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Nebraska Information Technology Commission
Thursday, August 26, 1999, 1:30 p.m.

Teleconference Sites:
The Atrium, Nebraska Public Service Commission Conference Room, 1200 N St., 3rd Floor, Lincoln
Kearney Public Library, 2020 1st Avenue, Kearney
McKinley Education Center, 301 West F Street, Room 1, North Platte
Northeast Community College, MaClay Building, Room 122, Norfolk
University of Nebraska Medical Center, 4203 University Hospital

Approved Minutes

Members Present

LINCOLN SITE: Michael Nolan, City of Norfolk; Ron Heezen, Omaha Public Library; Ted Schultz, Nebraska Association of Hospitals; Gary Kiel, PKS System Integrated; Gary Warren, Hamilton Telecommunications; Ann Stephens, Keene Memorial Library; Bob Sweeney, AIM Institute; Daryl Naumann, Department of Economic Development; Ted Smith, Norfolk Library; Sue Volk, Midwest Microsystems; John Burvainis, Public Service Commission
KEARNEY SITE: Jeanne Saathoff, Kearney Public Library; Donna Hammack, Good Samaritan Hospital (arrived at 2:00)
NORTH PLATTE SITE: Gerry Kluch, Kaystar Seed; Russ Pankonin, Imperial Republican
OMAHA SITE: Reba Benschoter, UNMC

Members Absent

Rick Nolan, Children's Hospital; Tyler French, Ameritrade; Lance Hedquist, City of South Sioux City; Craig Schroeder, Nebraska Rural Development Commission;

Others Present

LINCOLN SITE: Linda Aerni, Joan Birnie, Roger Hahn, Cyd Janssen
NORTH PLATE SITE: Len Benson, Jim McKenzie


In the absence of the co-chairs, the meeting was called to order by Anne Byers, Community Information Technology Manager, at 1:35. Council members and guests introduced themselves. Ms. Byers asked for corrections and/or additions to the July 29th minutes. Mr. Schultz motioned to approve the minutes. The motion was seconded by Mr. Heezen. All were in favor. Motion was carried. Ms. Byers announced that notice of the public meeting was given by electronic means. The date, time and location of the meeting was posted August 16, 1999. The agenda was posted August 17, 1999.

PUBLIC COMMENT: Guests were given the opportunity for public comment. None was given.


Ms. Byers informed the council members that correspondence regarding membership status have been sent to the individuals designated at the last meeting.The SENDD project has mutually agreed to terminate the project leaving an additional $11,000 in the Community Technology Fund.


Mr. Erickson presented TINA's objectives:

  • Prepare a comprehensive inventory and assessment of the current telecommunications infrastructure.
  • Identify new telecommunications and information technologies and plan for future public and private development.
  • Identify current and future information applications requirements for communities of interest: 1) state and local government, higher education, K-12, libraries, tribal governments, community networks, etc. and 2) providers.
  • Identify policy issues for consideration by appropriate policy-making entities.
  • Identify the implication that a proper network design would have on economic development.
  • Engage communities of interest in preparing telecommunications strategies recommendations with a business case, budget and timeline.
  • Recommend an on-going process to implement, review and revise to meet needs.
  • Provide dialog with communities of interest.
  • Inform Nebraska public officials about strategies.

The TINA study fits with the statewide plan as follows:

  • Provides a portion of the inventory for the technology information clearinghouse.
  • Helps to identify definitions and components of the technical infrastructure.
  • Augments portions of the strategic directions for the technical infrastructure.

A draft of the plan will be available for implementation in conjunction with the Statewide Technology Plan. Mr. Winkle informed the Council that the total cost for the TINA study is $267,000. The Division of Communications will fund most of the cost.The NITC has a small operating budget and has been approached to contribute $50,000 toward the cost of the study. The CIO/NITC Office will contributing $10,000 toward the study. Mr. Winkle proposed that the Community Council contribute $20,000 out of the Community Technology Fund for the study.

Mr. Heezen moved and it was seconded by Mr. Kluch that $20,000 from the Community Technology Fund be contributed to the TINA Study. Roll Call Vote: Benschoter-Yes, Hammack-Yes, Heezen-Yes, Kluch-Yes, Kiel-Yes, Nolan-Yes, Pankonin-Yes, Saathoff-Yes, Schultz-Yes, Smith-Yes, Stephens-Yes, Sweeney-Yes, Volk-Yes, Warren-Yes. Motion carried.

