Who we are
Latvians Online is a global Internet meeting place for persons of all ages with an interest in Latvians and Latvia. Offered are free online services such as regular news reports, current affairs and interviews from Latvia and abroad. Also provided are a regular newsletter, discussion forums, a global events register and other community-building features. A compilation of Latvian Internet resources, product reviews and online shopping are popular features of the site.
Latvians Online saw its debut Nov. 18, 2000. This network is the merger of two prominent Latvian Web sites, LatBits.com, which was led by Melbourne-based team Arnis and Daina Gross, and Minneapolis-based SVEIKS.com, which was headed by journalist Andris Straumanis and Web programmer Todd Rossman.
LatBits.com began in 1997 and provided its online readers with an insight into the ever-changing Latvian Internet presence in the form of Web site reviews and feature articles. LatBits was affiliated with the Latvian software development firm DekSoft, which has been involved with the Latvian Internet since its inception.
SVEIKS.com, which saw its debut at the start of 1999, was a leading independent provider of general interest content about Latvian affairs and culture in the West with a focus on North America. The site, in turn, came about from the merger of Latvians in America, created by Straumanis, and Latvia-Latvija, run by Rossman.
Latvians Online saw its first major redesign in March 2004, adopting the latest Web standards for the display of information. For those interested in such details, the layout of our pages is driven by Cascading Style Sheets while content is largely served through a content management system. An RSS feed with the latest news, columns, reviews and other material is available here.
For further information about Latvians Online, contact us.
Daina Gross, Editor
Daina Gross was born in Sydney, Australia, and now lives in Melbourne. Her association with Latvians and learning about their perspective on life began at an early age and continues to this day. Daina graduated from the Sydney Latvian high school and Anna Ziedare Summer High School and has studied Latvian at the university level. She has been actively involved in the Latvian community both in Sydney and Melbourne in the culture and education sectors as well as in Latvian academic sorority (korporaciju) life. Daina has an arts degree and has worked in the legal publishing industry for seven years. She has lived and worked in Latvia in 1991, 1993 and 1998. She served as editor of LatBits, an online Latvian e-zine, from 1998 to 2000, is married to Arnis Gross and is raising three young children, Laila and Toms and Olivers.
Arnis Gross, Technical Director
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Arnis Gross has since the 1980s been actively promoting the use of computers and the Internet to the local Latvian community and other Latvian organisations worldwide. Since 1986, he has been the principal at DekSoft, a Latvian software and computer consulting and development firm; developed the Baltic Express Mail service, which operated between Australia and the Baltics from 1991 to 1993, and in 1997 co-founded LatBits, an online Latvian e-zine. His qualifications include a B.Eng. from Monash University in Melbourne and a Latvian linguistics minor at Flinders University in Adelaide. Arnis enjoys spending his spare time with his wife, Daina, and three children, Laila, Toms and Olivers.
Amanda Jātniece, Contributing Editor
Amanda Jātniece contributes to Latvians Online through folklore features and album reviews. She also heads up the Izglītība section focused on Latvian education abroad. Jātniece graduated from the Minneapolis-St. Paul and Gaŗezers Latvian schools; the Latvian Gymnasium in Muenster, Germany, and earned her bachelor of arts degree in linguistics from the University of Minnesota. A Latvian-American currently living with one foot in Latvia, where she works in translation and is raising her two children. Jātniece has been a member of the Latvian folk music ensembles Lini and Teiksma, both based in Minneapolis, Minn., and now sings with two ensembles in Latvia.
Egils Kaljo, Contributing Writer
Egils Kaljo is an American-born Latvian who lives in Rīga, Latvia. He went to Latvian school in Yonkers, as well as the Latvian summer camp in the Catskills. A member of the New York Latvian Ev.-Lutheran Church in Yonkers, Kaljo has a large collection of Latvian recordings, and is also a musician himself, playing the guitar and piano.
Andris Straumanis, Special correspondent
Born in New York, Andris Straumanis is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, commuting from his home in Minnesota. Research interests include the history of pre-World War II Latvian immigrants to North America and the contemporary Latvian mass media. During January 2005, he taught a course in international communication at Rīga Stradiņš University. He also has served as director of the Latvian School of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Straumanis has worked as a reporter, editor and photographer for newspapers in Illinois and Minnesota. He has developed a number of Web sites and also formerly ran the World Newspapers site for the New York-based About.com. He was editor of Latvians Online from 2000-2012.