Hello all Lexington Broadband Supporters:
Good thing we understand hills here and how to get up them. Point yourself at the top and climb.
Last week, the New York State Broadband Office held their annual Broadband Summit in Albany. It was a 1-½ half day affair full of workshops statistically proving things we know, like– “States that ignore rural communities end up with a lower GDP across the board for everyone,” and issues of “economic recovery and inequality are tied to Broadband acquisition; there is a cost to digital exclusion.” Populations in the most rural counties in which there are communities without broadband are noticeably dropping. The reverse is happening where there is universal access.
I (Bonnie) attended part of the first day. The half day that followed was thought to be the moment the criteria under which we are applying for a New New York Broadband expansion grant, “Broadband 4- Everyone,” would be announced.
That did not happen. The most reliable information we have as to the reason no announcement was made is that the amount of money in play ($500 million) has mobilized efforts to redirect distribution and priorities, otherwise known as “lobbying”. All along, we have heard rumors that these efforts would begin or had begun. That is why we have made every effort to keep Lexington in the minds of our representatives and have asked you to show up in force whenever we have had a meeting. And you have.
We are concerned that the original reason for the broadband initiative, getting service to rural residents, may be watered down or worse. We ask all of you to raise your voices and reach out to all of your representatives to demand that the broadband initiative go forward and that funds to used for the underserved and the unserved.
Our partners, MTC, Western Catskills Revitalization Council, Catskill Watershed Corporation, and Greene County Office of Economic Development, Tourism & Planning (for in-kind services) continue to push and support our efforts. No one is stopping forward motion. No matter when the criteria are released, we know that our grant is ready to go. MTC will continue pre-construction activities as they can and will keep themselves poised for action when the application window opens.
Now we need you–
First: to contact our representatives with a phone call or email to remind them of the importance of the Governor’s intended target and purpose in making this fund available. That purpose is to make high speed, business friendly broadband internet available to rural communities to level the playing field for businesses and students, and allow us the same wide margins for social contact and incubating ideas as are available in connected communities. Contact numbers are listed at the end of this announcement.
If you are a part-time resident, call your representatives in your out of town NY districts and tell them you support Broadband 4-Everyone in upstate rural communities and that you do not support funds being directed away from that end.
Second: We are one month from a most important moment for us. We have the opportunity to show our support for our grant application to the Executive Director of the NY State Broadband Office, David Salway. He will be coming to a Broadband Pep Rally we’ll be holding at the Lexington Farmers Market on July 18, from 11AM – 12PM. This visit was not easily won and it is exciting!
Along with Mr. Salway, we will host Senator George Amedore; Assemblyman Peter Lopez; Greene County Economic Development, Tourism and Planning Director, Warren Hart; Congressman Gibson’s Broadband specialist Ann Mueller and others. MTC will park their bucket truck on the grounds and represent! It’s the moment when crowd support from all of you will be MOST IMPORTANT!
Our market day will begin at 10 as usual. We’ll have music to shop by from Staber and Chasnoff, and a special cooking demonstration and tasting provided by NYC chef and part-time Lexington resident, Fred Sabo. Fred is the Executive Chef of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Members’ Dining Room. Our start-up, West Kill Brewing, will provide tasting samples of their brew and Nina’s Homecooking has a menu of Broadband-ly food items to enjoy. Huge juicy Broadband Burgers for $3.00; MTC meatloaf & horseradish wraps for $3.00; Fiber Optic Fries, Hot-Gig Dogs, and more.
Our farmers market will be extended on July 18 after the pep rally to give shoppers a chance to shop. The planned agenda is below. WE NEED YOU THERE. WE NEED YOU THERE. WE NEED YOU THERE. IN FORCE. We have to point ourselves at the top and climb. Here is the planned agenda for July 18, followed by contact numbers for you to call or email. Tell them what this means to you, your businesses and your families.
The July 18 Agenda:
11:10 – 11:12: Welcome from Town of Lexington Supervisor, Dixie Baldrey
11:12 – 11:15: Co-Chairs, Lexington Broadband Initiative, intro to event
11:15 – 11:20: Resident survey replies: Our Need for Broadband
11:20 – 11:25: “Kim Do and the Broadbands” sing the Broadband Anthem
11:25- 11:30: Executive Director NY State Broadband, David Salway
11:30 – 11:35: Congressman Gibson/Ann Mueller
11:35 – 11:40: State Senator George Amedore
11:45 – 11:50: Assemblyman Peter Lopez
11:50 – 11:55: Warren Hart, Director of Greene County Office of Economic Development, Tourism & Planning
NY State Broadband Office, (David Salway, Executive Director); 866-322- 5787; http://nysbroadband.ny.gov/
NY State Senator George Amedore: 518-455-2350; firstname.lastname@example.org
NY State Assemblyman Peter Lopez: 518-455-5363; email@example.com
US Congressman Chris Gibson: 518-610-8133; http://gibson.house.gov/
Congressman Gibson’s Broadband Specialist, Ann Mueller: firstname.lastname@example.org
US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, http://www.gillibrand.senate.