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Nebraska Information Technology Commission
Wednesday, January 22, 2003, 9:00 a.m.

Videoconference Sites:
Lincoln: Executive Building, Suite 103, 521 So. 14th Street
Chadron: Chadron State College Student Center--Scottsbluff Room, 10th and Main
Kearney: Kearney Public Library and Information Center, 2nd Floor, 2020 First Avenue
Norfolk: NECC MaClay Bldg, Room 122, 801 East Benjamin Avenue
Phone bridge (402) 472-6296



Chadron Site: Mary Wernke, Letter Perfect Communications
Lincoln Site: Chris Anderson, City of Ashland; Donna Hammack, St. Elizabeth Foundation; Gene Hand, Public Service Commission; Roger Keetle, Nebraska Hospital Association; and Bob Sweeney, AIM Institute
Norfolk Site: Len Benson, Faith Regional Health System and Ted Smith, Norfolk Public Library
Kearney Site: Jeanne Saathoff, Kearney Public Library
Phone Bridge: Lance Hedquist, City of South Sioux City and Jerry Vap, Public Service Commission Commissioner


Harold Krueger, Chadron Community Hospital; Pat Langan, Nebraska Department of Economic Development; Michael Nolan, City of Norfolk; Craig Schroeder, Rural Development Commission; Max Thacker, UNMC; Bruce Thiel, Bryan-LGH East


Ms. Saathoff called the meeting to order at 9:05 a.m. Anne Byers, Community Information Technology Manager, facilitated the meeting from the main videoconference site in Lincoln. The meeting announcement was posted on the NITC Web site and the Nebraska Public meeting site on December 12, 2002. The agenda was posted on the NITC Web site and the Nebraska Public Meeting Web site on December 30, 2002.


Mr. Keetle moved to approve the September 6, 2002 minutes. Ms. Hammack seconded the motion. Roll call vote: Benson-Yes, Hammack-Yes, Hedquist-Yes, Keetle-Yes, Saathoff-Yes, Smith-Yes, Vap-Yes, and Wernke-Yes. The motion was carried by unanimous vote.

Chris Anderson arrived to the meeting at 9:17 a.m.


There was no public comment.

Roger Keetle

Mr. Keetle presented the Telehealth Benefits and Costs (PDF 1MB) and Telehealth Network Plan Presentation (PDF 182k) that was given to the Public Service Commission. It will be a joint venture to develop the business and connection plan. The Public Service Commission’s funded $900,000 (NUSF-26 Progression Order 3) for the Telehealth Network Plan. A more detailed proposed has been requested by April 1st. The committee will be meeting January 30th. Roger Hahn has been assisting the committee. Roger appreciated the opportunity to work on the project. It was recommended that Sara Cunningham be invited to a Community Council meeting to speak about AHEC. Mr. Vap stated that the Public Service Commission sees a tremendous value and a great service to the State of Nebraska in the Telehealth Network. Mr. Keetle and Ms. Byers thanked everyone for their efforts.

Tom Rolfes

Lieutenant Governor Heineman arrived to the meeting.

Mr. Rolfes provided a brief history of the Nebraska Network study. The Community Council had four representatives that served on the Work Group. The draft is an on-going document and council members were asked to provide a critical review of the document. The organizational chart in the document shows the relationship between the NITC and the work groups. The Video Synchronize Work Group would like to have participation and representatives from the Community Council.

Lieutenant Governor Heineman addressed the Community Council regarding the Scottsbluff Pilot Project; collaboration and commitment in this effort between state government, education and the private sector; budgetary issues; and the need to implement this much faster. Council members had the opportunity to ask questions.

Bob Sweeney arrived to the meeting at 10:10 a.m. Jerry Vap left the phone bridge.


Lieutenant Governor Heineman presented certificates of appreciation from the NITC personally to the council members for their work and efforts. He stated that the issues that the Community Council is addressing are not easy to resolve and that the Community Council is making a difference. An invitation was extended to the council member to attend any of the NITC meetings and/or to be part of any the advisory groups that the NITC oversees.

