Union says Big Piney broadband almost complete


SUBLETTE COUNTY – Union Wireless’s broadband availability in Big Piney is 90-percent complete with just the Big Piney schools remaining, according to its representative.

Brian Woody told the Big Piney Town Council at its meeting Tuesday, July 19, that Union will be working with the schools’ fiber-optic.

Mayor Ty Maxfield asked if the WiFi is coming off a tower.

Woody said the signal comes directly from a device inside the customer’s home, not from a shared spectrum. He said that way, a spectrum won’t become oversubscribed. The service is 5G capable.

Union hoped to access an ARPA grant to continue its fiber-optic installations but the previous funding didn’t cover “broadband” so they’re working on applying for the current round that will. “If we get the grant we can hire a bunch of people,” Woody said. “We’ll be here for awhile.

Councilmember Sherri Redden if people can sign up now.

“It’s ready to roll,” he said.

In other new business, the council – Maxfield, Redden, Tawnya Miller, Sierra Banks and Stafford Polk IV – unanimously approved a variance for the Little Sapling Day Care in a residential area.

Play ball!

Volunteer LaBarge Eagles’ coach Zach Key also addressed the council, asking how to maintain the young basketball players’ connection to the Big Piney Rec Center. He offered to pay his own insurance and buy jerseys and balls, which the council and recreation manager Eddy Delgado said was not necessary.

The Town of Big Piney didn’t budget $500 for the outreach program’s insurance because there isn’t enough staff to accompany the basketball team

Key expressed frustration with Big Piney Rec Center’s need to have an employee present during the basketball season. Delgado said the issue arose from a single incident of vandalism in LaBarge that was addressed but still hangs over the program’s head.

“It was not so much an issue against LaBarge,” Maxfield said. “LaBarge kids can still come to Big Piney.”

Key said LaBarge residents are levied $11.50 for recreation and Big Piney should use that for the program but Banks clarified that the recreation mil goes to the school district, not the town.

Key said he had already checked into having his own insurance and would pay for it himself.

Delgado invited Key to ask Friends of Big Piney Rec for the $500 at the next morning’s meeting.

The group plans to have a 3-on-3 basketball tournament after the coming season and set the money aside to raise money for the LaBarge basketball program, he said. Also, the Rec Center planned to give Key the jerseys and basketballs to practice in LaBarge.

Miller asked Key to “not take it personally.”

“In the last year the rec center was very short-staffed,” Miller said. “There’s the complication with insurance. This is the only outreach program; we’re just not staffed for outreach.”

She said the LaBarge basketball players are important –“Athletics are the key to growing healthy adults.”

Maxfield encouraged Key to request the $500 from Friends of Big Piney Rec “and we’ll make it work. With all of the entities involved, we have to do it right.”

Key indicated he has an “umbrella to cover me” and would take over the basketball program this year with the rec center’s jerseys and balls.

“Now that we’ve got a good solution, we’ll stick with that solution,” Maxfield said.

Updates

Big Piney water-sewer manager Mike Wagstaff and parks-streets Kara Losik gave their monthly reports.

Wagstaff said he found predecessor Joe Dankelman’s 2016 water-loss report and the numbers now show similar water losses “in years past.” Water losses from multiple leaks add up to about 38 gallons per minute, he estimated.

Colter Booth of Jorgensen Engineering said he will be applying to ARPA for a $15,000 water-leak detection survey that is “very comprehensive.” He also advised the council to apply for its own chlorine generation system and both projects would cost and estimated $233,000.

The council approved two resolutions to start the process.

Losik said she finally had four summer employees and one just gave two weeks’ notice.

The Pinedale Fine Arts Council granted $2,500 for a mural to go on the Farm Bureau building and she expected to see a “proof” within several weeks.

She fielded a vendor’s complaint during Chuckwagon Days that the town could not provide 50-amp service. “Two were fine at 20 amps.”

And, the town’s flagpoles are “wearing out” with five out of commission, Losik said.

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