New website keeps people connected

PLATTSBURGH It started with a simple idea: provide the community with a Web site that would give people access to local information and a venue to discuss topics of local concern. With that, Plattsburgh Pipeline was born. This week, the grassroots Web site, www.plattsburghpipeline.com, officially launched, amid buzz of the site that had been generating since it first went on-line in April. The sites creators, Scott Osika, Brian Kinney and Matt Drollette, have been working around the clock to iron out every last detail to provide visitors with an unparalleled look at the city by the lake. We wanted something better for the community, said Osika. We noticed that the community didnt have a strong Web resource for our town to have local businesses and everyone communicate. This town has so much to offer, yet there wasnt much of anything on the Internet offering anything to the public. The site started out as a blog an on-line discussion regarding politics and grew from there, said Osika. Kinney and Drollette took notice of the Web site and the three soon formed a partnership to pursue developing a broader-based site. The site began with a directory of local businesses, organizations and government agencies, with the idea that larger Internet search engines, while informational, lacked a local appeal, said Osika. If you search sites like Google, theyre not from here. They dont know whats going on, explained Osika. Were from here and we know the address is going to be right, the phone number is going to be right. Its more localized and run by local residents. The ever-growing directory was soon followed by links to stories by local news media and community message boards where users can create topics of discussion and post comments on topics created by others. The message boards the topics of which run the gamut from city issues to the paranormal and beyond the great beyond give the community a chance to interact with one another in the virtual world and have their opinions heard, said Osika. Its a good way for citizens to get together to discuss things of common interest, he said. People can post every day, all day, about issues that concern them most. Its just another way to have the community involved. In order to keep the community aware of how they can get involved, an interactive community calendar was also created for the site. Even prior to the Web sites official launch, organizations ranging from the Plattsburgh Public Library to the Clinton County Historical Association and even City Hall had events listed for the public. We just want to flood everybody with information, said Kinney, whose business, KBS Computer Consulting provides hosting for the Web site. And for businesses, this can only help promote them. In terms of promotion, said Osika, local bands are turning to the Web site for free publicity in both the calendar and Plattsburgh Pipelines own Internet radio station. The sites music section was developed with the intention of helping promote local talent in bands like Elephant Bear, Shameless Strangers, Lucid and Hello Control. The section is expected to expand to include artists in the Burlington and Montreal areas as well, he said. The broadcasting ability extends beyond their own Web site, said Osika, as Plattsburgh Pipeline Radio can also be found on iTunes Radio under the Rock section, which he feels will ultimately benefit bands who might otherwise be unheard of in other parts of the globe. Its helping them get their music out to more people, said Osika. And theyre not just reaching this area, theyre reaching the whole world. The three said there is much on the horizon for Plattsburgh Pipeline as the site continues to build momentum. A service currently under development is a grocery delivery service that will be accessible through the Web site. This will help people who cant get out for some reason they dont have a car, theyre older, said Kinney. And, even for college students. Once up and running, the service will allow visitors to the site to simply click on items from participating grocery stores to fill a virtual shopping cart and have the items delivered to their doors. The service, Kinney said, will likely begin prior to college students returning later this summer. The different facets of the Web site combined, said Osika, will ultimately benefit the people its meant to serve. Its all about keeping it local and keeping our money local, he said. If more local businesses keep that money here and not support corporate America, youre going to have more jobs created in the area. Were all about bettering our community, he added. We see a lot of potential in our city and a need for more resources out there to help better it. Its all about making Plattsburgh a better place.

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