Broadband forums to start April 4 in White Salmon

During fall 2012 the Klickitat-Skamania Local Technology Planning Team began a new broadband planning project by holding 10 broadband community forums and gathered information through about 350 surveys to help better understand broadband availability and needs.

Almost 160 attended the forums. 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.”

Brian Wanless, Community Enrichment for Klickitat County board member and also a forum co-facilitator, noted when discussing the project that “Having reliable, affordable high-speed Internet is as important today as having power and water.”

Many towns the KSLTPT visited in the fall felt that despite this importance, there was a lack of readily available information about broadband in our communities.

The KSLTPT listened, and will come back to discuss what it learned from the surveys, community forums, and conversations with Internet service providers, residents, businesses, and local and regional governments.

Topics will include updates on service, information on upcoming broadband training opportunities, and what the planning team learned about broadband strengths and gaps from community members throughout Klickitat and Skamania counties.

The forums will also be a chance to give feedback on the information gathered by the KSLTPT.

Wanless and Williams will be hosting the spring community broadband forums. They will take place starting April 4 at White Salmon Library, 7 p.m.

Other meetings are planned for April 9 at Glenwood Grange, 7 p.m.; April 11 at Skamania PUD in Carson, 7:30 p.m.; Mill A School, 7 p.m. on April 16 and in Bickleton on April 25 at 7 p.m.

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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 to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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