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Posted: January 30, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Hackathon to connect local web developers, businesses

Businesses and organizations needing web help and local web designers and developers looking for work have a chance to connect Saturday at a first-of-its-kind event in Newton County.

Dozens of local web developers and designers will spend a full business day Saturday competing to create the best website, mobile app or logo for three local organizations at Upload Newton, a one-day hackathon, taking place at The Center for Community Preservation (The Center), 2104 Washington St., Covington.

Organizer Ruth Miller, herself a web savvy former resident of Newton County, said that "any and all developers are absolutely welcome" and can register for free at www.centernewton.org/upload.

The actual hackathon will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with developers presenting their products at 5 p.m. and judges from the three participating organizations selecting the winners.

Then a meet-and-greet will run from 6-7 p.m., and developers will be standing by their finished products ready to talk to interested businesses and organizations.

"Some very capable local developers know how to build relatively complex websites, hardcoded with technologies like Python and Java. But there’s a strong local need for very simple websites, something an organization can make simple changes to themselves," Miller said. "Wordpress, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, etc,. are great for that, and anyone able to assemble a simple website with these would have the opportunity to do well at Upload."

Miller, who now lives in Oakland, Calif., grew up working on web projects for parents’ friends in Newton County. She came up with the idea to promote local talent after a Covington business owner recently sought her out across the county to build a website.

"’You shouldn’t have to go all the way to California to get a website built,’ I reasoned, but (the business owner) didn’t know anyone local to hire," Miller wrote in a blog post promoting the event. "That’s when it hit me: if you’re a new resident, like about half of Newton County, you’re not as plugged into the local word of mouth as my parents’ friends and may not know any tech-savvy students or young adults. And even if you’ve been here a long time, you may not have had the time to get online, making it harder for new residents to discover you."

Kay Lee, director of The Center, said Upload Newton is another effort in the "Buy Local" campaign, and Hunter Hall, president of the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce, said he expects the event to be a catalyst for more collaborations..

For more details, contact Miller at 770-312-9295 or visit www.cen

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