2021 MN Broadband Day One: Digital Showcase: Closing the Opportunity Gap

A series of fast-moving presentations and demos by people from around the state and beyond who are using technology and the internet in innovative ways to improve lives and increase opportunity for all. Show, tell, and discussion. Moderated by Ann Treacy, Treacy Information Services

  • Fostering Productive Conversations – Kendra Jo Grindle, Island Institute, Rockland, ME
  • Overcoming Broadband Gaps in Rural Minnesota Communities – Edward Hilbrich, Libraries Without Borders, Washington DC
  • Sustainably Sourcing Digital Literacy Skill Services – Joe Miller, Literacy Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
  • Region Nine Tele Mental Health Portal – Kristian Braekkan and Alejandra Bejarano, Region Nine Development Commission, Mankato, MN
  • Smart Cities and Streaming Television – Abraham Levine, Brainware Partners, Minneapolis, MN

(I will add more presentations as I get them.)

Presentation by Libraries without Borders.

Resources from Joe Miller.

Chat from the session:

Digital Showcase

Island Inst:

09:41:05 From  Bernadine Joselyn (she/her)  to  Everyone:

Island Institute in the state of Maine!

09:44:38 From  Sarah Swedburg (she/her)  to  Everyone:

Will slides be available on the conference website?

09:45:37 From  Mary Magnuson (she/her)  to  Everyone:

Yes, to the Blandin on Broadband blog first https://blandinonbroadband.org/ and then I’ll add links to the conference website.

09:46:08 From  Anne Brataas  to  Everyone:

Excellent, thank you!

Literacy MN:

10:03:19 From  Joe Miller  to  Everyone:


10:04:23 From  Joe Miller  to  Everyone:

Can you please share in the chat: (i) what is a digital literacy skill that you have learned since March 2020, and (ii) what is a computer skill that is important for participation in public/private life?

10:04:33 From  Edward Hilbrich  to  Everyone:


10:04:44 From  Yvonne Cariveau  to  Everyone:

How to create videos for others explaining things.

10:04:49 From  Bernadine Joselyn (she/her)  to  Everyone:

I’ve learned how to share a screen on zoom.

10:04:54 From  Michelle Marotzke  to  Everyone:

Ways to use Zoom

10:04:58 From  Eric Day  to  Everyone:

Zoom basics

10:05:07 From  Becky Lourey  to  Everyone:

I rely on my IT people as I struggle to become efficient

10:05:09 From  Ida Rukavina  to  Everyone:

how to run a Zoom meeting- I hadn’t prior

10:05:11 From  Jay Trusty  to  Everyone:

How to use MS Teams to collaborate

10:05:11 From  Chris Stark, UW  to  Everyone:

(1) ZOOM    (2) filling out a job application

10:05:13 From  Dawn Hegland  to  Everyone:

I have learned how to use more and more ways to connect digitally and share and collaboratively work on documents

10:05:22 From  Sarah Swedburg (she/her)  to  Everyone:

Navigating short surveys for community participation

10:05:24 From  Amanda Othoudt, Benton Economic Partnership (7W)  to  Everyone:

How to utilize MS Teams/Zoom

10:05:27 From  Jason Walkowiak  to  Everyone:

How to work like we have never have before

10:05:31 From  Brenda Johnson SEMLM  to  Everyone:

online meeting facilitation

10:05:33 From  Ann Treacy  to  Everyone:

edit vodcast – new skill

10:05:42 From  Ann Treacy  to  Everyone:

zoom – essential wok skills

10:05:48 From  Carter Grupp  to  Everyone:

Teaching my mom how to export pdfs and change file types/formats

10:05:48 From  Brenda Nyberg  to  Everyone:

Electronic Signatures

10:05:48 From  Timothy Furr  to  Everyone:

Online interviews

10:05:49 From  Anne Brataas  to  Everyone:

Research local alternatives to Facebook

10:05:52 From  Jami Trenam – Great River Regional Library  to  Everyone:

  1. how to lead teams/meetings through zoom 2. essential skill for all: using email

10:06:12 From  Brian Frederick  to  Everyone:

Remote support with remote sharing.

10:06:21 From  Ida Rukavina  to  Everyone:

Agree Anne!

