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Community Council

Nebraska Information Technology Commission
December 6, 1999, 1:30 p.m.
University of Nebraska Technology Park
4701 Innovative Drive, Lincoln, NE


Reba Benschoter, UNMC Stu Miller, Economic Development
Donna Hammack, Good Samaritan Jim McKenzie, City of Norfolk (for Mike Nolan)
Gene Hand, Public Service Commission Jeanne Saathoff, Kearney Public Library
Lance Hedquist, South Sioux City Craig Schroeder, City of Cambridge/RDC
Cyd Janssen, Aim Institute Ted Schultz, Nebraska Assoc. of Hospitals and Health Systems
Jim Lowe, Midwest MicroSystems Gary Warren, Hamilton Communications
Members Absent: Tyler French, Ron Heezen, Gary Kiel, Gerry Kluch, Rick Nolan, Russ Pankonin, Ted Smith, Ann Stephens, Clyde Tyndall
Others Present: Anne Byers, Community Information Technology Manager, Office of the CIO/NITC; Tom Rolfes, Education Information Technology Manager, Office of the CIO/NITC; Steve Schafer, Chief Information Officer, State of Nebraska; Lori Lopez Urdiales, Office of the CIO/NITC; Jerry Freeberg, Nebraska Information Network; Kit Keller, Nebraska Library Commission


The Community Council was called to order by co-chair, Donna Hammack. Roll call was taken. There were eleven members present at the time of roll. Ms. Hammack acknowledged that the meeting announcement was posted on the NITC web site on October 1999 and on the Nebraska Public Meeting web site on October 26th. The meeting agenda was posted to the NITC website on November 30th and revised December 1st.

Ms. Hammack asked for any additions and/or corrections to the minutes three times. There were none. The minutes stood approved as presented.


Ms. Byers stated there were no changes to report at this time.


Steve Schafer reported that the NITC met on November 10th for their regular business meeting. The following parts of the plan are complete: Part 1-Goals, Part 2- Coordination of Information Technology Groups, and Part 4 Planning and Project Management. Staff efforts are focused on Part 3 Technical Infrastructure and Part 5 Implementation Plan.

The Community Council's two action item proposals were presented to the NITC for approval. The Public Access Study was approved. A decision on the Telehealth Feasibility has been delayed until the next NITC meeting. President Smith suggested that an attempt be made to involve with UNMC in the study.

Three deficit requests from state agencies were reviewed by the NITC: NEB*SAT Interconnection Project, NEB*SAT Network 3 Upgrade, and the Department of Education School Financial Reporting System. Because the requests did not meet the criteria for for deficit requests, the NITC took no action.

Dr. Benschoter joined the meeting per a conference call at 1:50 p.m.


Tom Rolfes distributed an informational flyer on the Education Technology 2010 conference to be held February 24-25, 2000 in Kearney. The planning committee is working on a mailing list. The planning group would like to extend an invitation to the Community Council for three members to attend the conference. Conference attendance is limited to 100 people. Governor Johanns and Lieutenant Governor Maurstad will be addressing the group. Mr. Rolfes asked if any council members were interested in attending. Jeanne Saathoff, Craig Schroeder and Donna Hammack volunteered first. Ted Schultz and Kit Keller offered to serve as alternates.

Mr. Rolfes announced that the ESU Network Operations Committee is having a meeting on December 14th, 1:00 p.m. at ESU 10 in Kearney. Interlocal agreements will be discussed. Due to the importance of topic of discuss, the committee has invited two members of the Community Council to attend the meeting. Gene Hand and Jeanne Saathoff volunteered to attend. Kit Keller will be available as an alternate.


