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Connect Adair County releases plan to help growth of internet

Next Connect Adair County meeting. 9:30am, Tuesday, June 27, 2006, CT. LWC dining center
Novel element of plan has been to develop community centers with high tech facilities. Report says Kentucky led nation in last two years in increased internet usage.

By Sage Cutler, ConnectKY advisor
to ConnectAdairCounty technology group
A group working to make internet more accessible and to increase internet usage in Adair County has released a comprehensive plan to encourage and assist local citizens cope with learning the new medium and to help overcome problems they might encounter.

Connect Adair County, a group of local volunteers, recently completed a road map for technology-based growth and development during a months-long meeting process.

The Connect Adair County members include: Mike Akin - Adair County Schools; Duane Bonifer - Lindsey Wilson College; Carolyn Edwards - City Clerk 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; and Eric West - Duo-County Telephone

The Adair County group has been meeting regularly at Lindsey Wilson College, and brought the plan together with assistance from ConnectKentucky, a non-profit group.

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

Connect Adair County will work on projects identified as the top priorities for the next year and a half. Three projects have been given priority by ConnectAdairCounty.
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 ConnectAdairCounty 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.Adair County Judge-Executive Jerry Vaughan said that some parts of the 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. And the turnaround has been very evident in Adair County. 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 technology promises to enhance the economy and quality of life in Adair County. 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 email

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

This story was posted on 2006-06-01 10:12:59
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