infrastructure

Is broadband a utility? Decide that, then create policy

I’m struck by how often I think of the old broadband-as-utility debate during the legislative season. The question is – Is broadband a utility? Making that call would sure make some policy decisions easier.

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OPINION | Water bill vote shows faith in government solutions

In a lurch toward sweet bipartisanship, the U.S. House of Representatives, AKA Shutdown Central, last week approved the long-delayed Water Resources Reform and Development Act by an astounding vote of 417 to 3.

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Sewer credits could draw developers to Southeast Minneapolis neighborhoods

The City of Minneapolis has a new way to draw developers to a University of Minnesota-area neighborhood.

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Regulatory blind spot at the Public Utilities Commission

Last June, over half of a million Minnesota residents lost power after a storm swept through the state. Many went days without electricity. Yet this outage, along with many others caused by major weather events across the state will be nearly ignored as the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) reviews the reliability of Minnesota’s investor-owned utilities electric service.

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Building broadband demand in Lac qui Parle Valley

Last Monday I traveled with Bill Coleman to Lac qui Parle County in western Minnesota. I went to work with the LqP Economic Development Authority to promote local businesses via social media. Bill was going to work with Lac qui Parle Valley folks on their Blandin Broadband Community projects.

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Rural communities feel neglected

Bipartisan pollsters have found rural Americans feel policymakers are ignoring them at a time when they need public infrastructure investments to compete and thrive in 21st century economic opportunities.

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Zombie apocalypses and other stormy tales

As a certifiable disciple of zombies and imaginary apocalypses, I often pose questions about the End of Times to T. My favorite is, "Which stores would you loot if the zombies were coming?" We pretty much agree on the pilfering route we'd take. We'd start at the sturdy hardware store across the street from our house, loading up on tools and camping items and food that has a mid-century expiration date. Then we'd move on to the pawn shop a few blocks down the road. They advertise "GUNS! WEAPONS! AMMO!" Not being a gun toter, I suppose if the zombies do make it to the Twin Cities I'll have to stifle my inner pacifist and learn to lock and load. Then, time allowing, we'd make a final run to stock up on groceries, pharmaceuticals, sundries, and liquor. Maybe we'd grab some smokes to use as trade leverage (isn't that what they use in prison?).

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Blackout haiku

I was just a kid delivering newspapers along Sunset Road in Montrose, New York when the power went out across the Northeast and parts of Canada back in November 1965.

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Blueprints for rural progress: Report outlines critical need for federal development funding

Take away USDA Rural Development dollars and you start taking away small town assets, such as nursing homes, hospital expansions, access to affordable housing, wastewater infrastructure, and business development. Minnesota 2020’s latest report, Blueprints for Rural Progress highlights the importance of these community development programs in sustaining a strong rural way of life.

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Water for our future

Streets.mn has me on assignment in mostly sunnier San Diego, and besides seeing a lot of cool animals, this trip has me thinking about water (ok, not on assignment, but on vacation). San Diego is classified as semi-arid to arid, receiving less than 12 inches of rain per year. Typical suburban yards look a lot less grassy and lot more cactusy. You see things like this and like this, which you don’t typically see in the midwest. Surface water from rainfall runoff hasn’t been able to meet the region’s water supply needs since 1947. Because of this, the County of San Diego imports 80 percent of its water from sources hundreds of miles away. Many parts of California continue to grapple with water supply issues.

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