Ms. Byers reviewed a draft of the Community Technology Fund Guidelines with the council. The Council made the following suggestions:

  • Under "Establishment of the Community Technology Fund," the statement regarding the availability of funds was changed to : "It is anticipated that approximately $170,000 will be available for competitive grants."
  • Under "Eligible/Ineligible Activities," the statement regarding equipment was changed to: "Equipment and transmission costs are eligible if they are necessary for the implementation of the overall project." The sentence describing allowable equipment was deleted. "Non-telecommunications utilities" will be ineligible for grant funds.
  • Under "Match Requirement," it was recommend to add emphasis to the word "documented."
  • Under "Length of Project," it was recommended to clarify that the project must be completed within 12 months of the receipt of the first installment.
  • Under "Submission of Applications," it was suggested to state that proposals should be postmarked rather than received by the due date. It was also suggested that a sentence be added that confirmation of receipt of proposals will be sent and that a list of proposals received be posted on the web site. It was agreed that sample proposals be made available and that a meet-me-bridge conference call be scheduled to answer questions potential applicants may have.
  • Under "Application Review Process,"it was suggested to clarify the process of determining and returning ineligible applications."

Ms. Saathoff moved to approve the guidelines as amended. Mr. Hedquist seconded the motion. All were in favor. Motion was carried by voice vote.

Ms Byers asked for volunteers to serve on the Community Council's Review Committee. Stu Miller and Reba Benschoter volunteered. Ms. Byers will get communication out to the other members not present to see if there is interest on serving on the committee. Kit Keller also volunteered to serve if other persons were needed.

Discussion followed regarding publicity approaches. It was recommended to do a press release from the Governor's office to Nebraska newspapers, as well as to the Rural NewsBits newsletter, library system, NACO, Nebraska Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, the DED newsletter, the NEDEV-L listserv, and the cable and telephone associations. Council members were encouraged to get the word out to their constituents. It was also suggested to send notification to the state senators.


The status of the Council's action plans was reviewed.

Public Access Study - The proposal was approved by the NITC. The Nebraska Library Commission is the sponsor. Ms. Byers is meeting this week with Library Commission to discuss the project.

Telehealth Feasibility Study - A decision on this proposal was delayed by the NITC until their next meeting. Dr. Benschoter has had a meeting with Keith Mueller. Keith Mueller is willing personally to assist with the project. Mr. Winkle would like a letter from Dr. Mueller stating in what way--if any--he feels his center could contribute to the project.

Regulatory & Legislative Issues - The committee has decided to focus on the following three priorities: 1) Reimbursement for telemedicine consultations by third-party payersMedicare reimbursement for third party payors; 2) Determining what disparity exists in the availability and costs of advanced telecommunications services across the state; and 3) Including an estimate of the cost of connecting all hospitals in Nebraska as part of the telehealth feasibility study. Roger Hahn will be providing information to the committee regarding costs. A question was raised whether the committee will address the telework bill. Mr. Schafer stated that the bill was introduced last session. Currently, an interim study is being conducted.

Ms. Hammack announced that on December 15th from 9:30-11:30, a Medicaid Telehealth Act Stakeholder Videoconference will hearings will be conducted at videoconference sites across the state.

Supporting Community IT Committees - Ms. Byers reported that the Lieutenant Governor has expressed support for Community IT Committees.

NIDCAC Local Government Needs. -. Mr. Byers will be attending their meeting next Friday. Craig Schroeder, Gene Hand, and Ted Schultz have also been attending the meetings.

TINA Study - Mr. Schafer reported that a conference call is being scheduled with the consultants to discuss the future direction of the study.


Mr. Hedquist was acknowledged as the out-going co-chair and was thanked for his services. Mr. Schroeder will be serve as the new co-chair with Ms. Hammack.


The January 7th meeting is scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon at the Kearney Public Library and Information Center. Video conferencing will be available at Lincoln, Norfolk and Omaha. Mr. Schafer announced that there may be a possible joint meeting with the NITC and the Councils possibly at their January 25th meeting when the statewide plan will be formally adopted. A February meeting date was not set pending any further needed work by the NITC or the Council. The March meeting will be held on March 20th, 1:30-4:30 p.m. Location to be determined.

The meeting adjourned 3:12 p.m.

Minutes were taken by Lori Lopez Urdiales, Administrative Assistant, Office of the CIO/NITC, and reviewed by Anne Byers, Community Information Technology Manager.

Meeting Minutes