The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

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    ‘Get Outside Toolkit’ helps residents explore their cities

    Nov. 24, 2015, 12:15 p.m., Posted by Vignesh Ramachandran

    Photo above: Swede Hollow Park in St. Paul, Minn. by Teresa Boardman on Flickr.

    It was a recent winter in St. Paul, Minn., when Jennifer Strahan was trying to find a place to take her then-4-year-old daughter to play. Strahan said it took her a half-hour to navigate websites and dive into PDFs to find the right information about which specific parks and recreation centers had indoor spaces and were open.

    That led Strahan to ask: Why isn’t there an app that lists parks and recreation options near you at any time?

    Enter the “Get Outside Toolkit,” an app framework that lets cities easily create a platform to inform residents about local parks, events and recreational opportunities. It was created by GreenInfo Network, a nonprofit that develops geospatial technology to support public interest groups and agencies. (GreenInfo Network has proven experience with mapping projects for public use: In California, the organization created the most detailed database in the nation that includes data for protected land in the state.)

    The toolkit received $47,700 in 2013 from the Knight Prototype Fund during the Knight News Challenge on Open Gov. Since then it has developed into a robust, digital platform. This summer, the city of St. Paul, one of 26 Knight communities, adopted the toolkit, so residents on the go can now find parks, amenities and recreational events in a simple online interface.

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    Wyncode Academy taps latest Pitch Day winners

    Nov. 23, 2015, noon, Posted by Juha Mikkola

    Photos by David Salazar from Dark Matter Collective.

    The LAB Miami in the Wynwood Arts District buzzed with energy as the Miami Tech community came together for Wyncode’s Pitch Day VII on Thursday night.

    From humble beginnings, Wyncode Pitch Day has grown to a quarterly gathering of the who's who of Miami tech, with attendance growing from just under 100 people to well over 200 now. Pitch Day is where Wyncoders present  full stack Web applications, or apps, that they built from the ground up in their final two weeks of training.

    The night started with a networking hour, where Wyncode’s hiring partners met the current crop of Wyncoders before their pitches. Wyncode also hosted a special meet and greet for applicants interested in attending Wyncode and meeting face to face with Miami tech influencers.

    Pitch Day VII was extra special as it marked the graduation for the first two Future Leaders of Tech Scholarship award winners, Henry Arbolaez and Arielle Dickey-Louis. Thanks to support from Knight Foundation, the Future Leaders of Tech Scholarship provides two deserving students per cohort an opportunity to attend Wyncode at no cost. Knight Foundation Miami Program Director Matt Haggman, along with Henry and Arielle, announced the next two Future Leaders of Tech Scholarship award winners, Jermaine Lang and Aldrin Bustos.

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    Cox Capitol Theatre comes into its own as a venue for live and local acts in Macon, Ga.

    Nov. 23, 2015, 9:52 a.m., Posted by Y-O Latimore

    Photo: A performance at the Cox Capitol Theatre in Macon, Ga. Photo by Flickr user Nicole Kibert.

    Almost a century ago, the Capitol Theatre opened up in downtown Macon, Ga. to show movies on a big screen. For approximately six decades, the venue thrived, surrounded by retail stores and restaurants. There was no such thing as a mall, and people went downtown to conduct business and frolic. The Capitol was in the midst of it all. After the birth of shopping centers and malls, however, many businesses moved their establishments. The Capitol Theatre, too, shut its doors and remained closed for nearly 30 years.

    Eventually, the theater was revitalized by a group of concerned citizens who dedicated their time to bringing it back to life. The location is now known as the Cox Capitol Theatre, and it is one of the main venues that pumps vitality into the city.

    Since the Cox Capitol Theatre, a Knight Foundation grantee, reopened in 2006, there have been some challenges and a series of management changes. However, the Moonhanger Group–which owns the Rookery, Dovetail and H&H restaurants–is now managing the venue, and they have created a buzz around the theater by booking live acts and supporting independent artists.

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