New FirstNet Cell Sites Launch along Gunflint Trail and near Lichen Lake (Cook County MN)

Here’s the latest from AT&T. I have a few very similar posts for this afternoon but for archival reasons, I’ll post the info on each community separately…

New Infrastructure Will Help Advance Public Safety, Improve Connectivity for Area Residents and Visitors

What’s the news? First responders in northern Minnesota are getting a major boost in their wireless communications thanks to the FirstNet® network expansion currently underway by AT&T*. We’ve added two new, purpose-built cell sites – one located along the Gunflint Trail near Gunflint Lake and Magnetic Lake and another located near Lichen Lake in the Superior National Forest.

These FirstNet sites will serve those traveling in the remote wilderness of northern Minnesota. One site will provide coverage when traveling along the Gunflint Trail north of Grand Marais. The second will provide coverage when traveling along State Highway 165 near Lichen Lake north of Tofte. The sites will also give first responders on FirstNet – America’s public safety network – access to always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data.

New FirstNet Cell Site Launches in Togo (Itasca County MN)

Here’s the latest from AT&T. I have a few very similar posts for this afternoon but for archival reasons, I’ll post the info on each community separately…

New Infrastructure Will Help Advance Public Safety, Improve Connectivity for Area Residents and Visitors

What’s the news? First responders in northern Minnesota are getting a major boost in their wireless communications thanks to the FirstNet® network expansion currently underway by AT&T*. We’ve added a new, purpose-built cell site located in Togo near George Washington State Forest in Itasca County.

This FirstNet site will provide coverage when traveling along State Highways 1 and 65 in the remote community of Togo. It will also give first responders on FirstNet – America’s public safety network – access to always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data.

New FirstNet Cell Site Launches South of Faribault (Rice County MN)

Here’s the latest from AT&T. I have a few very similar posts for this afternoon but for archival reasons, I’ll post the info on each community separately…

New Infrastructure Will Help Advance Public Safety, Improve Connectivity for Area Residents and Visitors

What’s the news? First responders in southern Minnesota are getting a major boost in their wireless communications thanks to the FirstNet® network expansion currently underway by AT&T*. We’ve added a new, purpose-built cell site located just south of Faribault in Rice County.

This FirstNet site will provide coverage when traveling along 260th Street West, Dalton Avenue and Canby Avenue just south of Faribault between Deerfield and Medford in southern Minnesota. It will also give first responders on FirstNet – America’s public safety network – access to always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data.

EVENT Dec 16: The Missing Millions – Democratizing Computation and Data to Bridge Digital Divides and Increase Access to Science for Underrepresented Communities

An invitation from Internet2

Join us on Dec. 16 at 1 p.m. ET for the virtual event, “The Missing Millions – Democratizing Computation and Data to Bridge Digital Divides and Increase Access to Science for Underrepresented Communities.”
The panel includes the following people:
Alan Blatecky, RTI International;
Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, Brandeis University;
Deborah Dent, Jackson State University;
Ana Hunsinger, Internet2;
Lauren Michael, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Join our discussion and learn more about a recent effort to identify, explore, and bridge digital divides in the STEM workforce. Register now!

MN Hospitals receive funding from FCC for telehealth

Fox9 reports

St. Paul’s Regions Hospital is receiving $1 million of federal funding for telehealth services.

The funding comes from the Federal Communications Commission’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program, Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith announced Thursday. It will be used to buy a remote patient care telehealth platform.

“The pandemic has shown us how telehealth services have been a lifeline for patients across Minnesota who may otherwise not be able to access the health care they need,” said Smith in the press release. “This funding will help Regions Hospital continue to use telehealth to make health care accessible to patients who are unable to get services in person.”

Along with the $1 million for Regions Hospital, Klobuchar and Smith secured funding for the expansion of telehealth services for these health providers in Minnesota:

  • $21,533 for Native American Community Clinic in Minneapolis
  • $498,818 for Minnesota Community Care in St. Paul
  • $234,352 for CentraCare Health System, the largest provider for rural Minnesota communities
  • $120,305 for Nett Lake Health Services in northern Minnesota
  • $981,204 for Essentia Health in Duluth

The funds will allow providers to expand patient access by purchasing more telehealth equipment like laptops and monitoring devices, as well as increase wireless broadband coverage at several clinics.

