Danner recognized at policy summit

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Audrey Danner was recently recognized for helping to get Northwest Colorado out of a black hole a black hole of telecommunication that is.

At the fifth annual Rural Telecom Policy Summit held in Denver on Feb. 20, the Colorado Rural Development Council named Danner, executive director of Yampa Valley Partners, "Rural Community Leader of the Year in Telecom."

"The award is given annually to recognize someone in a rural community that has taken an initiative in assuring the community has access to advanced communication technology services," said Flo Raitano, executive director of the Colorado Rural Development Council.

Danner became involved with the telecommunications issue when the Moffat County commissioners approached Yampa Valley partners about conducting a study on the need for increased telecommunications in the area four years ago.

As Yampa Valley Partners does on every community indicators project, community meetings were scheduled to discuss concerns on the subject and from those meetings, problem-solving coalitions were formed.

Partners then made recommendations to the Moffat County commissioners.

The result was the purchase of a $700,000 DS3 fiber optic line running along Interstate 70 to Craig.

The purchase enabled Moffat County to win a state patrol call center bid and increased the access of local businesses and government agencies to high-speed telecommunications. In addition, it was also part of a three-county Beanpole Grant of $1.375 million.

"There was a concern about the future of telecommunications in this area," Danner said. "We were in a black hole so to speak."

Danner said she was honored to receive the recognition at the recent seminar.

"I was surprised at the award," Danner said. "I'm pleased because there are many people that have worked hard the past few years in addressing these issues."

Raitano said Danner and Yampa Valley Partners' work in the effort to improve telecommunications in Moffat County was important, which is why Danner was an easy choice for the award.

"It opens the door to the future and opens the door to Northwest Colorado to participate in a global economy," Raitano said.

"Audrey was the clear-cut choice of the committee. The voting was unanimous."

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