Huron Valley Community Network
Board of Directors Meeting
Minutes
May 24, 1995

Board Members Present:
Arnold Barr (Chair), Ed Hayes (Treasurer), Rebecca Head, Jennie Meyer Howard, Jeff Ogden, Keith Stanger (Secretary), Linda Vengroff
Community Members Present:
Lemuel Amen, Sanford E. Walke III (Isthmus Corporation), Steve Weiss (Chair, HVCN Technical Committee)

The meeting was held in Eastern Michigan University's McKenny Union and was called to order at 7:18 a.m. Mr. Barr distributed an agenda. The minutes of the meeting of May 10, 1995 were approved as submitted.

Mr. Barr reported that over the past few weekends meetings were held at the Washtenaw County Library (with Mr. Barr, Mr. Hayes, Ms. Head, Ms. Udoji and Steve Weiss in attendance) to develop an HVCN business plan. Mr. Barr stated that the plan was not ready to present to the Board. Mr. Barr distributed to the Board an outline of the kinds of information he thought social service agencies might provide on HVCN. Mr. Barr reported that he was scheduled to meet with three students from the UM's School of Information and Library Studies at 7 p.m. to discuss what the students might do for a class project to assist HVCN.

Mr. Barr stated that he had thought for a long time that HVCN needed to develop good relationships with commercial Internet service providers (ISPs) and other businesses in Washtenaw County. At the last Internet Council meeting, someone suggested that commercial ISPs consider "adopting charitable organizations." Mr. Barr posted a message on the Internet Council discussion list supporting the idea. Online Technologies BizServe and the Isthmus Corporation (Sandy Walke, President) indicated they would be willing to help HVCN. Mr. Barr and Mr. Weiss met with Mr. Walke a number of times to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of HVCN entering into a cooperative arrangement with the Isthmus Corporation. Mr. Barr distributed to the Board a copy of an email message he sent to Mr. Walke raising questions to be answered about an HVCN/Isthmus Corporation arrangement. Such an arrangement could shortcut the time and money it would take for HVCN to become operational. Mr. Barr said it was attractive to him to leverage the Isthmus Corporation's equipment into a fast community network electronic presence. Mr. Weiss said that with the help of the HVCN Technical Committee he planned to develop a set of technical questions to pose to the Isthmus Corporation technical staff.

Ms. Howard said that she thought it was important for HVCN to get an online presence as soon as possible to aid the membership drive and fundraising efforts. She thought that a commercial ISP could help by temporarily providing a host until HVCN had the financial resources to purchase its own host. Mr. Weiss said that we do not know yet whether HVCN will actually need to purchase its own system--there might be reasons why we don't buy a permanent host.

Ms. Howard asked, "If HVCN had a host on an Isthmus Corporation machine on Tuesday, what would be available--email?, conferencing?, content? Mr. Weiss raised a technical issue with Mr. Walke that needed to be resolved: Twenty to fifty people per day will be registering HVCN accounts on the Isthmus host--how will a community network representative verify, validate, and create the accounts? Mr. Walke said that HVCN workers might have access to the host at the Isthmus office or might be given "super user" status on the HVCN part of the Isthmus host and be able to telnet in via the Internet.

Mr. Ogden asked Mr. Walke to provide an overview of what Isthmus Corporation had to offer. Mr. Walke responded that Isthmus came up on the Internet last July and had a number of Sun computers. Isthmus had software for all Internet applications and supported UNIX shell, as well as SLIP, CSLIP, and PPP. He said they were currently working on installing Radius software to support Merit Network authentication/authorization. Isthmus had office space, secretarial help, a technical staff, telephone lines, an AT&T PBX, and 24-hour service. Isthmus is a commercial Internet access provider and also offers training and consulting services. Mr. Walke said that 50% of his customers were individuals and the other 50% were businesses. Mr. Weiss said that his company purchased for him a UNIX shell account with the Isthmus Corporation.

Mr. Weiss said that after his preliminary discussions with Mr. Barr and Mr. Walke, his understanding was that HVCN would pay for (and own) modems that would be installed as a separate hunt group on lines coming into Isthmus's PBX. HVCN would pay phone line charges of $15/line/month. HVCN users would connect to the LYNX World Wide Web interface. Mr. Walke might also choose to establish a relationship with Washtenaw Information Networks (WIN), which could provide the equipment for the proposed WIN terminal server, where users would have the option of connecting to HVCN or grex. Mr. Weiss said he wanted to review the details of an HVCN partnership with the HVCN Technical Committee. Mr. Ogden observed that while it appeared Mr. Walke was willing to let HVCN purchase certain infrastructure resources at Isthmus's cost, issues of interface creation and control would have to be worked out between HVCN and Isthmus.

Mr. Barr asked if the HVCN Directors wanted to explore further a relationship with Isthmus Corporation. Mr. Barr said he was willing to work with Mr. Walke, Mr. Weiss, and others to develop an agreement. Mr. Ogden said we should proceed looking at a relationship with Isthmus. The Board agreed to continue exploring the partnership. Mr. Ogden noted that HVCN should be conscious in all decisions it makes as to what it wanted to be--a business that charges for services or a community network that only charges for some value added services.

Ms. Vengroff reported that the Detroit Comnet was started as a way to link Detroit-area social service providers to facilitate case management, administrative sharing, grant applications, and continuing education. It turned out that the community organizations that were to use the system had no knowledge of computers and were often intimidated by them. Much effort went to providing basic support. Recently, issues of confidentiality of information, organizational turf, and money have impeded the development of the system. The executive director of New Center in Ann Arbor became interested in setting up a network for the 19 organizations in the New Center building. Ms. Vengroff was not sure what HVCN's role might be. Mr. Ogden observed that a relationship with the WIN project might be a better match. Ms. Vengroff volunteered to serve as a liaison to the Washtenaw Comnet.

The next Board meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, May 31, 1995 at 7:00 a.m. at Eastern Michigan University's McKenny Union.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Keith Stanger, Secretary