July 27, 2020
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State to release millions to expand broadband

The Washington State Public Works Board is accepting applications for grants and loans to expand broadband service throughout the state.

The board, which oversees infrastructure projects around the state, will distribute about $9.1 million in low-interest loans and $8.6 million in grants. Applications are accepted through Sept. 9.

Local governments, tribes, nonprofits, cooperatives and qualifying businesses are eligible to apply. Applicants are required to coordinate with local internet service providers in the proposed project area six weeks prior to submitting applications. For more information and to apply, please visit the board’s Broadband Financing web page.

AWB continues to advocate for expanded broadband infrastructure to help underserved areas of rural Washington connect to jobs, telemedicine and educational opportunities. Contact AWB Government Affairs Director Mike Ennis for more information.

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Stay Safe Washington
Prepare for Post-Pandemic Life

When the mills close, what's next?

By Mac Alexander Macdonald

What do communities do when their chief sources of income evaporate?

"Re-galvanize and reinvent," says Marc Abshire, executive director of the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce. But what can we do as citizens to contribute to making this a place where industry wants to locate? What will people in the future want to purchase or acquire, and then how do we attract those companies, while nurturing the businesses we currently have? Complacency is not an option, and neither is hope alone.

For a company to partner with an area, it needs a ready and ample workforce. Are people being trained for the skills needed? Will enough housing be available? Will company executives and workers feel comfortable having their medical needs met? Will all employees feel comfortable having their kids educated in the local schools?

Robert Duvall's second famous line in the movie "Apocalypse Now" was, "Someday this war is going to end." Someday this pandemic will be over, so we need to prepare now. Communities like mine need to lay aside rivalries and attract passengers to their future train. It has been well quoted: When the time for action arrives, the time for preparation has passed.

Read the full guest column in The Seattle Times