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News, updates, and announcements from Code for Asheville
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SunshineRequest.com Launches!

 

Making a public records request from government agencies can be a complicated and intimidating process. Sunshine Request turns it in to a simple form in a single place. Learn more below.

Upcoming events & opportunities

UNITE WNC
Ever wonder what WNC will look like in 10 years? It's time to write the next chapter in WNC's history to include technology alongside tourism and beer. Attend and participate in the UNITE WNC tech summit March 31-April 1. We need your voice and experience to help shape where we are headed. Whether you are a tech worker, entrepreneur, investor, educator, student, or policy maker, your voice counts! Register here.
 

Monthly Community Meetup
Our next monthly community meetup will be at 5:30pm on April 13th at the Shiloh Recreation center. We'll have more information as we get closer. RSVP on Meetup

Sunshine Request Launches

Last week was Sunshine Week and the folks at PRC Applications celebrated by launching SunshineRequest.com, a site that makes it easier for citizens to make public records requests.

The site offers a single simple form for making requests to any government entity (with the City of Asheville and Buncombe County as specific drop-down options). It serves as a proxy for citizens, both simplifying the request process and allowing requests to be made anonymously.

Sunshine Request also acts as a repository of requests submitted to various government entities since every request is posted publicly for the benefit of everyone.

The platform is intended to address several different goals:

  • Help citizens to learn more about our government, while making it as simple as possible to request public information. The Sunshine Request team takes care of all the legwork of getting a request fulfilled, while allowing citizens to see and understand the full lifecycle of a request.
  • Improve transparency and accountability through easy access to public information.
  • Save staff time for government entities by reducing duplicated efforts, and by improving the quality and specificity of records requests.

SunshineRequest.com is the brainchild of Patrick Conant, a member of Code for Asheville and open government advocate. Patrick has helped several community groups with their public records requests, and saw the potential of a platform to publish and share not just the public records themselves, but all communications that lead to a successful request.

The site was designed by Holden Meek, with the goal of making an important government function more inviting to citizens. Sunshine Request is a community project of PRC Applications, a "uniquely different" web company that dedicates 20% of their time towards community technology projects, including the NC Megaphone and AVLPark.

News from @code4asheville

CfA in the News
Code for Asheville made the national news with an article in GovTech Magazine: How 'Code for Asheville' has Changed the City’s Civic Coding Dynamic.

Open Data Day Recap
If you missed our Open Data Day event, check out the recap of the day's activities on our blog. Both we and City of Asheville staff will be following up on the ideas raised in the discussions there.

News from the network

Data for Democracy
Started as an experiment last December, Data for Democracy recently crossed the 1000-member threshold. Intended to be "an active, passionate community of people using data to drive better decisions and improve the world in which we live," the organization provides an interesting grass-roots complement to local brigades working on more local issues. 

Check out their onboarding page on Github.
 

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