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Community Council Meeting 6/12/98

Members Present Members Absent
Chris Hoy Craig Schroeder Donna Hammack Gary Warren
Sue Settel Russ Pankonin Jim Beatty Jeanne Saathoff
Lance Hedquist Jim Lowe
Gary Kiel Tim Lowenstein
Tim Hammelman Lowell Johnson

Guests Present: Leslie Perry, Myrta Hansen, Tyler French, Roger Hahn, Preston Thomas

The minutes of the March 27th Community Council meeting were reviewed and approved.

Reports from Council members on projects underway:

  1. Craig Schroeder reported on the status of the Nebraska Teleliteracy and Electronic Commerce Institute (NTEC). Money has been transferred from the Rural Development Commission to the Nebraska Community Foundation for this project. It will be used to set up a data base of IT educational resources available now to citizens. It will allow customers to match their needs to available resources. If the database does not contain the needed resource, NTEC will work to find the resources needed to fill the need. The database should be operational before the end of the year. A survey (to inventory IT educational assets) will be circulated within 30 days. Craig is still looking for input from interested persons on this project.
  1. Gary Kiel reported he has contacted Bill Bianco in Omaha who has a website started that will collect data from small businesses about regulations that inhibit their success. Gary is looking into Nebraska's regulatory environment to see if IT-focused regulations are working properly. (Tim Lowenstein asked if anyone had interviewed the IT companies reportedly leaving Nebraska for more competitive states to see what we can learn from them. Chris Hoy said that, rather than launching an investigative inquiry (likely to be subjective) it would be better to scan the regulations and work on incentives).
  1. Chris Hoy reported for Jeanne Saathoff that a meeting will be held soon to help define her project to open all public facilities to life-long learning and IT education. Following a suggestion from David Powers, Chris and Jean are going to meet with representatives of the ESU's, Central Community College and the K-12 system to get a quick take on where they are now with their policies. (Russ Pankonin commented that people in his part of the state-Wauneta-would like to see the distance education networks combined for easier and improved access). Roger Hahn said that efforts are underway to do something like that with the LifeLong Learning Center in Norfolk.
  1. Chris Hoy reported on Donna Hammack's telemedicine issues. There are a ton of problems involving insurance, law, psychology, infrastructure and the Universal Service Fund to be worked on. HHS has expressed an interest in re-constituting its telemedicine committee and establishing a connection with the Community Council so that some of the complex issues can be advanced.

Criteria for the $250K Community Technology Grant Fund:

Chris Hoy said that he needed to provide the NITC with draft criteria for the grant fund on Tuesday, June 16th. He asked the Council for comments on the e-mail he had sent to them earlier outlining the decisions that needed to be made.

Rod Armstrong recommended the grant applications go through the technical review panel's risk assessment process before they come to the Council for evaluation.

Gary Kiel recommended the grants be reviewed first by the Council in order to weed out the ones that re ineligible. Craig Schroeder suggested we look at the LB144 review process as a model. The group discussed (after a suggestion by Tim Lowenstein) whether the applications should be submitted electronically. A concern was expressed that some people would be excluded from the process if they had to use an electronic form. Others said that even paper submissions could be converted to electronic form so that all applications could be judged on content alone rather than form. Also, electronic applications can be distributed quickly to all Council members for review and comment. Craig Schroeder suggested some grant money be left open without a deadline for applications but Lance Hedquist pointed out that it would be impossible to turn any grant applications down if it were done that way. Gary Kiel suggested there be a process to see if completed grants were successful. One benefit would be that the tangible positive results could be used to show the legislature that the grant monies are working.

Rod Armstrong said there will be some technical assistance available to help citizens with grant implementation. Jim Lowe said it might be a good idea to look at the SBIR electronic application form as a model. And, he said we could also develop a diskette based electronic form.

The Community Council Mission Statement was drafted in rough form ("To foster the collaborative and innovative utilization of technology partnerships between the public and private sectors for the purpose of improving citizen teleliteracy and supporting economic development in Nebraska communities").

A lengthy discussion ensued about the grant criteria. Eligible activities, ineligible activities, maximum and minimum grant amounts, applications processes, award intervals, match and sustainability were discussed. (The full, final criteria will be posted on the Community Council web site by July 1st).

Sue Settel from the Indian Commission asked that the Council consider a set-aside for the Native American tribes so they wouldn't have to compete with other Nebraska communities for the grant money. The Council agreed to take the suggestion under advisement pending examples of set-asides Settel will provide to the Council later.

Tim Lowenstein agreed to develop a listserv for the Council members to use when sending messages intended for the entire Council.

Next meeting: September 1998 - date to be announced.

The Community Council meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m.


Meeting Minutes