Not sure when it was, but a month or more ago, the city of Glen Rose ceased to exist.
Of course residents and visitors can attest to the fact that the city didn't literally fall off the face of the earth. But when it comes to the rest of the world, at least a few people think it has.
For me, the problem was most apparent a few days after Columbus Day.
I learned my usual schedule would be disrupted by the holiday when County Clerk Candace Garrett sent the agenda for the week's commissioners court meeting as she always does - like clockwork.
The agenda informed me of an important fact - the meeting would be rescheduled due to the holiday and commissioners would instead meet the following day. Thanks Candy!
The previous week, I had attempted to visit the city's website, to no avail. I wasn't able to find the website, which is where meeting agendas were readily accessible, and sort of put the issue to the back of mind after a little googling.
I also took note of a simple fact at that time. If I didn't have a telephone book - you know the old fashioned print variety like grandma and grandpa used to use - I wouldn't be able to call Town Hall as there was no reference to it anywhere on the World Wide Web.
Oh well, I thought. We all have technological issues every now and then. It will be up and running in no time.
On Tuesday, Oct. 9, I called Town Hall to see if there would be a meeting that night and was told, there would not be a meeting until Oct. 15.
Great. Guess the meeting got rescheduled.
True, there was a meeting on the 15th - I made that one. But I soon learned I had missed the Columbus Day meeting. Wonder why they didn't say, no it was yesterday when I had called?
The lack of technology, and my own poor misconception that all government is created equal - and observe the same holidays - had caused me to miss the meeting.
Ok, it happens. It was a good meeting I hear, I will try my best to not let it happen again. TRY being the operative word.
About a week later, I received a couple of calls that proved I was not the only one having an issue with the city not having a web presence.
When I answered the first, "Glen Rose Reporter, this is Amanda," a man who was calling from New York asked if he was speaking with city hall. I explained I was at the newspaper office. He then asked, 'There is a city hall, isn't there?'
I laughed, asked if he had tried to find the city online. He said yes, the Reporter number was the closest he could find. I graciously looked the number up in my trusty old fashioned phone book and shared it with the caller.
A similar call came a few days later.
So, I laughed, again.
Fast forward a month, and I am no longer laughing. The city website is still not up and running. Insert frustration here.
Luckily, I won't miss Monday's meeting, I have a council friend who was kind enough to confirm the date.
Last time I asked a city employee about the site, I was told they were working on it.
On Friday, I made a call to City Administrator Ken West, who explained the website is currently being rebuilt. He said staffers will undergo training once it complete and the new design will allow Glen Rose to step into the 21st Century.
West said the new website will allow regular updates, whereas the previous site was static and offered little information. He also said it would provide public information while the former site was "pretty mundane and not user friendly."
Agreed. But it was SOMETHING.
I believe in the current age of technology, taxing entities' websites should be up and running at all times - barring a minor issue here and there.
I'm no techie, but I know there are ways to construct a new website without removing the existing one. The recent change of websites across the Reporter's media group was virtually seamless. Readers awoke one morning to find websites that offered new features and a completely new look.
In the current age of technology, an internet presence is vital to any business, including government bodies. The public should be able to locate city finances, policies and all other public information with the click of a mouse. I think this is what city administration is currently tying to accomplish.
Failing to do so is more than a minor inconvenience to the local newspaper and residents. There are people who interested in relocating or visiting who like to research their future homes or the future location of their small business.
Maybe, like the caller from New York, they will call the newspaper, get verification that the city still exists, be given the phone number and forge ahead with their plans.
Or maybe, they will think the Mayans were right and the end of the world started in Glen Rose, Texas.