EVENTS Feb 3-Mar 31: Can broadband help beat the winter blues? Maybe with Kairos Clubhouse!

Folks might remember Kairos Alive! , our most interactive partners at our first (2020) all online annual conference. They were the folks that got us jumping around and dancing between sessions. They have a weekly online program/concert/exercise series coming up that looks like fun. It might be a break in your business day and/or a chance to connect with loved ones who are more homebound, be that a grandparent, parent-of-a-newborn, or someone with compromised health issues. You can meet in the clubhouse…

Kairos Clubhouse!

Connect, Create, and Move for Wellbeing

Get your 9-week pass to the Clubhouse: Thursdays, February 3 – March 31, 2022, 10:30 – 11:15 AM Central and 1-1:45 PM Central. 

On Zoom and YouTube Live.

Experience joy, adventure, and friendship this spring in this 9-week research-based program from Kairos Alive. Building from over two decades of practice and expertise as performers, teachers, and artists, our work is informed by and contributes to a wide breadth of research ranging from social wellness, elder care, memory loss, and mental health. The Clubhouse will play with and explore music, dance, and storytelling from intercultural, intergenerational, and community-centered forms of art-making. Email info@kairosalive.org for the Zoom link and information about the program.

Mobile apps help community with annual homeless count

I write about broadband and I volunteer at various endeavors to support people experiencing homelessness. So I was eager to learn more about an app that would help with annual HUD count related to homelessness. GNC reports

Every year, on a single night in January, communities across the country conduct an annual count of sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness.

To make it easier to collect data during these point in time (PIT) counts, cities are using mobile apps to help volunteers and community coordinators collect and manage the data.

Massachusetts-based Simtech Solutions’ Counting Us application, due to be used in at least 50 regions this year, lets outreach teams input detailed information in real time so coordinators can validate data as it comes in. A second app, Show The Way, allows social workers to input more detailed data about individuals’ habits and experiences with location and demographic data, images and other indicators of vulnerability. The company’s technology has even helped some departments track COVID-19 in their homeless populations.

Because the PIT homeless count provides a snapshot of a community’s homeless population, and not a comprehensive survey, the data may not be complete.

In Minnesota, there are two counts per year. (COVID has forced some changes.) Last time I helped was January 2020; I administered surveys with people experiencing homelessness. (The picture is from that count; I brought a friend.)  It takes about 15 minutes to ask a series of sometimes intrusive questions. The folks I survey get paid (maybe $5-10). The January survey count is cold and the surveys are done at night. I usually get lucky with an semi-indoor gig but still my cold handwriting on paper for each person can’t be easy to decipher. And sometimes people are unable to give you exact answers – and to be fair sometimes at 4am, they lose a little interest. So it was interesting to hear how the app helps fill in some gaps and make follow up easier…

In the past, Houston would use a sample of the its PIT count to extrapolate demographic information about the homeless population, said Ana Rausch, vice president of program operations for the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston. “Now, we are asking the questions in person,” she said.

Since the interviews are captured with geolocation data, Rausch said that her department has also been able to find concentrations of encampments and deduce shifts in the unsheltered population based on new developments and construction.

“After the count, we have sent teams to those hotspots where people are densely packed together to engage them about housing, which is the eventual goal,” Rausch said. So, even if someone does not answer part of the survey, the volunteer is able to make a determination for a future follow up,” she said.

FCC Commits Another $240M in Emergency Connectivity Funding – including MN locations

From the FCC

The Federal Communications Commission today

announced that it is committing $240,888,016 in its eighth wave of Emergency Connectivity Fund program support.  The funding commitments will support over 600,000 students and provide funding for 693 schools, 55 libraries and 8 consortia in 49 states, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the District of Columbia.  The institutions are approved to receive nearly 683,000 connected devices and 182,000 broadband connections.  Since its June 2021 launch, the program has committed over $4.4 billion supporting all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the District of Columbia.

“In a little over six months, this program has helped over 12 million students across the nation get the digital tools they need to connect with teachers and online educational resources,” said Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.  “This program is an important part of closing the Homework Gap, and connecting library patrons across the country.”

The funding can be used to support off-campus learning, such as nightly homework, to ensure students across the country have the necessary support to keep up with their education.  Total commitments to date are supporting over 10,500 schools, 860 libraries, and nearly 120 consortia for nearly 9.6 million connected devices and nearly 4.9 million broadband connections.  Today’s announcement includes over $98 million in commitments from Window 1 applications and over $142 million in commitments from Window 2 applications.

