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Lewis County Seeks Funding for Mandates

By Jake Morgan, staff writer

    CHEHALIS — State and federal requirements to provide health care to inmates at the Lewis County Jail and legal defense costs for the poor or indigent don’t include state or federal funding and the costs for these services are crippling the county budget. Unfunded mandates for Lewis County to provide indigent defense and medical costs to jail inmates is approaching $1.5 million a year and continues to rise.

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County Needs Growth Help

By Jake Morgan, staff writer

     CHEHALIS – Lewis County's largely rural and mountainous landscape poses unique challenges to urban growth planners.

     County planners want to develop urban areas around Centralia, Chehalis and Napavine, preserve rural agricultural areas for farming and protect the county's abundant natural resources.

     Rural land owners in Lewis County want to protect and profit from their property while having the freedom to develop it at the same time. Farmers who are looking for an additional income source ...

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Winlock Lands $23 Million State Broadband Grant

By Jake Morgan, staff writer

    WINLOCK – Lewis County and ToledoTel are upgrading Winlock's broadband, thanks to a $23.5 million state grant to extend high-speed internet to more than 2,300 homes and businesses in the Winlock area.

    Replacing copper telephone wires with underground fiber-optic cables is extremely expensive and time consuming, costing more than $50,000 per mile and $10,000 per customer to connect rural areas.

    Lewis County and local internet provider ToledoTel formed a public-private partnership that made them eligible to receive a $23.5 million grant from the Washington State Broadband Office. ToledoTel will engineer and design the project, and provide an additional $2.35 million in matching funds.

    “This project is really the beginning, in terms of getting service out to folks, and we want to focus on getting broadband out to all rural areas and all residents of Lewis County,” said county manager Erik Martin.

    The project is expected to be completed in 2026, after which the county will own the broadband infrastructure and ToledoTel will provide retail internet services.

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