THE 50 STATES<@VM>THE 50 STATES - Missouri to Wyoming

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


A GUI THING. Huntsville Utilities has traded in its IBM 3270 dumb terminals for PCs running a graphical user interface from ClientSoft Inc. of Hawthorne, N.Y., to access customer records. The system has cut service request input time by half, management information systems supervisor Kerry Williams said.

Customer data resides in an IBM ES/9000 running VSE/ESA. Users set up accounts through their PCs running Microsoft Windows NT 4.0. The system sets up a service order and prints an application card for signature and filing. It then handles billing and other account activities.


SMOKIN' SALMON. The Fish and Game Department worked with InfoSpinner of Richardson, Texas, to put data about Cook Inlet's sockeye salmon catch online. Department officials used the company's ForeSite application server to move legacy data onto the Web.

An Oracle8 database residing on a server in Juneau is the central repository. Biologists, department officials, fishermen and seafood processors, some of them half a world away, access the real-time information, which includes the number of fish caught that day, how many fish escaped upriver and how the day's numbers compare with those in previous years. Visit

The citizen interface to the Indiana Workforce Development Department's Customer Self Service System walks job seekers through a series of questions to help them find employment.


ON THE MAP. Phoenix Mayor Skip Rimsza declared Nov. 19 as GIS Day. The city is reserving the City Hall atrium for the event, said Jennifer Iverson, the city's geographic information systems curriculum and training coordinator.

On hand will be representatives from the state Transportation Department and Maricopa County. The event will feature a keynote speech by Gene Trobia, Arizona's state cartographer; a map gallery; and workshops and demonstrations of products from Environmental Systems Research Institute of Redlands, Calif.

Phoenix is participating as part of a nationwide GIS Day 1999 sponsored by the Association of American Geographers, ESRI and the National Geographic Society.

On GIS Day, geographic information systems users and vendors throughout the country will host grassroots events with schools, businesses and the public to build awareness about the technology.


UP CLOSE. The Web site of Arkansas Children Awaiting Adoption shows color Joint Photographic Experts Group photos and first names of children on the waiting list for adoptive parents. Clicking on a photo takes a visitor to a profile of the child, detailing family history, likes and dislikes, behavioral concerns, disabilities and strengths.

The Human Services Department site, at, offers forms for prospective parents to download in Portable Document Format, print out and mail.


TAX CHECKMATE. The California Franchise Tax Board is developing a system that will help the state's tax authorities collect up to $36 million each year from residents who have not filed their state income taxes.

FTB officials will use data mining software based on algorithms that IBM Corp. used to create Deep Blue, the supercomputer that beat Garry Kasparov at chess. The $29 million system will be paid for by the tax revenue it generates.

By December 2001, the system will be up and running on an IBM RS/6000 SP Scalable PowerParallel supercomputer with up to 4G of RAM, a DB2 Universal database and an online analytical processing server.


TAILOR MADE. Officials in Colorado's Legislative Information Services are working with InfoImage of Phoenix to roll out an intranet portal that will tailor access levels to state legislators' specific needs.

For example, a representative from District 17 won't have to wade through everything on the Internet, InfoImage officials said. The InfoImage portal will serve up pertinent data and skip the rest.


HANDY TOOL. Benefits recipients aren't the only ones who have to verify their identities through a Social Services Department automated fingerprint identification system from Polaroid Corp. of Bedford, Mass. The 70 state employees who access the system must insert their fingers into a Polaroid Identicator DFR90 fingerprint scanner to log in to the system at their PCs.

The system holds employee data and the digital records of more than 200,000 benefits recipients, including photos, signatures and fingerprints. It prevents anyone from setting up multiple benefits accounts under assumed identities, project director David Mintie said.


SAFE SEX SYSTEM. The Health and Social Service Department's Public Health Division has accepted proposals to make its Sexually Transmitted Disease Lab Morbidity System safe for 2000.

The system holds more than 100,000 patient records dating to 1993. It records, processes and reports results for about 80,000 syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia lab tests annually. The new system will hold data in a Microsoft SQL Server database.


BIG PLANS. Police chief Charles H. Ramsey recently outlined a technology plan for his department.

Ramsey issued plans for several projects: a 311 nonemergency call system; computer-aided dispatch for 311 and 911 calls; mobile PCs for all scout cars; a police reporting and information system linking to several law enforcement databases; the Police Reporting and Information Delivery System; a crime mapping system; and an expanded Web site.


MEASURING UP. The Environmental Planning Department aims by 2001 to improve supporting technology for its Environmental Performance Measurement System, through which the department culls and presents data from various sources to show how it is spending taxpayer money to keep the state's air and water clean.

Air, water and waste are regulated under different statutes and programs, senior management analyst Stephen Adams said. The department has jury-rigged various systems to consolidate reporting data in an Oracle Corp. database. The department plans over the next 18 months to build a system that will collect and disseminate information over the Internet.


DEFENSE STRATEGY. The state Defense Department plans to roll out Balanced Scorecard from CorVu Corp. of Minneapolis to help managers with decision-making.

