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New Web site makes networking a mouse click away

Date: 2/11/2009

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

WEST SPRINGFIELD Jill Fortier-Withee, founder of the online West Springfield Community Network, wants to know "how far can you reach" town businesses, residents or organizations.

Fortier-Withee created the Community Network two weeks ago as a means to connect all facets of town life through one free Web site,

"[My husband and I] donated the money to get this [Web site] started so people could network and take care of what's happening in their own backyard," she said, adding that many residents are unaware of small businesses or employment opportunities throughout town. "[This is a] way to bring everybody together."

Fortier-Withee explained that she would not have been able to start her own business, Jill Fortier Marketing and Design, without the help of local residents. She added that she hopes this new Web site will provide her with an opportunity to give back and allow others to network, find jobs and opportunities they were previously unaware of.

The Community Network features links to West Springfield businesses by street or service, a community bulletin board, locations of available commercial property, community links, a community calendar and local sports.

Paul Marshall, administrator of Information and Technology Systems, noted that the Community Network can also be accessed through the town's Web site, He said that Fortier-Withee is providing the site at no charge to the town.

She explained that she will continue to maintain the Community Network as long as residents deem the need. Fortier-Withee said she will view the site successful when residents are able to find jobs or resources beneficial to their endeavors.

She explained that she has received dozens of phone calls from residents and businesses inquiring about the site since it went live. Fortier-Withee noted that those wishing to include information on the site should e-mail her at