Our View: Hoop dreams

Our View: Hoop dreams
(Stock photo)

The University of Georgia’s “two-peat” as college football champs on Monday night ended the college football season, and while the NFL playoffs are just starting this weekend, the high school football season is also over. With baseball’s spring training more than a month away, that leaves basketball and hockey as the main sports underway right now.

To localize the current season, the Times is embarking on a monthlong look at high school basketball in Alexandria, beginning in this week’s issue. In our page one story, “Hoops season in the Port City,” Alexandria City High School graduate Gwen Peace examines the boys’ basketball teams at four high schools in the city: Episcopal, Bishop Ireton, St. Stephens and St. Agnes School and ACHS. All four teams have winning records at this point in the season, which is no small feat.

Next week, Peace will present a similar roundup of the girls’ teams from those four schools. In the weeks following, look for feature stories on current and former players who attend or attended high school in Alexandria.

These narratives represent a deliberate effort on our part to present Times readers with more sports coverage, both of local teams and of individual athletes themselves, in 2023. We plan to utilize writers with sports expertise to enhance the quality of these stories. We hope you enjoy our expanded coverage of these disciplined and accomplished current and former Alexandria residents.

The small things

Kudos to the City of Alexandria on its website redesign. It’s visually appealing, easy to navigate and provides helpful at-a-glance information.

Businesses need to be constantly reinventing and improving their service and offerings to stay competitive. Governments often have less of an incentive to innovate, since they are not driven by the same profit/survival motive.

But a smart local government is aware that prospective visitors and businesses, as well as current residents, benefit from being easily able to access information about the city. An appealing and easy-to-use website helps a city both attract and retain businesses and residents.

In this particular redesign, tabs and pages that were already present, such as the “Government” tab that provides links to city council and other board and commission meetings, look fresh and are easy to read. The “Today” column on the right side of the home page provides useful information about the status of government functions on a given day.

The rest of the front page consists of boxes with photos on important current topics presented much like a news organization site, while the bottom of the home page features quick links to information about things like taxes and trash/recycling schedules.

We particularly like the “Get to Know Us” box at the bottom right, which features a nutshell profile of a city employee, in this case Deputy City Manager Emily Baker. Government can often seem monolithic and faceless; making our local government seem less remote is a positive step.

Yes, a website redesign is small in the grand scheme of things. Yet it’s also reflective of an institution that’s looking to improve. This is well done.