Bradford keeps them connected
Gary Bradford is doing his bit to transform the sea of new houses in Plumas Lake into a real community of homes.
With no businesses and no government agencies solely responsible for governing Yuba County's fastest-growing area, Bradford felt there was a need to find a way to bring residents together.
“There was a need for there to be some way to do some information sharing,” said Bradford, a Plumas Lake resident since November 2002. “People here needed a way to find things out, whether asking when we are going to get some shopping here or how levee work is going or when they are going to build an overpass on Highway 70.”
Bradford is the originator of an increasingly popular Web site designed by him as a resident of Plumas Lake for the people of Plumas Lake.
“A lot of people in the community moved from the Sacramento area, and a lot of them still really don't know much about Yuba-Sutter,” said Bradford, who moved his family from the Natomas area of Sacramento.
The Web site - www.plumaslake.info/cms/ - provides updates on issues of community interest, activities in the two Plumas Lake schools and a blog that Bradford said has helped people get to know each other.
Bradford's site, along with another site (www.plumaslakemoms.com) hosted by the Plumas Lake Moms organization seems to have helped develop a sense of community amid the new houses along Highway 70.
“I would say they have helped,” Bradford said. “Because the community is so new and isolated, I didn't feel at first there was a sense of community.
“But already I know many more of my neighbors than I did in Natomas,” he said.
Bradford, who works for IBM, said he started the site last December when he received a free domain name and software in connection with a church Web site he also hosts.
“I thought this would be a good idea,” Bradford said. “The biggest issue was getting the word out.”
He put out small neighborhood signs to tell people about the site and reached agreement with business owners to set up links on each other's sites.
Stephanie McLaughlin, a resident of Plumas Lake since July 2004, said she appreciates having the Web site as a source of information. She said she usually checks the site every other day, sometimes more frequently.
“A lot of us can't attend community meetings and those who do will post an update,” McLaughlin said. “I am very appreciative that it is there.”
McLaughlin said discussions on the blog - whether it be the latest on levee work or possible new businesses or gossip about neighbors who don't keep up their yards - is a point of discussion with her neighbors.
Bradford said the discussion is generally friendly.
“A couple of times there has been stuff that is borderline, but the only time I have had to delete anything was one time when someone came in and put porn all over the site,” he said. As long as people are being respectful, I don't want to censor their right to free speech.”
Bradford admitted that activity was slow in the early going.
Last December, there were only hits from a dozen separate computers. But now on a typical day there are about 150 hits a day, with the highest earlier this month at 191.
“The main focus is to get the word out,” Bradford said. “The more people know about it, the more useful it becomes.”
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