Roundup Of Coverage Regarding Rockville Central’s Move

As we knowour decision to move Rockville Central entirely to Facebook as a publishing platform has created quite a stir here in Rockville, but it has also created a stir among those who write about media and journalism.

We thought we were the first site to try this approach and after all the commentary, this seems to be true. We have been overcome by the extent of the coverage worldwide.

On the day we announced, Nieman Journalism Lab Assistant Editor, Megan Garber, called to chat about our move. Her article Rockville Central set to become a Facebook-only Outlet provided a terrific description of our excitement and reasoning.

Her article was then picked up by quite a few other sites:

Future Journalism Project: Local Paper Rockville Central Moves To Facebook-only reports on our switch while looking at Facebook stats and the recent evidence that Facebook plans to expand the journalism field.

The Next Web: Could Facebook Become A Better News Reporting Tool Than Twitter? Also describes Facebook’s advertisement for a Journalist Program Manager then gives updates from Gawker and Egypt about Facebook before describing our move.

Media Bistro: Rockville Central To Become Hyperlocal News Site – Without the Site – It Will Go Facebook Only also picked up the story.

Journal Standard: A peek to a possible future is a fine article but it didn’t get it quite right because we will be posting full articles using Notes in Facebook. We aren’t limiting ourselves to wall posts.

Media News At This Hour also highlighted the news.

In the meantime, friends wanted to write about our decision:

Former Silver Spring Penguin editor, Jennifer Deseo, has moved on to New York and currently writes The Hyperlocalist. When she heard the news, she kept slapping her knee as she thought about more and more ways a Facebook-only platform could really work, so she wrote Where hyperlocal meets the “like” button.

Rockville Patch editor Sean Sadam contacted us to report on this local news story, Rockville Central Moving To Facebook.

Since Patch is about to become part of the Huffington Post Media Group, the story was picked up by the Huffington Post Rockville Central To Become Facebook-only News Outlet.

Other news outlets also covered the story:

New York Observer: Local News Site Goes Facebook-Only discusses our move and Tumblr (which allows ads) and speculates that if Facebook were to come up with a revenue-sharing arrangement with news sites it could “boost news readership significantly, quantitatively and qualitatively, in all demographics”.

Lost Remote: Community news site to move entirely to Facbook thinks that if our goal is to create community, it’s “brillance”.

Mashable published an extensive article Facebook’s Growing Role In Social Journalism exploring the new world of Facebook and journalism including the events in Egypt and Libya. The piece also describes Rockville Central’s move, in fact it starts with it.

The Mashable piece was picked up and linked by many sources including MacSoftware, Gazelle Interactive, and quite a few others.

A couple of blogs had a few words to say:

Jr Deputy Accountant TLP: Bad News for Paperboys believes someone is lazy.

Zera’s Blog tells us to think “New World Order”.

We drew some attention internationally:

In the Ukraine an article tells of our move to feysbuk:  Facebook-only Media: A Format That Saves Local Projects From the Competition? You will need a translation — and some points might be lost in it!

In the UK: Community News Site To Move Entirely To Facebook where he comments “For online news folks, that may sound absolutely absurd. Suicidal, even. But it may be a stroke of brilliance, especially for part-time hyperlocal sites that arent generating ad revenue. Community is the secret sauce of hyperlocal. The key differentiator.”

The Dutch site De Nieuwe Reporter also wondered if their TMG site would follow in our footsteps: Is The Future Of Local News On Facebook And Hyves?

Our move was even discussed on a tv show:

NBC’s North Carolina Today’s Chit Chat show did a segment on our move which they called a “sign of the times”.

We’ve been asked if we expected this attention and we did not!

When Rockville Central was founded, we made a point of using the free tools we could find, like Blogger. We wanted to be an example of how people could create and share online as a community without a financial investment. Anyone can do it! Hopefully this publicity will inspire many more to try. We hope you will join us on our Facebook page and continue the conversation.

Facebook.com/RockvilleCentral

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Comic Strip: ROCK’burb 2/26/11

This week we announced we would be moving Rockville Central 100% to Facebook. All the news outlets are always looking for the “story” while at Rockville Central we were always seeking to bring people into public life while fostering positive discussions concerning the issues. At least 74% of adults use Facebook so we decided to go where people are congregating. Even though the site is completely accessible without a Facebook account, we hope people will share news, photos, videos, and thoughts as we interact as a community. When I described this comic during an interview with Nieman Journalism Lab‘s Megan Garber, she quoted me as saying “There’s this big party. And we want to be in there.”

