Churchill statue - Fulton, MO

July 29, 2008

MOREnet Council Meeting Minutes

Members present: Margaret Conroy, Chair, Russell Brock, Rita Gulstad, Karen Hicklin, Debbie Hughes, Glenda Hunt, Craig Klimczak, Bill Mitchell, Bert Schulte, Jan Grecian for Dan Ross/Tom Stokes

Alternates present: Dave Byland, David Doennig, Jeremy Kintzel, Barbara Reading, Deb Sutton, Jim Tom

Staff present: Natasha Angell, Chip Byers, Ben Colley, Bill Giddings, Sherry Loyd, Hank Niederhelm, Greg Silvey

Public present: Joel Lareau, Ozark Technical Community College, Jean Morrison, Missouri State Library, Jim Tice, Missouri Rural Development Department

Chair Margaret Conroy called the MOREnet Council meeting to order. Those who were in attendance are listed above.


Minutes of the April 15, 2008 MOREnet Council Conference Call Meeting – Approval

Chair Conroy asked for amendments to the meeting minutes. Karen Hicklin moved to approve the April 15, 2008 minutes as distributed. Craig Klimczak seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

FY09 Operating Budget – Endorsement

Greg Silvey reported that the FY09 budget was similar to the preliminary budget shared in February. The largest change being an increase in Telecommunications expense due to a shift in one-time expenses from the FY08 budget to the FY09 budget related to NGN.

MOREnet has submitted the FY10 budget request to the University.

Chair Conroy asked if staff expected the FY09 budget figures to change. Silvey responded that with the NGN project the figures will most likely change a little.

Rita Gulstad moved to adopt the final budget. Craig Klimczak seconded the motion and it passed unanimously




Electronic Resources Futures – Discussion

Chair Conroy shared that the State Library staff have been investigating electronic resources; the status of offerings across the state. The Library is interested in expanding offerings, finding ways to fund them, and looking at the different organizations that offer discounts for electronic resources or those who purchase them on behalf of their members. They’re also discussing how to expand the funding base for those offerings in MOREnet’s database. The FY09 operating budget showed a savings of $21,000 for online resources due to the rebid, however, more money has actually been spent over the last several years than the state appropriation has allowed for databases. NewsBank offerings had to be reduced to the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the Kansas City Star; if additional state funding is not received the State Library will be facing this issue again in a few years. The State Library is wondering if the MOREnet member constituency would consider contributing towards the purchase of additional databases. No specific database offerings have been selected so the amount needed is unknown at this time.

Gulstad asked what discussions have taken place with MLNC and MOBIUS regarding database resources. Conroy replied that MLNC, MOBIUS, Greater Western Library Alliance, State Library, MOREnet, and a few other academics are discussing possible duplication among agencies that broker discounts for databases and how duplication can be avoided in the future. MLNC and MOBIUS have to do their own thing, however, all are aware that there is limited online resource money in the state and don’t want to set up a false competition for database dollars in the state. An outcome was to have the State Library pull together a working group to talk about funding options. If large libraries are already purchasing database services, would they be willing to redirect some of that money into a funding pool to help get the balance up to where a statewide license could be obtained.

Gulstad would be interested to know what types of duplications there are and what kind of databases are being discussed to ensure the higher education community would be interested. She believes that if the higher education community uses the databases in question, they would be interested in allotting that amount to the shared fund.

Conroy recapped the two issues: 1) the greater cost sharing for the current set of databases that MOREnet is offering, and 2) expanding database access either through MOREnet or another mechanism.

Deb Sutton questioned the possibility of the monies coming out of the reserve and suggested that discussion take place. Kintzel agreed that higher education would want to have that discussion too.

Chair Conroy will continue discussions with the public libraries and bring additional information back to the Council for a continued discussion.

Lottery Funds for Economic Development – Discussion

Bill Mitchell reported that the Governor released funding from the 3% mandatory withholding to higher education and MOREnet received $75,000 in one-time funds. These funds are to support economic development in the state and MOREnet believes NGN Phase II, the development of infrastructure in the communities was the reason MOREnet was targeted.

Next Generation Network (NGN) Update – Information

Approach for Optical Network Growth

Mitchell shared that Phase I is in the implementation stage and staff are now looking at what’s coming next. MOREnet is receiving inquires from other higher education institutions, regional networks from different states, etc. about possible use of this high performance/high capacity infrastructure in the state. Discussions with the University are taking place on how to provide additional services to our members and possibly non-members for high capacity access over the backbone with the hope of having some decisions by fall, at which time the Council will be updated.

Implementation Update

Chip Byers gave a Phase I update; reporting that the project is on target and should result in production/implementation in January. Hank Niederhelm, Director of Infrastructure will be coordinating the implementation.

All major financial components have been completed. These included the purchase of the optical equipment and getting the fiber in place.

