The 50 States

The 50 States

A GCN/State & Local Exclusive

What's up in your agency? For governments east of the Mississippi, call 301-650-2145 or e-mail [email protected]. For those west, call 301-650-2238 or e-mail [email protected].

By Claire E. House and Trudy Walsh - GCN Staff

IMAGINATION. Tuscaloosa County has put its land and probate records on the Web through an imaging system from Xsoft Inc. of Atlanta. Users must set up a debit account to access the digital images, management information systems manager James Tullidge said.

A clerk uses Xsoft's ImagePro running under Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 to pull up scanned images and capture indexing data in a Microsoft SQL Server 6.5 database. DiskXtender from OTG Software of Bethesda, Md., temporarily caches images.

Images reside permanently on a 32-platter Hewlett-Packard SureStore 80FX optical jukebox.

SHRINKING STATE. Alaska continues to make progress in providing Internet access, according to a statement by Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer.

Last month the state unveiled the Online Public Notice System, at By entering a topic, visitors will be instantly served up all press releases and public notices on that subject.

Searches can be narrowed by category, department or date.


EFFECTIVE SHOT. In 1998, the first year the Arizona Immunization Information System was in operation, immunization of children in the state went from 71 percent to 78 percent.

The Health Services Department worked with Scientific Technologies Corp. of Tucson, Ariz., to create the system for SunSoft Solaris with a Paradox Runtime front end from Inprise Corp.

AIIS is neither a mainframe nor a client-server system, said Terry Hughes, manager of the health division of Scientific Technologies. It is a series of local databases in HSD offices that communicate with a central immunization registry in Phoenix via modems, frame relay or File Transfer Protocol connections, Hughes said.


VISTA VISION. Southern Computer Systems, a subsidiary of Scan-Optics Inc. of Manchester, Conn., won a $1.2 million contract from the Operations and Administration Department for its VistaCapture software development toolkit.

State administrators will use VistaCapture to create new financial applications for cash control, income tax, sales tax and licensing. Running under Windows NT 4.0, the VistaCapture applications will replace the department's largely paper-fueled operations.


ON THE LINE. Nortel Networks Corp. of Brampton, Ontario, and Network Catalyst of Irvine, Calif., recently partnered to provide Ventura County with an upgraded asynchronous transfer mode backbone network. The upgrade gives county agencies extra voice and multimedia capabilities.

The network will use a private network-to-network interface that enables integration of different ATM switches. Nortel Networks will also provide two Centillion 100 LAN ATM switches, which support up to 80 switched token-ring ports.

More than 90 county sites are linked to the network with 2,800 users in county law enforcement, libraries and public schools.


BETTER DATA. To save money, Colorado had turned over the task of background checks for gun buyers to the FBI in April. Last month, the state reclaimed the job for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation when Gov. Bill Owens signed an executive order that reinstated the mandatory CBI background check.

The FBI database was missing most of the more than 50,000 restraining orders on file in the state. As a result, the FBI missed the restraining order that would have kept Simon Gonzales from buying a gun. Gonzales killed his three daughters a few hours after buying the gun this summer.

'It's the data we had, not that our computers are any better,' said Bob Cantwell, director of the CBI. 'The FBI has the best computers possible.'


INMATE BANKING. The state Information Technology Department has accepted proposals to replace its Inmate Accounts Trust and Commissary Point of Sale System for the Corrections Department.

The system will manage financial transactions and holdings of nearly 16,000 inmates in 20 correctional facilities, and it will support the facilities' commissary sales operations. It will hold data in a Microsoft SQL Server database and integrate with other systems.


BIG DACS ATTACK. The state Correction Department is working with Deloitte & Touche to design and build the $10 million Delaware Automated Corrections System, which will replace paper records on its 5,800 inmates and 20,000 probationers.

The system will by next April let corrections officials enroll, place, track and release the state's offender population, spokeswoman Beth Sheldon said. It will hold facilities and procurement data by 2001 and will share data with other law enforcement systems.

Florida governor Jeb Bush signed legislation about information technology into law via the Net.


DIGITAL INK. Gov. Jeb Bush became the first Florida governor to sign legislation via the Internet when he signed three IT-related bills into law in June.

HB 2123 creates the Information Service Technology Development Task Force to foster private-sector IT development. SB 80 limits tort liability for year 2000-related systems failures. SB 662 authorizes creation of the One Stop Permitting Internet System Web site, which will provide links to agency environmental permitting sites.