The department is defining measurement metrics in five categories: people, readiness, communities, facilities, and communication and technology.

Balanced Scorecard will tie in to department databases that hold information relevant to those areas. The system will extract and compile data based on metrics to assist directors with strategic planning, DOD's Lt. Col. Don Venn said. The department will use CorVu Web Server to run the system over an intranet.


CLEANING HOUSE. The Land and Natural Resources Department took an out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new approach to year 2000 preparations. Department officials swapped their 486 PCs running Windows 3.11 for new Compaq Deskpro EN 333-MHz Pentium PCs with 32M of RAM and Windows 95, said Lawrence Agcaoili, a data processing systems analyst with the department.


WORLD WEED WEB. Every state has its own special burden. In Idaho, it's 35 varieties of noxious weeds. The state that is famous for its potatoes is fighting back against the invading foliage with a Web site at

Sponsored by the Agriculture Department's Vegetation Management Bureau, the site lists handy tips to lessen the encroachment of weeds, such as: 'Avoid driving in noxious weed infested areas. Seeds can become stuck in tire treads or mud on the vehicle and be carried to unaffected areas.'' Detailed descriptions of each weed, from Dalmatian toadflax to Syrian beancaper, are provided along with full-color, close-up .jpeg photos.


KEEPING TABS. The Corrections Department is migrating data about its 40,000 inmates from SQL Anywhere to Adaptive Server, both from Sybase Inc.

The state's 26 adult facilities enter inmate data into the Offender Tracking System's IDMS database from Computer Associates International Inc., and they deposit digital pictures into the Institution Graphics System's SQL Server databases. The main office downloads new or changed records nightly, replicates them through SQL Server and uploads the consolidated data to each facility.


NET EMPLOYMENT. A Workforce Development Department system that helps residents help themselves to job services will be Internet-accessible to the public by late December, said Stacy Night, senior manager at system developer Deloitte Consulting LLC of New York.

The Customer Self Service System, or CS3, connects job seekers and employers. Employers now post job data via the Internet, but citizens access it through a client or client-server setup at department sites.

CS3, developed in Sybase PowerBuilder 6.5, runs under Windows 9x and holds data in an Oracle8 Release 8.05 database. Job counselors will continue to access an advanced version of CS3 on the department's network.


NAILING IT DOWN. The IowAccess Project Team recently won a Golden Hammer Award from Vice President Al Gore's National Partnership for Reinventing Government. Beverly Godwin of NPR presented the award to Iowa's chief information officer, Richard Varn.

IowAccess, whose goal is to connect citizens to Iowa's government over the Internet, consists of 14 teams made up of 270 state, federal and local government employees. The Web portal address is

IowAccess has saved the state more than $2 million since 1997, officials said.


CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH. Wichita officials tested the city's sewage treatment contingency plan in September. The manual system worked like a charm, said Jeanne Hernandez, Wichita's year 2000 project manager.

As of last month, all of the city's mission-critical systems were ready to go for year 2000, Hernandez said. A few noncritical systems were still being fixed, she said.


VIRTUAL HIGH. Gov. Paul Patton last month announced what Kentucky is calling the first statewide online high school. The Kentucky Virtual High School will provide high school classes over the Internet for adults working toward a diploma, people learning English, home-school and homebound students, and students in juvenile justice facilities.

Students will sign up for classes at their local high school and work with an instructor trained in teaching via the Internet. They will communicate with the teacher and classmates online. Some classes will have accompanying CD-ROMs or videos.


CISCO KIDS. The Social Services Department is saving time and money with a new videoconferencing system, said Duane Fontenot, deputy director of the Information Systems Division.

Louisiana officials worked with ViewTech Inc. of Camarillo, Calif., to install video-over-IP videoconferencing desktop PC systems, display stations and cameras from VCon Inc. of Austin, Texas. The department runs the videoconferences over a network that includes switches and routers from Cisco Systems Inc. of San Jose, Calif., plus streaming video and an H.323 gateway, which complies with the international standard for computer telephony.


MEA CULPA. The Legislature's Joint Select Committee on the Year 2000 Problem last month planned to convene a special meeting to hear the results of a $600,000 PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. of New York study commissioned by the state's executive branch, state Sen. Philip E. Harriman said.

Local news media in September reported that a branch official had prohibited the study results from being printed or made public. Gov. Angus King, who said he was not involved in the decision, acknowledged that the state should not have done so.


FIRST STEP. The Montgomery County Council pared down a project proposed by Doug Duncan, the county executive, that would have let citizens pay parking tickets and property taxes online. Duncan had requested $300,000 for hardware and databases, and $805,000 for the electronic commerce applications, spokeswoman Donna Bigler said.

The council granted $300,000 to support posting of property tax data on the Web. For the transactional technologies, Duncan and the council are exploring outsourcing options that might be more cost-effective than a county setup, council spokesman Patrick Lacefield said.


