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Nebraska Information Technology Commission
Friday, September 6, 2002, 1:00 p.m.
State Office Building, Conference Room Lower Level C


Chris Anderson, City of Ashland
Len Benson, Faith Regional Health System (via phone bridge)
Donna Hammack, St. Elizabeth Foundation
Lance Hedquist, City of South Sioux City
Gene Hand, Public Service Commission
Michael Nolan, City of Norfolk
Jeanne Saathoff, Kearney Public Library
Craig Schroeder, Rural Development Commission (via phone bridge)
Ted Smith, Norfolk Public Library
Max Thacker, UNMC (via phone bridge)
Bruce Thiel, Bryan-LGH East (via phone bridge)
Mary Wernke, Letter Perfect Communications

Ron Heezen, Omaha Public Libraries; Roger Keetle, Nebraska Hospital Association; Harold Krueger, Chadron Community Hospital; Pat Langan, Nebraska Department of Economic Development; Bob Sweeney, AIM Institute (via phone bridge); and Gary Warren, Hamilton Communications


Co-Chair, Jeanne Saathoff called the meeting to order at 1:05 p.m. Roll call was taken. There were 11 members present at the time of roll. A quorum existed to conduct official business. Ms. Saathoff stated that the meeting notice was posted to the NITC Web site on August 9, 2002. The meeting agenda was posted to the NITC and Public Meeting Calendar Web sites on September 3, 2002.


Mr. Anderson moved to approve the April 11th minutes as presented. Mr. Smith seconded the motion. All were in favor. The motion was carried by unanimous voice vote.


Ms. Norene Fitzgerald attended the meeting to thank the Council.York County was a recipient of a Building Information Age Communities mini-grant.


Nebraska Network (PDF 310k). Steve Schafer and Tom Rolfes of the Office of the CIO/NITC provided a brief update on the Nebraska Network. The NITC passed a resolution in October 2001 regarding the creation of an education network. The Nebraska Network Work group was established by the NITC in February 2002 to evaluate the feasibility of a statewide network.

Steve Schafer explained the relationship between NETCOM and the Nebraska Network. NETCOM focuses on aggregation of telecommunication services. The Nebraska Network study will focus on the applications and collaborative efforts to ensure adequate functionality and utilization.

The Nebraska Network Study Recommendations will be presented to the NITC at the September 16th meeting. Ms. Saathoff thanked Steve Schafer and Tom Rolfes for speaking to the Library Association.

Mr. Nolan arrived at 1:24 p.m.

Members of the telehealth council members had prepared testimony for the NUSF-26 hearing held March 19, 2002. The Public Service Commission released NUSF-26 Progression Order 2 on August 27 requesting the submission of a plan for providing telehealth support. Written comments are due September 25. A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 8. Ms. Hammack reported that members of the Telehealth Subcommittee are preparing testimony. Libraries representatives stated that they were unaware of hearing and its purpose. Mr. Hand commented that one option for libraries would be to request a hearing from the Public Service Commission to argue their need.

Mini-grant program. Ms. Byers reported that a total of twenty-six applications were received. Two Community Council members (Lance Hedquist and Jerry Vap) participated in the selection committee. Eight communities were awarded mini-grants.. Ms. Byers will be meeting with each of these communities.

E-commerce Workshop, August 29th, Columbus. Ms. Byers reported that there were over 100 people in attendance at the workshop. Keynote speakers included Congressman Tom Osborne and Lieutenant Governor Heineman.

USDA-RUS Community Connect Workshop. The USDA released a notice announcing a pilot grant program for the provision of broadband transmission service in rural America. ( On September 24, a workshop is scheduled to help communities learn about the program and to assist them with the application process. Sponsors include Congressman Tom Osborne, Kansas State University, the NITC, Nebraska Rural Development Commission, Technologies Across Nebraska, University of Nebraska, University of Nebraska Rural Initiative, and the USDA Rural Utilities Service. The workshop is being broadcast via satellite and will be available through several county extension offices, as well as video streaming. Videotapes will also be available. Council members recommended that all Chamber of Commerce offices be contacted.

Anne Byers, Community Information Technology Manager

The following members council terms will be up for renewal: Mary Wernke, Bob Sweeney, Harold Krueger, Roger Keetle, Lance Hedquist, Mike Nolan, Jeanne Saathoff, and Ted Smith. Mr. Nolan, Ms. Saathoff and Mr. Smith have agreed to serve another term. Jim Lowe has officially resigned. Action will be taken at the next meeting.

Anne Byers, Community Information Technology Manager

A couple of inventories that have been completed include the TAN (Technologies Across Nebraska) Inventory (PDF 401k) and Congressman Osborne’s Rural Development Handbook/Resource Guide and Appendix, and the NITC Community IT Toolkit and Workbook. Members concurred that together the two inventories accurately reflected available resources for communities. In a preliminary gap analysis, members identified the following needs:

  • There is a lack of motivated local leadership in many communities.
  • There are few effective regulatory remedies for poor Internet service.
  • There is a need for technical assistance in evaluating broadband technologies.
  • Additional information on providing incentives for alternative service providers is needed.
  • Information on new models of private-public partnerships needs to be developed including sample cooperative agreements.

For the next meeting, members requested that an update regarding Nebraska's efforts with Bio-terrorism and Homeland Security. Ms. Byers will follow-up on this request.


There was no new business.


With no further business, Ms. Saathoff adjourned the meeting at 3:00 p.m. The date and time of the next Community Council meeting will be determined at a later date.

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

Meeting Minutes