Tuesday, June 19, 2018
News Roundup

New digital town hall hopes to unite Sun City Center residents

SUN CITY CENTER — Doug Arnold is going to build a town hall in Sun City Center, a place where people can come and exchange ideas and interests like back in the good old days.

And he's not going to use bricks, mortar or any construction materials to erect this center.

He's going to use the Internet.

Arnold, a Sun City Center resident, announced plans for the Sun City Center Citizens Network last week. He's currently beta testing the site at suncitycentercitizensnetwork.ning.com with the hopes of creating a digital town hall that will help residents in the retirement communities connect on a better level.

"It's really where we need to be heading," said Arnold, a former marketing vice president. "There are a lot of communities that have attempted this, but my thought was that Sun City Center and Kings Point are almost the perfect hyperlocal opportunity for this type of project.

"I was looking around and looking at other communities and what they have done and came up with the idea to essentially have the content come from the participants. I can moderate it, I can promote as a cheerleader, but the reality is that it would be a lot like Facebook: the participants provide the content."

So why not just create a Facebook page? Arnold says his site will be different than Facebook because it won't be as cluttered. The citizens network will feature channels so people can zero in on their favorite topics, like cooking or the arts, and, if they choose, avoid the topics they don't favor, such as political discourse.

Arnold is driven by the potential to connect neighbors in a world that seems increasingly disconnected. According to Macleans magazine, more than 50 percent of Americans don't know their neighbors' names. He thinks the network can help bridge that divide, particularly with residents who are homebound but remain connected through the Internet.

"This is an opportunity to do things on a neighborhood level so we can feel good about being united again," Arnold said. "Whether you're a a Methodist or a Catholic, a Republican or a Democrat, left or right, you want to see your neighbor as prosperous and happy as you are because that only makes the neighborhood better."

In Arnold's vision, the site can help launch the search for a missing dog or rally members to a specific cause, such as neighbor needing meals or help with yard work because of a medical condition.

Part of Arnold's inspiration comes from former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who wrote about using social networks to better connect people to government in his new book Citizenville.

"There's an excitement out there, a hunger to try new things, to explore the limits of what all these new technologies can do," Newsom wrote in the book. "The energy to explore is there. So the question is how do we direct some of that energy toward civic life? How do we get people as excited about engaging with government as they are about Angry Birds?"

Arnold believes he has the answer with his Sun City Center Network. The startup costs are minimal and there's no profit goal with the initial launch. He looks to add 1,000 members over the next year and hopes that the site will become a legacy to the community.

Contact Ernest Hooper at [email protected] Follow @hoop4you.

Comments
For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

UPDATE, 4:49: Kiermaier is batting leadoff and playing center as expected, while Willy Adames is on the bench so Adeiny Hechavarria can play short in potentially a showcase for teams the Rays may hope to interest in a trade.Here is the Rays lineup:Ki...
Updated: 4 minutes ago
Tech Data sending a record 700 employees to march in Pride Parade

Tech Data sending a record 700 employees to march in Pride Parade

Among the marching bands and twirlers at Saturday’s St. Pete Pride Parade, one major sponsor, Tech Data, is sending by far a record number of employees — more than 700 at last count — to march in Florida’s largest gay pride parade.The parade, which d...
Updated: 10 minutes ago

Port Richey council moves closer to minimum housing standards ordinance

PORT RICHEY — In a narrow vote, Port Richey took another step toward enacting an ordinance that will create minimum housing standards in the city. Port Richey City Council members approved in a split vote last week the first reading of an ordinance d...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Big Ten reaps recruiting bounty in Tampa Bay

Big Ten reaps recruiting bounty in Tampa Bay

Largo High defensive back Solomon Brown had plenty of college options with offers from 20 Division I-A schools. Still, the three-star recruit did not need to go through a prolonged process to figure out where he wanted to go.Two weeks ago, Brown comm...
Updated: 10 minutes ago

Updated: 14 minutes ago
A valet at this South Tampa Publix will park your car as you shop

A valet at this South Tampa Publix will park your car as you shop

TAMPA — Publix shoppers in South Tampa who hate circling the lot for parking can now toss their keys to a valet.The Publix at Dale Mabry and Neptune started testing a free valet service last week that could expand to more stores. Spokesman Brian West...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Zero Bucs players on NFL top 100 list for 2018

Zero Bucs players on NFL top 100 list for 2018

Just to preface this, the NFL Network's annual countdown of the league's top 100 players is a made-for-TV deal, good for summer offseason conversation but not carrying any huge amount of real significance.Having said that, it's worth noting that for ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Hernando County Animal Services searching for pet owners after Brooksville seizure

Hernando County Animal Services searching for pet owners after Brooksville seizure

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County Animal Services is looking for the owners of dogs and cats that were seized from a Brooksville home last week.Animal Services, along with the Sheriff’s Office, removed 60 dogs and 23 cats from Carol Allard, 71, after...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sign to report employees not speaking English at doughnut shop creates a stir

Sign to report employees not speaking English at doughnut shop creates a stir

A sign asking customers at a Dunkin’ Donuts store in Baltimore to report employees who were heard not speaking English has set off a controversy.The sign, according tothe Baltimore Sun, would offer coupons to customers who reported workers at a dough...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Updated: 2 hours ago