Executive Director's Report

Board Meeting

April 13, 1999

Community Development

  1. Questa Meeting: The Questa meeting held on Monday, March 29, 1999 was very successful. Those in attendance were:

  2. Board Members:  Ira Schwartz, Dawn Redpath, and Mats Wichmanan.

    Users:  Judy Cuddihy, Terry Wyss, Bill Reifsnyder, Holly Howard, Michael Nez, Carrie Leven, Rick Dove, Estevan Rael y Galvez, Christine Martinez, Charlotte Schofield, and an anonymous man.

    Staff:  Judith Pepper, Rene Martinez (Community Outreach Trainer), and Georgina Rael, Youth Center Director

    I gave a history of the Internet connection to Questa, beginning with the initial million-dollar grant from Kellogg foundation, the Questa Demonstration Project, and the finally the two month circumstances of USwest moving the 56K and 5 dial in lines. I shared the number of dollars it costs to bring the Internet to Questa - starting from the ANS server in Albuquerque and ending with the server, 56K and 8 dial in lines in Questa.

    The users had very legitimate concerns:

    1. limited number of modems for # of registered users
    2. constant busy signals
    3. the disparity of cost per users based on those users who "hog" the lines and those users who "never can get on"
    4.  slow speed of Internet line

    The users had interesting solutions:
    1. charge the high end user a per dollar hour fee for using over a certain amount of hours each month
    2. find funding dollars to develop a wireless system for La Plaza in the Questa area
    3. leverage the existing State equipment for use by the private sector

    We agreed to do:

    1. I will begin discussion with the State authorities to use the existing wireless equipment by the private sector
    2. develop a budget of expenses for a wireless system owned by La Plaza and find funding for this community and economic development project
    3. propose to the Board of Directors a fee increase for all users, not just Questa, who are online over 60 hours a month.
    4. write letters of request to State agencies, legislators, and committees for leveraging the existing wireless equipment.  (list supplied at the meeting)
    5. develop a Questa listserve for discussion and information sharing regarding the service, proposals, and necessary communication to provide better more efficient service to the Questa users.

    A proposed price increase for users of 60+ hours will be presented at the April Board meeting.

  3. Penasco Service: I have met with Arnold Lopez, Penasco School District Director of Information Technology, and we are collaborating on developing service, which is more efficient and high bandwidth than the existing 56K-phone line from La Plaza to the Penasco High School.  Arnold and I have spoken or met with LANL, Integrity Networking, State Communications Dept. and USWEST. We are discussing a wireless system using existing radio towers in the Picuris area and even an USWest conversion of the 56K line to a T-1 line. More later.


Future Funding

  1. Northern New Mexico Community College invited La Plaza to be one of several partners for a "Learning Anytime Anywhere Partnership for Post-Secondary Education in Rural Northern New Mexico".  The proposal was submitted to the U.S. Dept of Education and NNMCC will be notified in May if they will be invited to submit a final proposal.    The draft establishes Community Access Centers not on course offerings but on support services that further reduce barriers to access.  The proposed Centers are in Penasco, Questa, Los Ojos, Dulce, and Gallina.  La Plaza will be funded to provide a Community Outreach Trainer for support and training in Penasco and Questa.  This partnership will provide funding for our ongoing outreach in the two sights and will provide funding for 3 years for the personnel.

  3. An Educational Initiative proposal was submitted to the Los Alamos National Labs Foundation for $22,500 to purchase hardware and software that is Y2K compliant for the La Plaza system.  LANL Foundation will notify the submitting agencies in June the funding decisions.  If this is approved an entire new hardware and software system will  be purchased and installed for La Plaza, which is Y2K compliant.

  5. Taos received approval from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Managing Information in Rural America (MIRA) grant for Taos County.  With the MIRA initiative comes a Community Support Organization RFP for nonprofit organizations.  This component is intended to help organizations increase their capacity to respond to citizen input in meeting the needs of the communities they serve.

  6. La Plaza will submit a proposal by April 30, 1999 for the Community Support Organization RFP to train the Taos County nonprofit community in using the Internet for communication.

    The Peter Drucker Foundation in New York City funds a $25,000 Nonprofit Innovation award each year to a nonprofit agency which are tackling extraordinary challenges while creating opportunities to grow and learn. La Plaza  will submit an application for consideration siting our ongoing Internet training program to Taos County residents. If La Plaza were chosen we would receive a $25,000 prize and a short documentary video of the program.

    As a side note:  I was one of 4 community members elected to the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.  I will be introduced at the May 7, 1999 annual Chamber of Commerce Banquet.

Future Funding Requests

Los Alamos National Lab Foundation
The Los Alamos National Lab Foundation will be sending the information for Request for Papers (RFP) on February 12, 1999.  Once we receive the instructions and protocol for the RFP, I will develop the request and submit to LANL Foundation.  We will be requesting hardware and software for compatibility for Y2K; new web and mail servers, redundant servers to ensure constant service, several new PCs for the lab, 1 PC for the bookkeeping department.  The recommendations provided by Integrity Networking will be used for the types of equipment and the rational of use.
Department of Commerce, Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure
Assistance Program (TIIAP)
Barb Hau, NLM Fellow, Dr. Forouz Joucar, consultant and grant writer, and I attended the TIIAP workshop in Albuquerque on January 26, 1999.  The workshop discussed funding priorities, application requirements, and lessons learned from previous TIIAP grantees.  La Plaza was funded a TIIAP in 1996 & 97 which provided for free public access in 3 health clinics and taught patients and health care providers how to access health information from the Internet.

The presentations made it very clear that agencies, which had received past funding, would not be considered in this funding cycle.  After visiting with the staff and digesting the grant information, we have decided to wait until year 2000 to request funding.  We want to develop monthly planning discussions with other community based organizations regarding community problems, which could be helped, solved with information technology.  These discussion groups will help form partnerships within the Telecommunity.

March Monthly Statistics

Public Access Users

Location  # users  # hours  average 
La Plaza (Taos) 1227 1244.63 1.01 
Penasco 389 391 1.01
Questa 440 309.33 .70
San Cristobal n/a n/a  n/a


Class # of Classes # of Participants
Public Orientation 3 27
Intro to Email 0 0
Intro to WWW 2 17
Easy Web Page Design 0 0
HTML 0 0
Marketing Your Web Page 0 0
Total 5 44


New Primary Accounts 98
New Secondary Accounts 11
Reactivated Accounts 30
Total 139

Closed Accounts

Past due balances of >51 days 22
(124 notices sent, 102 paid)
Per User Request 43
(11 moving)
(4 not using
(4 using other provider)
(6 unable to access)
(6 no reason give)
(1 opened in error)
(3 seasonal use only)
(2 computer not working)
(1 scholarship ended)
(5 secondary)
Total 65
The system of past due notification that Loretta Suazo and Debbie Medina have implemented has produced very positive results in payment of past due accounts.

Net Change In Accounts: 74 gained

Telephone Statistics

Tech Support Calls 84
Billing 102
New Accounts 39
Hours 40
Classes 16
Web Site 4
Voice Mail 48
Other 152
Total 441

Dial-in Statistics

Location #Users #Dial-in Connect Time (hrs)
Taos 1587 93952  45076.15 
Penasco 85 3819  3597.86 
Questa 102 2977  4896.58
Total 2112 1726
(81% of total users)

Respectfully submitted,

Judith Pepper, Executive Director, La Plaza Telecommunity