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Minutes of October 9th, 1998 Community Council Meeting

Lincoln, Grand Island, Kearney and Scottsbluff Video Rooms

Members present in Lincoln: Lance Hedquist; Dave Hunter; Tim Loewenstein; Craig Schroeder; Jim Lowe; Mike Nolan; Tim Hammelman; Tyler French; Gary Kiel; Jeanne Saathoff; Chris Hoy (Chair)

Guests present in Lincoln: Rod Armstrong; Leslie Perry; Paul Schumacher; Dave Martin; Linda Aerni; Roger Hahn; Anne Byers; Melissa Rappl

Members present in Grand Island: Gary Warren

Members present in Kearney: Gerry Kluch; Donna Hammack; Jeff Grimes

Members present in Scottsbluff: Carl Dierks

Chris Hoy called the meeting to order at 1:30 p.m. He commented that the minutes from the previous meeting of the Community Council (August 28th) had been distributed electronically, approved unanimously by the membership and would be posted to the Community Council web site. He also took a moment to announce his intention to retire from state government on December 2, 1998.

Chris introduced the new members of the Council to everyone present (new members: Mike Nolan; Carl Dierks; Jeff Grimes; Gary Kluch; Tyler French; and Dave Hunter. New member Greg Robinson has not yet appeared). Chris said he would send information to the new members about the history of the Council and the biographies of the present members. Chris reviewed the mission of the Council, its structure and some of the work presently underway.

Craig Schroeder announced that the Rural Development Commission had met with Senator Raikes about modifying the language in the laws that govern ESU's and currently seem to prevent them from providing access to their computer equipment and services by anyone other than a school district. The relevant section of LB806 was distributed to members for their review and comment. A sub-committee was formed (Chris Hoy, Craig Schroeder, Gary Warren, Lance Hedquist and Alan Wibbels from ESU 10) to refine the language needed to improve the clarity of LB806.

Chris reviewed the status of the Community Technology Fund grants. He said that there had been sixteen applications for grants due by August 14th and awards had been approved for ten of them (total: $230,260). He said contracts were in the mail now to all grant winners and a press release was being written for the media. He said there would be $19,740 left for Round Two applicants (applications are due by January 15th, 1999) and that all Round Two awards would be for mini-grants (grants under $10,000). Chris said he will post the results of the grant program, and future success stories, to the Community Council's web site.

Gary Warren said that his project--finding a way to measure the economic impact of IT jobs on a community's economy--is underway. He said he has been in dialogue with Stu Miller, Deputy Director of the Department of Economic Development and other members of Stu's staff. He said he could use some help. Rod Armstrong volunteered. (If any other members of the Council feel they can be of assistance to Gary on this important project, please contact him).

Chris said that the NITC would like to see the Community Council hold a series of public forums across the state in order to get a broad cross-section of ideas from citizens about the IT issues/barriers in agriculture, health, business and local government. He said the first one will be a telemedicine forum to be held in Lincoln on or about November 12th. He said Council member Donna Hammack from Good Samaritan in Kearney was working with him on putting the forum together. He asked Council members for their comments and/or observations about the forums (one said that it was a good way to publicize issues; another said that it was important that we do it all over the state).

Chris asked Council members to comment on possible future projects: (a) Tyler French suggested developing a simple curriculum for demonstrations in rural communities; (b) Lance Hedquist said there is a project underway now in NE Nebraska to educate small communities about hardware, software and the role of providers. He said this kind of effort should be continued; (c) Mike Nolan suggested that the Council define how to build access equity across the state and encourage public-private partnerships. He suggested a pilot group be formed; (d) Craig Schroeder suggested the Council should design a framework for public-private partnerships; (e) Tim Hammelman suggested the Council could focus attention on educating high school students the way they do it at Central High in Omaha (a strong emphasis on technical skills); (f) Mike Nolan suggested sending a questionnaire by e-mail to providers to gather data for Gary Warren's project.

Chris commented on the leadership transition for the Council that would be pending due to his intended retirement. He said that the other two Councils had paid state staff members who were not also chairs (as he is). He suggested that the Council might consider citizen chairs and a paid state staffer as a possible new model. There were several members who voiced agreement with that idea.

The meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m.

Meeting Minutes