MAKING IT. Although the state Revenue Department's Income Tax Division in June got flack from the local press for Individual Income Tax Processing System downtime and a slow refund rate, the system has met its deadline of processing all refunds by July 15, division director Bobby Goolsby said.

The disco-era system accommodates only 70 users at a time and batch-processes returns, resulting in an average 10-week return rate, Goolsby said.

A replacement system coming in the fall will improve the return rate, Goolsby said.


RETIRED WANG. Hawaii's Employees Retirement System has outgrown its unsupported Wang Model VS 7120 computer system.

The state has released a request for proposals for a PC network that will include imaging, workflow, interactive voice response and Web capabilities.

Aloha State employees, including police officers, teachers and elected officials, receive survivor and disability benefits as well as retirement benefits through ERS.


REAL-TIME RECORDS. Ada County officials teamed up with Litton PRC to automate the Boise Police Department's records.

The new system stores records in an Oracle8 database, which runs on a Compaq Computer Corp. Pentium PC with an Alpha processor. The police records will be integrated with a computer-aided dispatch system so officers can transmit reports directly to the system from their notebook-equipped squad cars.


DOLLAR DELAY. Because of a clerical error made by the Iowa Legislature, $10,000 that was earmarked for setting up the online Iowa Sex Offender Registry Web site last month was mistakenly left out of the project's budget.

But the Iowa Criminal Investigations Division is going forward with the site anyway. According to special agent Larry Mullen, the site will likely debut in October at


AN O'HARE AWARE. In a three-month pilot, 700 truckers from 25 companies delivering air cargo to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport scanned smart cards holding personal identification and daily manifest data.

Funding came from the Federal Aviation Administration, Illinois and the Chicago Aviation Department. The cards were developed by Schlumberger Ltd. of New York and the system was integrated by SecurCom Inc. of Minster, Ohio.

The airport is awaiting federal funding for phases 2 and 3 of the $3 million security project, which would allow a user to pull up a manifest from the system's Oracle8i database and develop a cargo profiling system via a fingerprint ID, SecurCom president Harry Wilkinson said.

Through a state Web site, Louisiana's transportation department handles 20 percent of permit applications for overweight and oversize trucks.


NEST EGG NEST. The Indiana State Teachers' Retirement Fund and Indiana Public Employees Retirement Fund have hired Complete Business Solutions Inc. of Farmington Hills, Mich., to build a $13 million pension administration system that will replace two mainframe systems.

The system will run CBSI's Clarety public retirement administration software, which incorporates workflow, document imag-
ing and Internet functions.

The two-year contract has four one-year options potentially worth $5 million.


KEEP INTOUCH. In one month, 1,000 Manhattanites signed up for the Little Apple's InTouch news service.

Visitors to the City of Manhattan, Kan., Web site, at, enter an e-mail address and a password. The city then sends out e-mail updates on 25 subjects, including advisory board meetings, bidder notices, meeting minutes, game rain-outs, job postings and press releases.


DEJA VU. The Medicaid Services Department in June awarded Unisys Corp. a $117 million, six-year, follow-on contract to continue running Kentucky's Medicaid Management Information System serving 520,000 state Medicaid recipients.

Unisys, which has managed the system for four years, handles fee-for-service claims, authorization, online point-of-sale operations and provider relations. Under the new contract, it will also run provider enrollment and help with fraud and abuse investigations.


LA. PERMITS. The Transportation and Development Department worked with American Management Systems Inc. of Fairfax, Va., to create the Permitting Electronic Routing Bridge Analysis system, a way to streamline the state's permitting process for oversize and overweight trucks.

Individuals can apply for permits via the PERBA Web site, at

Since the site debuted in May, about 20 percent of the department's permit applications are handled over the Internet, said Denny Silvio, manager of the Vehicle Permitting Department. 'We're issuing between 200 and 250 permits a day over the Internet.'

The next phase of PERBA will work with the department's geographic information systems'now under construction'to generate trucking routes.


DATA ACCESS. The Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services section of the Mental Health Department is developing an enterprise information system, according to the state's Information Services Bureau.

The system will include data about client demographics, client assessment, service history, service providers, finances and accounts, resources, planning and critical events.


ONE FOR ALL. Half of the state's 47 senators used 233-MHz Gateway Solo notebook PCs during the January-to-April 1999 General Assembly session, and the Legislative Services Department's Office of Information Systems plans to equip the other half in time for the 2000 session.

Senators plugged the PCs into a 100-Mbps Ethernet LAN in the senate chamber and a 3-Mbps wireless system in committee rooms, office director Bob Edwards said.

