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Blog // Connect Michigan

Rural Areas Getting On the Grid

By Eric Frederick

With populations spread throughout farms, rural villages, small suburbs, and everywhere in between, concentrating community development efforts in rural areas presents an ongoing challenge. Getting the word out to every corner of a rural community and uniting constituents in an integrated push for increased funding, new roads, new technology, and other needs takes time and continuous support. A number of rural communities engaged in the Connected Community program are continuously making strides toward expanding broadband and bringing reliable, affordable Internet to homes far off the beaten path. Though the Connected Community engagement...

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Getting Online and Getting Active

By Eric Frederick

The Fremont Community Recreation Authority (FCRA) in Fremont, Michigan, has brought children and adults in the community together for just over two years, providing a space for a wide array of activities including swimming, basketball, tennis, soccer, and more. In that time, the FCRA has successfully engaged the community in teams, classes, camps, tournaments, and other programs throughout the year, bringing families away from sedentary inactivity. By using the time spent online, the FCRA has begun to divert energy back to movement and action, as well as organize new activities. Inactivity has become a part of work and entertainment, with...

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Turning Followers, Tweets, and Shares Into Sales

By Eric Frederick

As of June of 2014, Facebook reported that over 30 million small businesses across the U.S. now use their platform to reach and engage customers – up to 1.23 billion of them worldwide.  Advertising through Facebook and other social media sites demands a budget (e.g. staff time to update and maintain as well as for paid advertising if desired), but creating an account, following, sharing with others, and engaging with an audience is free. Starting a social media presence, however, or even knowing where to begin is a daunting task for many business owners. Local chambers of commerce, marketing firms, and business development groups are...

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USDA Grant Funds Rural Telemedicine and E-Learning

By Eric Frederick

 The USDA is making $19 million available to rural areas seeking to expand distance learning opportunities and telemedicine. The Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program gives schools, government groups, non-profits, businesses, and others the opportunity to obtain equipment and instruction that can benefit local students, teachers, doctors, and, most importantly, the community.  Nearly one fifth of America’s population resides in rural areas, as classified by the U.S. Census Bureau. These nearly 59.5 million people are spread over more than 90% of the nation’s land area, making it exceedingly difficult to concentrate...

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