OP: Removing the hurdle to high-speed internet

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Keri Alexander Publisher

Such a time as this Ö a time of renewed spirits, like-minded individuals who want to see our Silver Valley prosper, grow and provide our young children the hope of a business economy filled with rich opportunities, living wage salaries, camaraderie and commerce. It truly is the American way, right?

I know this ideology may sound too good to be true after experiencing many decades in what feels like a drought, but my idealistic nature and my gut says it can be done. It is time! The realistic voice, which is more like a whisper says gently, ďYou must have broadband.Ē Actually, that voice isnít mine, itís a voice that belongs to Vince Rinaldi. Almost five years ago when I arrived to be the caretaker of the Shoshone News-Press, I had the pleasure of giving a presentation to the Kellogg Rotary Club. Vince asked if he could buy me a cocktail after the meeting because he wanted to visit with me about something. That something was broadband internet. Vince made me promise him that I would never stop talking about broadband internet until it came to fruition.

Unfortunately, it still hasnít come to fruition. But, something is happening. Thereís a contagious movement of folks who are coming together to be change makers. Our community cannot grow unless we collectively come together from the west to the east and create an action plan with solutions and strategies for a healthy and strong economy.

Our roadblock is our lack of high-speed internet. Itís expensive and at this point, weíre looking at millions of dollars to make it happen. Raising money with bake sales, fundraising events and auctions canít solve this problem. I encourage every resident of the Silver Valley to write to our representatives and ask for help. This is an infrastructure problem, and if we donít solve this problem, we will never see the Silver Valley grow. Rural America will never be attractive to business and industries without this essential tool.

Technology is growing and changing rapidly. Most of us canít even keep up with its warp speed. I donít have the answers, but I do have the ability to connect people. Dear readers, please help this positive momentum thatís growing in our community. There are some exciting opportunities in the forefront, but the type of growth we need depends on solid infrastructure. High speed internet. How remarkable, as I typed this op-ed I received a phone call from my son, Mason, who just arrived at home after school. He called to tell me that our internet is out again. Heís 17 years old and heís frustrated. Iím 49 years old and Iím beyond frustrated.

Such a time as this Ö to be change makers, innovators, progress-seeking citizens with a positive approach to solutions and strategies that will benefit all of Shoshone County, but most importantly enrich the lives of our young children and the future children to come.

Hereís the contact information for our district:

• Senator Carl Crabtree; ccrabtree@senate.idaho.gov; 36 White Tail Acres Lane, Grangeville, ID 83530; Home: 208-983-2176; Statehouse: 208-332-1355 (Session Only)

• Representative Priscilla Giddings; pgiddings@house.idaho.gov; P.O. Box 43, White Bird, ID 83554; Home: 208-570-8616; Statehouse: 208-332-1033 (Session Only)

• Representative Paul Shepherd; pshepherd@house.idaho.gov; P.O. Box 277, Riggins, ID 83549; Home: 208-628-3695; Bus: 208-628-3695; Statehouse: 208-332-1067 (Session Only)

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