State of Hailey
"A small business that isnt on line is at risk. [Not being
on line today] is like trying to run a business five years ago without a fax, or 50 years
ago without a phone."
Al Lindley, Hailey community activist
By TRAVIS PURSER
Express Staff Writer
Mayor Brad Siemers state of Hailey address yesterday was not
so much an oration on where the city is as it was a panel discussion presented to local
businesses on where the city is going.
Yesterday from noon until 1 p.m. at the downtown Liberty Theatre, former
civic affairs chairman Al Lindley, superintendent of schools Jim Lewis and Siemer talked
about a wide range of city issues, from the future of education and technology to the
future sources of the citys water supply.
The theater did not sell popcorn for the event.
Hailey businesses are on the crux of a revolution from communicating with
POTS (plain old telephone service) to communicating with PANS (pretty amazing new stuff),
Tossing out high-tech acronyms as if they were party favors, Lindley
argued that the future economic well-being of Haileys small businesses depend on the
citys keeping up with the world in the realm of information technology.
"A small business that isnt on line is at risk," he said.
"[Not being on line today] is like trying to run a business five years ago without a
fax, or 50 years ago without a phone."
Currently, U.S. West is installing digital technology in the valley that
will greatly improve the speed of local telecommunications. Even so, Lindley urged local
businesses to work together on a community-wide business plan that would encourage the
telephone company to continue to upgrade.
Superintendent Lewis agreed that Hailey must work to keep up with an
Speaking on education for the entire community, Lewis said, "Our
students and patrons need to have the opportunity to be educated and re-educated in
professions that havent even been invented yet"professions that exist
because of the Internet, for example.
Providing that opportunity, Lewis said, will require some major changes in
the countys school system.
Lewis described in general terms the districts $4 million per-year
facilities levy, up for a vote on May 2. If passed, the levy would allow the district to
expand existing buildings, build a new high school and create more technical academies.
By training students in building construction, computer-aided design, real
estate sales, information technology and more, academies give students the skills they
need, Lewis said, "to have some hope of being able to remain in this valley."
Speaking philosophically, Siemer asked, "How do we use technology and
knowledge to promote society?"
More prosaically, he gave a brief update on the citys new wastewater
treatment plant currently under construction; he talked about the "big issue" of
water supply; and he talked about growth and management issues.
Siemer said the process is already underway toward construction of a
1.5-million-gallon water storage tank, installation of meters for nearly all water users
and master planning within city departments to efficiently manage growth.