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Idaho Ecommerce Success Stories and Resources

Rural Ecommerce Successes in Idaho
An ongoing collection funded by the USDA through the Rural Development Council of Idaho.
See the Montpelier, Idaho, successes slideshow at

Homesteading the Electronic Frontier
The 2001 vision paper for Montpelier, Idaho, and all Idahoan communities.

Two Years of Montpelier Events
Awareness-raising events and ecommerce success stories from the two-year effort to create Idaho’s first community success story - in Montpelier, Idaho.

The Clover Creek Mall
Forty crafters from Bear Lake County have collaborated to create an e-mall with
over 150 products listed. Their challenge is now learning effective e-marketing practices.
See also the Montpelier Web Business Directory at
and the new interactive community network/portal at

Montpelier’s Best Web Sites
An example of a community web review for citizens of Montpelier, Idaho, to showcase the best of what their neighbors have already posted on the web. Most communities have no idea of the high level of local online innovations already up and running in their communities.

U.S. Dept. of Commerce Grant Proposal for Montpelier, Idaho
http://lone-eagles.com/top.htm  Expanded version http://lone-eagles.com/top-expanded.htm
Ten First Steps  http://lone-eagles.com/ten-first-steps.htm

The Montana Choice Project Providing Online Ecommerce and Telework Training

  Youth Entrepreneurship Grant for Bear Lake School District
  What Idaho’s K12 educators are teaching the first digital generation will determine whether students know
   how to use the Internet to realize an income in order to prevent their exodus to the cities to find a job, or  

Rural E-Malls Web Tour
A review of existing collaborative marketing e-malls, including a hands-on
searching activity to show how to find more e-mall examples. 

 Community Learning Resources

Rural Community Internet Empowerment Resources
Lone Eagle Consulting’s master listing of unique rural community resources!
Includes rural Ecommerce curriculum and community grant templates.

The Community Bootstrap Academy 
A rich listing of community awareness-raising event models.

Experimental Community Network Models (Interactive Portals)
http://odasz.oldcolo.com Includes photo gallery with auto-slideshow features.
See also http://lone-eagles.com/betasite.htm
See the photo gallery slideshows for Namche, Nepal at http://everest.oldcolo.com

Community Networking Clearinghouse


Free Photo Galleries
See the Montpelier, Idaho, slideshows at http://frankodasz.fotopic.net This is a motivating method of digital storytelling to raise awareness regarding Ecommerce success stories.  Create your own at no cost at http://fotopic.net

Koyukuk, Alaska School Web Site 
Fourth graders created the community web pages. Select “Village of Koyukuk” on the left side. See the youth-created Athabascan language pages with audio files. This is a model for all Idahoan K-12 youth.

Authenticating Rural Internet and Broadband Benefits - A Reality Check
Written for the Australian Government, Sept. 03, in regard to a national effort to bring Internet connectivity to every rural community. At issue is how people will learn to benefit and whether government will guarantee continued Internet access if the costs for serving remote users exceeds the revenues from remote subscribers. See also the Australian Trip Report http://lone-eagles.com/sparks.htm (12 pages) A report on visits to over ten Australian communities meeting with local and regional leaders on Internet issues.



Meeting Notes and Recommended Action Plan

On Nov. 20-21, the Connect Idaho conference brought together key stakeholders to address gaps, challenges and opportunities to establish broadband technologies related to rural economic development in Idaho. The following is a summary of the best phrases and sound bytes from the conference notes of Lone Eagle Consulting CEO, Frank Odasz, frank@lone-eagles.com.

Idaho is a best kept secret and Idaho’s strength is small town values, incorporating trust, friendliness, and the highest quality of life.

Lt. Gov Risch’s speech cited the Governor’s office priority as “determining the most effective instruments to assist the hardest hit rural areas and seeking new and innovative ways to re-energize rural Idaho.”

