Monthly Archives: November 2014

Last night the 8th Annual Borscht Supper was held at the Gospel Chapel. We arrived near the end and there was still good food to be had – we enjoyed not only the food but the service and company. And it was clear who was volunteering. Thanks to the volunteers from the Gospel Chapel and Grand Forks Fire Rescue for helping show this a warm and caring Community.

CAO Doug Allin Exits

Doug Allin has left his position as the Chief Administrative Officer of the City of Grand Forks .

The contractual particulars of this decision are in-camera at this time so we cannot tell you them. If you’re looking for speculation and rumour mongering over why this has taken place, please look in other places. You won’t find that here.

Clerk of the city Diane Heinrich will be taking on the duties as a interim CAO for the next 6 months while the city works on filling the position. It’s a critical position within the city administration – this is the person who actually runs the town. So it’s important to find a person who is technically qualified and capable of fulfilling the duties.

Many in town will miss Doug. He is intelligent, highly capable and, unlike a predecessor (Mr. Kumar), was approachable by anyone. He could clearly communicate and articulate concepts and plans to the members of council, media and the public.

We wish him well in his future endeavours.

UPDATE: In an earlier version of this article the use of the word predecessor would have left readers thinking I meant Lynne Burch. That is not the case and it was a mistake to publish it that way. Ms. Burch was approachable and capable. I apologize to Ms. Burch for this mistake.

Website Experiencing Technical Difficulties

ATTENTION: We currently are experiencing a site malfunction. Some of the posted articles with embedded videos in them will not show as designed. Specifically, the videos will not be viewable, they do not even show up. This does not affect most articles, only a subset. We are working on a solution to this, please bear with us.

Details: Most of the videos you see on this site come from storage in one of two places, YouTube or Amazon. Everything we put up on YouTube costs us nothing and integrates easily into the site. All our live webcasting ends up there. But some of our video we put on Amazon’s S3 storage space which costs money. And is not so simply integrated with our site’s software. These are the videos which are currently not visible. And most of them are city council meetings.

Why use Amazon if YouTube is free and easy?

We started using Amazon back when YouTube would not let us post anything longer than 10 minutes. Amazon’s S3 / CloudFront services were the most cost effective way to do this. And as you might have noticed from the lack of advertising, cost drives choice around here.

When we present you with the video record of a meeting that lasts 3 hours we try to provide easy/quick access navigation buttons so you can easily jump to a place in the video you want. That way you don’t have to scroll through all the stuff before it or hunt to find it. Just find the button with the part you want on the label and click.

This kind of functionality does not come easy. And with YouTube there are two choices of how to do it and neither ‘works for us’. With the JWPlayer we could provide a rudimentary version that suited our purposes and allowed us to stream out of Amazon S3 bucket through Amazon’s CloudFront service. It’s a bit of work but serviceable.

When we purchased the JWPlayer the cost was a single one time purchase. Since then that vendor has moved to a newer version with yearly subscription pricing. We’ve held off migrating because of the cost and the old one still functioned. Well the other day we found that it had stopped working. And support for it has stopped back in May so we’re on our own in fixing or replacing it.

This will take a little time, please bear with us as we search for a solution that balances functionality, economy and suitability.

  • Les Johnson
  • Nov 24, 2014