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The E-Vermont Community Broadband Project was the only applicant East of the Mississippi to be awarded federal stimulus money for rural broadband.

This week the project announced both advances of 2010 and the names of 12 rural communities chosen for next year.

E-Vermont doesn’t lay fiber cable; instead, it offers small communities expert help in making the most of existing Internet technology. The 2010 projects included, for 5th graders in Bristol, VT, new computers, training in making podcasts, and better integration of technology into the school curriculum. Other towns are developing public Wi-fi zones and town-wide calendars for better coordination of community events.
“Small business owners in West Rutland are getting one-on-one analysis and advice on how to update and grow their e-commerce from the Vermont Small Business Development Center.” Read more about how towns have benefitted from the project here.

Selected for E-Vermont’s broadband project in 2011 are Brighton, Bristol, Canaan, Cambridge, Grand Isle County, Ludlow, Middlesex, Newport, Poultney, Pownal, Sunderland-Arlington-Sandgate, and West Rutland.

• Staci Hupp in the Des Moines Register reports that financial problems in the state could force many small rural schools to close. 

The state had hoped small districts would merge or close on their own. Mergers are happening. But, also, some school districts are still spending beyond their revenues. That may lead to more closures forced by the state. 

• Wind turbines could be good for agriculture. David Elbert at the Des Moines Register writes:

“Gene Takle, an ISU professor of geological and atmospheric science, said it appears turbines may help crops grow healthier and faster by moderating ground level temperatures, blowing away fungi-producing moisture and churning the air to expose plants to more growth-promoting carbon dioxide.” 

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