Government, big and small

My Favorite Web Sites - Winchester Star - 8/30/01
 by Martin Zombeck

This is a bi-weekly column providing an annotated list of Web sites that may be of interest to the community. Each column will list sites that belong to a particular category: search engines, art, online newspapers and magazines, health and medicine, history, business and economics, etc. or sites relevant to a particular season, for example, skiing or gardening. Most sites will be non-commercial. To make it easier to access the sites, each bi-weekly column will be posted on the Town of Winchester's Web site so that the sites can be accessed and bookmarked without having to be typed. Previous columns will be archived at the Winchester site, also.

I started developing the Winchester Web site about five years ago. My initial concept was to develop a site that would provide one-stop-shopping for encyclopedic information and also serve as a virtual town hall, open seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. The virtual town hall would provide meeting schedules and minutes, application forms, election results, names, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses of town officials and board and committee members, department Web pages, town services, budget information, documents, community events calendar, voter registration information, and more. I was met by incredulity by one town official when I explained my volunteer project - "Why are you doing this? Why doesn't the town have an official site?" - My reply to the first question was easy - "The town doesn't have a site." The second question can still be asked. The answer lies with Town Hall, not with me. I have spent a couple of hundred hours a year maintaining the unofficial Winchester Web site. However, I have failed in my second goal of providing a virtual town hall. I have been unsuccessful in my attempts to extract sufficient information from the physical town hall in order to populate the Web site with information to create a comprehensive virtual town hall. Nevertheless, what information is available on the Web is presented below along with state and federal government Web sites.


Town Town Hall Web site.

Inside Web version of the very comprehensive Winchester's League of Women Voter's Handbook of Town Government, Services, and Education.

Profile of of the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community and Development (DHCD). Geography, demographics, housing characteristics, education, economic development, transportation, culture and recreation, municipal finance.

Winchester information from state and wages, school listings, State aid (Cherry sheet), Winchester school and district profiles, and more.


Commonwealth of official site lists informational and financial transactions you can do online, instead of in line; provides access to branches of government, Constitutional offices, and the departments under them; lists significant new and revised materials on agency Web sites; lists agency Web sites and publications by subject; sorts agency offerings by type of publication.

Executive Branch/Constitutional lists branches of government, Constitutional offices, and the departments under them, and provides links to those with Web sites.

Massachusetts legislators, current legislation, laws of the Commonwealth, redistricting plan, Senate and House calendar and journals, committees, Massachusetts constitution, Senate and House rules, State library information, and more.

Massachusetts Court Judicial Court, Appeals Court, Trial Court, and Committee for Public Counsel Services.

State senators and list by city and town with links legislators' Web sites.

State listing of branches of government, Constitutional offices, and the departments under them.

Commonwealth source for finding information on the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts. Each community page, which you can find alphabetically or by county, has links to information provided by state agencies. You can find public school and community profiles, summaries of municipal finances, state legislators, regional offices for a variety of state agencies, and more. Also included are links to official city/town and public school Web sites, and other community sites that provide substantial civic information.

Federal Government portal.

Massachusetts Congressional

Official US Executive Branch Web

US Legislative Branch Internet Resources Legislative branch Web sites, U.S. Congress, Capitol Hill visitor information, information sources for legislative research.

The Federal clearinghouse for information from and about the Judicial Branch of the U.S. Government.

Federal Government Resources on the site is maintained by the University of Michigan's Document Center.

Census 2000 results

The next column will feature education sites: college and university searches; where to find financial aid; information on entrance examinations. Previous columns with live links can be found at

When he is not updating the Town of Winchester Web site (, Martin Zombeck can be found at either the Packer tennis courts or at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, where he is a physicist.