Klickitat, Skamania moved ahead on broadband plan

Community input forums planned for spring 2013

This fall the Klickitat-Skamania Local Technology Planning Team (KSLTPT) began a new broadband planning project by holding 10 broadband community forums and gathered information through surveys to help better understand broadband interest, availability, and needs.

Almost 160 attended the forums which were held between Oct. 10 and Nov. 5 in Bickleton, Dallesport, Lyle, Glenwood, Underwood, Goldendale, Stabler, White Salmon, Upper Washougal and Skamania.

“We had a really short time to advertise the sessions and given what a busy time of year it was, we were excited about the great turnout at the community forums,” said Brian Wanless, KSLTPT member and Community Enrichment for Klickitat County director.

According to Linda Williams, WSU Extension and also a KSLTPT member who co-facilitated the forums, “We heard from people without high-speed Internet or cell service and learned that even those with broadband are experiencing challenges as demand is outpacing the availability especially as we increasingly rely on these services to stay informed, for entertainment, work, connecting with family, friends, banks, and much more.”

Broadband surveys for businesses and community members were also available during this same time period. Approximately 80 businesses completed surveys and 280 residents responded. Initial survey results were presented to the KSLTPT committee on Nov. 29 and are recently posted on the KSLTPT website. Findings will be used to help with next steps such as additional identification of broadband needs, community outreach and training.

According to Amanda Hoey, Mid-Columbia Economic Development District and KSLTPT lead, although broadband has been an important topic that MCEDD and others have been working on in this region, these are just the first steps in the KSLTPT project which will run through June of 2013.

Results from the community forums, surveys and other KSLTPT activities will be discussed in the spring when a second round of broadband meetings will be held at locations across the two counties.

In the meantime, those who would like to stay in the loop or provide additional input to the KSLTPT effort may visit the MCEDD website at www.mcedd.org/


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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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