News flashes, posts, texts and tweets. There are seemingly endless ways to keep you in tune with what’s going on in your world, whether it is getting updates on your interests, or news on issues critical to your life – information is power.

The city of Columbus is happy to share with you the opportunity to learn what’s happening in your community via the convenience of an email sent straight to your inbox. Recently, the James Street Reconstruction Project and last year’s City Street Reconstruction projects were opportunities to test means for regular updates to citizens most affected by the street work happening right in their neighborhoods. In each case, an email list was generated, and I sent weekly updates to the list on the project progress, and sometimes special updates were sent for more immediate notification needs on special activities relative to the projects.

The city of Columbus’ Email Alert system takes this concept a step further. As a subscriber, you can create a profile on the city website and choose which news updates you are interested in… news, meeting agendas, job postings, or various alerts that are of interest to you. When news happens in these areas, you are sent the notification to your inbox. This is a service provided by the city’s website that took a while to develop, but now that we have the bugs worked out, we hope as many people in the community take advantage of it.

The city envisions this system to evolve and improve, but whether you get your news each week from the Columbus Journal, from your Twitter account or the plain old TV, here’s another option for you.

In order to subscribe to Columbus Email Alerts, just go to the city’s website, and click the “Email Alerts” icon on the right side of the home page. Follow the prompts on the signup page and you should be all set.

One of the news items you might get from an “Email Alert” is that city offices are closed for Thanksgiving. It’s hard to believe that we will be coming up to Thanksgiving in a few weeks (I still have a “healthy” amount of Halloween candy to swipe from my kids).

I have a lot to be thankful for, every day. I’m thankful for my family, friends, my health and a safe place to live. I’m thankful for my community and my neighbors. As I return the focus to this month’s column back to city issues, I want to take an opportunity to express my thanks for the people that are part of the city’s team. Columbus is a special place, and many individuals have a hand both inside and outside my workplace making that so. Civic volunteers, business owners, those who have a role in educating our children and keeping us healthy, all play vital pieces to the community puzzle. But I want to express publicly my sincere thanks to each and every employee working for the city for what they do to deliver necessary services to residents and businesses in Columbus. Specifically, it is the city departments listed below that keep our city running day in and day out and I’m proud of the people who contribute to these efforts.

Columbus Emergency Management, Columbus Fire Department, Columbus Public Library, Columbus Police Department, Columbus Public Works (including Parks, Recreation, the Cemetery and the Columbus Area Aquatic Center). The Columbus Area Senior Center, Columbus Waste Water Treatment Department, Columbus Water & Light. And last but not least, my co-workers here at city hall, which include the clerk’s office, treasurer’s office and Columbus Economic Development. I also want to mention all those who spend their time as elected officials and/or volunteers to the many Columbus boards, committees and commissions that help shape important city policy.

All of the people that work at these places have my appreciation, respect and thanks. I hope that all of them carry that “teamwork feel” that I feel when I come to work each morning.

If you have any questions on this or any other issue before city government, please contact me at city hall at 623-5900 or via email at pvandersanden@columbuswi.us.