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Broadband efforts addressed at DETCOG monthly meeting

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Mickey Slimp shows list of underserved households to a large crowd. PHOTO BY JAN WHITE|HCCMickey Slimp shows list of underserved households to a large crowd. PHOTO BY JAN WHITE|HCC

By Jan White
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KENNARD – The Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG) held its monthly meeting on Friday, Feb. 24. Allison Harbison, Shelby County Judge and President of the organization, officiated over the meeting, which was held in the packed dining room at Larry Bruce Gardens.

Several local officials spoke at the beginning of the program, including Judge Jim Lovell and Mayor Dr. Ianthia Fisher. Harbison also recognized other county and district officials - Sheriff Randy Hargrove, Precinct 2 Constable Red Smith, Judge Sarah Clark, and Linda Parker from Trent Ashby’s office. After introducing the board members, special guests, and attendees, Harbison moved on to address the agenda items.

The board approved resolutions in support of the Homeland Security grant applications, which included a) Regional Homeland Security Planning Project, b) Regional Chemical Detection Device,c) Regional Communications Enhancement Project, d) Regional Law Enforcement Training Academy, e) Responder Communications Enhancement Project, and f) Web EOC Upgrade and Enhancement.

Also approved was the 36-page Homeland Security implementation plan. The comprehensive plan outlined topics such as preparedness assessment, implementation concepts, regional maps, hazard matrix, as well as regional training needs.

Mickey Slimp, who is spearheading the push to improve the State of Texas broadband census map, updated attendees with a report of their ongoing efforts to verify and report broadband speed or deficiencies so that underserved rural areas can obtain more government funding to improve broadband service.

Slimp, who serves as the Broadband Initiative Project Manager for DETCOG said “For us to complain about any change, we have to show that 20% of the population from the census is not receiving broadband service. Will we be able to do that? We’re working on it. We’ve got close to 4,000 responses to the survey so far.”  Slimp says that they will use their results to “make some noise” and try to make changes to ensure a more accurate census.

Because DETCOG Executive Director, Lonnie Hunt, could not attend the meeting, there were no updates on programs and operations, so the meeting adjourned.

The April DETCOG meeting will be held at The Shelter in San Jacinto County (Coldspring).

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