SIKESTON -- People like to know what's going on in their community. And they like to have the details as soon as possible.
This local, instantaneous news is what has made Sikeston InfoLink a popular desktop information over the past two and a half years. Since its inception in July 2004, over 1,000 users have subscribed to the free service, which connects PC users to commonly used informational sites.
"I think the best thing is the access to the radar and also being connected directly with the city government as far as any emergencies or other information," said Kris Greene, information technology technician and Webmaster for the City of Sikeston.
The desktop alert application provides current temperature and other weather conditions, notification of local public safety alerts, road and school closings, Missouri AMBER alerts, the current Homeland Security level and links to city of Sikeston meetings and other Web sites. It can run fully open on the desktop or as a minimized application.
Users are alerted of updates by a siren sound on their computer; and news is also transmitted by "crawls" on the bottom of their screens, "alerting citizens of gas leaks, water leaks, major accidents, school closings and local AMBER alerts," Greene said.
Information can also be personalized to one's address and a crawl can be sent only to a specific ward or area of town, Greene added.
Weather conditions can be checked from a user's pick of several different sites, including Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff, Carbondale, Ill., Marion, Ky., and Paducah, Ky., said Doug Shaw, information systems administrator. "They're all approved weather stations," he said.
He and others are working to provide another choice -- from a Sikeston site. Shaw said BMU is planning to put in a new station at one of the existing BMU facilities. "That way we can pull all of our current weather conditions off of our own weather station," he said.
One of the best aspects of InfoLink is one that goes mostly unseen -- a database on the Department of Public Safety's servers with pictures and statistics on children Greene obtains at the YMCA's Health Days. "Should a child be abducted or lost, we can issue a local AMBER alert," she said.
The program is the result of a partnership between the city and the Sikeston Board of Municipal Utilities. It's implementation came about at Greene's suggestion.
The company is adding more features, including video capabilities, which Greene said will later be available here in Sikeston.
For more information or to subscribe to InfoLink, go to www.sikeston.org.