Byers recommended everyone take a look at the URL provided in the packet and continue to do so if they’d like to follow the progress. Due to most traffic being along the I-70 corridor, MOREnet is most interested in getting that section lit as there are backbone circuits expiring in August that will result in month to month procurement. MOREnet is hoping to have the I-70 fiber lit, tested and running by September with a full implementation in January.

Phase II is the development of a strategy to address local aggregation solutions to begin to stabilize local connection costs, especially in the rural areas of the state. Input is being sought so the opportunity to voice concerns/solutions is available to all. Staff has identified 20 regions where there is enough density and cost to justify. Byers will make this list available to the Council. The southeast portion of the state is also being investigated as there is a fiber solution vendor in that area. MOREnet also continues to meet with MoDOT on a monthly basis to keep each other informed of progress made.

Mitchell added that MOREnet knows the reliability and performance of what is done today but Phase II solutions brings new providers into the state and staff are doing due diligence to be sure the vendors are able to provide what they say they can. He thanked the staff working on this project for the extraordinarily good job being done.

Rural Health Care Pilot Program (RHCPP) Update – Discussion

As Mitchell introduced Ben Colley, MOREnet’s project lead on this program, he reminded the Council that MOREnet partnered with the Missouri Telehealth Network (MTN), which is part of the University of Missouri and a long-term customer of MOREnet, in submitting a proposal. This dedicated 2Gbps telehealth backbone will enable 30 new sites to be added to the 127 sites currently on the MTN, greatly expanding the geographical outreach of MTN and increased access to advanced medical care for many Missourians. Deployment of the new telehealth backbone network is scheduled to begin following the completion of the NGN project. Once activation of the new sites has occurred, the existing MTN connections will be migrated to the new telehealth network, with project completion expected in summer, 2009. Missouri may be one of the first in the country to get sites moved, putting MTN and Missouri at the forefront. NGN Phase II will be crucial to getting access to the rural areas/patients of the state.

Good News – Discussion

Bill Giddings gave the following updates:

  • Initial conversations are occurring with the Shriner’s Hospital in St. Louis with a possibility of them joining MOREnet and the RHCPP.
  • Staff is working with Curt Fuchs of the Missouri Virtual Instruction Program (MOVIP) to provide the program access to the online resources. There is a technical issue as to how MOREnet can authenticate the users so various license agreements aren’t violated.
  • In June MOREnet assisted Roundtrips with a visit to Montana’s Garfield County Museum, the center of the fossil universe, by providing video streaming. The video stream had 13 visitors from 4 different states; Missouri, Montana, North Dakota and Idaho.
  • Russell Brock asked if there were plans to do more events of this type. His school would have liked to participate; however, their curriculum had already been set so they were unable to participate. He suggested that earlier notification of events would allow more to participate. Giddings is going to take that into account and investigate better communication methods.
  • A Broad Sheet from Kansas was shared. Giddings reported that the Missouri Poet Laureate would like to produce similar sheets in Missouri. MOREnet is investigating distribution options. Two additional poets have already agreed to do student videoconferences this fall.
  • Chair Conroy shared that the Center of the Book is an affiliation of the State Library and that their website would be the most appropriate place to post the Broad Sheets. Chair Conroy and Giddings will discuss further.
  • In conjunction with the State Library and the REAL program, MOREnet has been working with the REAL EZWeb project to help smaller libraries create a good web presence. Currently 23 libraries are using the product.
  • MOREnet’s Remote Vulnerability Access (RVA) service has been completed by 99 public libraries since the service began in FY06.
  • Jon Rickman, Northwest Missouri State University, received commendation for his 30-plus years of service to the University. The University also approved the re-naming of Northwest’s Electronic Campus Support Center to the Jon T. Rickman Electronic Campus Support Center. A handout of the article was shared.
  • The October 22 Fall IR meeting will focus on business continuity and disaster recovery.
  • MOREnet has received 3 large bandwidth requests; 2 for 500Mb and 1 for 250Mb. To show MOREnet’s growth he shared that it would take 333 T1 connections to equal 500Mb.
  • The Summer Reading Program through the public libraries is just finishing up. MOREnet assisted with videoconferencing several events. Metamorphosis@Your Library was the theme for high school ages and Catch the Reading Bug@Your Library was the theme for the younger children. At one event the electron microscope at the University of Illinois was accessed via the Internet with a facilitator to manage the event. Another event took place at the Daniel Boone Regional Library where there was a demonstration after the event concluded. At both events participants were very interested and participated after the event in some additional demonstrations.
  • MOREnet recently visited Trails Regional Library during the yearly site visits and received a great suggestion to create a flash announcement for Online resources that could go on the public library websites from Hicklin. MOREnet Communications group is working on an announcement to be distributed.
  • The REAL bandwidth survey has been completed and the report will be distributed in the next few months. The survey is used to determine service demands. Of the eligible libraries, 64% responded and reported that 28% use the bandwidth for their circulation systems, 24% for Web 2.0 tools, and roughly 33% are going to be adding more computers. Those surveyed were split 50/50 as to whether they are concerned about bandwidth. Some slow connections were also reported and staff is following up with those libraries.
  • This summer the State Library purchased a course from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, a UM extension class offering leisure learning courses for senior citizens. This course was offered through videoconferencing to 3 libraries. There is interest in doing more of the events in the future.