2002 statistics from the Progressive Policy Institute www.ppionline.org has Idaho as #38th in workforce education and training, 39th in digital government, and 20th in promoting information technology.

E-government is the leadership issue of the 21st century; using communications technologies to manage new forms of interaction at all levels.

The goal of e-government is to improve government services by making e-government user friendly, accessible, efficient, cost-effective, and interactive for both government and citizens.

The Governor’s education committee is seeking innovative ways to bring together education and workforce efforts.

Quality of life starts with your job.

Government’s role is to create a business friendly environment to include strategies to develop a smart state economy by co-investing in workforce education and training.

Government’s role is validating what’s possible using IT to accelerate the ideal status quo regarding identification of best practices for rural communities regarding their growth and participation in the “innovation economy.”

Needed is a cultural shift to create an entrepreneurial tech-savvy rural culture in rural Idaho. We’re redefining workforce readiness.

Our communities and businesses are beginning to recognize the cost of Not Knowing how to use broadband to stay competitive with other communities and businesses.

We need to learn how to be working smarter – getting more done for less money

At the Idaho Rural Partnership Rural Summit the emerging theme was the effectiveness of enhanced collaboration as related to the emerging “innovation economy.”

Broadband is a sociological tool that naturally brings people closer together.

Gathering and sharing rural ecommerce success stories was repeatedly cited as an action item and LaMoyne Hyde, past director of the Idaho Dept. of Commerce, told how his son-in-law persisted in persuading him to get a web page years ago and much of the success of his now International business is a direct result of this foresight.

 There are 201 communities in Idaho, most with populations of under 2000.

 Without appropriate training, you don’t really have the benefits of broadband.

 We all need to learn to walk that broadband road. Showing you know how to use broadband as a business is priceless. It is increasingly important for businesses and communities to promote themselves as tech-savvy.

 It is a changed world and it will be collaborative, we need to identify which tools and skills will best serve Idaho and the future.

Survival depends not on who is the strongest of the species or is the most intelligent, but on who best adapts to change. Charles Darwin

The milk stool theory says that communities stand on the four legs of government, business, education, and health care. Each of these now begins with a E – representing the best uses of information technology (IT.)

We all dream that IT will be well used, but the devil is in the details and how well we use IT depends on the quality of the education we each receive.

E-government, e-business, e-education, and e-health all require citizens to be able to access essential information and to become self-directed Internet learners able to collaborate effectively both online and offline. E-citizenship and electronic democracy require an informed and participatory populace. Idaho’s challenge is to harness the potential of 1.3 million Idahoans.

The four legs of community are becoming increasingly integrated around the themes of education and collaboration;

E-government is the business of managing new forms of interaction.

Telehealth sees wellness as ability to learn, and to earn.

Education strengthens the health of communities.

Business sees the emerging service economy and is increasingly sensitive to human needs and relationship-building.

 Information and communications technologies (ICT’s) are accelerators.

 The three E’s are Education, Economic dev/entrepreneurship and Employment.

 Education and entrepreneurship are unfunded mandates.

 Needed is education on our opportunities to retain quality of life.

 Higher education needs to provide more just-in-time learning opportunities.

 Ongoing e-learning is becoming more and more essential to stay current in a world of accelerating change.

E-learning is real time, dynamic collaboration, high speed of delivery, convenience, consistency, global reach, distributed, perpetual, and interactive.

We’re seeing changing drivers of value, organizational structures, and the emergence of collaborative skills as essential for the workplace.

Quoted from Kate McMahon’s presentation:

Communities need to embrace IT to transform local institutions and improve quality of life through enhancing delivery of education, health care, government services, and development of new economic opportunities.

We all need to understand that the value of a network, and the collaborative capacity of a community, grows with the number of users. There is a big difference between having IT and using it effectively.

Community change can start with a core group and change can ripple outward.

IT’s power to transform will play out unevenly and in stages.

