By MARK EVANS
Internet has just gotten more accessible throughout Ste. Genevieve County.
Shawn Long, executive director of the Ste. Genevieve County Library, informed the County Commission last Thursday that all eight internet “hot spots” around the county are up and functioning.
This caps nearly a year-long project for Long. He approached the commissioners about setting up hot spots throughout the county in July, when it was just emerging from the COVID-19 shutdown.
The county agreed to cover the 30 percent match if Long could obtain a 70-30 grant to funds the project – which he did.
The eight spots are at the main library in the Ste. Genevieve County Community Center, Lions Park in downtown Ste. Genevieve, St. Mary City Hall, the Ozora laundromat, Zell firehouse, Highway O firehouse, Bloomsdale library annex/Mid America Rehab and the Weingarten firehouse
“They’re all working, all functioning,” Long said. “We’re hitting the ground running. He said that signs are being put up to mark the spots.
“It’s so awesome,” First District Commissioner Karen Stuppy said. “There are so many people without internet access.”
Long said next comes promotion of the service.
“This is something our library has never done before,” he said, adding that he wants to get word out. He asked about getting some bigger banners. The commissioners had no issues with this.
Long noted that users do not have to be parked right by the actual spot. The Lions Park location can be picked up a block away and the St. Mary spot comes in strong across the street in the Bader’s Place parking lot, he said.
He added that he would like to log the use that people make of it, for continued grant possibilities. There are four categories, Post-Secondary Education, K-12 Education, TeleMedicine and “Other.”
Long said that two to three people per month have come in and obtained library cards to get internet access.
Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson said the project is especially important because of the uncertainty of live classes at schools. With virtual education looming as a possibility because of the pandemic, internet access is especially crucial.
“We don’t know what the next couple of months will bring with the schools,” Nelson said.
Stuppy said that the internet being free is great because many lack access or cannot afford it.
Nelson asked Long whether there was any type of porn blocker included. Long said there is a blocker, similar to what schools use, but not quite as strict.
Long also reported that the library annex in Bloomsdale has been remodeled.
“It feels more like a library than a room full of books now,” he said. He added that building up use of the Bloomsdale location “is still high on my list.”
Nelson also reminded Long that he and his staff should use a county vehicle when traveling out of town, instead of turning in mileage on their own vehicles. Long said he has been.
SCHMIEDER GIVES ROAD REPORT
Scott Schmieder, road and bridge foreman, reported that Truck 18, a 2016 Freightliner, had been taken to TAG Truck Center in Farmington to be checked out. The transmission warning light had been coming on. He said it had been shifting fine and the fluid looked okay.
He said he is still pricing grader blade tips before ordering.
Schmieder also said he will mark sections on Lawrenceton Cutoff Road this week that need repair. He said the repair would probably require extra rock and that his crew had been putting rock on various roads left muddy by melting snow.
Schmieder said Burks School Road and Saline Creek Road have muddy spots that need to be dug out and repaired.