They accessed bills, fiscal notes, e-mail, the Internet and budget analyses, said Steve Ports, Senate president legislative assistant.


BYE BYE, GARY. Gary Lambert, deputy state purchasing agent and overseer of the multistate EMall online buying pilot, has left Massachusetts government after 19 years to join American Management Systems Inc. of Fairfax, Va.

Lambert will support AMS' year-old foray into electronic commerce development, reteaming with former state comptroller and recent AMS hire William Kilmartin.

Lambert said he will work on developing an application similar to the EMall, which will reach the end of its yearlong pilot stage next month.

The current EMall team will decide over the next two months whether to continue the pilot, modify it or take another course of action, Lambert told GCN.


BRIGHT IDEAS. Gov. John Engler has announced $500,000 in NextDay Teacher Innovation Grants to 74 teams that have devised plans for using information technology in the classroom.

The Michigan Association for Computer-Related Technology Users in Learning managed the grant application program over the Internet.

The program is part of Engler's $30 million plan announced last year to advance the use of technology in the state's kindergarten through 12th grade schools.


HEALTHY CHOICE. The Human Service Department recently awarded a contract valued at $700,000 to FMAS Corp., a subsidiary of Dyncorp of Reston, Va. The Rockville, Md., company will conduct studies on the quality of health care in the state, focusing on children's health programs and mental health services. One of the assessment tools FMAS will use is a 2.5 million patient database called Advanced Med that runs on a secure Internet system.


MUNICIPAL SYS. The city of Greenville is getting an administrative system from Systems Consultants Inc. of St. Louis including financial, property management and human resources components.

The system, which is going live in phases beginning last month, will run under NT. Data processing manager Jim Chow said the integrated system will cut down on data entry time and increase productivity among city staff.


GIS AND TELL. The St. Charles County Assessor's Office is developing a six-layer GIS that is streamlining the property mapping and surveying process. The office's GIS team stores property, tax and address information in an ArcInfo database from Environmental Systems Research Institute of Redlands, Calif. The GIS also incorporates some digital orthophotos of the county, taken from an airplane. The GIS requires a 233-MHz Pentium II PC running ESRI's ArcView.

Down the road a bit, visitors to the county Web site, at sccg.htm, will be able to drill down through the GIS layers from their desktop browsers and check property information.


LIVESTOCK LIVE. If you need to know the symptoms of chronic wasting disease in your deer or brucellosis in your buffalo, look no further than the Livestock Department's new Web site. The site, at, debuted this summer to offer information on the control and eradication of animal diseases. Webmaster Mark Slocum created the site using Microsoft Notepad and runs it off a Novell NetWare 4.1 Web server.

Watch the corn grow online at the Nebraska Corn Board Web site, at Digital pictures of the state's crop are updated weekly.


CORNY SITE. What other state can you go to online and watch the corn grow? From now until the fall harvest, the Nebraska Corn Board updates photos of
the state's corn crop as it grows, week by week. Nebraska farmers produce almost 1 billion bushels of corn each year.

The digital photos of the crop were taken from farms throughout the state, saved in Joint Photographic Experts Group format and posted on the site, at dbdec.nrc.state.


A BUG'S LIFE. The infestation of grasshoppers and other insect pests in the western United States has reached biblical proportions this year, as state entomologist Jeff Knight knows only too well.

Knight and his team track insect pests such as fire ants and Africanized honey bees using ESRI Atlas GIS software on a 266-MHz Dell PowerEdge Pentium II PC with 64M of RAM and a 4G hard drive.


HANDY DANDY. New Hampshire residents can drill down through maps on the General Court Web site to find out who their state representatives and senators are.

Webmaster Scott Kelly developed the Who's My Legislator site, at, using Hypertext Markup Language for the maps and Microsoft Active Server Page technology for the links. The site resides on the State Library Web server running Microsoft Internet Information Server 4.0 under NT 4.0.


MEA CULPA. The Jersey City Housing Authority shelled out $175,000 to piracy watchdog Business Software Alliance to settle claims of unlicensed software use in the agency.

The alliance contacted JCHA after it received a confidential phone call reporting software misuse to its antipiracy telephone hotline. The authority self-audited its holdings and found it had more copies than licenses of software from five major companies.


