Holy Cross offers Y2K ‘mini grants’ | AspenTimes.com

Holy Cross offers Y2K ‘mini grants’

Jeremy Heiman

Holy Cross Electric Association is offering “mini grants” to groups involved in preparing for the Y2K bug, a computer glitch that could strike when clocks turn from 1999 to 2000.

Bob Gardner of Holy Cross said the grants are intended to help defray simple expenses such as photo copying, telephone calls, meeting rooms and the cost of guest speakers.

Gardner said the program began two or three months ago, when he asked the Holy Cross Board of Directors to put up some money for community awareness projects. The board authorized spending $3,000, Gardner said, so he created 10 mini grants.

Gardner was working at the time with the Rocky Mountain Institute in Old Snowmass on a series of seminars about preparing for possible Y2K problems. The seminars were offered in Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Vail and Eagle; Holy Cross sponsored the events in Vail and Eagle.

Out of the original 10, four grants are still available, Gardner said. There are no application forms. “The application doesn’t have to be too formal,” he said. “It’s more like, ‘What did you have in mind?'”

The first three grants went to community groups: one in Aspen, one in Vail, and one valleywide group. That group was already in action when the grants became available, and had presented a seminar in Snowmass Village. Gardner said the Vail group, which formed following RMI’s presentation, will formally meet for the first time on Jan. 27.

Gardner’s plan to award only grants of $300 went awry when he received a proposal from Joe Livingston, of Colorado Mountain College’s Glenwood Springs office. Livingston is preparing a series of interactive Y2K classes via a two-way videoconferencing system that connects the college’s Western Slope campuses in Glenwood Springs, Steamboat Springs, Minturn, Aspen and Carbondale.

The classes will involve sharing of information on how businesses, banks and local governments should prepare for potential Y2K problems. Recognizing the importance of preparations for those types of institutions, Gardner agreed to kick in $1,000 for the project.

“Should the power go off, that would be a fairly dramatic crisis for local governments,” Gardner said.

Of the four grants that remain, Gardner said they will go to the best proposals for projects intended to provide education and information to as many people as possible about Y2K scenarios.

He hopes to spread the remaining grants over Holy Cross’s service area, which extends from Vail Pass to Battlement Mesa and from Marble to Independence Pass. Glenwood Springs and Aspen are served by municipal electric systems. To qualify for a mini grant, a group must provide education to consumers in the Holy Cross service area.

To apply for a grant from Holy Cross, call Bob Gardner at (970) 947-5414.

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