About ROCK’burb: Last year we were tossing around ideas for new features on Rockville Central. We thought Saturday morning comics would be fun. Since I’ve always wanted to draw a comic strip, I decided to give it a try. Sometimes an idea pops up in my head and sometimes my whole family thinks up a panel about our lives here in Rockville.

Do you like to draw? We’re hoping we have other cartoonists who would be interested in submitting comic strips. If you have one about life in Rockville, please send it along! We’d love to see it and may even publish it. Remember, be nice! Email us: hello@rockvillecentral.com.

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Rockville Real Estate Listings 2/25/11

Here’s our weekly community-produced real estate listing.

The Gallery Of New Listings contains pictures and descriptions of the new homes on the market as of yesterday, click on this link or the photo above for the information.

Gallery of New Listings contributed by Lisa AbramsRE/MAX Realty Services, (O)301-652-0400, (C)301-437-6742, Lisa@TheAbramsRealtyGroup.com

More information on local real estate is also available from Hillstrom Homes, one of our advertisers. They have a site specifically for Rockville: RockvilleHomes.com.

The data included in this post is a compilation of many different databases obtained from various sources, Rockville Central makes no claims as to its accuracy, you should not assume it is error-free.

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Weekend to Weekend Pick: Chicago!

Everyone’s talking about the Richard Montgomery High School Black Maskers production of Chicago which is opening this weekend! You’ll be sure to enjoy this wonderful production.

Give ’em the old razzle dazzle. Razzle razzle ’em. Give ’em an act with lots of flash in it and the reaction will be passionate.

Chicago has everything that makes a musical shine: a “universal tale of fame, fortune and all that jazz”. You’ll recognize all the show-stopping songs. I hear these students can dance!

FRIDAY February 25
SATURDAY February 26
FRIDAY March 4
SATURDAY March 5

ALL PERFORMANCES AT 7:00 PM

SAVE WITH RESERVED TICKETS IN ADVANCE: ADULTS $13 STUDENTS $5
AT THE DOOR: ADULTS $14, STUDENTS $6

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Contributor Opinion by Art Stigile: Using FOIAs To Intimidate Opponents Of Subsidizing RedGate Is Unacceptable

On Monday morning I sent a press release to the Gazette announcing that I was soliciting signatures on a petition condemning Joe Jordan’s attempt to silence my criticism of using taxpayers’ money to bail out the RedGate golf course, I also announced that additional information is available on my website (www.rocktrash.org).

Here’s a summary of what led me to take this step.

At Citizens’ Forum last summer (and here on Rockville Central), I posed 10 questions to the golfing community about the future of the RedGate golf course. The RedGate Advisory Committee largely ignored these questions on their quest to convince taxpayers that somehow we benefit from the privilege of paying huge subsidies for other people to play golf. September gave way to autumn, and I slipped into my normal budget season schedule of working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. From October through the end of January, I was totally uninvolved in City issues and had no time to follow Mayor and Council action on any issue. I confess that I didn’t even have time to read Rockville Central!

I was gone, but apparently not forgotten. In late January, I was astounded to hear that Joe Jordan, chair of the RedGate Advisory Committee, had filed a FOIA request for all emails between me and Rockville City email addresses. I asked the City for confirmation and received a copy of Mr. Jordan’s FOIA request for my email, and a second FOIA request that he filed asking for email between the City Manager, the City Finance Director, and the Director of Parks and Recreation.

I don’t mind having a vigorous debate about the substance of public policy. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy and respect Rockville Central so much. But going on a fishing expedition for the email of your political opponent, and using City staff as a political punching bag go well beyond anyone’s definition of acceptable political behavior.

So, at the Feb 7th Citizens’ Forum, I spoke out against Mr. Jordan’s tactics, saying “You don’t have to be a political genius to see that Mr. Jordan’s action is designed to intimidate and silence critics of using taxpayers’ dollars to bailout the Golf Course.” I went on to say that his actions are “a perfect example of why many, if not most, Americans view politics with disgust.”

For anyone doubting my characterization of the intent of Mr. Jordan’s FOIAs, I refer you to his statement in the Feb. 16th edition of the Gazette:

“[I asked for it] because of [Stigile’s] outspokenness on the golf course,” he said. “I don’t know [how it will be useful].”

I don’t care how you parse his statement, it says he targeted me because I oppose the golf course bailout.

I thought the public exposure might cause Mr. Jordan to rethink his political tactics. However, late last week, I learned that Mr. Jordan has expanded his FOIA request to cover email through Feb 12th of this year.

As I said at Citizens’ Forum, I fully support Mr. Jordan’s request for copies of my email. He absolutely has a legal right to see public records. In fact, I asked the City on Feb. 7th and again on Monday morning to post all of my email on the City web site, so that everyone can enjoy them.

