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Adair County leaders launch technology plan

ConnectAdairCounty outlines steps to improve Columbia and Adair County broadband connectivity, use
Group met Tuesday, April 4, 2006, at Lindsey Wilson; next meeting is June 27, 2006, in Cranmer Center, LWC

By Sage Cutler
scutler@connectky.org
ConnectKentucky Project Manager,
Central Kentucky Region

COLUMBIA, KY. Local leaders have launched a plan to help Adair County provide the world-class technology its residents need to thrive in the 21st Century.

A team of local volunteers recently completed a road map for technology-based growth and development during a months-long meeting process. County leaders built the plan with guidance from ConnectKentucky, a non-profit group that believes technology can help Kentucky remain the place of choice to live, work and raise a family.

The Connect Adair County report makes recommendations for technology-based improvements in nine sectors of the community: business and industry; health care; libraries; K-12 education; higher education; community-based organizations; government; agriculture; and tourism, recreation and parks.

The Adair County eCommunity Leadership Team will work on projects identified as the top priorities for the next year and a half:
  • Increase Technology Awareness and Education Organize existing technology classes and offer new ones, with the goal of increasing the computer usage rate in the county.

  • Make Government More Accessible Online Create a county government website, and use it as a central location for links to other community events and organizations

  • Create High-Tech Rural Community Centers Develop rural community centers to serve as broadband hotspots. These centers which could be housed in the old rural school buildings could also provide additional emergency, educational and recreational services.
The report includes dozens of recommendations for future steps, such as increasing online commerce, using teleconferencing to let high school students listen to guest lecturers at Lindsey Wilson College, and considering online auctions for livestock and commodities.

The meeting process is part of Kentucky's Prescription for Innovation: Delivering Broadband Technology for a 21st Century Kentucky, a plan to ensure that every Kentucky household has access to high-speed Internet by 2007. The plan ultimately aims to increase the number of high-tech companies and jobs in Kentucky.

ConnectKentuckys local project manager, Sage Cutler, will continue to work with local volunteers as they implement the plan.

Judge Vaughan said that some parts of the Adair desperately need and want broadband service

Adair County Judge-Executive Jerry Vaughan said that some parts of Adair County desperately need and want broadband service, and that satellite providers could be a good option for them. Providing Internet access for everyone is an extremely important project, not only for Adair County, but for various other underserved areas in our state, Vaughan said. Were very proud of the effort that the governor is making to provide access to our residents, and were looking forward to the projects success.

Kentucky has begun to experience a technology turnaround as a result of recent efforts. The Federal Communications Commission reports that in the past two years, Kentuckys growth rate of broadband subscribers led the nation. Currently, 32 percent of Kentucky adults subscribe to broadband Internet service, a number that is closing the gap to the national average of 33 percent. Additionally, the number of Kentucky households that have the ability to subscribe to broadband increased from 60 percent in 2003 to 77 percent in 2005.

High-speed internet promises boost to Adair County economy

High-speed Internet technology promises to enhance the economy and quality of life in Kentucky. For example, doctors can remotely monitor patients with chronic illnesses, working parents can complete their college degrees by attending classes online and small businesses can sell their products worldwide.

Already in Kentucky, broadband service is being used to remotely arraign prisoners in state courts, to web-cast high school athletic games and to conduct biotech research in a rural county. Employers who located thousands of jobs in Kentucky attributed their decision to the availability of high-speed Internet.

For more information, or to participate in future meetings, please contact ConnectKentucky Project Manager Sage Cutler at 270-781-4320 or scutler@connectky.org. Members of the Adair County eCommunity Leadership Team include:
Name - Organization
Mike Akin - Adair County Schools
Duane Bonifer - Lindsey Wilson College
Carolyn Edwards - City of Columbia
Tom Fisher - Knifley Area Volunteer Fire Dept.
Mark Harris - Columbia Police Department
Martin Jones - Columbia-Adair County Industrial Foundation
Doug McCammish - McCammish Manufacturing
Tracy McCarol - Adair County Sheriffs Department
Jerry Quinn Westlake Regional Hospital
Darrell Treece - Adair County Schools
Jerry Vaughn - Adair County Fiscal Court
Ed Waggener - Columbia Magazine.com
Eric West - Duo-County Telephone


About ConnectKentucky:

ConnectKentucky is a non-profit alliance of businesses, government entities and universities working to promote technology-based economic development in Kentucky. By leveraging the latest in technology and networking, ConnectKentucky is ensuring that Kentucky remains the place of choice to live, work and raise a family. Through our work, Kentucky has been recognized as a national model for technology development. For more information, please visit http://www.connectkentucky.org


This story was posted on 2006-04-04 17:26:45
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