Merrill Community Forum Series Continues: Importance of Broadband Listening Session
Please join Professor Andy Lewis and Maria Alvarez-Stroud, director of the University of Wisconsin-Extension Center for Community Technology Solutions as they discuss the importance of having broadband access in order to effectively compete and live in the 21st century. During their interactive discussion, special attention will be given to how the City of Merrill, Lincoln County, and surrounding areas can acquire more Internet capabilities to help increase community vitality.
This timely and important discussion will take place Thursday, June 13 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Merrill Eagles Club, 1205 Lake St. There is no charge to attend and lunch is free.
The Center for Community Technology Solutions was established as a result of education and outreach work done 2010-2012 using an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant. The Center’s purpose is to help Wisconsin communities connect with broadband/high speed internet and technology innovations in ways that advance local economies and quality of life. Center personnel have conducted numerous county listening sessions to help local leaders determine their Internet needs from a community and economic development perspective. After the sessions the Center, often in collaboration with other partners and county-based Extension educators, works with communities to help fulfill those needs. The Center also provides “High Speed Boot Camps” to train local leaders to become technology coaches in their communities.
Professor Lewis joined the University of Wisconsin-Extension in 1983. He developed the popular community rating program called “First Impressions,” a tool that has helped over 500 communities take action on perceived community weaknesses. Andy has received numerous awards including the “Distinguished Service Award” from the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals and a “Wisconsin Rural Development Initiatives” Award from Governor Tommy Thompson and Wisconsin Rural Partners, Inc.
Maria Alvarez Stroud, Center director, just before assuming her current position led a $45 million effort to bring additional fiber to Wisconsin for community anchor institutions and community education and outreach efforts aimed at those most difficult to reach about broadband. She is a seasoned executive with over 25 years of experience in creating new service streams within the public sector and seeking out ways of reaching undeserved audiences. Maria also founded and became CEO of the National Center for Media Engagement.
This final session of the Merrill Community Forum Series will be the perfect interactive event to complete this important series. Projects and actions planned during the other sessions have already begun to be implemented. The goal of this session will also be to plan and implement at least one project that will help bring more Internet access to the community.
If you wish to RSVP for this unique event please call the UW-Extension office at 715-539-1075. You may also email Art Lersch at [email protected]. You may also contact the Merrill Area Chamber of Commerce at 715-563-9474 or email Chamber Director Debbe Kinsey at [email protected]. Space is limited, so please reserve your spot today!