Archive for the ‘Northeast Nebraska’ category

Thurston County Lags Behind

December 14, 2006

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According to the official web site of the state of Nebraska, Thurston county is one of only 12 counties in the state that does not currently have a web site.  The other counties include Arthur, Boyd, Furnas, Grant, Greeley, Harlan, Logan, McPherson, Sheridan, Thomas, and Wheeler.  For Thurston to be included in this “special” group of 12 is reprehensible.

Nebraska county web sites vary in the degree of information they provide, but all serve as an important vehicle of communication to it’s citizenry.  A typical county site is one like the Pawnee County Web Site.  Their site contains links for a public meeting calendar, county services, elected officials, and county election results.  The site seems to be fairly up-to-date and is organized in a way that allows the user to easily find information.  They could, however, at least post something in their local news section.

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The best Nebraska county web site, an example for all, is the Douglas county web site.  It has very good information including current and upcoming county events, Douglas County Government Employment Opportunities, information on obtaining Marriage Licenses, Vehicle Registrations, and Home Valuations, even live and archived on-line broadcasts of county board meetings.  Honorable mentions go to both Lancaster and Buffalo Counties for great site design, visual attractiveness and content.  Cuming County (just south of Thurston County) also has a very good site.  It is the best site based on content and visual attractiveness of any county that borders Thurston County. 

Douglas county gets an A+ for the extras, particularly for the on-line broadcasts.  Although I’m personally not fond of the visual attractiveness of the site, it’s design is functional and it’s content is superb.  Buffalo and Lancaster Counties get a grade of A for visual attractiveness and site content.  Cuming County receives a B+ for the same reasons.  As for Thurston County’s other neighbors, here are short reviews of their web sites. 

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Dakota County (B):  The Web Site is both informative and somewhat entertaining.  The unique thing I found on this site is a PDF link to an EPA Crossword Puzzle on Storm Water Runoff.  Like most sites, election results are posted, as is a calendar for upcoming meetings.  Visual attractiveness could use some work when compared to Cuming County, but is above that of most.  Content is harder to find as the user must scroll down the page to find the links, but it’s there.

Dixon County (C):  All pertinent information for county services and officials is on the site.  However, no election results were posted and there was no news under the “news link”.  It also appears that the Dixon County History link is broken.  A very functional site, but the “extras” need some work and it needs to be updated more often.

Wayne County (C):  A fantastically designed site promoting both the city and county of Wayne.  Exemplary for any rural town trying to attract the interest of industry and future residents.  One problem though, the site has very little county content.  Unlike most county sites, I could not find a county services page or links to county election results.  There is more fluff on the page promoting the city of Wayne than actual county content.  Another thing I noticed, the only mention of any town on the web site is Wayne itself.  If I were a resident of Carroll or Winside, I’d be pissed.  The site gets the same grade as Dixon because they’ve missed the mark by not providing county services information, and focusing exclusively on only one town in the county.

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Burt County (C+):  Much like the Dixon County site, the Burt county site is good on content but could use some attention on the “extras”.  It does, however, have a great calendar of local events that take place within the county.  The site is nicely designed and information is easy to find.  Burt gets a little higher grade than Dixon because of the visual attractiveness of the site.

As for Thurston County, it gets an F for not even making an effort.  When only 12 of 93 Nebraska counties do not have a web site, this is inexcusable.  Additionally, it is the only eastern county in the state to not have one; and western counties with much smaller populations have managed to pull it off.  It’s time that county officials bring Thurston County into the 1990’s and get a web site published.  It will, of course, take time for the site to be as functional and visually attractive as some of the other sites listed in this article, but having something is much better than nothing at all.

It should be mentioned that the local Pender-Thurston Community Foundation has a web site that posts information relative to Western Thurston County.  Included on this site is information pertaining to local businesses, community events, and community services; as well as information for new residents in the area.  The site is very informative, but cannot be counted as an official county site as it does not pertain to anyone living within Thurston County outside of the Pender-Thurston area.  It also doesn’t, nor should it, list other official county information stated as examples in some of the reviews above.  Listing this information is the responsibility of county government; it should not have to fall on the shoulders of a local charitable organization.

Links:

State of Nebraska Web Site

Listing of Nebraska Counties with Web Sites

Pawnee County Web Site

Douglas County Web Site

Wayne County Web Site

Cuming County Web Site

Dakota County Web Site

Dixon County Web Site

Burt County Web Site

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