Changing Our Look

Though the site is mainly about the content, every once in awhile there’s a temptation to try on a new outfit. It’s not just about looks, either, but about updating so’s maybe we can test a couple different widgets and add pages.

Over time I’ve loaded up on themes I like. This week I’ll activate a few, so the site will look different every day or two. Some of them might look a little busy after 4-1/2 years of the relatively uncluttered Binary Bonsai. (OK, maybe a lot busy.) My main requirement is that it looks OK in a variety of browsers. Also, I’m pretty sure I’ll stick with a two-column format. Outside of those things I haven’t made any decisions yet, so if you care feel free to give me your two cents in the comments.

This first candidate is fairly tame (as in: not much different) and called RCG Forest. I really like the overall readability of it, and given enough time I might figure out how to exchange the forest view with a barbed wire graphic.

Update 5/4: Today’s theme is called Seasons. It changes automatically four times per year. I like the archiving and will try to add it no matter what we end up with.

Update 5/6: Now here’s something different. Thursday’s theme is Morning Coffee.

Boone County Watchdog

Citybarbs is fixing to say goodbye to the Wogen Watch blog and wouldn’t you know it, here’s another to take its place on the blogroll.

Check out the Boone County Watchdog run by Bill Pysson, who also has an interesting story to tell as a former District 100 School Board candidate. Pysson is prolific, mixing in-depth articles on Boone County government with summaries and links to stories of regional and statewide interest daily.

Boone County is where the idea for the water authority referendum came from, isn’t it? And I believe they have a stake in whether or not DeKalb County expands/builds a jail? We ought to be keeping an eye on them anyway, then. *wink*

Citybarbs Celebrates 4

In early November 2005, Joe Croft plunked down $117 for a year of web hosting and posted an article about growth, sprawl and logistics in DeKalb.

The topics change but the need stays the same. Yesterday I renewed the hosting service for another year, and you know what? I’m still pumped. I feel like we’ve barely begun plumbing the potential of hyperlocal blogs in DeKalb.

Many, many thanks to the folks who have posted articles, lurked, left comments and/or contacted me behind the scenes.



UPDATE 10/11: I’ve upgraded WordPress and databases. Let’s try normal comment procedures again.

Two CB friends have reported trouble signing in, so for the moment I’ve adjusted the settings to lift the requirement to sign in before commenting. Please let me know if something is glitchy.

The Return of Wogen Watch

The Wogen Watch blog is back in response to Alderman Victor Wogen’s arrest on domestic violence charges and to the question of where he is living.

So far, I’ve spoken at a Council meeting about the residency issue, blogged it and sent a letter to the editor. I hope I won’t be the Lone Ranger in this, because it’s just too easy to marginalize one old lady as hopelessly eccentric, or a former contender for office as Vendetta Queen. If you care that Wogen hasn’t been made to inform his constituents whether he has vacated the ward in which he was elected, or feel that Council is shirking its responsibilities to set deadlines for correcting his address of record and (if necessary) for his return to the ward, please help by writing your own letters to the editor and enlisting others’ participation as well.

My next step will be to return Wogen Watch to the CB blogroll.

Illinois’ Own Darn Fault

According to Pro Publica, Illinois is the 16th state to have to borrow to keep paying out unemployment benefits, but — just as is true of the City of DeKalb — the primary problem apparently is not due to the state of the economy:

Going into the recession, Illinois had a dangerously low level of reserves, a situation that’s gone on for years. Indeed, Illinois was forced to borrow federal money in 2005, relatively good economic times.

To make matters worse, the tax rate on employers was not high enough to sustain benefits paid, let alone to accumulate a safe level of reserves to prepare it for a recession — even one much milder than the current train wreck.

The graphs will make you want to hurl. Check them out anyway, to reinforce your sense of urgency to put some grownups in office at the earliest opportunity. Continue reading Illinois’ Own Darn Fault

We’ve Been Hacked

The site has been compromised. In response, I’ll have to make the update I’ve been putting off. We’ll have better security but will probably lose the comments (hence the reluctance to update). See you soon.

Testing, Testing

Accompanying rises in readership are rises in spammership. For the first time I am trying out some words to be blocked but do not know how much of a match there has to be for a comment to be completely nuked. Could regular posters please comment using just one of the following words: “corn,” “enable,” “pen,” or “stupor” and see if they get through. Thanks!