10:12:45 From  Becky Lourey  to  Everyone:

I have also learned that remote work for my employees has enhanced their life-work balance.  Also, employees now recommend talented people they know to apply for jobs because they can also work remotely.  I had always wanted us together in the building.  Now, we are using broadband to keep us together.  All this influenced by Covid and requiring great Broadband

10:13:00 From  Joe Miller  to  Everyone:


10:13:50 From  Hannah Buckland  to  Everyone:

Great to hear the shoutouts to State Library Services this morning! When you find yourself thinking, “If only Jen Nelson didn’t flee to New Jersey,” please know that you can always reach out to me with your library-related digital inclusion thoughts, questions, schemes, etc. I’m still here at hannah.buckland@state.mn.us 🙂

10:14:27 From  Scott Cole-Collectivity  to  Everyone:

Thanks Hannah!

10:15:45 From  Ann Treacy  to  Everyone:

Digital showcase bios: https://blandinfoundation.org/articles/digital-showcase-closing-the-opportunity-gap/

10:45:29 From  Misty Hendrickson  to  Everyone:

Our problem in northern mn is not being able to get workers here due to the prevailing wage due to the mines.

Region Nine:

10:46:18 From  Yvonne Cariveau  to  Everyone:

Kristian and Alejandra talked about telemedicine for mental health and about a pilot that hit capacity very soon. Does improved access to broadband expand access to mental health providers? (Which may be the bigger capacity problem)

10:46:47 From  Scott Cole-Collectivity  to  Everyone:

Great question Yvonne…

10:50:09 From  Anne Brataas  to  Everyone:

Related question to alcohol and mental health issues: what are you finding the most effective support/intervention/rehab broadband promotes? As a joyfully sober recovering alcoholic for  33 years, the urgency of this data point in rural MN really speaks to me.

10:53:07 From  Yvonne Cariveau  to  Everyone:

We expand our pool of talent by expanding broadband – especially for rural folks in their 60s that may be nervous about covid exposure and have the option to not work or work from home (if they have broadband).

10:55:19 From  Misty Hendrickson  to  Everyone:

I don’t have a microphone. sorry

10:57:08 From  Misty Hendrickson  to  Everyone:

I meant we can’t get broadband copper to us because the installers won’t work here because all federal funding requires prevailing wage.

10:57:26 From  Becky Lourey  to  Everyone:

Ida, Amy said you have a new employer … where are you working ?

10:59:01 From  Michael Schumacher  to  Everyone:

That would be brilliant!  #WorkExperience

11:01:20 From  Mike Wimmer  to  Everyone:

I do not believe ARP funded projects need to follow Davis-Bacon. If you tap into the State grant program, I do believe Davis Bacon needs to be followed

11:02:32 From  Anne Brataas  to  Everyone:

To follow up on Misty’s and Ida’s points — and NOT bring wages down—is there a way to incent/compel contracts with high prevailing wages to be accepted?

11:04:19 From  Misty Hendrickson  to  Everyone:

Yes, we don’t want to bring wages down, just get installers.

More info on presenters:

Fostering Productive Conversations

Kendra Jo Grindle, Senior Community Development Officer, Island Institute, Rockland, ME
As Senior Community Development Officer, Kendra Jo serves as both the strategic lead and project lead for the Island Institute’s Broadband team as they work to achieve national average connectivity for all island and coastal communities in Maine, as well as the strategic lead for the Sea Level Rise team.

Kendra Jo is no stranger to the Island Institute’s mission. She first came to Maine, by way of her home state of West Virginia, as an Island Fellow on Islesboro in 2013. During her fellowship, she worked to connect island families to readily available resources on the mainland and revive the Social Services Liaison at the Islesboro Town Office. In the years since her fellowship, Kendra Jo worked for the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association as the Community Programs and Operations Manager. She holds a BA in Human Development & Family Studies with a concentration in Rural Families from the University of Connecticut.

Overcoming Broadband Gaps in Rural Minnesota Communities

Edward Hilbrich, Manufactured Housing Project Coordinator, Libraries Without Borders
Edward (he/his) believes that advocating for free, open access to resourceful information is a revolutionary act, which promotes public discourse, political engagement, and autonomous, collective decision-making. Edward has a rich and varied background as a Homeless Rights and Housing Advocate, a Union Organizer, and as an Independent Bookstore Owner. Edward is a NYC transplant working and living in the Twin Cities.