Libraries without Borders work with Hibbing MN on Health and Wellness curriculum

From the Libraries without Borders newsletter…

Building on the work we’ve done in manufactured housing developments in Minnesota, LWB US will be launching our newest program with the Housing & Redevelopment Authority of Hibbing, MN and the Hibbing Public Library.

From November 2021 to March 2022, we will be designing and implementing a Health and Wellness curriculum for 102 families in Haven Court. The need is great. Average annual income at Haven Court is only $13,388 and nearly 60% of residents report a mental and/or physical disability. We will be fighting to ensure everyone in this community has critical access to health information and health services.
This work would not be possible without support from the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM).

Senator Carla Nelson outlines improvements tele mental health and broadband

The Post Bulletin shares Senator Carla Nelson’s blueprint for mental health, including an update on improvements in telehealth…

We made several other key advancements this session to improve the speed and effectiveness with which Minnesota provides support to Minnesotans working to improve their mental health.

This year’s final health and human services bill contained important funding that will help us accomplish this goal:

  • We permanently expanded Telehealth access to include mental health and substance use disorders. I have long been an author of Telehealth legislation, beginning with the very first telehealth bill, and we will continue to pursue advancements so every Minnesotan has affordable access to the health services they need, when and where they need them.

  • We provided funding to prioritize the mental and behavioral health needs of Minnesota youth, and established individual treatment plans for children in outpatient services. This was part of the YOUTH Act that I authored this year to help Minnesota better support children in crisis.

  • We provided additional funding in this year’s jobs and economic growth bill to expand broadband access in underserved and unserved communities to help close gaps in access to important services like telehealth.

A closer look at telework recruitment efforts such as Bemidji’s 218 Relocate

The Register Citizen takes a closer look at Bemidji’s 218 Relocate program, a program to recruit teleworkers to the area…

Earlier this year, they [potential new residents, the Fahrenbruchs] saw a job possibility for his wife with the city of Bemidji. But he didn’t see anything for himself. Then, he read about Bemidji’s 218 Relocate program, which offers $2,500 to help cover moving or telecommuting expenses for people who move to Bemidji from more than 60 miles away and bring a job with them, Minnesota Public Radio news reported.

So he pitched the idea to his boss. He could telecommute for his job — with the Kansas Legislature — from Bemidji, Minnesota.

But they are just one story..

The Fahrenbruchs are one of 22 families who have qualified so far for the relocation program since it began in February. It’s run by the economic development organization Greater Bemidji, with funding from a local foundation and Paul Bunyan Communications.

Greater Bemidji hatched the idea for an incentive to help lure people to town before the pandemic, but assistant director Erin Echternach said they launched it after hearing stories of people teleworking from cabins in the area last year after COVID-19 lockdowns went into effect.

Better broadband is a seller…

A key part of Bemidji’s sales pitch is its high-speed internet. Paul Bunyan has built one of the largest rural, all-fiber broadband networks in the country in north-central Minnesota.

“For them to move up to their cabin, and then connect with us and say, ‘I get better internet service at my little cabin in Bemidji than I do down in Maple Grove, Minnnesota,’ that was pretty special,” said Echternach. “And that’s when 218 Relocate was born.”

218 Relocate is one of several resident recruitment programs that have sprouted up around the state in recent years, with names like the “Get Rural” initiative in western Minnesota, “The Good Life” campaign in the north-central part of the state, and “Live Like a Local,” in Grand Rapids.

 

Most affordable towns to work remotely from in Minnesota

Minneapolis St Paul Business Journal reports on most affordable places to work from home in Minnesota…

The ranking comes from New York-based financial and technology company SmartAsset.

To compile a list of the most affordable places to live in Minnesota, the tech company used a variety of factors, including taxes, homeowner insurance and home costs relative to local median income. (You can see the full list here.)

