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NCO Hosts a Grand Time at The Grand
Submitted by Bruce Morlan on Fri, 04/28/2006 - 10:06pm
Northfield Citizens Online celebrated its new look and new managing editor, extended a heartfelt thank you to its tech crew and kicked off our membership drive -- all in one grand time Thursday night.
An enthusiastic crowd listened to some great music (the Bratlanders, including our own Chair, Doug Bratland), heard some of our history and some of our vision vision, and met the new Managing Editor, Anne Bretts. Master of Ceremonies Rick Estenson, a board member since 2005, introduced a short history by yours truly, followed by a really great tale of the genesis of our on-line community from the early days of the revival of the salon (via the Utne Reader) by our favorite son, Griff Wigley, aka, the Hon. Mayor of NCO.
Just as the Internet has allowed us to redefine community, so has the changing technical climate allowed NCO to transform itself from its early techie beginnings to a more community and content-oriented organization. Our early goal of "access for all" has become "a voice for all" as we focus more on letting the community speak. Unlike many media outlets, we are able to empower everyone to speak for themselves by removing the barriers to entry that dominate most media formats.
Griff's championing of the blogosphere (check out where he's been traveling!) has really allowed us to reach out, and NCO rededicated itself last night to continuing that work, as the old guard met with the new in a celebration of community.
A highlight of the evening was a short speech about the redesign and deployment of the new interface by Chip Cuccio (Chairman, Tech Committee). Chip introduced his crack team, Adam Gurno (board member), high-school student Sean Hayford-O'Leary, and Rob Brown (board member). This crew really worked some magic making our site into the great platform we see today, and we are really proud of their ability to work in the rapidly changing world of online development.
In addition to current Board and volunteers, someone had rounded up the usual suspects, meaning that some of the founders and early adopters were also present, including Tracy Davis (founder and key player in the incorporation of NCO as a 501c(3)), Mark Heiman (early board member and tech wizard), Curt Benson (founder and early PR partner), and, of course, Griff Wigley (founder before there even was an NCO). NCO really appreciates the efforts of these early workers.
Another group well represented was local politicians, including Rep. Ray Cox (R) and his DFL opponent in this fall's election, David Bly (D). Both of these politicians are early adopters of the Internet as a forum for getting their ideas out for others to read, digest and give feedback. This new sort of politician thrives on getting reasoned and informed feedback, and Griff had led the way in providing and nurturing a civil environment to foster those sorts of exchanges -- we sometimes forget the early days of flame wars and trolls -- Griff's guidance provided quite a change from many of the more inflammatory sites we had seen on-line.
In addition to thanking the Tech Committee for a job well done, NCO also kicked off its first real Membership Drive, complete with a matching gift process and a premium for members! For a limited time, your membership contribution will be matched by local businesses, up to $20 matching per membership. Watch this space for more information on how you can become a charter member.