Consider different engagement and support strategies for the following four stages:

Novice Stage – often those in leadership positions are novices, barely aware of what’s possible and typically say they have no time for IT. They need special attention to build confidence and understanding.

Exploration Stage – Uses technology to supplement tasks and primarily needs technical support.

Integration Stage – Uses IT as part of every day tasks, to solve problems and primarily needs awards and recognition to encourage expanded use.

Expansion Stage – Requires development of advanced applications and support from a users group

 Leaders are often novices and require specific strategies to avoid their blocking progress.

 *End quotes from Kate McMahon.

The key to rural community economic survival was given as “specialization” and may require an E-SWAT approach to help communities adjust appropriately and quickly.

We need “all oars in the water” to efficiently and honestly educate everyone how to work together through cooperative collaboration to develop new opportunities.

Toward this end: Lone Eagle Consulting offers state-of-the-art community action plans and online E-learning designed specifically for rural Idahoans. The Lone Eagle handout for the conference at http://lone-eagles.com/connect-idaho.htm includes reports on two years of innovation in Montpelier, Idaho, two new online rural ecommerce courses funded by USDA for ISU, the only serious roster of Idaho Rural Ecommerce success stories in the state, and much more.

Lone Eagle Consulting offers a multimedia presentation for Idaho’s state leadership detailing specific action plans.

The Montana Job Training Partnership has just received a three million dollar five year grant to include Lone Eagle Consulting delivering online training on “Rural Ecommerce and Telework Strategies” using curriculum developed for Idaho State University. Copies of this successful grant have been shared with key Idahoan leaders with the hope dialog will result in a similar grant-funded initiative.

Recommended reading is “Authenticating Rural Broadband Benefits – A Reality Check”
http://lone-eagles.com/wings.htm written for the Australian government regarding their national plan to deploy broadband to rural and remote areas. The Lone Eagle keynote for a national broadband conference, Oct. 6th, 2003, focused on the advice to avoid the U.S. dilemma of a “lose-lose” situation where government and telcos have failed to communicate to citizens the benefits of broadband and as a result have a severely weakened business case and on the other hand citizens are not benefiting from existing broadband as intended and are not creating a vibrant market for additional broadband deployment. This situation can and must be reversed! Such strategies are immediately available for review by Idahoan leadership.

 Below are two upcoming national conferences for which I’ll be presenting:

As a newly elected board member for the Association for Community Networking,
I'm presenting in Austin, Texas, Dec. 7-9th at the 

6th Annual National Community Networking Conference:

"Community Technology Networking - Survival and Success"

Today's leaders recognize information technology is vital for community survival and success. But this year, challenge has become crisis as economic downturns, dwindling financial support, and confusing technical choices make it very difficult to develop and sustain local telecommunications resources. Many rural and urban areas still lack adequate connectivity, yet local leaders who want to help build advanced telecommunications for their communities do not always have the information, guidance and support they need and deserve.

The 2003 National Community Networking Conference is a “How To” summit meeting where top leaders from government and industry join community networking experts to help local leaders develop and sustain successful community technology. Interactive sessions, grant and funding workshops, hands-on technology demonstrations, and pragmatic advice from professionals highlight this year’s agenda. Don’t miss one of the world’s premier gatherings for everyone interested in community and technology networking.

Presented by the TeleCommunity Resource Center, this unique conference clearly explains rapidly changing technologies, policies, project services and practical sustainability strategies for community technology beginners and veterans alike.

Sunday afternoon offers a specialized grant writing workshop that addresses the basics that community leaders need to know when searching and applying for community technology funding. Next comes a detailed grant information session presented by Program Officers from NTIA’s Technology Opportunities Program (TOP). The day will conclude with an interactive session on “How to Conduct a Community Web Raising: Simple Steps for Building Community Telecommunications Resources.”

