About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

Dancing Heart Live – online morning stretch Thursday Mornings with Kairos Live

One of the advantage of working remotely is that you should be able to take a little break when you want. I have a fun excuse to stand up and get used to online living on Thursday mornings…

Dancing Heart Live™  
Join us from your living room for an interactive dance party for  all ages and abilities!
Thursday Mornings   10:15 am – 11:00 am  on the Kairos Alive! Digital Dancefloor™ via Zoom
Dates: April 2, 9 16, 23, 30  May 7, 14, 21, 28
To join us: ​ https://zoom.us/j/710280870  maria@kairosalive.org

Kairos works in different communities and with assisted living facilities. I’m going to say if you have small children at home and/or elderly parents or grandparents at another location – this might be a fun way to meet up online! If you’ve been looking for a reason to get elderly relatives online – the lure of seeing grandkids can be pretty motivating!! And it does get you moving.

Also here are some instructions for using Zoom; they are perfect for anyone with limited digital experience. Or if when you try to access it you run into issues, like it doesn’t just start up.

Free Live Streamed Music Classes from MacPhail

Today’s happy news brought to you by broadband is free classes for K12 students in Minnesota. Here’s the news from MacPhail Center for Music

Live Streamed Music Education for K-12 Students offered at no cost to families.

MacPhail Center for Music School Partnerships is pleased to provide custom designed online music instruction for students studying at home. Offered in collaboration with the Minnesota Music Educators Association and Perpich Center for Arts Education.

The program also provides resources for music educators and parents to assist with online and distance music education.

MacPhail K-12@Home is offered at NO CHARGE to students currently enrolled in Minnesota schools thanks to generous funding from the Otto Bremer Trust and other individual donors.

What is MacPhail K-12@Home Program?

  • MacPhail faculty use specially designed curriculum and teaching materials to lead students through fun, engaging explorations of music.

  • Classes reflect a wide range of styles, genres and cultures that build on a student’s own creativity and artistry.

  • MacPhail’s school partnership faculty share a decade’s worth of experience teaching music live online. A wide range of resources assists music educators or parents new to live online music education and distance learning. Resources are provided for educators working with students who do not have access to the internet.

Who is eligible for MacPhail K-12@Home Classes?

Children and Youth grades K through 12 currently enrolled in Minnesota schools.  (Some classes may require prior music learning & expertise.)

Music educators or parents homeschooling during shelter in place.

What do you need to participate in a class?

Students will need a computer (desktop, Chromebook, laptop, iPad, smart phone) and a reliable internet connection.

*Please see eLearning resource list for resources and ideas for students without internet access.

How do I sign up?

1 – Review course descriptions

2 – Click register and complete information

3 – Once you’ve registered you will receive a Zoom link sent to your email address

4 – All you need to do at the designated class time is click on the link (Make sure to do this a few minutes ahead of each class. The first time you use zoom, allow extra time.)

5 – You may register for as many classes as you wish

How MN’s Paul Bunyan’s made broadband possible for many students

Love to share this remark from the letter to the editor from Kenneth Perreault, District Technology Coordinator for Red Lake Schools in the Bemidji Pioneer

When we found out that our students may not be back anytime soon, I gave Paul Bunyan a call and asked if they could help in any way. Within minutes we came up with a plan in conjunction with the tribe to place wireless outside of all our major buildings including some community centers. This allows for people who need internet to drive into our parking lots, connect with one click and they have internet access they may not have had before.

This was all accomplished in record speed; for a company going through this crisis just like the rest of us, they have stepped up in a major way to help support our communities. To Paul Bunyan we send you our sincerest thanks. You are truly a company made of community and serving the community

Blandin Broadband Leadership Webinar Series Overview Archive

Thanks to the presenters and attendees for joining the inaugural Blandin Broadband Leadership Webinar. Here we have the video archive, slides when available and chat transcript…

