Local News

Communities Using the Web to Keep Connected

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DURHAM — Cookouts and swapping stories on the front porch -- it is the way many of us keep up with the latest neighborhood news. Others catch up through newsletters. Now, communities have found a new way to stay connected.

The Old West Durham neighborhood is rich in history. Neighbors are building a new community on the World Wide Web.

"It helps communicate more visually than we could by telling them," says Pam Spaulding.

The neighborhood association went high-tech about two years ago. It is up to Spaulding to make sure her neighbors are wired to the latest community news.

"People now see there's an identity," says Spaulding. She says the site is a way to get news out quickly and it offers valuable information.

"What it can do is provide resources -- city resources -- how to contact animal control, the police, the fire department," she says.

The site is used to announce neighborhood meetings and yard sales. It is also a very modern way of preserving history.

"Why were these homes built and who were these people? I think the Web site helps you know that."

Kathleen Graves has learned a lot about her neighborhood and her neighbors through the Internet.

"It's given a sense of pride in the community. [When] we have a neighborhood cleanup, Pam always gets pictures and puts them on the Web site," says Graves.

The neighborhood Web site cannot replace the front porch and getting to know your neighbors face to face, but it can add another dimension to the community.

On Tuesday, the Old West Durham neighborhood will be recognized as a local legacy at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. Its entry was compiled from information on its Web site.

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Julia Lewis, Reporter
Adrienne Traxinger, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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