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Remember that story on the local news last night? The one about City Council voting on…wait--you don’t say--you missed it?

Too often, some of the most significant decisions brought before Council go unnoticed, but thanks to a new online tool, we’ll no longer be in the dark.

The brainchild of Dallas nonprofit bcWorkshop, The Public Agenda is essentially an interactive online map that features links to Council agenda items as well as contact information for Council members.

So instead of scouring the newspaper for small-print briefs or trolling the stacks at City Hall (last we checked, the Council’s agenda reached upwards of 1,000 pages!), we can now browse this intuitive repository of local-government fun facts. For instance, we logged on yesterday and discovered that our local convenience store was approved to sell wine.

Just run your cursor over any red dot on the regional map and a pop-up box will explain what type of issue is on the table, and most important, its outcome.

The stuff here is surprisingly enlightening: In addition to our wine-buying update, we learned that the old Valley View Mall is being redeveloped and a road is being cleared for a sidewalk café to come to SMU Boulevard.

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