April 1, 2010 By News Report
Who knows if it's a bit of April Fools' tomfoolery, but Google decided to give a little love Thursday to its not-so-secret admirer: Topeka, Kan.
The search engine company changed its omnipresent Google search logo to Topeka for the day, in homage to the city for ceremoniously changing its name to Google, Kan., for the month of March in a spirited effort to convince the company to bring its test bed for ultra-high speed broadband service there.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt posted on the company's official blog that "this initiative is a one-shot deal that will have no bearing on which municipalities are chosen to participate in our experimental ultra-high speed broadband project, to which Google, Kan. has been just one of many communities to apply."
Massachusetts is the 15th state to announce its participation in the Elevate America program, founded last year with the aim of training 2 million people during the next few years, as a means to improve U.S. workers' technical literacy and the nation's global competitiveness.
New York announced its participation last week.
Source: Boston Globe
The nonprofit Sunshine Review in March gave 39 out of 5,000 state and local government Web sites an A grade on transparency, awarding them Sunny Awards. According to the organization's wiki, reviewers for the organization analyze Web sites for information on "budgets, meetings, elected and administrative officials, permits and zoning, audits, contracts, lobbying, public records and taxes."
"Sunny Award winners deserve recognition for making information available to citizens and for setting a transparency standard that all governments can, and should, meet," President of Sunshine Review Mike Barnhart, said in a statement. "Access to information empowers every citizen to hold government officials accountable for the conduct of the publics' business and the spending of taxpayers' money. Official accountability is the cornerstone of self-government and liberty."
The Sunshine Review says it has analyzed the Web sites of all 50 states, more than 3,140 counties, 805 cities and 1,560 school districts.
The state and local government Web sites that received a perfect score in 2010 are:
Source: Sunshine Review
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.