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Advanced search added: keywords, zip codes, and recipients

Thanks to the tireless work of developer Peter Snyder, Stimulus Watch 2.0 now has an advanced search capability that will help you more easily navigate the tens of thousands of stimulus awards in our database. You can now search by keyword, recipient, and zip code on the advanced search page. Here are some examples of possible searches:

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Jerry Brito on Washington DC’s Federal News Radio discussing the new features available on Stimulus Watch 2.0.

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We’ve relaunched with new official data of stimulus projects in your neighborhood!

Welcome to Stimulus Watch 2.0. While our original site featured proposed stimulus projects taken from the U.S. Conference of Mayors survey, this new version contains actual stimulus spending in your neighborhood. We get our data from the official recipient reports available at Recovery.gov. We will update the data quarterly when Recovery.gov makes new data available.

You can search for contracts and grants awards by state and city, by awarding agency, or by recipient. (Keyword searching is coming soon.) When you find an award that interests you, you can vote on whether you are satisfied with it or not, add to the wiki description of the project, and join in the conversation about the award in the comments section.

Let us know what you think! If you have any suggestions on how we can improve the site, please put them in the comments below. And please help us by sharing the site with friends, posting it on your Facebook page, and tweeting about it!

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Jerry Brito talks about the new Stimulus Watch site on WUSA Channel 9 News.

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Help Washington Watch track congressional earmarks

Stimulus Watch was inspired in part by Washington Watch, a site that lets you find, rate, describe, and discuss legislation being considered by Congress. They have now begun a project to crowdsource earmark tracking and they need your help. As an added bonus, one lucky earmark tracker will win an Amazon Kindle. From Washington Watch:

Earmarks – they’re how members of Congress and senators steer federal funds to special interests and projects in their districts. It’s often called “pork barrel” spending because the money is divided up based on seniority and insider deals rather than the general welfare of the country. For years now, earmarking has been conducted behind the scenes, but the House and Senate recently required their membership to reveal earmark requests. The door to the smoke-filled room has been unlocked, and now we’re going to kick it down! The problem is that earmark information is spread out across congressional Web sites, and it’s in many different formats. The solution? We’ve created a system for compiling earmark data in one place—actually, for you to compile it. We want you to add earmarks to our database through our earmark entry form. Pick your hometown member of Congress or Senator, your favorite representative—or your least favorite—and put their earmarks in the database.
Check it out and lend a hand at www.washingtonwatch.com.
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Norcross on C-SPAN tonight

We haven’t said much here in a while, but be assured that we’re still planning revamp the site to include actual stimulus spending projects once we have access to the data. In the meantime, you can catch Stimulus Watch co-founder Eileen Norcross tonight on C-SPAN discussing online efforts to track the stimulus. She will be on a panel discussion at 8:20 along with Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight. Hope you can catch it!

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Joshua-Michéle Ross, who previously wrote a profile of Stimulus Watch for O’Reilly Radar, has also made a short video walk-through of the site that highlights how quickly and cheaply the application was built.

We’re starting to turn our attention to Stimulus Watch 2.0, which we hope will allow citizens to track which projects are actually funded and to provide local knowledge about how that funding is working in their community. Stay tuned.

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Not all believe the federal government is capable of such candor, and so far, an independent site, StimulusWatch.org, easily outclasses Recovery.gov.
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Stimulus Watch in O’Reilly Radar

If you are interested in how we built Stimulus Watch, check out a profile in O’Reilly Radar of the real heroes behind Stimulus Watch, developers Peter Snyder and Kevin Dwyer, who built the site from off-the-shelf parts and some ingenious coding. Here’s a bit:

None of these people knew each other previously. They were brought together by [a] blog post into a common effort. They used open source tools in rapid development. They plugged in off the shelf online social technologies (disqus, tumblr and mediawiki) to create a forum to discuss these local projects. They achieved this in seven weeks. In fact, according to Peter, “the real effort here was more like two weeks”
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Minneapolis - St. Paul local TV station KSTP mentioned Stimulus Watch after a piece they ran on the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ MainStreet Economic Recovery Report. In the piece they interview Roseville, MN, mayor Craig Klausing. That city is requesting $120,000 to hire a police officer, and also $1.5 million for a golf course clubhouse. The mayor explained that their wish list is a mix of critical needs and not-so-critical wants.

"There aren’t that many projects were everybody comes on board and says we’re all 100 percent in support of this," the mayor said. "What you have to do is prioritize."

Prioritizing is exactly how we hope Stimulus Watch can help. Citizens around the country can use this site to learn about, discuss, and then vote on the proposed projects. The result is a citizen prioritization of projects that we hope the administration and local government around the country will find useful.

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Off the Map, a website dedicated to geodata and visualization, has taken StimulusWatch.org’s dataset and mashed it on a map with regional unemployment numbers. Check out the interactive map. Also, be sure to read their post explaining what they did.

Off the Map, a website dedicated to geodata and visualization, has taken StimulusWatch.org’s dataset and mashed it on a map with regional unemployment numbers. Check out the interactive map. Also, be sure to read their post explaining what they did.

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Most active projects scrutinized in the press

Since this site launched, two proposed projects in particular have drawn a lot of attention and have consistently placed at the top of the daily most active list. These are a project for doorbells in Laurel, MS, and the Forks of The Road Heritage Trail project in Natchez, MS. Now the local papers in each city have reported on the projects. You can read the articles here:

Doorbells ringing a sour note
Laurel Leader-Call

City did not ask for $600M for project
Natchez Democrat

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Jon Gordon interviews Jerry Brito about Stimulus Watch on American Public Radio’s Future Tense program.

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More attention, but we still need your help

Here is an update of recent Stimulus Watch mentions in the media. The site depends on active participation by citizens, so we hope you’ll help us spread the word by emailing your friends and family and sharing the site on your Facebook profile and in other online forums. Thanks!

Everything You Need to Know About the Stimulus Is Online
Fast Company

Tracking Stimulus Funds Presents Daunting Task
NPR

The Politics Of Doom
CBS News

What I’ve Gleaned So Far About the Stimulus Plan: Get Ready to Put Out
The Huffington Post

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Garland Robinette of WWL Radio in Louisiana interviews Jerry Brito and Eileen Norcross about Stimulus Watch.

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