Here are the Minnesota folks who got money in this latest round:

  • Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School
  • KATO PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL
  • ELLSWORTH SCHOOL DISTRICT 514
  • Great Oaks Academy
  • Gateway STEM Academy
  • ST JOHN THE BAPTIST SCHOOL
  • INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL DIST 287
  • SEVEN HILLS PREPARATORY ACADEMY 4159-07
  • SAGE ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOL 4087-07
  • COMMUNITY SCHOOL OF EXCELLENCE 4181-07
  • NEW CENTURY SCHOOL 4240-07
  • THE JOURNEY SCHOOL 4258-07
  • CONCORDIA ACADEMY
  • ST PASCAL REGIONAL CATHOLIC SCHOOL
  • COMMUNITY OF PEACE ACAD-4015
  • MINNESOTA INTERNSHIP CENTER CHARTER SCHOOL
  • FRIDLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT 14
  • NEW MILLENNIUM ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOL 4143-07
  • STRIDE ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOL 4142-07
  • ST FRANCIS XAVIER SCHOOL
  • ST. JOSEPH 0110-31-001
  • ALEXANDRIA SCHOOL DISTRICT 206
  • OSAKIS SCHOOL DISTRICT 213
  • MINN NEW COUNTRY SCH-DIST 4007
  • BRECKENRIDGE SCHOOL DIST 846
  • NEW YORK MILLS ISD #553
  • ASHBY SCHOOL
  • ST. AGNES
  • United Community Action Partnership, Inc.
  • WARREN-ALVARADO-OSLO S D 2176
  • GREENBUSH-MIDDLE RIVER SD 2683
  • ROTHSAY PUBLIC SCHOOL DIST 850
  • PELICAN RAPIDS SCHOOL DIST 548
  • BARNESVILLE SCHOOL DIST 146
  • ST MICHAEL’S SCHOOL
  • ST MARY’S SCHOOL
  • CHISAGO LAKES SCHOOL DIST 2144
  • KELLIHER SCHOOL DISTRICT 36
  • ESKO PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT 99
  • CAMBRIDGE SCHOOL DISTRICT 911

Dakota County libraries check out Chromebooks and Hotspots

The following is helpful if you’re in Dakota County or if you are in a different county and want a model to replicate to get Chromebooks and hotspots into the hands of their residents. The Dakota County newsletter reports

Dakota County Library is making is easier for you to do schoolwork, look for a job and connect with family and friends online.

Anyone with a Dakota County Library card can check out a Chromebook and a Wi-Fi hotspot from an of the none county library locations. Check out either a kit that includes a Chromebook and a Wi-Fi hotspot or just a hotspot for up to six weeks. Just like other library materials, there’s no charge ro check out and borrow devices.

Learn more.

MN hospital reduces postpartum hemorrhages 40% after retooling EHR

It’s great when we can calculate how technology improves how we live and while I understand this doesn’t require broadband to track this info – the move to remote care for as many people as possible during COVID means that every tool we have makes staying home safer. Becker’s Health IT reports

Robbinsdale, Minn.-based North Memorial Hospital used an EHR to create a screening tool that would predict, identify and guide postpartum hemorrhages, resulting in a 40 percent reduction, according to a Jan. 10 report in EpicShare.

North Memorial’s clinical practice committee analyzed data to determine which patients were at “high-risk” of hemorrhaging. The committee found that high-risk pregnancy didn’t always equate to hemorrhaging.

The committee then created a screening tool within Epic’s EHR system that would calculate a patient’s risk based on:

  • What type of birth it is: vaginal or C-sections, as C-sections have higher rates of hemorrhaging.
  • Where the placenta is: Placenta previa, or low-lying placenta, increases hemorrhage risk.
  • Hemoglobin measurements, or a low hematocrit measurement.
  • Any pre-existing conditions such as obesity or a bleeding disorder.

North Memorial  also used Epic to create a quantitative blood loss calculator to improve response time for hemorrhages.

BBC Cohort meeting – learning about what’s happening with broadband communities in Minnesota

Yesterday the Blandin Broadband Team met with incoming and outgoing Blandin Broadband Communities. The seasoned folks gave advice to the newbies, especially in how to make broadband planning possible in the pandemic world.

We also heard from each of the communities about some of their highlight projects for example, Ottertail spoke about their community smart room/zoom rooms and broadband availability mapping too, White Earth spoke about their elders initiative, Chisago Lakes talked about their community survey and broadband infrastructure work and the virtual manufacturing tours (for students looking at careers) and Le Sueur talked about their economic development summit and the Google Suite work.

Studies show telemedicine works well, experts still recommend in-person

Grand Rapids Herald Review reports…

Chatting with your doctor via video about your health issues works just as well as an in-person office visit, at least when it comes to managing chronic illnesses, a new review suggests.

Replacing office visits with video checkups delivered results that were just as effective for patients being treated for conditions like diabetes, respiratory illnesses, chronic pain, heart problems and neurological disorders, researchers reported recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“In general, the evidence shows that using video teleconferencing in health care results in outcomes that are just as good as and in some cases better than in-person care,” said lead researcher Jordan Albritton, a public health analyst with RTI International, a nonprofit research institute in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

Despite these findings, experts maintain that in-person physical exams remain essential to quality health care, particularly for new patients who have just fallen ill.

