Today, the Blandin Foundation announced that Pine County has been selected to participate in the Community Broadband Resources (CBR): Accelerate Program. The program will provide a 15-week course of study and education about broadband for a community team. The program consists of three parts 1) Leadership Education, 2) Information Gathering, and 3) Analysis and Next Steps. The project will also include community
surveys and interviews with internet service providers. It is anticipated a final report from the team will be available by July 2021.
In January, the Pine County Board of Commissioners identified broadband as one of its top priorities for 2021. On February 23rd, the commissioners held a special meeting to discuss broadband with interested community
members. Over 50 community members joined the meeting. The attendance and comments at the meeting demonstrated the need for expanded broadband access in Pine County.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the disparity in broadband coverage and left many in the community without a reliable way to attend school remotely, work from home, or participate in their community.
More information on the project will be available on the project website
The following 19 community members volunteered for the program.
- Josh Asp – CFO, Welia Health
- Jodi Blesener – Child Support Supervisor, Pine County
- Ailene Croup – PICK News
- Dustin Goslin – Vice President, Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures
- Angela Grochowski – Hinckley-Finlayson School Board
- Beth Gruber – Dir. of Organizational Effectiveness, Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures
- Steve Hallan – County Commissioner & Chair, Pine County
- Justin Jahnz – CEO, East Central Energy
- Joe Keyport – News Director, WCMP Radio
- Becky Lourey – Owner, Nemadji Research
- Terry Lovgren – County Commissioner, Pine County
- David Minke – County Administrator, Pine County
- Josh Mohr – County Commissioner, Pine County
- Joe Mulford – President, Pine Technical and Community College
- Katy Overtoom – Chengwatana Twp. and Chair Township Assoc.
- Bill Peel – Superintendent, Willow River School District
- Lezlie Sauter – City Administrator, Pine City
- Brian Scholin – Pine City Resident
- Becky Schueller – Executive Director, Pine City Area Chamber of Commerce