ACTION PLAN - Anne Byers, Community Information Technology Manager:

Ms. Byers reviewed the Proposed Action Plan with the council. Mr. Winkle recommended the formation of subcommittee to address concerns and to further develop the action plan. The revised action plan and subcommittee members are listed below:

Revised Action Plan Items

Nebraska will cultivate an economic, political, and regulatory environment conducive to IT development by:

  • Ensuring access to public and private services for all citizens of the State of Nebraska (regardless of impediment--i.e., location and socio-economic status) through the appropriate and efficient use of information technology.

Action Plan Items:

1. Support access to information services for underserved populations through public access sites in libraries, schools, and other publicly accessible locations.

Subcommittee members:
Ted Smith
Ron Heezen
Jeanne Saathoff

2. Conduct a telehealth feasibility study.

Subcommittee Members
Donna Hammack
Len Benson
Ted Schultz
Other telehealth subcommittee members

  • Promoting the development of an infrastructure (including sufficient bandwidth) that is secure, affordable, reliable, and responsive to the specific needs of various sectors. Efforts should be made to ensure that systems across the state are compatible.

    Action Plan Item:

    3. Co-sponsor the Telecommunications Infrastructure Needs Assessment (TINA) Study.

  • Developing a workforce knowledgeable of and fluent in the use and applications of information technology. Efforts should be made to promote the recruitment and retention of IT professionals within the state.

Action Plan Item:

4. Develop an information technology lifelong learning plan (which includes traditional, formal providers as well as non-traditional, non-formal providers such as libraries) in partnership with the Education Council.

Subcommittee members:
Ron Heezen
Ted Smith

5. Improve the recruitment, retention, and skill development of IT professionals.

Subcommittee members:
Gary Kiel
Bob Sweeney

  • Facilitating IT development and innovation by raising awareness, sharing information, encouraging collaboration, and developing partnerships among public and between public and private entities.

Action Plan Items:

6. Determine regulatory barriers to IT development in the state and develop strategies to address these barriers in partnership with the Government Council.

Subcommittee members:

The Community Council will address this issue as a group.

7. Support local information technology committees in order to stimulate community-based IT efforts.

Subcommittee members:
Reba Benschoter
Lance Hedquist
Craig Schroeder

8. Support IT efforts which respond to the rural crisis (i.e., telework, direct ag marketing through the Internet, and/or other initiatives.

Subcommittee members:
Sue Volk
Gerry Kluch
Craig Schroeder

9. Co-sponsor, in cooperation with the Nebraska Intergovernmental Data Communications Advisory Council (NIDCAC), a study of local government IT coordination needs.

Subcommittee members:
Ted Schultz
Ann Stephens
Gary Kiel
Lance Hequist

Note: Ron Bowmaster will be scheduling meetings for this subcommittee.

10. Create synergistic critical masses of IT professionals in both metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas of the state.

Subcommittee members:
Gary Warren

11. Develop an economic impact analysis of information technology.

Subcommittee Members:
Gary Warren
Darl Naumann
Stu Miller
Bob Sweeney


On August 16th the subcommittee met to discuss the guidelines. The proposed Community Technology Fund Guildelines read as follows: "The Community Council of the NITC recommends that first priority for Community Technology Fund awards be given to projects which directly address the Council's action plan. The Council will determine the amount of funds necessary for projects before the NITC's November 15 meeting. Any remaining funds will be available for competitive grants. A competitive grant round would be announced in late November with a late January application deadline. The Council recommends that competitive grants be awarded only to projects which clearly address Council priorities. Specific guidelines would be issued with the announcement of the competitive grants."


The next meeting dates are set for Friday, October 1, 1999 and Friday, November 5, 1999. Staff will check on teleconference meeting sites. The meeting was adjourned by Ms. Byers at 4:30 p.m.

Minutes taken by Lori Lopez Urdiales, CIO/NITC Administrative Assistant and reviewed by Anne Byers, Community I.T. Manager, CIO/NITC.

Meeting Minutes