The list of Minnesota’s most affordable places is below:

  1. Montevideo
  2. Redwoods Falls
  3. International Falls
  4. Ostego
  5. Hibbing
  6. Austin
  7. St. Michael
  8. Virginia
  9. Albert Lea
  10. Litchfield

These affordable towns are in a good position to recruit residents and businesses to their location, especially since COVID has moved many people to remote work options and opened the door to living anywhere. So I wanted to take a look at these cities and their broadband ranking – or at least the ranking of their county. Turns out they are all over the place from 31 to 85. Some of the towns listed would definitely rank higher than their county. Monticello, for example,  has a municipal fiber network; Austin has been talking about broadband for years; Redwood Falls was focused on broadband 10 years ago. I’d say, however, that having good broadband and being affordable might boost a community to the top of a “potential new home” list.

City County Affordability Rank Broadband Rank (100/20)
Montevideo Chippewa 1 37
Redwood Falls Redwood 2 85
International Falls Koochiching 3 60
Ostego Wright 4 31
Hibbing St Louis 5 44
Austin Mower 6 35
St Michael Wright 7 31
Virginia St Louis 8 44
Albert Lea Freeborn 9 32
Litchfield Meeker 10 72

 

 

 

 

Nurse Licensure Compact would allow MN to ease licensure for telehealth

The Duluth New Tribune posts a column on health care and how to remove a barrier to make telehealth easier…

First, Minnesota should join the national Nurse Licensure Compact. When the pandemic hit, Minnesota needed all the qualified medical professionals it could get, but licensing proved to be an obstacle to qualified health care workers from outside the state putting their skills to use here. Gov. Tim Walz eventually signed an order allowing health care workers licensed in other states to work in our state, but a permanent solution would be for our state to join the national Nurse Licensure Compact.

The compact allows a nurse to have one license in their primary state of residence with authority to practice in person or via telehealth in other compact states, with the requirement that they follow the nurse practice act of each state. As the Minnesota Board of Nursing says, the compact “advances public protection and access to care through the mutual recognition of one state-based license that is enforced locally and recognized nationally.” At present, 34 states are members of the compact.

OPPORTUNITY: I’m thankful for broadband because… #MNthanks2broadband campaign

In a meeting yesterday we talked about how the holidays are a great time to recruit expats. After life in quarantine, folks are looking forward to a traditional holiday season with family and old friends. After life in quarantine, many folks are still working online, which means they might be ripe for permanent return to their hometown. So it’s time to put our best foot forward. You bake the best pumpkin pie and maybe get the Vikings to win a few games. Collectively maybe we can talk up broadband around the state with quick videos or pictures.

The idea is to create, collect and share content throughout the holidays season making the point that with great broadband, you can live anywhere – so why not here? I got the ball rolling below. It took exactly 2 minutes to do. I recorded myself on a Zoom and uploaded to YouTube. But you could also do a selfie video or have a friend record you. You could post it on YouTube and send me the link OR send me the video and I’ll post on the BlandinonBroadband channel. (Just email me and we’ll figure it out atreacy@treacyinfo.com.)

Or join us for the Special Lunch Bunch on Tuesday November 23 at noon and we can record some then. Or contact me and we can set up a time to do a Zoom video. We can share as we build!

Innovate 218 supports Innovation in Northeast Minnesota

Tech.mn is writing a series on innovation in Minnesota. In Northeast MN, they have focused on  Innovate 218, an organization that focused on promoting and facilitating entrepreneurialism in the area. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll see some familiar names or folks who are involved…

Finding these startups and providing them with a one-stop shop for resources is what Innovate 218 is all about.

“These organizations in the region already existed — small business development, universities — but it’s bringing us together so we’re a more holistic, cohesive resource for entrepreneurs,” White said. “Together we’re stronger.”

An entrepreneur himself having started six companies, White admitted that it previously was confusing to access resources. Now, with funding from Launch Minnesota to create Innovate 218, it’s much more approachable and gives access to services in one place, he said. 

“It’s been a great catalyst for bringing these groups together,” White added. “It’s not necessarily that we’re creating much ‘new,’ but organizing it in a way that makes it more accessible.”

“We’re full-on in the launch phase,” Tamara Lowney, President of the Itasca Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), said of the region’s efforts to build a platform for entrepreneurs where they can get the resources they need.  

