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Two educators told the Allegany County Legislature Tuesday about their attempt to introduce the county to the electronic age.

Will Krause of Houghton College and Ralph Kerr, Arkport school superintendent, updated legislators on the Southern Tier Electronic Valley (STEV), a project designed to provide inexpensive access to the Internet and the World Wide Web to Allegany and the western two-thirds of Steuben counties.

Krause, technologies director at Houghton, spelled out some obstacles to the project, including different phone companies offering local and long-distance services, with small local calling areas. He noted that while living in Portland, Ore., he could place a call to a destination 80 miles away without paying a toll. However, he is charged a toll for placing a call from his home to his office, he said.

And, making a connection to the Internet from Allegany County requires a long-distance call, he said.

STEV would eliminate this hurdle and foster use of the Web by local businesses for advertising purposes. The project also would offer classes in Internet use, quick access to the Internet, the opportunity to conduct polls electronically and promote discussion groups, Krause said.

Kerr said STEV is modeled after an electronic community established in Blacksburg, Va.

"I have personally visited there," said Kerr, who expects STEV participants will be charged a $25 fee to advertise on the Web.

Kerr envisions STEV as a "self-sufficient organization" and noted the project "is in its infancy stage, but has the potential to make a tremendous impact in the Southern Tier."

In other business:

The Legislature authorized hiring of part-time speech pathologist in the Health Department.

Legislators approved a three-year, $5,000-per-year grant from the Lasker Heart and Hypertension Institute for the Health Department. The money will be used to urge county residents to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and to promote the growth of farmers markets.

Chairman John Walchli, R-Wellsville, reassigned chairmanship of the Resource Management Committee to Legislator Sue Myers, R-Friendship.

Legislator William Dibble, R-Little Genesee, was removed as resource chairman and from membership on the Ways and Means Committee. His remaining assignment is to the Human Services Committee.

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