A hacker may have closed down one of Douglas County's first Web sites, the Douglas County Community Forum.
The site was the brainstorm of local businesswoman Suzy Stockdale, in an effort to provide an Internet forum for candidates during the 1996 election year.
"The whole reason I started the forum four years ago was because we had some candidates running for local offices, and I thought 'Let's put them on the Internet,'" she said. "So we sent a letter to everybody and had their responses posted on the forum. Most of the candidates weren't on line at the time, so it was a great place to do that."
The DCCF was developed and updated daily as a community service by Stockdale Creative Marketing and Advertising and maintained and operated by the Carson Valley Internet service provider, Nanosecond Inc.
The site had grown to a place for county information to be disseminated, with links to other sites including the state of Nevada, Douglas County, the Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District, and more.
For four years, the DCCF provided users the opportunity to read news about local, state and national events, access current agendas of the county commission and Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District, consult a calendar of local events, obtain addresses and phone numbers of local and state legislators, read and register an opinion about local issues and consult a number of other items of interest to Douglas County residents.
According to Stockdale's Internet server, Nanosecond, on March 8 the Web site, sctalk.com, was struck sometime during the evening by what officials there say could have been a hacker.
"(An employee at Nanosecond) called it a hacker," Stockdale said. "He said it had to do with corrupt data. I was updating it and it was acting odd - it was blank, there was nothing on the screen."
The data on the forum was destroyed, and users were unable to access the site, she said. Stockdale said she is grateful to everyone who has found the site useful and now must await the time-consuming task of service restoration. A recent count revealed that the site averaged 4,000 hits daily.
Stockdale said she will use this forced-upon opportunity to revamp the site to add a new feature she's been wanting to see on the site - a chat room where timely issues can be discussed with relevant leaders.
"It's a forced refurbishing, but I've been wanting to do this for some time," she said. "Nanosecond has been a wonderful."
The site must be reconstructed and data re-entered before it can be reactivated, she said. News about when the DCCF gets back on line will be posed on the DCCF Web page, which currently carries a notice about the site being down.
"I hope we can get back on in April or May," Stockdale said. "I guess maybe we have to wait for good things. It's an election season, though, so we really want to be up and running for that. We have important issues like open space and and quarter cent sales tax to talk about."
Stockdale said she welcomes any suggestions for revamping the forum site. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.