Huron Valley Community Network
Board of Directors Meeting
Minutes
May 5, 1996

Board Members Present:
Arnold Barr (Chair), Ed Hayes (Treasurer), Keith Stanger (Secretary), Mary Udoji, Steve Weiss (Chair, HVCN Technical Committee)
Community Members Present:
Brad Jensen (Volunteer Computer Corps), John Remmers (Eastern Michigan University)

The meeting was held at the Washtenaw County Library and was called to order at 1:150 p.m. by Mr. Barr, who distributed an agenda. The Board waived notice of time, place and subject of the meeting.

The minutes of the meeting of April 14, 1996 were approved after one correction was made.

The HVCN financial report for the period ending April 30, 1996 posted by e-mail by the Treasurer, Mr. Hayes, were approved by the Board. Mr. Weiss was asked to place the report on the HVCN web site.

Mr. Hayes reported that he was still working with the Ypsilanti District Library on the creation of its home page. Mr. Barr said he wanted to get all Washtenaw County libraries represented on the HVCN web site, e.g., Chelsea, Manchester, Northfield. Ms. Udoji will talk to them at the upcoming Washtenaw Library Council meeting.

Mr. Barr reported that he offered space on HVCN to the political campaigns of Joe Fitzsimmons and Lynn Rivers. Mr. Fitzsimmons contracted with Provide.Net for his campaign WWW site. The River's campaign had not responded to Mr. Barr's offer. Mr. Barr reported that the commercial on-line service CompuServe offered free space to some election campaigns around the country and ran into some problems with the Federal Elections Commission. Mr. Barr said he was researching whether on-line space donated by a 501(C)3 organization, such as HVCN, to a political campaign might be construed as an illegal contribution or transfer of value. Mr. Barr said he was confident that the donation of on-line space to local political candidates by HVCN would not be perceived as a problem by either the Federal Elections Commission or the Michigan Bureau of Elections. Mr. Weiss observed that providing on-line space to these political candidates was not something that was essential to HVCN's success. He thought the campaigns in question would probably feel more comfortable buying Internet service from a commercial provider and noted that such Internet service was readily available and relatively inexpensive. Mr. Barr observed that local candidates for offices such as drain commissioner or school board might take up an HVCN offer for on-line space to represent their positions on issues.

Mr. Barr reported that Susan Dils, a local resident who works at the Detroit Public Library, was working on developing a directory of polling places in the county for the HVCN site. He also said he was working on obtaining a new computer for the crime prevention office of the Ypsilanti Police Department.

There was some discussion of the HVCN presentation at the Logon @ the Library event at the Ann Arbor District Library on April 16, 1996. Ms. Udoji suggested that many people did not stay for the HVCN presentation that followed Sue Davidsen's Michigan Electronic Library (MEL) presentation because the HVCN presentation was not represented on the official written program as following the MEL presentation. It was also agreed that the presentation room was overcrowded, hot, and stuffy and people took the first opportunity they could to get some fresh air.

Mr. Hayes reported that he made a presentation about HVCN at the Ypsilanti District Library on April 18, 1996 as part of National Library Week activities.

Mr. Barr raised the issue of requests by out-county organizations for home page space on the HVCN server, e.g., city of Grosse Pointe Woods. There was consensus that any out-county religious or nonprofit organizations whose sites HVCN agrees to host must become HVCN institutional members. HVCN could potentially host any Michigan legally-recognized nonprofit organization. If an organization's content violated HVCN's acceptable use policies, HVCN would choose not to serve as the organization's WWW host site. It was agreed to ask Jesse O'Jack to look into the organizational hosting policies of other community networks. Mr. Barr said he would prepare a written draft of these policies for approval by the Board. Mr. Weiss said that the Washtenaw county focus of HVCN could be kept by creating separate web pages listing the out-county organizational sites that HVCN hosts. Mr. Weiss said he thought that when HVCN access accounts become available, the same in-county/out-county principles should apply—HVCN membership should be optional for in-county residents but mandatory for out-county residents.

Brad Jensen, a University of Michigan student (jensen@engin.umich.edu), provided information about the Volunteer Computer Corps (VCC), a group of about 70 University of Michigan students who use their computer skills to help the community. Some projects they have been involved with include: helping people at Safe House use the computers and software they already own; raising funds to provide hardware and software for the physically challenged; creating WWW home pages for community groups; and teaching html workshops at the University of Michigan. About 40 VCC members indicated to Kristen Brown, VCC outreach director, an interest in helping community groups develop web pages. Mr. Barr observed there was a real need to train people in community organizations to maintain the information on their web pages once those pages are created and available to the public. Mr. Jensen said that providing html classes for community groups would be an appealing project for VCC members. Mr. Weiss noted that the VCC is a perfect match for HVCN's training needs. Mr. Weiss added that he thought that he hard thing for organizations would be pulling together the information they want to "htmlize."

Mr. Barr introduced some of the goals of the ICAN (Interactive Community Access Network of Washtenaw County) collaborative project. ICAN would like to provide 'one stop shopping' for information about community services to both community agencies and the public that they serve. ICAN would like to create an 'information mask' so that the public has access to the same kind of information about each community service. Mr. Barr had been talking to Joan Durrance, a University of Michigan School of Information faculty member, about having some of her students create web pages for community service organizations that are working with the ICAN project, e.g., Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, Washtenaw County Mental Health Department. It was suggested that perhaps the School of Information students might create an information template that could be used to organize the information from all the ICAN project agencies. Mr. Weiss observed that a web-accessible database with a searchable front-end combined with organizational web pages would provide both access to the same kind of information being available about each agency as well as the flexibility for each agency to represent itself in its own distinctive way.

Mr. Barr said he was preparing a presentation for the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department about HVCN and crime prevention. Mr. Barr said he intended to make a presentation to the Ypsilanti City government about HVCN and also ask their permission to post on HVCN Ypsilanti crime prevention ordinances. Mr. Barr said he had a request to talk to the Ypsilanti Rotary Club in June about HVCN. Mr. Barr asked Mr. Hayes for assistance. Mr. Weiss said he intended to create a new HVCN InfoCenter—Volunteer Organizations.

The Board thanked Steve Weiss and Jan Wolter for creating the BackTalk confernecing system and making it available for use by HVCN. The Board also thanked Dan Romanchik for suggesting, writing, and editing the press release announcing the BackTalk conferencing system.

The Board agreed that Mr. Barr should ask Grex and Arbornet if they would be willing to share postings on their conference systems with each of the other two systems—HVCN, Grex, Arbornet. If there was agreement, Mr. Weiss noted that users of each of the conference systems should be informed that their postings might appear on the other two systems.

Mr. Barr asked the Board for assistance in identifying people to contact to ask for donations to HVCN. Mr. Barr indicated that he was working on an HVCN fundraising program with ICARD (Institute for Community and Regional Development).

Mr. Weiss reported for the HVCN Technical Committee that Valerie Mates was working on configuring the system to support dial-in access. He hoped to have more to report at the next Board meeting.

The next Board meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, June 4, 1996 at 7:30 p.m. at the Washtenaw County Library.

The meeting was adjourned at 3:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Keith Stanger, Secretary