YES, MA'AM. The state Health Department's Immunization Program relies on Vacma'am, an Electronic Data Systems Corp. system developed using Microsoft FoxPro 2.6, to enhance the Vacman vaccine distribution system developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Department staff use Vacman to maintain the state health care provider registry and transmit data to CDC, program research specialist Steven Segore said. EDS processes vaccine orders from providers through Vacma'am, which downloads data daily from the CDC system. Vacma'am also produces complex reports, both fixed and ad hoc.


SUN SCREENS. Transportation Department officials recently installed a Sun Microsystems Enterprise 3500 server to store GIS data, said Glenn Condon, GIS manager.

The department stores its GIS data in an Oracle8i database. The system mirrors
the data in an Adabas database management system from Software AG of North America Inc. of Reston, Va., that resides on an IBM ES/9000 mainframe.

The department's other Sun products include three 200-MHz Ultra 2 PCs, each with 128M of RAM, two 300-MHz Ultra 10 workstations, each with 512M of RAM, and a Sparcstation 20 'for nostalgia's sake,' Condon said.


THE MAP PACK. Edgecombe County Magnet School Program fourth- through eighth-grade students are using Sure!MapsRaster digital topographic maps donated by VisiCom of San Diego, Calif.

The students use the maps for projects including land use analysis, demographic studies, water quality monitoring and presentations. Users can access maps in the Sure!MapsRaster series through any product that opens TIFF or GeoTIFF files.


DATA IN MOTION. Using Motorola Inc. products, the North Dakota Highway Patrol troopers have worked out a statewide mobile data communications system.

Sixty-five patrol vehicles have been equipped with Motorola's VRM-600 radio modems and 266-MHz ToughBook 27 notebook PCs with Pentium MMX processors, 32M of RAM and 4G hard drives from Panasonic Personal Computer Co. of Secaucus, N.J.

The mobile data communications system relies on 10 tower sites throughout the state and a wireless network gateway with software from Software Corp. of America Inc. of Stamford, Conn.


The state Transportation Department's Ohio Travel Information System lets citizens search construction and other road information by road type in addition to information category, road number, county and district.

OTIS, on the Web at, was developed with Active Server Page technology, Web site administrator Marcus Roberto said.

About 25 district information officials and county managers post system data, through a secure Web page, to a Sybase Inc. database.


BLAISE OF GLORY. Barry Bloyd, the state's agricultural statistician, runs statistical analyses on a 333-MHz Dell PowerEdge 4200 desktop PC with a Pentium II processor and 128M of RAM.

The state's statistical team uses Blaise for Windows from Westat of Rockville, Md., which is written in Pascal and named after the 17th century French philosopher who invented the first mechanical adding machine. Statisticians use the software to record statistics as they survey farmers and ranchers over the phone.


COPY THIS. The Publishing and Distribution Services division is saving eight cents on each piece of mail, thanks to some recent equipment upgrades.

The division prints about 2 million documents per copier each month for state agencies and offers a choice of Xerox Corp. printers, depending on the type of job: the DocuTech 135, a black-and-white laser printer with 135 page-per-minute speed at 600-dot-per-inch resolution; the DocuPrint 4890, a 300-dpi printer that can add blue or red to a black-and-white presentation for a penny more than a monochrome printer; and the DocuColor 40, a full-color 400-dpi printer.


ED LINK. The Harrisburg School District has signed a $4.2 million contract with Lucent Technologies of Murray Hill, N.J., for a new voice, data and video network.

The ATM network will connect 16 district school buildings serving 8,700 students. It will give the district's 600 staff members personal messaging mailboxes that allow voice, fax and e-mail access from PCs and Touch-Tone phones.


EYE ON THE STREET. The state Transportation Department is deploying 24 video cameras that capture traffic data through TrafficVision software from Nestor Traffic Systems Inc. of Providence, R.I.

The software runs on ruggedized PCs at each Interstate 95 or I-195 site, recording data from 30 frame-per-second video such as vehicle counts, average speeds and vehicle types, Nestor senior vice president Doug Reilly said. Data and video travels via T1 lines to a traffic center.


GO-BETWEEN. The Charleston County Clerk of Court is using ScreenSurfer middleware from Intelligent Environments Inc. of Burlington, Mass., to allow Web access to criminal and civil court case data populating an IBM mainframe.

The county spent just $16,000 and two months setting up the system, county management information services director Bobby Beard said. It chose ScreenSurfer for its ease of setup, ease of use and good documentation, he said.


READY, SET, GO. The Year 2000 Task Force recently surveyed just about every entity in the state for year 2000 readiness, said chief information officer Otto Doll. The team will put the information about 'every police station, clinic, hospital, water treatment plant and utility' on a GIS application on the state's Web site this month, Doll said.

