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On Supporting Local

I penned this letter to the editor, which is scheduled to run in the April 24th, 2024 edition of the Choteau Acantha, because the City of Choteau is moving their website from a WordPress platform that I have designed and hosted at no charge for the community for years, to a non-local, faceless WYSIWYG platform:


I am writing to voice my concern about the City of Choteau’s decision to move the city’s website hosting to a faceless corporation and away from a local business. This decision is particularly concerning given the emphasis our elected officials put on support of our local businesses and local collaboration.

For over seven years, my business, Steve Dee Designs, has not only provided free web design and hosting services to the city but has also donated and deeply discounted these services for local nonprofits, including the Montana Dinosaur Center, the Choteau Lions Club, the Choteau Chamber of Commerce, the BTMC Foundation, and Friends of the Choteau Dog Park. I am committed to enriching our community through technical expertise and personalized service and that commitment reflects the spirit of mutual support that I have endeavored to uphold, particularly during my tenure as President of the Chamber of Commerce and on the Choteau City Council.

The choice to overlook local expertise in favor of a faceless out-of-state company does not align with our city leaders’ public dedication to “shopping local” and supporting homegrown businesses.

Local businesses are the backbone of Choteau’s economy and the fabric of our community life. When we choose to support local businesses, we invest in more than just services; we invest in relationships and a shared future. With that in mind, I strongly urge our city officials to adopt a policy of using local businesses before considering out-of-town vendors. Additionally, I hope the city will reconsider its decision and reopen the bidding process to include local firms for the city’s website. This approach will not only harness the specialized skills and commitment of Choteau’s own residents but will also reinforce the commitment to supporting the local businesses.

It is time for the actions of our local government to align with the values it claims. Let us truly practice what we preach and demonstrate a genuine commitment to supporting the local businesses that do so much to support our community.

Yours in Service,
Steve Dogiakos

Peter, Sandra, and Steve Dogiakos at the 2023 3 Rivers Annual MEeting

Unlocking the Potential of Rural Communities: The Power of Community, High-Speed Internet, and AI

Rural communities across the country are facing new challenges and opportunities as we move deeper into the 21st century. From economic development to community building, there are countless ways in which we can work together to build stronger, more vibrant communities that can thrive for generations to come. In this speech, Steve Dogiakos, a community leader and entrepreneur, explores the power of community, the importance of high-speed internet, and the potential for AI to transform rural communities like ours. Through his own experiences in Choteau, Montana, Steve demonstrates the incredible potential of rural communities when we come together to support one another, invest in our infrastructure, and embrace new technologies. Join us as we explore the possibilities for unlocking the full potential of rural communities, and discover how we can build a brighter future for ourselves and for generations to come.