And chat Continue reading

Chairman Pai Announces Plan for $200 Million COVID-19 Telehealth Program

From the FCC

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai
today announced his plan for a COVID-19 Telehealth Program to support health care providers responding to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. As part of the CARES Act, Congress appropriated $200 million to the FCC to support health care providers’ use of telehealth services in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. If adopted by the Commission, the Program would help eligible health care providers purchase telecommunications, broadband
connectivity, and devices necessary for providing telehealth services. These services would directly help COVID-19 patients and provide care to patients with other conditions who might risk contracting the coronavirus when visiting a healthcare provider—while reducing practitioners’ potential exposure to the virus.
The Chairman has also presented his colleagues with final rules to stand up a broader, longerterm Connected Care Pilot Program. It would study how connected care could be a permanent part of the Universal Service Fund by making available up to $100 million of universal service support over three years to help defray eligible health care providers’ costs of providing telehealth services to patients at their homes or mobile locations, with an emphasis on
providing those services to low-income Americans and veterans.
“As we self-isolate and engage in social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth will continue to become more and more important across the country. Our nation’s health care providers are under incredible, and still increasing, strain as they fight the pandemic. My plan
for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program is a critical tool to address this national emergency. I’m calling on my fellow Commissioners to vote promptly to adopt the draft order I circulated today, so that we can take immediate steps to provide support for telehealth services and devices to health care providers during this national crisis,” said Chairman Pai. “I’d like to thank Congress for acting with bipartisan decisiveness to allocate funding for the COVID-19
Telehealth Program and Commissioner Carr for his leadership on telehealth issues, including the Connected Care Pilot Program.”
“I am grateful to Chairman Pai for his leadership in accelerating this important initiative and for fast-tracking a COVID-19 Telehealth Program. This decision will further strengthen the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and help Americans access high-quality
healthcare without having to visit a hospital in person,” said Commissioner Carr.
About the COVID-19 Telehealth Program: This $200 million Program would immediately support health care providers responding to the pandemic by providing eligible health care providers support to purchase telecommunications services, information services, and devices necessary to enable the provision of telehealth services during this emergency period. It would provide selected applicants with full funding for these eligible telehealth services and devices.
In order to receive funding, eligible health care providers would submit a streamlined application to the Commission for this program, and the Commission would award funds to selected applicants on a rolling basis until the funds are exhausted or until the current pandemic has ended.
About the Connected Care Pilot Program: This three-year Pilot Program would provide universal service support to help defray health care providers’ qualifying costs of providing connected care services. It would target funding to eligible health care providers, with a primary focus on pilot projects that would primarily benefit low-income or veteran patients.
The Pilot Program would make available up to $100 million, which would be separate from the budgets of the existing Universal Service Fund programs and the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. The Pilot Program would provide funding for selected pilot projects to cover 85% of
the eligible costs of broadband connectivity, network equipment, and information services necessary to provide connected care services to the intended patient population. In order to participate, eligible health care providers would submit an application to the Commission for the Pilot Program, and the Commission would announce the selected pilot projects.
For updates on the FCC’s wide array of actions during the coronavirus pandemic, visit:
https://www.fcc.gov/coronavirus. For more information on the FCC’s Keep Americans
Connected Pledge, visit: https://www.fcc.gov/keep-americans-connected.

Telehealth at the Mayo Clinic – today and moving forward

KARE 11 TV reports on Mayo Clinic’s use of telehealth since the threat of coronavirus…

Mayo Clinic is providing care to patients through telehealth that includes video appointments, remote patient monitoring, interactive care plans, primary care concerns, specialty visits and COVID-related visits.

“All of the patients that I’ve taken care of—and I’m a cardiologist—I’ve taken care of by video for the past three weeks and that’s increasing more and more,” said Dr. Steve Ommen, medical director for Mayo Clinic’s Center for Connected Care.

Even more exciting, to me, than the increase in telehealth use now is the implication that we’ve set a new bar for telehealth with changes in regulations…

The government has temporarily relaxed some regulations that were barriers to delivering telehealth. That includes allowing doctors to practice telemedicine across state lines.

“In order to deliver care to a patient, I really was required to be licensed in the state where they were during the interaction,” Dr. Ommen explained.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has also expanded coverage for telehealth services. Prior to this waiver, Medicare could only pay for telehealth on a limited basis that included patients who lived in designated rural areas.

And the patient expectations…

He added, “The patients are going to appreciate how convenient it is to get care this way and keep them safe. And third, the care teams are all going to be ramped up to do it now in a way that’s going to be just a standard part of their practice.”

According to Dr. Ommen, those three things will put telehealth in a stronger position than it was in just a couple months ago.

EVENT Mar 31: Blandin Broadband Leadership Webinar Series Overview

As the need for better broadband everywhere becomes more evident every day, are you – as an elected official, government staff or concerned citizen – wondering how to get your community or county on the right path to fixing the problem?  Would you like a better understanding of how to organize your area, select the right technology, attract the right project partners and obtain the necessary project, including grants, funding?  The Blandin Broadband Leadership Webinar Series is for you.

The first of ten webinars over the next five weeks is March 31 at 9 a.m. CDT.  Join Bernadine Joselyn, Blandin’s Director of Public Policy and Engagement, Angie Dickison of MN DEED’s Office of Broadband Development and Bill Coleman of Community Technology Advisors as they share their expertise on community broadband development.

  • Bernadine will discuss the critical role for community leaders in addressing broadband shortcomings in their communities and Blandin’s commitment to helping leaders navigate this challenge.
  • Angie will encourage participants to become active in developing and supporting applications to the state’s Border to Border Broadband grant program and provide examples where community involvement, in partnership with private sector providers, has made a positive difference in project funding decisions.
  • Bill will step participants through the Community Broadband Development Process and showcase how the webinars will provide a start-to-finish guide to developing community consensus, broadband partnerships and successful project applications.

Click here to complete the week one pre-webinar survey. Your responses will help inform the presentations and kick-off the Q&A.

Webinar Handouts
– The Broadband Development Process
– Worksheets
– Community Broadband Infrastructure and Services Assessment Tool

Join us by clicking here:  https://zoom.us/j/607332007  Pre-registration is not required.