And more…

Betsy Olivanti of NSBDC had similar sentiments. “There are a lot of creative folks and a lot of interesting things going on, [but] they don’t know how to get from idea to creation,” she said. 

In her work — which she comes to with an engineering background, ISO certification, and lean certification — she’s noticed that folks tend to think of themselves as “inventors” instead of “entrepreneurs.”

“My work at Innovate 218 is to marry those two things. You are an entrepreneur as well — [it’s] bringing the two sides together,” Olivanti said.

Olivanti and Lowney are both working to bring entrepreneurs out through multiple initiatives: entrepreneur meetups, pop-up coworking spaces at a local coffee shop in Virginia, MN called “jellies,” and events like the Itasca Summit. Innovation was one of the key tracks at this economic development summit, which was held in Grand Rapids October 19 and 20. It brought together state and regional leaders working to inspire and support more innovation and startup entrepreneurship in the region.

One of the organizations participating in the Itasca Summit was the Blandin Foundation, which is a highly influential organization in the region on many fronts, and is a major contributor and supporter of the Itasca Business Development Corporation.

EVENT Nov 17: Tekne Awards Online

The Tekne Awards celebrate Minnesota companies – emerging and established – that have made innovative technology work. On Nov 17, they will announce the winners of the 2021 awards. Here’s the line up for the afternoon:

Wed, Nov 17 Virtual Celebration

3:45 p.m. Arrivals and Pre-show. Meet this year’s Finalists and greet your colleagues and friends online. Get set for a great celebration!

4:00 p.m. Awards program begins:

Award Grouping: Business Enablement thru Technology

  • AI/Machine Learning
  • Data Analytics
  • Data Security
  • Digital Marketing
  • Digital Transformation
  • Edge Computing & IoT

Lifetime Achievement – Joy Lindsay, StarTec Investments

2021 Scholarship Recipients

Award Grouping: Innovation in Minnesota’s Leading Industries

  • Financial Services Technology
  • Healthcare Information Systems
  • Medical Technology & Devices
  • Sustainable Resources

Rising Star Awards

Public Service Honorees

Lifetime Achievement Award – Mike McNamara, Target Corporation

Award Grouping:  Vibrant Tech Ecosystem

  • Technology Partnership
  • Tech Talent
  • Tech for Good

5:30 p.m. Celebration concludes

Videos on online school from kids who were OK with it and kids who weren’t

The National Urban League released 13 short videos about young people’s experiences with online schooling during the pandemic. This is a little bit off my usual post but I thought it was interesting. In the interviews kids who were OK with online school talk to kids who were not. At least one was not OK because he lacked access but for most the platform just didn’t work for them.

I think it’s important that we look at what works with technology and what doesn’t and unfortunately, I think we may have more opportunities to work on online schooling in the future. Changes in technology or teaching may help. Adequate access to technology would certainly help. We might new teaching models, new models for tele-mental health services as well as all of help with equity issues unrelated to technology.

I hope they do a follow up to see how the disconnected kids are doing in a few months. In my house we’ve gone from disconnected to nearly complete rebound since going in person in September – but we’ve got a lot of tools at our disposal. I hope many of the other kids who didn’t love online school will be able to turn it around too. It could lead to an interesting discussion on societal changes based the abrupt worldwide change in education.

Congrats to Winnipeg – 2021 Intelligent Community of the Year

Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) reports…

For the first time since 2016, the Intelligent Community Forum honored a Canadian city with its top award today when it named Winnipeg, Manitoba as its 2021 Intelligent Community of the Year. Winnipeg is a veteran of the Intelligent Community Awards program, having been previously named a nine-time Smart21 Community and four-time Top7 Community since first entering the program in 2011.

“Over the past nine years, we have watched Winnipeg evolve in its strategy and the maturity and interconnectedness of its programs,” said co-founder Louis Zacharilla, who led the award ceremony. “Like so many of the Intelligent Communities of the Year, it is a mid-size city proud of the diversity of its people, its economy and its cultures. There is much to learn from their example.”

I have two daughters that attend college in Winnipeg. It’s an interesting city. The public art is amazing, some fabulous food, hockey of course.