Sustainably Sourcing Digital Literacy Skill Services

Joe Miller is Project Manager – Digital Equity and Strategy at Literacy Minnesota. He is at the forefront of research and development at the nonprofit when digital equity intersects with the literacy cause, which has included management of projects in partnership with the AmeriCorps Emergency Response Initiative and the Minnesota Department of Education.  Prior to his current role, Joe taught English in North Minneapolis with Literacy Minnesota and North Sumatra, Indonesia with the Fulbright Program.  His undergraduate degree is in economics and political science from St. Olaf College, and he has previous professional experience in operations at a nonprofit in the Brainerd Lakes Area, Minnesota Hockey Camps.

Region Nine Tele Mental Health Portal

Region Nine Development Commission was awarded a Broadband grant from Blandin Foundation in 2019 to develop a tele-mental health portal in spring 2020 to serve diverse populations in southcentral Minnesota. Little did we know that the work would coincide with a global pandemic and a dramatic increase in the need for mental health services in an already high demand/low supply market. This presentation will discuss how tele-mental health services can augment existing services in rural areas, lessons learned, needs discovered, and ideas for future considerations.

Kristian Braekkan joined Region Nine in February 2018. His work relates to resource development, economic development, and industrial projects. Kristian completed his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech in 2010. His research on industrial relations spans a wide variety of contexts, such as steel, coal, health care, manufacturing, and service industries. He has presented and published his research domestically and internationally.

Alejandra Bejarano joined Region Nine in August of 2021 as an economic recovery planner. As a previous Region Nine intern and Fellow for the Lead for Minnesota fellowship program, she is enthusiastic about continuing to work with Region Nine in creating vibrant and resilient communities. Alejandra just graduated with an MPA from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Alejandra hails from Colombia and moved to the United States at a young age to play college tennis. Having a deep interest in research, Alejandra did her capstone project on corruption and institutional trust. She has diverse background experience in both the private and public sectors and is passionate about exploring new cultures, as she speaks multiple languages.

Smart Cities and Streaming Television

This session will describe the Community Technology Advisory Commission of St. Louis Park and it’s activities on its origin and activities in smart city applications and how we can aid cities looking at such technologies.  Also, the session will describe launch of City Streaming TV for hyper-local streaming channels for Community organizations, Faith-based organizations, public and entertainment, elected officials and candidates (election season only).  This generally free service does not require cable nor any governmental public access permission.  Ideal for smaller cities, local community chapters, businesses and entertainment, and a way for local officials to better communicate with constituents.

Abraham (Abe) Levine is CEO of Brainware Partners, a high technology consulting firm specializing in executive and technical services for telecommunications, and software, in addition to companies in the trucking industry.  He is also working with a major company in the streaming television industry and Chairman of the St. Louis Park, MN Community Technology Advisory Commission dealing with smart city applications.

A recent long-term engagement was at VisTracks where he, as Chief Operating Officer, developed their product strategy and channel sales for their tracking and later their Electronic Logging Device (ELD) business.  For the ELD, his 80+ reseller channel brought in sales to over 70,000 trucks in 18 months.  Mr. Levine also became well-known on Sirius/XM where he was interviewed several times and sponsored a call-in show about the complex US ELD rules.  In addition, Mr. Levine developed an overseas call center and worldwide ELD product support.

Prior to the VisTracks engagement, Abe was COO of a Wisconsin-based wireless carrier where he led a turnaround from monthly subscriber losses to significant monthly gains and managed over 600,000 IoT devices on his network. He has worked with over 30 telecommunications companies worldwide in various executive capacities in sales and professional services.  He also has worldwide experience in aerospace, automotive, government, and pharma.


Ann Treacy, Treacy Information Services, authors and manages the Blandin on Broadband blog. She has worked on broadband issues since 1994 – both supporting deployment of broadband and helping people and businesses better use broadband through digital inclusion training and online marketing consulting. Ann has a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science as well as a Master’s in Literature. You can learn more at www.byteoftheweek.com.


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