Chemical Health Assessments available online in Crookston, East Grand Forks, Thief River Falls and Roseau

Crookston Times shares info on how folks with broadband can get chemical health support online…

In an effort to increase accessibility to treatment options, RiverView Recovery Center offer chemical health assessments, also known as Minnesota Rule 25, on a telehealth basis over the Zoom application.

A chemical health assessment is the first step in receiving treatment and is often a requirement for those in the court system. The assessment helps determine whether the individual needs treatment and if so, what type of treatment will be most beneficial.

Telehealth assessments are provided at various times and on various days, originating from all four of the RiverView Recovery locations (Crookston, East Grand Forks, Thief River Falls, and Roseau). The assessment takes approximately two hours and is done by licensed staff.

RiverView Recovery Center accepts most insurances, credit/debit cards, check, or cash. Discounts may apply. For more information on a chemical health assessment or other services offered over telehealth at RiverView Recovery Center, call 281-9511.

Innovate 218 gets more recognition for lifting up Northeast Minnesota

Tech.MN reports on Innovate 218…

From Grand Rapids to Duluth, Northeast Minnesota is well known as including a region called the Iron Range, where historically mining and other natural resources championed the local industries.

“They have many of  the elements there — thriving higher education, broadband, local champions, and strong corporate innovators,” Neela Mollgaard, Executive Director of Launch Minnesota, said. The last region to join Launch MN’s 8 hub and 80 program partner initiatives across the state, the area holds a lot of promise for innovation.

“It’s been great to see these organizations across Minnesota come together. They’ve all been serving entrepreneurs for years, and now are purposefully working together to start and scale new ventures ” Mollgaard said. “They are building on their local strengths while leveraging statewide resources and best practices.”

The main innovative areas remain in the natural resources sphere, according to Tim White, Business Development and Intellectual Property Manager at University of Minnesota Duluth / Natural Resources Research Institute.

“Northeast Minnesota has amazing natural resources available. We are charged with considering responsible use of those resources,” White said, mentioning the minerals, forests, and freshwater that are in abundance.

FCC commits $603 million to close homework gap – MN to get $57+ million

The FCC reports

—The Federal Communications Commission today announced that it is committing $602,985,895.13 in its latest wave of Emergency Connectivity Fund program support, which will connect over 1.4 million students in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. These additional commitments bring the current total commitments to over $3.8 billion, supporting students, school staff, and library patrons in all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia. The funding can be used to support off-campus learning, such as nightly homework and virtual learning, as schools and libraries continue to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. …

Today’s announcement marks the sixth wave of commitments and includes over $367 million in commitments from Window 1 applications and nearly $236 million in commitments from Window 2 applications. This round of commitments will support 1,651 schools, 85 libraries, and 14 consortia, which are approved to receive nearly 1.2 million connected devices and over 790,000 broadband connections. Total commitments to date are supporting over 9,000 schools, 760 libraries, and 100 consortia for nearly 8.3 million connected devices and over 4.4 million broadband connections. More details about which schools and libraries have received funding commitments can be found at https://www.fcc.gov/ecf-current-funding-commitments.

Minnesota will get $57,412,673.35 in total doled out in waves of:

  • $19,830,464.06
  • $10,347,442.23
  • $6,601,893.82
  • $3,854,319.44
  • $10,865,203.54
  • $1,468,881.00
  • $4,444,469.26

Hy-Vee is launching low-cost telehealth and online pharmacy services

KTTC Rochester reports…

Hy-Vee, Inc. is launching a new national subsidiary that will provide low-cost telehealth, online pharmacy services, and direct shipping of prescribed treatments to patients’ homes throughout the U.S.

RedBox Rx will make it easy for people to get treatment offering quick, easy and discreet access to a provider who can prescribe prescription medication that is then shipped for free directly to the patient.

Find services offered here: https://www.redboxrx.com/services

New FirstNet Cell Site Launches in Angle Inlet (Lake of the Woods County MN)

Here’s the latest from AT&T…

What’s the news? First responders in the Northwest Angle 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 in Angle Inlet – the northernmost point of the contiguous 48 states.

This FirstNet site will serve those traveling along Inlet Road NW and Pine Creek Drive NW in Angle Inlet – a community in Lake of the Woods County – as well as those fishing or recreating on the nearby lake. This site 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.

Angle Inlet is part of the Northwest Angle of Minnesota, the only place in the continental United States north of the 49th parallel. The community is the northernmost census-designated place in the contiguous 48 states. The Northwest Angle cannot be reached from the rest of the United States without either going through Canada or crossing water – specifically Lake of the Woods.

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.