 Monday and Tuesday presentations will offer experts’ practical guidance on:

 Sustaining Community Networks in today’s difficult economy

 New (and sometimes surprising) resources for funding and support

 Telecom for economic development, workforce skills, and employment

 Financial planning, grant search and application strategies

 Serious new legal, regulatory and liability concerns, with new protections

 Affordable broadband Internet access for your entire community

 Open Source Software: Choices and Considerations

 Expanded Educational Opportunity for people of all ages

 New techniques for TeleHealth and Telemedicine services

 Wireless Internet Access: Broadband, Hotspots and WISPs

 E-commerce and Internet tools to help build local businesses

 Internet access to "e-government" information and tools for online leadership

 ISPs’ growing role as leaders in Community Technology Networks

 Outreach, Communications, and Marketing community Internet programs

 Public Access Management: Security, Safety, and Replacement Strategies

 SocialWare: Blogs, Wikis, Lists, and other innovative tools

 Serving people of diverse languages, literacy and cultural heritage

 Special initiatives: Senior, Neighborhoods, Disability, and Faith-based

 Conference details, latest agenda, and registration online:

http://www.tcrc.net/conference More information: email office@main.org or

call 512-919-7590. We look forward to seeing you!

AND The Rural Conference 2004! 

The Rural Conference Planning Committee is now accepting proposals for presentations to be included at the Rural Conference 2004. Building on the success of the past four years, the Rural Conference 2004 will bring together hundreds of rural advocates, volunteers, board members, professionals, consultants and staff from across the nation at the number one venue for addressing issues relevant to helping rural communities work.

The Planning Committee is seeking proposals for workshops in the following broad topical areas:
Economic Development & Opportunities
Workforce Development & Opportunities
Community Development & Opportunities
Youth Development & Opportunities
Technological Developments & Opportunities

We ask that you give serious consideration to sharing your expertise, successful models, promising practices and / or services at the Rural Conference 2004.

Attached you will find Exhibitor, Workshop and Registration materials for the Rural Conference 2004 which will be held April 25-27, 2004 at the NEW Austin Hilton - right in the heart of the Live Music Capitol of the World!

If you have questions or need additional information - please don't hesitate to call Kris Latimer - Conference Coordinator at 541.928.0241, ext. 219 or to write to kris@tocowa.org

Non-profit interested in an exhibit - call for information on non-profit rates.

We encourage you to share this e-mail and information with your network and contacts through out rural America.
HELPING RURAL COMMUNITIES WORK! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To be held April 25-27 in Austin, TX
For info write to kris@tocowa.org

Kris Latimer, Program Information Coordinator
The Oregon Consortium & Oregon Workforce Alliance
260 SW Ferry, Suite 102
Albany, OR 97321

541.928.0241, ext. 219
fax 541.928.3096

on the web at http://www.tocowa.org


 >USDA Awards $53.7M for Rural Tech-based Economic Development Within the last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a slew of awards ^ 128 in all ^ for rural tech-based economic development initiatives.

 Collectively, the awards total $53.7 million, including:

 *  84 Distance Learning and Telemedicine grants for a total of $32.4 million, providing greater educational opportunities and medical service to rural citizens in 41 states. The education projects will help 556 schools provide students with educational tools to better equip them for the global digital economy. Additionally, rural residents will have access to better, faster and more modern health care through 190 medical service facilities.

*  34 broadband community grants across 20 states totaling $11.3 million.

The grants are expected to enable more residents to access the Internet. Communities selected do not have access to broadband connectivity for the essential services of police and fire protection, hospitals, libraries and schools. In return for receiving a grant, the communities will provide residents with computer and Internet access.

The grant program supplements USDA Rural Development^s standard high-speed telecommunications loan program. And, *  $10 million in grants to establish agricultural innovation centers in

10 states: Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota and Pennsylvania. The centers are designed to assist rural businesses, farmers and ranchers in developing value-added businesses through greater utilization of production agriculture commodities.

USDA Rural Development's mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents.

Individual listings of the awards detailed above are available at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov