Sherman County eNews #335

CONTENTS

  1. Veggie Rx Celebration & Mobile Market in Moro, Nov. 16

  2. Bingo & a Soup Dinner to Benefit Sherman County Food Bank, Dec. 3

  3. Pacific Power: Colder than Average Winter in Store for the Northwest

  4. Medicare Open Enrollment Period Reminder

  5. Reflected Behaviors

  6. Editorial: Sherman County, Tax Payers’ Dollars & Rural Technology Group


1. Veggie Rx Celebration & Mobile Market in Moro, Nov. 16

The celebration will be Thursday, November 16 5:30pm to 7:00pm at the Sherman County Senior Center. All are welcome. Shop for seasonal fruits and vegetables brought by the Gorge Grown Food Network mobile market. Enjoy food demonstrations and cooking tips, pick up some free goodies and samples, sign up for a raffle prize, and celebrate healthy living in Sherman County.

Hosted by Sherman County Local Community Advisory Council in partnership with Gorge Grown Food Network.


2. Bingo & a Soup Dinner to Benefit Sherman County Food Bank, Dec. 3

Wasco School Events Center is sponsoring Bingo and a Soup Dinner fundraiser to benefit the Sherman County Food Bank on December 3rd from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. It will be held in the Leland Schwendel Auditorium at the Wasco School Events Center (formerly the Wasco Annex). Cost for the meal is $6 or $20 for a family of 4 or more. Bingo will start at 3:00 pm and we will play 10 rounds at $1 per card or a donation of a can of vegetables per card. Prizes will be gift baskets donated by local businesses. Hope to see you on the 3rd for some good food and fun Bingo! Prizes will be on display at the Events Center if you want to take a peak prior to the 3rd.


3. Pacific Power: Colder than Average Winter in Store for the Northwest

PORTLAND, Ore. — It’s a law of physics. The colder it gets outside, the more energy it takes to keep your house warm. No one can change that basic equation, but with forecasters predicting a colder than average winter blowing our way, there are steps you can take to keep energy bills from giving you the chills.

“You are battling the elements,” said Barb Coughlin, Pacific Power’s vice president for customer service. “Cold air sneaks in and warm air gets out. So the first thing you can do is seal all windows or doors before the cold really sets in. This can be done inexpensively now and the difference will show up once temperatures start dipping below freezing.”

Another step is to switch to Equal Pay. Under Equal Pay, energy costs are averaged out over the year so bills are more predictable and manageable. Customers can enroll in Equal Pay online at pacificpower.net/equalpay, via the Pacific Power mobile app, or by phone at 1-888-221-7070.

“The sooner you call, the better for Equal Pay,” said Coughlin. “If you wait until the higher bills have already come, your average will have gone up, too. This program also helps if you have high cooling costs in the summer.”

Here are low-cost tips you can use today to battle cold weather:

* Set your thermostat as low as comfortable, aim for 68 degrees. When you are asleep or out of the house, lower the temperature by another 10 degrees and this will reduce your energy usage by about 10 percent.
* Use space heaters sparingly and safely. Running a 1,500 watt portable heater 8 hours a day for 30 days can add an extra $30 to a monthly power bill in winter.
* Avoid the temptation to bump up the thermostat when it gets colder. That won’t get you to your desired temperature faster, you will just make your furnace run longer and use more energy.
* Improve your home’s heating and cooling systems by cleaning or replacing furnace filters and scheduling routine system maintenance to help air flow through the system more efficiently. Move furniture that is blocking intakes or heat registers.

You can save even more energy by taking a longer range view of your energy use. In Oregon, Pacific Power teams up with Energy Trust of Oregon to offer energy efficiency consultation and cash incentives to upgrade your home and save energy and money. Visit bewattsmart.com or call the Energy Trust toll free at 1-866-368-7878 to learn more about qualifications and services.


4. Medicare Open Enrollment Period Reminder

There is less than a month left in the Medicare Open Enrollment Period! My local SHIBA counselors are telling me that they still have many Medicare counseling appointment slots open. This is really concerning as this means there are a lot of Medicare beneficiaries out there who may be making uninformed decisions about their healthcare. Can you please help in spreading the news that if anyone has questions about Medicare they should contact their local SHIBA office at (541) 296-4788 or email brittany.willson@mccog.com. Medicare Open Enrollment ends December 7th!

Every year, Medicare’s open enrollment period is October 15 – December 7.

Medicare health and drug plans can make changes each year—things like cost, coverage, and what providers and pharmacies are in their networks. October 15 to December 7 is when all people with Medicare can change their Medicare health plans and prescription drug coverage for the following year to better meet their needs.

People in a Medicare health or prescription drug plan should always review the materials their plans send them, like the “Evidence of Coverage” (EOC) and “Annual Notice of Change” (ANOC). If their plans are changing, they should make sure their plans will still meet their needs for the following year. If they’re satisfied that their current plans will meet their needs for next year and it’s still being offered, they don’t need to do anything.

WHAT CAN SHIBA DO FOR YOU?

  • SHIBA can guide you through your health insurance options
  • SHIBA can provide you with FREE local counseling and assistance

DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FOLLOWING?

  • Medicare
  • Medicare Supplement/Medicare Advantage
  • Medicare Savings Programs
  • Prescription Drugs
  • Limited Income Subsidy (Extra Help paying for prescription drugs)

Call (541) 296-4788 or email brittany.willson@mccog.com to get help today!


5. Reflected Behaviors

Have you heard it said, that the things you see and dislike in others are things you probably dislike about yourself?

When you see things about other people that you don’t like, can it teach you anything about yourself?  For instance, if you look at someone and think, “He is angry, and I don’t like that,” could it be that you don’t like it when you, yourself are angry?

If you look at someone and say, “She is really scared. Why doesn’t she just do it?” could it be there is something you are scared about, something you wish you could “just” do?

Suppose you disapprove of smoking but don’t smoke yourself. You wonder how that could be about you. Well, ask yourself, “Why do I disapprove of smoking?” Perhaps it is because smoking is unhealthy. If you look within yourself, you may find that you too, do things that are unhealthy which trouble you. Or, you may disapprove because you consider smoking inconsiderate, and there are ways that you, too, are inconsiderate.

You see, when we judge others, if we look within we usually find a similar, personal judgment about ourselves. We can see our own behavior reflected in our opinions about others. Now, judgments rarely do any good, but once you understand what you are really doing, you can decide to stop, if you choose.

So, pay attention next time you disapprove of someone else, and see what you can learn about yourself. ~The Pacific Institute


6. Editorial: Sherman County, Tax Payers’ Dollars & Rural Technology Group

pencil.sharpAn editorial about Frontier TeleNet in the October, 2017, edition of The Sherman County Citizen-Reporter stated that Frontier TeleNet was developed at “no cost to the tax payers and has been self-sufficient since…”  See page four at http://www.co.sherman.or.us/documents/Reporter102017.pdf.

Not so fast! Let’s go back to almost the beginning!

2002: In an Agreement to Purchase Services, Sherman County agreed to purchase telecommunications services in the form of a membership in NOANET through Frontier TeleNet (FT) in the form of $61,841.34, and agreed to pay FT in ten annual payments with 4% interest. It was signed by County Judge Mike McArthur on November 13, 2002. Tax payers’ dollars.

2003: On August 6, 2003, Sherman County adopted Resolution No. 12-08-2003 to confirm its role as a governing body and member of Frontier TeleNet, an ORS 190 intergovernmental organization, giving its support for Frontier Telenet’s purchase of radio equipment for the purpose of constructing a wireless telecommunications system serving the public interest and the citizens of Gilliam, Sherman and Wheeler counties. Judge Mike McArthur, Commissioner Sherry Kaseberg and Commissioner Gary Thompson signed their support for a loan to purchase radio equipment.

Fast forward to 2010 Sherman County Court minutes to establish how and when Sherman County contracted with Rural Technology Group. If there were legal notices for RFP or RFQ, they were authorized prior to the 2010 minutes which are not yet online. Up to November 16, 2017, no legal notices have been found.

It is important to note that one key player, Dan Devlin, is connected to Rural Technology Group, Management Resource and Day Wireless, and all three are doing business with Sherman County and/or Frontier TeleNet.

2010: The Sherman County Court met on July 7, 2010, with Dan Devlin of Rural Technology Group who offered information for possible high speed internet access “for all of Sherman County,” a county-funded access point system from towers at various locations which would allow any Internet Service Provider (ISP), for a fee, to use that system to connect to their subscribers. ISPs would pay Frontier TeleNet an access fee. Sherman County would determine technical details and management. Devlin recommended an independent evaluation and the Court authorized up to $3,500 for a feasibility study.

On August 4th the Court engaged Invictus Networks to conduct a wireless internet study. On August 18th Dan Devlin, representing Day Wireless, and Rick Lindahl of Invictus Networks, LLC, discussed possibilities for a county-owned county-wide wireless network. Lindahl was authorized to compile information, including firms that could conduct a heat map study and provide the county with estimated costs, after which the county would publicize a Request for Qualifications.

On September 15, 2010, the court approved Day Wireless Systems quote of $1,603.41 for purchase, replacement and installation of radio equipment at Senior Center and Emergency Services office for wireless internet service. By December, the Court had bid proposals for installation of wireless access points.

2011: In January, 2011, the Sherman County Court agreed to engage Dan Devlin of Management Resource, LLC for the 1st phase of the development of a county-wide wireless network and to instruct legal counsel to draw up an agreement. According to Commissioner Mike Smith, the Court had a difficult time receiving bids for the project. Devlin hoped for 300 accounts over a three year period with user fees paying for system monitoring fees, estimated to be $800/month. Commissioner Smith asked about maintenance and Devlin was unsure. 

2011: A Telecommunications Consulting Agreement was made by and between Frontier Telenet and Management Resource, LLC, (MR) a Washington LLC, on February 5, 2011, in which Frontier Telenet (FT) maintains and operates a wide area wireless network that is suitable for supplying transport and internet connectivity as specified under the OHN/RHCPP, and desires that MR be its consultant in evaluating, negotiating with and engaging selected potential end users (participants) of the OHN/RHCPP.

OHN/RHCPP is an Oregon Health Network / Rural Health Care Pilot Program with FCC subsidy dollars. Asher Clinic in Wheeler County and Greater Oregon Behavioral Health were named in Exhibit A. Tax payers’ dollars.

Management Resource, LLC, an independent contractor, was appointed as the telecommunications consultant authorized to conduct negotiations on behalf of FT.  It was anticipated that MR’s efforts would result in FT entering new telecommunications service agreements with participants that would generate revenue for FT via installation and service fees for telecommunications services. The participants were to receive partial reimbursement for payments made to FT in the form of cost sharing through the OHN/RHCPP. All net fees, either one time or reoccurring basis, directly or indirectly received by FT were to be subject to a 10% commission payable by FT to MR for its consulting services.  This agreement was signed by Dan Devlin of Management Resource, LLC, on February 5, 2011, and Rob Myers for Frontier Telenet on February 7, 2011.

2011: On February 16, 2011, Sherman County Court was still having difficulty in obtaining three quotes for the proposed wireless project. They had a quote from Day Wireless Systems (Dan Devlin) in December for $102,251.47 and a second from Management Resource, LLC (Dan Devlin) on January 4th for $45,120. Devlin recommended nine broadcast sites with 16 access points and proposed a revised budget of $35,000 which would cover Biggs, Rufus and the Columbia Slope area + per diem allowance of $1,600, $3,000 for switches and routers and $4,400 contingency. Commissioner Burnet and others expressed concerns about the number of subscribers to expect and whether Sherman County would be left on the hook. The consensus was to move forward with legal counsel and an agreement with Devlin.

2011: A Telecommunications Services Agreement was made by and between Sherman County and Management Resource, LLC, an independent contractor, on April 6, 2011, in which Sherman County stated its wishes to deploy a broadband wireless internet access system in the County and wished to engage Management Resource to provide certain services.

These services included installation of Sherman wireless Access Points and all supporting equipment necessary to activate the system and all networking equipment necessary for the connection to the Frontier Telenet backbone; procurement of hardware, fixtures, wire and licensed electrical or mechanical services where required; tuning and adjusting Access Points for optimal performance; and ongoing maintenance and support under a separate agreement to be developed by the parties to the agreement.

Compensation included $5,000 minimum retainer at signing, per diem allowance of $200 per night for the entire Management Resource crew, materials acquired on behalf of Sherman on actual cost basis plus 20%, and installation at $45 per man hour, with bills to be submitted bi-monthly. Other provisions require Management Resource, LLC to carry liability insurance in the amount of $2,000,000 and Workmen’s Compensation Insurance.

The agreement was signed by Dan Devlin for Management Resource, LLC, 9041 Ridgeview Circle W, Tacoma, WA 98466, and Sherman County Judge Gary Thompson and Commissioners Steve Burnet and Michael Smith.

2011: On April 20, 2011, the Sherman County Court approved an Intergovernmental Agreement for Communication Services in Sherman County, and established a government agency to be known as Sherman County Communications Agency. Commissioner Smith reported that a bid for just under $9,000 was received for equipment for the wireless network project, and the County needed an agreement with Mid Columbia Producers and the School District for equipment site locations. Frontier TeleNet manager Rob Myers was preparing an agreement between FT and Sherman County to hang equipment on the FT towers. 

2011: Sherman County and Rural Technology Group, LLC (RTG; Dan Devlin) of Bend entered into the Sherman Telenet Network Co-Location Agreement on July 20, 2011, in which RTG expressed the desire to install and maintain customer connections and transport those connections on a backbone managed and/or operated by Sherman County’s Sherman Network, and Sherman County permitted RTG to install and maintain equipment on the Sherman Network, subject to certain terms and conditions. The agreement was filed in Commissioner’s Journal Book E on July 25, 2011.

In consideration of the mutual conditions and covenants described, Sherman agreed to supply transport on any of its access points to the Erskine Sherman Telenet handoff. RTG was permitted to install communications and related equipment and services at customer locations and receive transport, providing RTG satisfies all requirements, terms and conditions established in the agreement.  A letter of request to renew the agreement must be made at least 60 days prior to expiration of the current agreement.

As consideration for the right to install and maintain equipment as defined on the Sherman Network, RTG agreed to pay a “monthly fee of $6 per billing unit customer, minimum of $25 per tower access point.” RTG agreed to make payments no later than the 10th of each month for the preceding month and to supply a customer count by tower Access Point with each monthly payment. Sherman is allowed access to RTGs records.

In addition to the right to install and maintain equipment on the Sherman Network, RTG and its authorized representatives have unescorted badge access to the associated co-locations for the duration of the agreement, and will comply with all laws, rules and regulations relating to fire prevention, control and suppression, and all safety rules and regulations of the State of Oregon.

RTG agreed to install and maintain terminal equipment and use the Sherman Network at its own risk, repair and pay for all damages to property resulting from RTG activities, and furnish proof of liability insurance as described in the agreement. All equipment and wiring will be properly placed in accordance with required standards, secured and grounded to manufacturers’ specifications. The points of contact are Gary Thompson for Sherman County Court and Dan Devlin for Rural Technology Group, LLC.

[NOTE: http://ruraltechnologygroup.com/fixed-wireless.htmlThe Frontier TeleNet network is connected to fiber-optic Internet pipe at the Bonneville Power site above Arlington, which allows us access to all the bandwidth you demand. Without the support of your County and Frontier TeleNet, we simply could not afford to bring you such an advanced internet service platform. That’s why we provide a portion of your monthly service fee to Frontier TeleNet so that your Tri-County owned network can continue to grow and better support your community.”]

Here we are in 2017: Sherman County’s wireless internet project currently supports one internet service provider (ISP), Rural Technology Group (RTG). As of mid-October, the county had spent over $97,796 to provide this service with a return of $25,834. Tax payers’ dollars.


 

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