressed, in both appearance and information. I may well have found the shed’s dimensions if I looked long enough, and there was much else to explore. In the short time I took, I was most surprised to see how far ahead the town is in announcing upcoming events – from the Shore Run on Sept. 10 to the Westport Community Association’s Halloween Costume Party and Dance on Oct. 28 and the Christmas program set for Dec. 3. At first I guessed those must be last year’s announcements, never taken down. But I was selling the site short. The dates said 2017.

On fresh visits to the town government sites for Alna, Edgecomb, Wiscasset, Dresden and Woolwich, each was easy to get around. Edgecomb’s FAQ’s included a list of all the things you would contact the fire department about “besides reporting a fire.” Alna’s site notes a 1938 painting of Head Tide Church appeared last March in a New York Times article on a Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit.

These sites also have the tax maps and other resources that, like so much else, should be available anytime, anywhere in the 21st century. Technology arrived, and our Midcoast towns let it in, investing time and money in the sites. As a result, when you need municipal information or just want to enjoy your town’s photos, no matter the day or hour, it is right there waiting. A town office keeps hours. But online, the town is always open.