But just because it’s legal doesn’t make it right. Mr. Jordan represents the City. His political tactics send the wrong message to any resident who wants to participate in the political process and isn’t a life-long fan of the Broad Street Bullies’ brand of hockey. (Sorry Caps fans.) I concluded my remarks at Citizens’ Forum by saying that this kind of politics is not acceptable from someone who represents the City, and I asked the Mayor and Council to discharge Mr. Jordan from his position on the Advisory Committee.

If you are appalled by political intimidation like this, I invite you to go to my website at www.ROCKTRASH.org and sign my petition condemning Mr. Jordan’s behavior.

I hate this kind of politics. It’s cheap and tawdry, and it taints all of us, even when we are pursuing honorable means. But turning our heads only encourages more of the same.

Art Stigile

p.s. I don’t send many emails, and I rarely keep email, so I don’t have copies of all of them. But I’ve posted a few that I have on my website. Enjoy!

This is a Contributor OpinionRockville Central encourages readers to submit such pieces for consideration — the more voices the better. Simply send them to hello@rockvillecentral.com. We ask that all such contributions be civil and we reserve the right to edit (in consultation with the author) or reject. Contributor opinions should not be seen as reflecting opinions held by Rockville Central editors, as they are just as frequently at odds with our own views. That’s the whole point!

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Death Ray Unveiled!

The high winds over the weekend toppled the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse and tore the tarp off the District Courthouse in Rockville.

Early Saturday morning, the winds ripped the $30,000 tarp into pieces. Only one small triangle remained hanging on an upper corner of the building by noon.

Have you found any large white pieces of tarp? Most likely it blew east! One piece was littered the entryway of Rockville City Hall. I didn’t hear of any accidents or destruction from the demise of the tarp. Perhaps large pieces are scattered around town and people don’t know their origin.

As we reported, the Department of General Services of the State of Maryland installed the tarp on Saturday, January 22, 2011 as a temporary measure until a real solution could be found for the high intensity reflection which was destroying surrounding vegetation and melting sections of parked cars.

During the winter, the ray has not been too hot. However, summer is another matter. If you haven’t experienced it yet, you should. The intensity is pretty amazing.

Will the State pay for another tarp which could easily be destroyed again? Have they found a solution to the problem? Since the six-story curtain was purchased, they must not have devised a quick fix.

Another death ray exists in Las Vegas. A high-tech film to cover the windows of the Vdara Hotel was not completely effective last September. Since that death ray was burning people and scorching their hair at the pool below, they added more umbrellas!

We would need a pretty big umbrella on Vinson Street!

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Rockville Real Estate Listings 2/19/11

Here’s our weekly community-produced real estate listing, along with a graph showing the low stock of housing listings.

The Gallery Of New Listings contains pictures and descriptions of the new homes on the market as of last Thursday, click on this link or the photo above for the information.

Neighborhood Facts:

As you can see by the graph….new listings vs. active listings are way down. 6 to 9 months worth of inventory is healthy. Montgomery County has less than 4 months worth of inventory, which is an unhealthy low. To give you a comparison Florida has 60 months worth of inventory!

Gallery of New Listings and Neighborhood Facts contributed by Lisa AbramsRE/MAX Realty Services, (O)301-652-0400, (C)301-437-6742, Lisa@TheAbramsRealtyGroup.com

More information on local real estate is also available from Hillstrom Homes, one of our advertisers. They have a site specifically for Rockville: RockvilleHomes.com.

If you are a local real estate broker and you would like to send along the details and a picture of one of your new listings, please email hello@rockvillecentral.com and we’ll feature it. Keep in mind, Rockville Central accepts contributions on all sorts of things. The data included in this post is a compilation of many different databases obtained from various sources, Rockville Central makes no claims as to its accuracy, you should not assume it is error-free.

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Tax Free This Weekend For Energy Star Products Plus Info For Loans, Nonprofits And Businesses

In the current issue of Energy InfoWIRE, The Montgomery County Energy Programs Team reminds us that this weekend is Maryland’s Tax Free Weekend for Certain ENERGY STAR Products. Marylanders will get a break from the state’s 6 percent sales tax on qualifying ENERGY STAR products from February 19 to 21, 2011. During Shop Maryland Energy weekend, the following ENERGY STAR products are tax free:

  • Air conditioners
  • Clothes washers and dryers
  • Furnaces
  • Heat pumps
  • Boilers
  • Solar water heaters (tax-exempt at all times now)
  • Standard size refrigerators
  • Dehumidifiers
  • Programmable thermostats
  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs

Learn more at: http://www.comp.state.md.us/shopmd/default.asp

Here’s some other detailed information to help you save and go green:

Maryland Clean Energy Center Home Energy Loan Program

The Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC) is offering loans for projects that increase the energy efficiency of participating residences who qualify for financing. Unsecuritized loans are available for up to $20,000 at a 6.99% interest rate. Measures typically include insulation and HVAC equipment upgrades but are not necessarily limited to these improvements. Property must be a single family detached or townhome and be a primary residence. Homeowners must have a complete home energy audit to determine the scope and cost of potential projects. Auditors must be MCEC approved and certified. Contact MCEC for any other information on this program.
Learn more at: the MCEC Loan Program Website

NonProfit Energy Alliance – Helping NonProfits Reduce Energy Costs and Purchase Clean Energy

The Nonprofit Energy Alliance (NPEA) is an informal group of nonprofits united for the purpose of using their collective power to obtain cheaper and greener electricity. Since NPEA’s kick-off in May 2010, 26 nonprofits are saving between 10 and 20% on their energy bills, totaling an estimated $250,000. NonProfit Montgomery, the NonProfit Roundtable, the Montgomery County Arts and Humanities Council and Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light (GWIPL) are now organizing the third Alliance (NPEA III) . Participation is open to any nonprofit in DC or Suburban MD that pays for electricity as an owner or renter.

Bethesda Green Launches Greening Condos Series

Bethesda Green, ecobeco, and event sponsors are presenting a free series of panel discussions focusing on greening condominiums. The five monthly sessions are scheduled at Bethesda Green on the first Wednesday every month through July. Sessions will start at 7 pm with networking and light appetizers. Formal presentations begin at 7:15 pm and conclude at 8:30 pm. Greening Condos targets residents, boards, property managers, and companies that provide green services to condominiums. The goal is to make it easier for residents to take action to improve their building’s environmental impact, to save energy, and to lower their utility bills for both units and common areas.

Montgomery County Green Business Certification

The Montgomery County Green Business Certification Program is an exciting initiative to help and recognize businesses and organizations that voluntarily go above and beyond basic day to day green office measures to reduce their environmental impact. Certified businesses are listed in the County’s online Green Business Directory and showcased through press releases, short videos and other promotional activities. To date, the Program has certified 23 organizations ranging in size and diversity from a multi-national hotel chain to a small orthodontics office. The Program has also attracted the attention of close to 20 jurisdictions across North America, including Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Montgomery College provides on-going training courses.

The Montgomery College Going Green website can assist businesses in making the changes necessary to get certified.

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What You Need To Know About Presidents Day

This Monday, February 21, 2011, our Country will observe Presidents Day. Traffic reports were light this morning so many people might have already left town especially since it’s going to be a beautiful weekend. But if you are here on Monday, here’s what you need to know.

All of the following will be closed:

Rockville City Hall
Rockville Civic Center Park offices, including Glenview Mansion and Glenview Mansion Art Gallery
The F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre and Box Office
Rockville Senior Center
Montgomery County Offices
Montgomery County Libraries
Montgomery County liquor stores
MCPS Administrative Offices
State offices
State courts

Believe it our not, you can still get rid of your trash on Monday. The City of Rockville’s recycling and refuse will be collected as scheduled. Also the Transfer Station will open.

If you want to get out and shop or socialize, parking fees at meters and the three City-owned garages in Town Square will be suspended. Parking at Montgomery County public garages, lots, curbside meters will also be free.

These fun Rockville facilities will be open as follows:
Thomas Farm Community Center will open 6 a.m.-9:30 p.m
Lincoln Park Community Center will open 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Twinbrook Community Recreation Center will open 6 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Croydon Creek Nature Center will open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (opening for the holiday).
RedGate Municipal Golf Course will open, weather permitting.
Rockville Swim and Fitness Center will open 6 a.m.-9 p.m.

Public Transportation:
Ride On – special modified holiday schedule
Metrobus – Saturday schedule with supplemental service
Metrorail – Saturday schedule (5 a.m. to midnight)
TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) – closed

In honor of the holiday, maybe we can all learn one thing about a President. Seems like we should observe the holiday in some fashion!

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Weekend to Weekend Pick: Hakka

What Do You Know About Hakka? Learn all about the Hakka Culture of China this Saturday.

VisArts at Rockville
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Special Tung-Fa Music Performance: Noon – 3 PM
Lecture 2-3 PM
FREE

Discover the Hakka culture; who they are and their characteristics. Take part in a Hakka activity. This native Chinese culture migrated across Asia, learn about the immigration, as well as cuisines, architecture, and dance with Dr. Teresa Lee, Dr. Eugenia Shyu, & Dr. Leo Liu. Presented by the Hakka Association of Greater Washington DC.

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