Update: The more I've learned about this grant, the more it seems clear that it's a grant to Clarity Connect for expanding service in the Town of Dryden, not a grant to the Town exactly.
This morning's Ithaca Journal reports on the award of $430,369 to the Town of Dryden for wireless internet access. (You can also see the Governor's press release.)
David Makar had been pushing hard to expand broadband coverage since his 2006 campaign for Town Board. Jason Leifer, appointed to the board in January, helped write the grant, along with ClarityConnect and town staff.
I'm delighted to see that this went through. I knew of the application, but the total amount available from New York State seemed tiny, so I wasn't that optimistic about it. It makes me glad for all the time I put in to support David and Jason and the other Democrats on the Town Board. An active Town Board was able to leap on this and win a grant that should help the Town tremendously.
At the same time, there's a peculiar statement from County Legislator Mike Hattery near the end of the article that makes me very glad that Hattery is no longer on the Town Board, though depressed that he's on the County Board:
Tompkins County legislator Mike Hattery, R-Dryden, said he's happy that residents in his town will get Internet, but hopes the grants won't hurt the spirit of capitalist competition.
"I think improving Internet access for rural residents is good," he said. "I just hope it's a level playing field for all Internet providers."
That might make sense if, say, Hattery had spent the last few years trying to convince Time-Warner Cable, Verizon, and Frontier that they should be supporting level playing fields for all providers over their infrastructure. I don't recall hearing him ever asking for such a thing, even when Time-Warner came in to talk about their (largely uneditable, but definitely not market-friendly) franchise agreement. He certainly wasn't talking about the need for these providers to expand their coverage, either.
I'm guessing that he needed to come up with some kind of response to cast doubt on a project he wasn't a part of, and this was the best he could come up with. At least the next line is better connected to reality:
Hattery said that Dryden businesses that were without high-speed Internet can now be more competitive.
I suspect it'll take a while for the new system to be operational, but I'll post updates here as I find out more.
There's also an update on village elections, which notes a write-in campaign by Brian Buttner for Mayor. 91 people voted, a drastic increase over past years. Incumbent Mayor Lotte Carpenter defeated Buttner 53-35, and incumbent trustees Penny Beebe and Diana Radford won unopposed.
Tompkins County also grew a bit over the last year, to an estimated 101,055 residents.Posted by simon at March 20, 2008 12:24 PM in Freeville , Ithaca Journal , demographics