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New Castle Enters Digital Age with New Website

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. - New Castle town officials are now only a wall post away. The town unveiled its new governmental website Tuesday, which is designed to be more user-friendly and integrate social media applications, such as Facebook and Twitter.

"This is web 2.0. This is social networking at its best," said Chris Vaccaro, who will be maintaining the site. "If someone that’s reading this wants to tell their neighbors or their Facebook friends, all they have to do is click on this like button and it will get posted on their wall. The website’s now a communications device."

Vaccaro and New Castle Community Media Center volunteer Lyle Anderson worked with the town on expanding its online presence. The town's previous site had not been updated since 2008.

"Three years in the Internet world is like a decade," Anderson said. "It's become cumbersome to maintain, and I started talking to Penny (Paderewski) and Jill (Shapiro) in the middle of last year saying it's time to revitalize."

Along with being difficult to maintain, Anderson thought the changes were necessary for not-so-savvy Internet users who were having difficulties navigating the site.

"It’s complicated for the outsider to figure out what these departments do and we weren't helping them any with the website," Anderson said. "We think we (solved) the problem with this version of the site, and we are all pretty excited about it."

The site was designed for users to be able to reach their target destination in only three clicks. Social media also will be integrated throughout the site, with automated posts being sent out to Twitter and Facebook.

A new business directory has been added to the site for local merchants that are interested in listing their stores. "It's free advertising," Anderson said.

The update also will simplify electronic transactions, such as paying bills or taxes, as well as making forms available in PDF form to download.

The site, which is currently only available in beta form , is expected to go live Sunday or Monday. The Facebook page , however, is currently up and running. Anderson hopes to receive feedback from residents on ways to further improve the design.

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