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For the week of Apr. 19 through Apr. 25, 2000

State of Hailey


"A small business that isn’t 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

Hailey Mayor Brad SiemerMayor Brad Siemer’s 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 city’s 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), Lindley said.

Tossing out high-tech acronyms as if they were party favors, Lindley argued that the future economic well-being of Hailey’s small businesses depend on the city’s keeping up with the world in the realm of information technology.

"A small business that isn’t 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 ever-changing world.

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 haven’t 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 county’s school system.

Lewis described in general terms the district’s $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 city’s 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.

 

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