Membership. Eight council members terms will be expiring. Upon the approval of the council, these council members have agreed to serve another term.

Mr. Hedquist moved to approve the membership renewals of Mary Wernke, Bob Sweeney, Harold Krueger , Roger Keetle, Lance Hedquist, Mike Nolan, Jeanne Saathoff and Ted Smith. Ms. Hammack seconded the motion. Roll call vote: Anderson-Yes, Benson-Yes, Hammack-Yes, Hedquist-Yes, Keetle-Yes, Saathoff-Yes, Smith-Yes, Sweeney-Yes, and Wernke-Yes. The motion was carried by unanimous vote.

Vacancies. Ron Heezen and Gary Warren have resigned and there is still one more vacancy on the council for a county government representative.Mr. Schafer has contacted NACO. The Library Commission has not met yet to make their recommendation.The council gave Ms. Byers approval to contact persons she feels would be interested.

Co-Chairs. Ms. Saathoff’s term as co-chair is about to expire. Upon approval of the council, she is willing to serve another term. The council still needs a replacement for Co-chair, Ron Heezen. The group suggested that Ms. Byers send an email to members inquiring interest to serve as co-chair for a one-year term.

Mr. Sweeney moved to approve the nomination of Jeanne Saathoff to serve another 2-year term as Co-chair. Ms. Hammack seconded the motion. Roll call vote: Wernke-Yes, Sweeney-Yes, Smith-Yes, Saathoff-Abstained, Keetle-Yes, Hedquist-Yes, Hammack-Yes, Benson-(Left the room), and Anderson-Yes. The motion was carried by majority vote.


Mini-Grants. Ms. Byers reported that eight community projects are going very well. All the projects are facing similar issues and indicated that the mini grants were helpful. Local businesses are interested e-commerce training.

AIM’s Nebraska Cyberseed Grant from TOP. Mr. Bob Sweeney distributed two documents - one describing the Nebraska Cyberseed Grant and one of the survey results of the Nebraska Business Use of Information Technology. The Nebraska Cyberseed Grant serving three Nebraska communities – Columbus, Fremont and Norfolk. The vision is to support economic development through e-commerce initiatives that provide a steady stream of new talent, an understanding of the opportunities, and applied business and entrepreneurial success. The major goals are as follows:

  1. Increase the intellectual infrastructure required for the emerging Information Technology and e-commerce in the targeted communities.
  2. Support the growth in technology capacity in the targeted rural communities.
  3. Assist existing rural businesses and entrepreneurs to apply e-commerce technologies to achieve economic growth.

Mr. Sweeney answered questions from the council members. Dr. Emal invited Mr. Sweeney to the next TAN meeting on March 20th, at Embassy Suites to present this information.

TAN (Technologies Across Nebraska). Dr. Emal reported that TAN is learning about what people and communities are doing in IT and learning about what resources are available.

Community Technology Fund. Ms. Byers reported that the balance of the fund is approximately $125,000. Every year more and more project grants are submitted. It is estimated that possibly over 80 could be submitted if another funding round is offered. Evaluating the grants is a lot of work and depending on budget cuts, these funds may not have these dollars. The staff’s recommendations include:

  • Funding year 2 (DOC 37k) of the Building Information Age Communities mini-grants programs.
  • Conduct a joint project between State of Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska to document which strategies for building information technology in communities work.
  • Use these monies to assist with the Telehealth Network Plan, for example to assist in hiring a consultant, etc.

A subcommittee was organized to develop a strategy and recommendation for the use of the Community Technology Fund – Mr. Sweeney and Ms. Saathoff volunteered. Ms. Byers will seek other volunteers.


The next meeting of the NITC Community Council will be held in March. Ms. Byers will get input from members as to a meeting date.With no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:24 a.m.

Meeting minutes were taken by Lori Lopez Urdiales and reviewed by Anne Byers of the Office of the CIO/NITC.

Meeting Minutes