Town Pump Employees and members from Corporate pose with a Libby Police Officer.. Photo courtesy of Maureen Kenneally
By The Montanian
A strategic plan to bring reliable broadband internet access to Troy was announced by Montana Lieutenant Governor, Mike Cooney on Tuesday, July 30. The plan was developed as a collaboration between the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Deloitte, and the Montana Telecommunications Association, along with the Troy stakeholders. The plan, in the form of a report called the Roadmap to Bring Broadband to Troy, is intended to promote economic development, advance public health and safety, and enhance educational opportunities for local youth.
In many rural communities, small populations and geographic isolation discourage investments by telecommunications companies leaving residents with few options for reliable internet, Troy is one of them.
According to the Lt. Governor’s press release, 92% of Montanans in urban communities have access to broadband while only 59% of those in rural communities have access. For those rural residents who do have access, only one wired provider is available to about 245,000 residents. Another 40,000 Montanans have no option for wired internet at all. Overall, nearly 40% of Montanans don’t have reliable connectivity.
The Lt. Governor’s plan is to help not only Troy residents, but to extend the plan far beyond Troy bringing reliable broadband to rural communities across the state.
In October of 2018, Lt Governor Cooney visited Troy as part of the Main Street Montana- Rural Partners Project. Through that program, Troy area residents identified improving broadband as a priority and that’s how the project got started.
The new Roadmap was developed during the following months through pro bono work done by the consulting firm, Deloitte. They analyzed the broadband connectivity challenges specific to Troy and outlined next steps to meet the goal of reliable broadband for the community.
Through this project, a Broadband Taskforce has been activated in Troy.
Troy City Councilwoman, Shawna Kelsey, told the Montanian in an email, “Through the planning process over the winter and spring months, it became clear that poor internet is holding us back as a community. In response, we established a broadband task force whose purpose is to work with the planning materials developed over the winter to determine the best path forward, ideally leading to improved broadband infrastructure that can provide accessible and reliable internet to Troy area businesses, public services and residents.”
The intent is not just to improve internet service in the City of Troy, but also to bring reliable broadband to surrounding areas such as the Yaak Valley, the Bull River Valley, Old Hwy 2, and the Lake Creek and Iron Creek areas.
Lt. Governor Cooney said in the press release, “Not only will this plan empower the community of Troy, but it will serve as a model to bring broadband to rural communities across the state.”
Kelsey said that through the project they “hope to see positive ripple effects in local access to healthcare services, social services, education – both at home and at school, while providing more opportunities for economic development, entertainment, and quality of life.”
Kelsey has been involved in this work through her role as the Community Development Director with the Yaak Valley Forest Council. If others are interested in joining the broadband task force, please e-mail Kelsey at email@example.com.
Submitted by Maureen Keneally
Employees of the Libby town pump store have won a monetary reward for passing a compliance check for refusing to sell alcohol to under-age persons, and this diligence is good news for all fellow employees, who will share in winnings totaling $700 reward.
In an aggressive effort to control under-age drinking, Town Pump launched in April 2006 its “Un-stung Heroes” program, which monetarily rewards its employees for passing random compliance checks by law enforcement officials.
Each employee from the store or casino who wins the once-a-quarter drawing will receive a $50 Reward card. The total amount Town Pump has paid so far is over $100,000.
Libby #2 C-Store is this quarter’s winner. They are one of the two C-stores that have successfully kept alcohol out of the hands of minors.
“The Un-stung Heroes program is proving to be successful in promoting responsible alcohol sales at Town Pump Food Stores across Montana,” said Spokesperson Maureen Kenneally. “Thank you to Libby #2 C-store, for preventing underage sales and many thanks for being an Un-stung hero.”