Computer Commuter on Kare 11 on March 10

Did you see the cameras around today? We’re very excited to report that the Computer Commuter will on Kare 11 on March 10 at 10 PM. Be sure to tune in!


Congrats to Blandin Foundation

Congratulations to the Blandin Foundation and the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities (MIRC) project for being named finalist for the 2012 Innovative Collaboration Tekne Award

We have been pleased to be a part of several MIRC projects – including the following:

  • LqP County Computer Commuter- Providing increased access and training to residents in Lac qui Parle County
  • Johnson Memorial Health Services- Home Stream Tele-Medicine Project
  • Dawson Boyd School- New media center, student tech team and student to community training academy

Upcoming FREE Online Business Tools Workshops

We are pleased to announce the following free workshops. We’ll try to post reminders on the blog and our Facebook page.

Wed, May 25, 2011, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. – Dawson City Building in LqP Computer Commuter, 675 Chestnut, Dawson, MN
Thur, May 26, 2011, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. – Madison City Bldg in LqP Computer Commuter, 404 6th Ave North, Madison, MN
Doing Business Online – There are many options for using the internet in your business and finding the best fit for your operation.
This hands-on workshop introduces how businesses can develop their online presence and connect with customers today.
• What are other businesses doing online?
• What online tools are available?
• Put a plan in place to take advantage of using the internet in your business

Wednesday, June 22, 2011, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. -Dawson
Google Tools – Google provides many free tools and features you can use in your business. From spreadsheets and documents, to keep you organized, to marketing tools like blogs and Google Sites. Google also provides a powerful web analytics tool you can use to track the traffic to your website. During this hands-on workshop you will explore these tools and more, set up your account, and learn how to apply these tools to your own operation.

Monday, July 11, 2011, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. – Dawson
Using Social Media in Business – An introduction to the basics of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for businesses. Explore ways your business can use social media and online networking tools to effectively reach your current customers and new ones. While the Yellow Pages and traditional websites are still useful for advertising your business or community information, many business owners or community leaders are beginning to interact with their customers through websites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. This workshop will explore basic fundamentals of popular social networking sites, examples of use for, and the potential benefits social media could bring to your business and community.

Monday, July 18, 2011, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. – Madison
Roadside Advertising in a Digital Age — Does your business have a sign on the digital superhighway? Can your customers find you in this evolving digital world? Over 50 million people use GPS units, while even more use Google Maps or Bing or Yahoo to find goods or services. Can people find your business when they search online or use a GPS device? Digital maps not only describe in detail how to reach a destination, but give advice on the goods or services and should be a key part of your business marketing. In this workshop you will gain the know-how and learn the tools to get on digital maps.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. – Madison
Marketing Your Website – Having a website is only the first step in using the internet for business. The next important step is making sure that customers find and use your site. This hands-on workshop introduces effective ways to market websites. Topics include getting found by search engines, viral marketing and using online tools like e-newsletters to drive traffic to your site. Participants will research key words related to their business, explore how to purchase online advertising, and see examples from businesses that use social media to get noticed. This workshop will also cover ways to find and target customers online.

To register call 320-598-3403, ext 0 or 320-598-7976 or email  

This workshop is made available at no charge through the University of Minnesota Extension as part of the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities program coordinated by the Blandin Foundation of Grand Rapids, Minnesota and funded by a US Department of Commerce grant. Local partners may have a charge to cover refreshments or other local expenses. These workshops are offered by the University of Minnesota Extension in partnership with the Southwest Initiative Foundation, and the Lac Qui Parle EDA.

Public radio talks about LqP Broadband

Minnesota Public Radio Ground Level just published a nice web site featuring several aspects of broadband in rural Minnesota. One of the good questions they ask is – Who should build the next generation of high-speed networks? They came to LqP for part of the answer…

Eighteen state projects are set to receive more than $228 million in federal stimulus dollars, infusing public money into many private systems and ushering in the heyday of the public/private hybrid.

One project, in western Minnesota’s Lac qui Parle County, serves as a good example both of a public-private partnership and of a big private provider taking a pass. Pam Lehmann, executive director of the county’s economic development authority, wanted to bring fiber to every home in the county.

She likens fiber to electricity or the telephone, explaining, “People who reside here have as much value as people anywhere in the whole world.” Lac qui Parle was willing to throw in for a feasibility study and even planned to apply for federal stimulus dollars.

The article continues with Pam talking about the process that we’ve gone through and continue to go through to get broadband to our homes and businesses.

LqP gets broadband funding from Blandin MIRC project

We are delighted to report that UMVRDC has selected to fund Lac qui Parle Computer Commuter (with a $25,000 award) through the UMVRDC’s participation in the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities initiative – as well as several other projects in our region. The following other projects will be underway in 2011 and 2012:

  • $25,000 Awarded to the Dawson-Boyd Schools to connect businesses, community members, and students to produce a digitally literate community by creating a Multimedia Collaboration Center, a Student Tech Team, and a hybrid (online and classroom) Teacher/Community Training Academy.
  • $25,000 Awarded to the Lac qui Parle County Economic Development Authority for the LqP Computer Commuter to increase the digital literacy of area residents and businesses, advance our knowledge workers, promote broadband availability and digital inclusion with an innovative project offering a mobile computer lab environment open to the general public at no charge.
  • $15,000 Awarded to Johnson Memorial Health Services for a Home Stream Project that will demonstrate the potential for using broadband-based remote support tools and enhanced family engagement to define appropriate visits/hospitalizations and to achieve increased medication adherence for better health outcomes.
  • $4,405 Awarded to the UMVRDC to assist two cities in the region to have effective community websites. One half of the award will assist Bellingham in Lac qui Parle County and the other half will assist Echo in Yellow Medicine County.

Pam Lehmann speaks at MACTA

This week LqP Director Pam Lehmann presented at the MACTA (MN Association of Community Telecommunications Administrators) Conference for a breakout session titled “Community & Municipal networks in MN: A Status Report” the other presenters were Jeff O’Neill, City Administrator from Monticello and Cindy Kevern, Director of information Services from Anoka County.

Attendees were interested in hearing about our ARRA-funded broadband project.

Pam Lehmann speaks to Blandin Broadband Strategy Board

Earlier this week, Pam Lehmann spoke about Lac qui Parle’s broadband history and strides. It was a great exercise to look back at the planting of broadband seeds in 2007, the efforts we put in to cultivate those seed and the fruition we’ve experienced this summer from the Computer Commuter unveiling to the announcement of the ARRA funds. We’re looking forward to whatever happens next.