Chicken into computers

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 17, 2007

LEWISTON – Turn chicken into computers.

That was the motto for the Technology Jamboree held at the Bertie County Family Resource Center (BCFRC) here Saturday.

The event had a dual purpose. The first was to raise money to buy computers for the Community Hub center, which will be a free computer lab for Bertie residents.

In order to do that, chicken plates were sold Saturday at a cost of $6 each. Hotdogs and hamburgers were also sold and there were two raffle drawings for computers donated by M2Z Networks and One Economy Corporation.

It was also a launching day for technology within the county.

Representatives from M2Z Networks, one of the companies responsible for bringing about what’s to be free wireless internet for the county, were present to aid in the technology launch.

Vivian Saunders, project coordinator and the director of the BCFRC, told of the fundraising progress so far.

&uot;Purdue has donated $750, the county gave us $7,500 and the children’s plate sales prior to this event totaled $1,010 to date,&uot; she said.

Monday, Saunders told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald that sales from Saturday’s fund-raising event amounted to $2,239 with pledges to donate from two different churches.

In addition, the Bertie County school system received $300,000 through a Golden Leaf grant and $50,000 of that money is earmarked for the Community Hub to add more computers.

The other $250,000 went to purchasing computers for the new middle school.

&uot;We’ve got a good start; we just need to work out a few kinks to get going… the kids have been working hard all summer,&uot; Saunders stated.

The &uot;kids&uot; are the first graduates of One Economy’s digital training program, called the Digital Connectors Program.

Aged 14-21, all the children are currently attending or are graduates of Bertie High School and come from disadvantaged neighborhoods.

In the camp, they are taught the technology and business skills that will allow them to succeed in a digital world.

&uot;They are also trained how to set up computers in homes, so once people get computers with this new wireless technology, these kids can go out and install them for people,&uot; Saunders said.

Regarding the free wireless internet, there is currently a license pending with the FCC that will allow M2Z, partnered with One Economy, to provide that service to the nation using a currently fallow broadband spectrum.

&uot;They’re still working on getting the license and they’re very close… the FCC is saying they have gotten calls from people who support this,&uot; Saunders stated.

She continued, &uot;They’re very interested and I think they see the need since Bertie County is one of the most impoverished in the state… people wouldn’t have the internet otherwise because they can’t afford a regular broadband connection.&uot;

If the license is approved, Bertie is set to be the first county in the nation to get the free wireless internet.

Anyone wishing to donate to the Community Hub can call 348-2010.