FY09 Participation Agreement Implementation Update – Information

Byland reported that of the 800+ participation agreements sent out, all but 15 have been completed. There was some concern that the new agreements might create issues where legal counsel might be sought, however, that proved to be the case for only one member and the issue was resolved quickly.

Elimination of Program-Paid Email Accounts Update – Information

Byland reminded the Council that a previously reported liability issue required individual email accounts originally provided by TNP or REAL programs needed to be phased out. Staff are unsure of a specific number that are still in use, however, a significant number of them have migrated to other email systems. From this process, 8 members have signed up for new kinetic service. There have been several announcements, with another scheduled for next week, reminding members that the old accounts will be turned off on October 1.

CALEA Update – Information

Colley shared that CALEA is technically complete; processes for handling a legal request are being finalized. Contract negotiations were complete in April with NeuStar and implementation is nearing completion with an August 1, 2008 production date expected. Mitchell added that UM Legal offered an opinion that any MOREnet member who only has MOREnet as a connection is CALEA compliant; however, each member must make this decision with their legal council.

As the Council broke for lunch, Chair Conroy presented Giddings a plaque for his years of service to MOREnet and the citizens of Missouri. Giddings will be retiring on August 29. A standing ovation was received.

MOREnet Strategic Plan and CY08 Operating Plan – Discussion

At the February, 2008 Council meeting the Council reviewed a draft Strategic Plan and suggested several changes. Byland and Barbara Reading incorporated those changes. Klimczak pointed out that the Core Values are more oriented towards the internal operations of the staff than the values of what MOREnet brings to the state. Byland responded that the preamble was added to address that issue without having to redo the entire Strategic Plan. Klimczak asked what the strategic challenges and directions for MOREnet are; the plan to him reads more mission-driven than strategic plan driven. From MOREnet’s perspective the Strategic Plan is a tool to identify what must be accomplished at some point in the future, and the operating plan indicates short-term tasks or activities necessary to accomplish the Strategic Plan. Klimczak believes the Strategic Plan should focus on a few major descriptions of its future directions. He’d like to see a document that could be used with the Governor and others to drive the quality of MOREnet.

Kintzel shared that DHE is working through a similar process and advised that the plan should be something that the staff can own and use in their work. A high-level summary document for the Governor should be derived from that plan.

Klimczak suggested the following high-level strategic objectives that could be listed on a one-page document:

Enhancing the educational structural environment of the state through increased bandwidth and capacity and how that ties into the public libraries, public school districts and higher education.

In support of advanced research initiatives which will allow the state to be competitive with other areas and regions in the country in attracting research dollars and then providing those next generation services.

(Another statement regarding) economic development and/or rural development.

Conroy and Gulstad understood that the Strategic Plan was intended primarily for staff use; however, believe Klimczak’s suggestions are good and should be included in the future. Byland suggested a one-page document could be created prior to the next legislative session. Klimczak, Kintzel and Hicklin volunteered to work with staff to have something for review at the next Council meeting. Klimczak asked that the Council send key concepts and buzz words to Byland that are being heard in their areas of the state that could be drivers and used as starting points to that document.

Klimczak moved to approve as the 2008 - 2010 operational plan with the intention that work will be done this Summer/Fall on a strategic initiative list and directions document. Gulstad seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

Byland also reported that staff is developing measures to identify whether an array of projects and activities are moving toward satisfaction of the long-term goals and objectives as that is much harder to measure than whether a project is on time, within budget, etc.

There was discussion surrounding certain specific objectives that were not clear and Gulstad suggested a document overlay that would include additional information so the Council can more clearly understand why a certain objective may have risen to the point of being an objective.

MOREnet Planning Calendar Update – Information

Byland quickly reviewed the planning calendar and asked that any changes or additions be sent to him. Klimczak pointed out that the strategic direction document needs to be added during the Summer/Fall timeframe.

Council Member Updates

DHE – Kintzel reported that they are at an important juncture of their coordinated strategic plan. After final input from institutions is received there will be a conference call with their Board to remove the provisional status from the plan which will allow them to begin working on the definitional measures and formatting issues for presenting the information to others outside of higher education institutions.

The first fall coordinating board meeting has been moved from October to September at the suggestion of policy makers who wanted the budget recommendation out earlier than in past years.

DESE – Sutton reported that DESE is using a new tool, Electronic Plan and Electronic Grants System (ePeGs) so schools will be submitting their plans online and this will help in having the technology plan tied to the MSIP plan.

Other Business


Meeting Schedule

  • September 23, 2008 (Need to move)

    The Council agreed to do the above meeting as a conference call. Sherry Loyd will contact the Council with possible dates.

  • December 9, 2008

Open Time for the Public to Address the Council

Adjourned at 1:54 p.m.

Respectively Submitted by Sherry Loyd