Visitors to the site, at, will be able to click on their town or county and find out the status of each organization, he said. Fortunately, the state government is 99 percent ready for year 2000, Doll said. 'And that's everything, not just mission-critical systems.'


HOLD UP. SCB Computer Technology Inc. of Memphis, Tenn., is protesting a five-year, $120 million contract award to BellSouth Corp. of Atlanta and Qwest Communications International Inc. of Denver to build and manage the Tennessee Information Infrastructure.

The network will consolidate three major state communications networks, TNII project manager Vic Mangrum said.

The protest will go before a state review board sometime this or next month. SCB could not be reached for comment on the nature of the protest.


TORNADO WARNING. The Longview Police Department used Reverse 911 interactive policing system to notify residents of approaching tornadoes during the outbreaks this spring.

Police officials had compiled a list of 32 vulnerable sites, including the local mall, hospitals, nursing homes and schools.

The Reverse 911 system delivered a tornado warning phone call to the 32 locations in less than 10 minutes. The system, from Sigma Micro Corp. of Indianapolis, runs on a Windows NT platform.


TRUE DETECTIVE. The Workers Compensation Fund of Utah, a state agency, recently adopted a new variety of insurance fraud detection software from HNC Software Inc. of San Diego.

The fund is using HNC's VeriComp Employer, software that helps auditors trace employers who have most likely misreported payroll information. VeriComp products use neural network technology to detect anomalies in a data set. The fund has used another HNC product, VeriComp Claimant, to detect fraud and abuse on the individual insurance claimant side.


PRINT MAKER. The state Public Safety Department is rounding out its first year using the Tristate Automated Fingerprint Identification System, a joint venture with Maine and New Hampshire developed by Printrak International Inc. of Anaheim, Calif.

The department links to the system's main database in New Hampshire via the frame relay National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System network, Criminal Justice Services special projects director Philip Colby said. Staff previously searched fingerprint records manually.


LONG REACH. The state Corrections Department's Victim Notification Unit is replacing a letter-mailing system with the Victim Information and Notification Everyday telephone system to notify crime victims of offender activity.

Crime victims will call a toll-free number to enroll in the system, due Oct. 1 from the Vine Co. of Louisville, Ky. The system will check Corrections data every 15 minutes and automatically call victims if a particular offender has been released, Vine spokesperson Patti Schraffenberger said.

Steve E. Kolodney, director of Washington's Information Services Department, has accepted a job in the private sector.


SAYONARA, STEVE. This summer, the Digital State bid a fond adieu to CIO Steve Kolodney, who moved back to his home in Sacramento, Calif.

Kolodney has accepted a job in the private sector.

Kolodney has directed the Information Services Department for four years. Under his leadership, Washington won the Digital State award two years in a row from the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a Washington, D.C., independent research group.

Gov. Gary Locke thanked Kolodney for the way he
used IT 'to improve state government, tempered by a caution to invest in technology wisely.'


SCAN ME ON. Through the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's SmartTrip system, Metro subway and bus riders wave a smart card in front of a round target reader to pay fares.

The $5 cards, from Cubic Corp. of San Diego, contain computer chips holding radio transmitters and up to $200 in fare data.

Users buy the cards and add value at sales outlets, through the mail or over the Web.

WMATA registers cards and refunds value if they are lost or stolen, authority spokeswoman Cheryl Johnson said.


CRASH DATA. The state Transportation Department's Division of Highways maintains the Traffic Accident Records System for anyone seeking West Virginia highway safety data, said Carlin Kendrick, senior engineering technician in Highways' Traffic Engineering Division.

Traffic Engineering users enter accident data from reports submitted by police departments throughout the state. The system holds data in an IBM DB2 database running on a state mainframe.


SECURITY CHECK. The State Authentication and Application Security team recently completed a digital signature project that tested public-
key infrastructure implementation and configuration, secure e-mail, secure
electronic forms, Internet client authentication and desktop file encryption.

The team will use project results to draw up recommendations for implementing e-mail,
e-forms and Internet security statewide. Check out project information at saas/index.htm.


IN VIDEO VERITAS. Tandberg ASA recently won a contract valued at $3 million from the Education Department.

The Montreal company will provide a two-way video network to Wyoming's 78 high schools by 2001.

Tandberg will provide its Vision 5000 Codec videoconferencing system to the schools. The state Legislature recently mandated that all Wyoming high schools have interactive two-way videoconferencing capability by July 1, 2001.


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