SIKESTON - After more than a year in publication, the Sikeston Scanner is still going strong.
"This is the second year. We started it in September 2003," said Linda Lowes, director of governmental services for the city and editor for the city's monthly newsletter.
"We hit our deadline every month," Lowes said. "It is a commitment but it's something the council, the mayor and the city manager want done. They want the information out to the citizens so it's something we're committed to doing."
The newsletter is almost entirely an electronic publication with most of its audience receiving it via e-mail. "That's our primary method of distribution," Lowes said. "It's the most cost-effective way for us to do this."
Anyone may become a subscriber by calling City Hall or sending an e-mail, Lowes said: "We will be happy to put them on our distribution list and they will receive it every month."
Lowes said the Sikeston Scanner can also be obtained by links on the city's Web site at www.sikeston.org and a few printed copies are placed at the Sikeston Library each month.
In addition to being the editor, Lowes is also the publication's sole writer, working with department heads who gather facts for her and provide people for Lowes to interview.
Lowes sends each new edition of the Sikeston Scanner to the city manager and mayor for review, "then I send it to our information technology department and they convert it into a readable format for the Internet and e-mail," she said. Rhonda Council, administrative assistant for the city, is in charge of distribution through e-mail.
To come up with a name for the newsletter, Lowes polled city employees for ideas. Kris Greene, input specialist/program trainer, came up with the winning name and masthead design. "I just thought it sounded good together, those two words," Greene said. "You can 'scan' the information and get an idea of what's going on in the city."
Putting the newsletter together each month is extra work but Lowes said she has been pleased with how the Sikeston Scanner has been received.
"That's the part I like the most - the feedback I get from the individuals who read it," she said.
The Sikeston Scanner is just another way of showing that the city's employees and managers are aware of the community's needs and recognize their purpose is "to provide quality service to the citizens of Sikeston," Lowes said.
In addition to city employees, many others subscribe "just to see what's going on," Lowes said, "both residents in Sikeston and past residents who have relocated."
Most issues of the Sikeston Scanner include timely features, "what the buzz is in this community at the time," Lowes said.
For example, when city officials were proposing a 10-year sales tax, "we needed to get information out to the community," she recalled. "While we couldn't ask people to vote for it, we could provide information."
Lowes said she likes the pieces that focus on city employees the most.
"We can feature the people that are down there doing the work, getting their hands dirty," she said. "We can show who these people are and their contribution to the city."