Hampton Roads, Va., Residents Can Access Web Site for Local Y2K Information

Citizens in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia now have a World Wide Web-based resource for information about Year 2000 issues in the region.

The Hampton Roads Y2K Citizen Infosource brings together a group of 12 local municipalities, along with health care organizations, utilities, the military and other business partners to ensure that organizations in Hampton Roads are educated about and ready for the Year 2000.

"It's challenging having the 12 municipalities working together and trying to come to a consensus on where we want to go and what we need to do," said Emma Inman, public relations manager for the city of Virginia Beach and chairwoman of the public information subcommittee for Citizen Infosource. "Our goal is to provide comprehensive information to the citizens of our region."

Last week's launch of the Web site (www.y2khamptonroads.com) is the latest initiative of the group, which announced its partnerships in June. Future projects include a toll-free phone number that can be used to access information from any of the dozen participating municipalities, and the hosting of a Y2K Community Conversation in August in Virginia Beach.

"We want make sure that our municipalities are not part of the problem on Jan. 1," said Bob Batcher, public relations manager for the city of Norfolk. "A lot of people rely on their local government for information, and this will separate the hucksters from the real thing."

Batcher said the towns in the Hampton Roads area were facing similar concerns and questions about the Year 2000, so combining all their resources was the best way to help local citizens receive the information they need. The toll-free phone number will be advertised via billboards, posters and in the local media and will provide transfers to all the municipalities in the program.

"Having all of our IT people working together really helps us decide how to approach a problem, and that has made everyone more efficient and effective," Batcher said.

In addition to Norfolk and Virginia Beach, the cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Williamsburg are involved, as are the counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City and York.

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