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THE MEADOWBROOK AREA along Highway 7, north of Ortonville was the site last week where crews from Ripley’s Inc. were digging to place the fiber optic cable for the County broadband network project.

County broadband project is 70 percent complete

Federated Telephone Cooperative's fiber optic broadband project is about 70 percent complete. When the project is finished, rural Big Stone County residents who were previously unable to receive fiber optic services will have the option to obtain this fast internet service that had only been available to city residents and rural residents in the Federated Telephone territory.

Underground construction to build a fiber-to-the-premise network, which began in May of this year, is set to be complete next month, said Federated General Manager Kevin Beyer. They were originally slated to be done with the construction in July, but weather has slowed them down.

"Our underground fiber construction contractor, Ripley’s Inc., has plowed a total of 316 miles of the approximately 400 miles that the project called for," said  Beyer.

Crews have completed ground work in Big Stone, Almond, Otrey and a small portion into Malta Township, said Federated Telephone  Plant Superintendent Aaron Roggenbuck. They are currently finishing ground work in Prior, Foster, Browns Valley West  and Browns Valley East Townships.

Ripley's have plowed to 537 customers of the 900 estimated to sign  permission slips. The fiber splicing contractor, JCS Inc., is fusion-splicing the fiber as soon as individual routes are completed. JCS will also be mounting the fiber termination boxes on the side of each building and installing the services to new customers who take service.

JCS will be installing services to the first customers who wanted service from this year's construction this week, said Beyer. It is anticipated that the underground construction will be completed by the middle of August and the splicing will be completed by the end of September.

Providing the paperwork is signed, installation can take place at the property owners' sites as soon as the splicing to their location is completed.  

 Beyer said they hope to have 40 to 50 percent of the new customers on-line by freeze up, depending on the demand. If there is a high demand for services it could take longer.

Beyer said crews will be coming back, within two to four weeks after they laid the cable, to the property owner's land to re-seed the grass they dug up.

Federated Telephone of Chokio was awarded a State of Minnesota Border-to-Border Broadband Grant to build a fiber-to-the-premise network to unserved areas of Big Stone County.


Ortonville’s 3-day “Downtown Festival” to kick off Thursday

Everyone is invited to Ortonville this week to take part in the second annual “Downtown Festival” this Thursday through Saturday, July 21- 23.

The three-day celebration of the city's downtown area, sponsored by the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber of Commerce's Downtwon Revitalization Committee, is jam packed with activities for people of all ages.

Thursday Downtown Stroll

The festival begins with a "Downtown Stroll" from 3 to 7 p.m. The public can purchase tickets for a chance to win Chamber Bucks. Four hundred dollars worth of bucks will be given away. Strollers will be given a bag full of goodies and a map which will lead them on a stroll through the businesses downtown, where they will find store specials, refreshments, local art and games.

Only 200 tickets will be sold. They are available for purchase at The Granary Food Co-op, CenBank, The Furniture Shoppe, Ortonville Flower Shop and JoLee's Jewelry Store and Gifts. Any remaining tickets will be sold during the stroll Thursday at the registration booth, to be located on Ortonville's main street in the lot across from The Granary.

Ortonville's Lee Kanten, a member of the Midwest Hall of Fame, will be providing live music at the vacant lot across from Berkner Pizza. He will be playing guitar and singing songs from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Musicians Dan Angelo and his wife Cara Greger. who live east of Ortonville, may be joining Lee on the guitar and vocals.

Thursday Car Show & Parade        

Classic cars will be lining the streets for the second annual Downtown Festival Car Show. Anyone with a “cool” car is encouraged to bring their cars downtown between 3 and 7 p.m. The earlier you come, the better chance you have of getting more votes for the "People's Choice" trophy.

Cars will be parked on the main street between Madison and Monroe Avenues, and registration will be in front of Carlson Drug. Car show car owners are encouraged to drive their vehicles through town in the parade at 7 p.m.

The parade will take place at 7 p.m. on the main street. Any business, organization, group or individual who would like to take part in the parade, is invited to do so, along with the car show vehicles. Parade line-up will begin at 6:30 p.m. on First Street near the Art Councils' community building (former city water plant building). The parade will be on the main street from Pacific Avenue to the vacant lot across from the Ortonville Community Center.

Festivities will continue after the parade, on the lot with the drawing of the ticket winners, announcement of the car show's "People's Choice" winner, an auction of Orton Hotel spindles (see story elsewhere),  a campfire with hot dogs and s'mores available and music by Lee Kanten.

Friday Sidewalk Sales &

Taste of the Town

Events will resume on Friday beginning when stores open in the morning. Some merchants will be having sidewalk sales in front of their stores. Browse the sales outside and see what they have to offer inside.

Delicious foods will be served on main street in the "Taste of the Town" event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring The Granary Food Co-op and two new downtown eateries, Lingonberry's and The Little Spoon.

The Little Spoon, located in the former Java Jule's building, will be serving Off the Green's raspberry chicken salad and mini cupcakes. Lingonberry's, located between Ortonville Family Eye Care and American Family Insurance, will be serving Swedish meatballs. The Granary will have frozen dessert treats and the DRC will have popcorn in front of The Furniture Shoppe.

A Farmer's Market will also be open in the lot at the corner of Madison Avenue and Second Street. It will feature fresh produce, plants and baked goods from local growers and bakers.

Saturday Bike Big Stone

A bike festival will be held Saturday, celebrating Ortonville's Bike Trail that leads to the Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge auto tour. It is slated to be a fun ride for all ages and all levels of cyclists.

The ride starts with a registration beginning  at the start of the bike trail, just west of Hartman's SuperValu Foods. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., with the ride taking place until 11:30 a.m. Cost is $5 for adults, $3 for students, children age five and under are free.

Ortonville Area Health Services has donated one adult and one child's Schwinn bike, which participants have a chance to win. The farther you ride on the trail, the more chances you have to enter in the drawing to win. Water and refreshments will be available along the trail.

After cyclists are done riding, they can enjoy activities at the registration site at the start of the trail including music, a bike rodeo and information from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and bike safety tips from the Ortonville Police Department.

Rootbeer floats and hot dogs will be available at the site, courtesy of Haratman's SuperValu Foods, with proceeds going toward upkeep of the bike trail. Bike drawings will be held at 11:30 a.m., must be present to win.

Be sure to take advantage of this summer fun in downtown Orotnville.