It's always interesting to get a different view of your community.
Whether it's the perspective of a visitor, a new long-time resident, a child, or simply seeing the difference between seeing something first-hand or through a photograph, a variety of thoughts and feelings can be brought out from the same spot.
For the last year or so, The Weirton Daily Times and Herald-Star have been working with an artist named Lillian Brue to find a different kind of perspective of many of our communities.
That effort has led to the creation of our local Fun Map series, which started in 2012 with Steubenville and then other outlaying communities of Jefferson County in Ohio.
Last week, we introduced our Weirton Fun Map, the latest in the series, and I have to say my favorite of the bunch.
Many of Weirton's businesses are included in the map, whether it's long-time landmarks like Gus's Goodies, all three of the city's hotels, the Weirton Transit bus and Weirton Event Center, various restaurants, some of our churches and many other spots that are sure to be familiar to all of our residents.
On top of that, you might even see a few familiar faces looking right back at you. Some of the participating businesses also are represented by caricatures of their owners or another recognizable person.
Weirton Mayor George Kondik, for example, stands next to the City Building, while Giovanni Rossi brings out a plate of pasta from Giovanni's Restaurant. Rick Rine practices his martial arts skills while the folks at Krazy 'Bout Sportz stand ready to have some fun. Yes, I'm there too, contacting our area officials and community representatives to help bring you some of the local news.
One special aspect of this program you can only find through our websites is an interactive online version of the map.
What makes this version so special is the extra information you'll be able to find about the participants.
It's not just a matter of taking a look at the same map. By scrolling around the map, you also will have access to information such as the business' address and phone number, as well as a link to their website, Facebook page or other important data.
It's a great element and I encourage everyone to check it out.
Everyone I've heard from seems to be incredibly excited about this new Fun Map, which is great because it truly is a project for the community.
All of the businesses included on the map have received a framed copy to display, so chances are if you visit some of our local institutions you can get a glimpse for yourself.
Those businesses also have been given a limited number of copies for anyone interested in getting one themselves, and copies are available through our office in Steubenville, as well.
If not, there is still the online version available.
It's a different look at the Weirton area, and, to me, it also serves as a reminder of some of the people and places which makes our community special.
There is still a lot of life in our community, and this little project helps to showcase just some of it.
From long-standing businesses to recent additions. From city officials to some of those who provide valuable services and activities to our residents.
Take a look for yourself and see some of what Weirton has to offer.
This is only the latest of the Fun Map program, but I don't believe it will be the last.
There is already talk of a map for Brooke County, and it could even continue well beyond that if it continues to do well.
It's been a fun project to see develop, and we truly hope all of our residents enjoy seeing this fun look at our area.
(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)