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Minutes of Community Council Meeting

August 28th, 1998
1:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Prepared by: Chris Hoy, Chair

Members present at 521 S. 14th St, Lower Level Conference Room: Chris Hoy, Tim Lowenstein, Anne Boyle (for the PSC) and Donna Hammack

Guest: Leslie Perry

Members present on-line: Jim Lowe, Craig Schroeder, Gary Kiel, Tim Hammelman, Lance Hedquist, Gary Warren

On-line guests: Tyler French, Rod Armstrong

Members absent: Jim Beatty, Jeanne Saathoff, Russ Pankonin and Judi Morgan

The minutes of the June 12th Community Council meeting were reviewed and approved.

Reports from Council Members on projects underway:

  1. Gary Kiel reported that his project (to leverage an existing piece of research on the policy environment currently supporting--or not supporting--IT businesses) has foundered because the alleged piece of research does not, in fact, exist. He recommended that we drop this project for now because we lack the resources to pursue it and go on to something else.
  2. Chris Hoy reported that the project he is helping Jeanne Saathoff with (to open public institutions state-wide to life-long learning opportunities in IT) will be discussed at the earliest opportunity with the Education Council. Their in-put re existing policies and practices is essential.
  3. Gary Warren reported that he has initiated a dialogue with the Department of Economic Development that should result in a partnership for developing a way to measure the impact of IT on communities.

Status of the Community Technology Grant Fund:

Chris Hoy reported that sixteen applications for the Fund had been received and reviewed. Unfortunately, the electronic application form did not work. Applicants submitted their projects on paper. The recommendations of the Review Team will be presented to the NITC on September 9th for approval. A second round of applications will be due no later than January 15th, 1999 for any unspent funds.

Chris Hoy reported that there had been two meetings held recently with IT implications:

    1. The AIM Institute hosted a conference on Electronic Commerce August 26th in Kearney. About 135 people attended. Lt. Governor Kim Robak, the lunch-time speaker, introduced Mike Winkle as the new Executive Director of the NITC. She also presented the AIM Institute with a Governor's Technology Award and noted Jim Lowe's recent SBIR grant award which will enable him to continue his efforts to explore and develop telework applications in Nebraska. The keynote speaker at the AIM conference was a Y2K expert from Omaha. Sam Summerhalder of Nebraska Online offered a comprehensive demonstration of the State's official website.
    2. On August 27th, at NETV's Studio One, the NITC and the PSC hosted a meeting (required by LB924) in which panels of telecommunications providers (and users) were asked to testify, for the record, on the present status of their infrastructure, their future plans, their observations and comments on barriers and incentives, and their perspectives on standards. Five panels made presentations: (1) local exchange carriers; (2) long distance carriers; (3) cable operators; (4) wireless operators; (5) a "public" panel--NPPD, MEAN, League of Municipalities. The event was video-taped and panelists were asked to submit a written report to support their oral testimony. The results of this meeting will be summarized and presented to the NITC on September 9th.
    3. On September 9th, the NITC will have their Quarterly meeting at the capitol building beginning at 1:30 in the afternoon. See their website for details of the meeting--location, agenda, etc.
    4. On September 11th, a Town Hall Meeting sponsored by the U. S. Departments of Commerce, Education and Labor--with additional support from the NSF--will take place at the William H. Thompson Alumni House at 67th and Dodge in Omaha. The topic is The Information Technology (IT) Crisis in America. There are numerous federal officers scheduled to appear at this meeting and several notable Nebraskans: Senator Bob Kerrey, Governor Ben Nelson, Lt. Governor Kim Robak, UNL President Dennis Smith, Mr. Walter Scott and others. Call (402) 595-2302 to register.

New business:

Tim Lowenstein asked if the Community Council could help establish Buffalo County as a pilot site to try using teleconferencing, instead of expensive bussing, for inmate hearings conducted by the State Prison in Lincoln. He also asked if the state video network could be made available to downlink and distribute two programs offered by the National Association of Counties--one on 9/23 that looks at Transportation Law and one on 10/7 that looks at the Y2K problem.

Donna Hammack suggested that the Community Council could help clarify state regulations and procedures that affect telemedicine. She suggested that a forum, initiated by the Council, that brings together the various groups in the state who are interested in this topic, would be useful. She said she would attempt to get her hands on some recently passed California legislation that might serve as a model.

Chris Hoy said the would like the Community Council to consider the possibility that it might function best as a conduit for public opinion on IT matters. He said he could imagine the Council hosting, in partnership with certain state agencies or non-profits, like the AIM Institute, conferences or seminars or public forums on business, health, agriculture and local government. He said the meeting at NETV re-inforced his thinking on this matter as he listened to the frustrated user groups complaining that their issues were not well understood at the state level.

Tyler French said he thought hosting conferences was a great way to get in touch with the needs of the people the Council is attempting to serve. It is said there are details to be ironed out, but that it seemed to him to be a good idea. He also said the Council's web site could be a very useful tool in helping to define the market's needs. Web sites, he said, can be an excellent source of market feedback. He went on to say that the site, in addition to being made more robust and effective, also needs to be advertised so people can find it.

Rod Armstrong said the AIM Institute would be glad to assist the Council with developing appropriate forums or conferences.

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

Meeting Minutes