Silver Bow Kiwanis

Silver Bow Kiwanis Kiwanis Club Meeting, Feb 18, '14

12:00-1:00 Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Larger map and driving directions

Butte Perkins
2900 Harrison Ave.
Butte, MT 59701

This week we were joined again by Adrainna and David from the Circle K.

Cathy let us know about the tournaments that Advantage Butte is bringing to Butte. Volunteer sign up sheets were passed around, and you can also sign-up on-line at

Keith reminded us of the Builder's Club Meeting Wednesday at 12:30 in Miss Tutty's room at Central Middle School, the Key Club meeting Thursday at noon in the Central High Library, and the Circle K meeting Thursday evening (time and location to be announced).

Marc reminded us all of Midwinter conference coming up at the end of March at Farimont Hot Springs.

Cathy then introduced our speaker, Jim Kambich from MERDI. MERDI is a non-profit group promoting technology in Butte and around Montana.

In the 1990s, Touch America installed the "long haul" fiber lines in much of Montana. This was mostly run along highways and covers the distances between cities and towns in the state. It also runs to the old Touch America offices in the Hennesy Building.

In small communities - populations under about 15,000, fiber was run to many homes and businesses because there were government subsidies to get rural areas connected. However, this was not true in larger communities like Butte, Billings, or Missoula.

When the supercomputer was installed in the Thornton Building, that was connected to the trunk going into the Hennesy Building, but it wasn't connected elsewhere.

The new education requirements from the federal government require greater access to computers and the internet for students, as well as faster turn around on standardized tests. To meet these objectives, the Butte Public Schools needed better access.

MERDI came up with a proposal to lay additional fiber in Butte, modeled after the system set up in Huntington, TN to address the needs of the schools. Montana Tech, Butte-Silver Bow, Butte Catholic Schools, and other businesses and organizations have also shown and interest and need.

From July 2013 through January 2014 fiber lines were put in place, some above ground on poles, others below ground where that was feasible. 12 schools have been connected, as has the county courthouse.

This not only provides better internet access, but will allow students to take tests on "thin clients" in the classroom, using virtual machines created on the supercomputer so test scores can be processed and returned very quickly, with minimal additional cost to the schools. The thin clients are very inexpensive since they are practically just a screen, a keyboard, and a network connection.

In addition, with the connection to the fiber network, the Butte School District has now been granted access to "Internet 2" - a primarily research and education portion of the internet generally only accessible to universities and major research facilities. The Butte schools are among the first in the nation to get this access.

Jim Kambich, MERDI
Country Club Melt and Fries
Event Updated
5:00 Thursday, February 20, 2014