I-TEEING OFF. As spectators descended on Brookline, Mass., for the Ryder Cup golf tournament in September, Brookline police officers patrolled the area and kept in touch with headquarters via two briefcase-mounted notebook PCs running PacketCluster Patrol software from Cerulean Technology Inc. of Marlborough, Mass.

The briefcases and their built-in antennae, battery and mobile communications software helped officers process on-site arrests, investigate suspicious activity and communicate.


SHORT LEASH. Oakland County uses Global Positioning System technology to send out an alert if pretrial defendants enter forbidden territory.

The system, from ProTech Monitoring Inc. of Tampa, Fla., geocodes rules defining both permitted locations and hot zones'forbidden areas such as an alleged victim's home or workplace. The defendants carry a 3.1-pound computer that must always be within 100 feet of a radio transmitter affixed to the body.

If a violation occurs, the computer wirelessly alerts predefined contacts such as police and alleged victims by pager, e-mail or fax. Defendants pay around $15 daily for the service, run by House Arrest Services Inc. of Eastpointe, Mich.


NO PROBLEM. It's the same story all over Bloomington: Nobody is coming up with any year 2000 earthshakers, said Don Erickson, information systems manager and year 2000 coordinator for the city of 85,000 people. The city has been working with electric and water utility providers and the Red Cross to ensure a smooth transition come Jan. 1.

The city also sent out brochures that tell residents to beware of year 2000 scams.


ONLINE FEED. The Education Department's Office of Child Nutrition has accepted proposals for a Web-accessible system for the office's statewide purchasing program, which supplies $160 million in food and supplies to 650 local school district and Head Start agency sites.

The application will run on an existing TCP/IP network under NT 4.0 and with SQL Server 7.0 Enterprise Edition. Through it, local organizations will place orders and print reports, distributors will retrieve order files and send shipping files, and OCN users will maintain, update and place orders, as well as print reports.


SUITE STUFF. The Public Health and Human Services Department recently awarded a five-year contract to MedStat Group for its MedStat Advantage Suite software. The Ann Arbor, Mich., company will develop and maintain a health care information system and data warehouse to assist the department's decision-making.

Department officials will run the MedStat software on an IBM RS/6000 server. Medicaid data will be stored in an Oracle8 database. In addition to overall Medicaid program management, the software will help detect fraud and abuse.

CHANGING STRIPES. The Revenue Department, Highway Patrol and Office of Information Technology have invited state agencies and other organizations to a one-day conference this month to explore what types of data the state could place on the magnetic stripes of driver's licenses.

Conference organizers will collect business requirements from organizations interested in participating and will explore technologies that would best meet those requirements. American Association of Vehicle Administrator representatives will discuss standards and interoperability based on the experiences of other states.


OFFICIAL WORD. Gov. Mike Johanns and Tax Commissioner Mary Jane Egr recently unveiled a Taxpayer Bill of Rights and encouraged electronic filing of taxes.

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights lists 10 cornerstones, including a commitment to reduce the amount of red tape that people encounter in the tax process.


WEB WORK. The IT Department recently issued a request for proposals for help with the design and establishment of a browser-based system for the state's Welfare-to-Work, Self-Sufficiency Grant and New Employees of Nevada programs.

The RFP specifies that the system must work with the state's existing security infrastructure and be able to download data extracts to the state's financial system each night.


LUNCH MONEY. Some New Hampshire students are using magnetic-stripe cards to pay for school lunches.

The Winnisquam Regional School District's three elementary schools and one middle school run Win-Check software from Microcheck Systems Inc. of Houston on the company's PCMate PCs to record payments by parents, draw from student accounts and print notifications of account status.

The district plans to deploy the Win-MCM system at its high school, which will then centrally manage all district accounts, food service director Kim Dubuque said.


LINKING UP. East Orange and the city's Water Commission have hired Munis of Falmouth, Maine, a recently acquired subsidiary of Tyler Technologies Inc. of Dallas, to build a municipal information system.

San Antonio officials recently installed an Amdahl Millennium 2000 server to prepare for the date rollover. The server must handle more than 1 million transactions a day.

Through the $2 million deal, East Orange will gain accounting, purchasing, utility billing, accounts receivable, inventory, work order, fixed asset, payroll and personnel applications that will run on the Water Commission's app server. Munis will also install a WAN for use by 100 users at eight sites.


EASY ACCESS. The Governor's Committee on Concerns of the Handicapped recently went online at The site has an interactive map that lets visitors click on any part of the state and quickly see lists of lodging, restaurants and other traveler resources that have handicapped facilities.


COMMAND AND CONTROL. The state Office for Technology recently released an RFP for a facility that will house the command center for the state's Data Center Consolidation project.

New York is about a year and a half into the project, which will consolidate its 21 data centers into two'one running hardware from IBM Corp. and the other operating with Unisys Corp. hardware.

The command center will oversee both sites as they support major agency functions such as human, social, motor vehicle and labor services.

The state expects to complete the project by next summer, office deputy director Thomas Duffy said.


HEALTHY CONNECTIONS. The state soon will replace the various county health department interfaces to its health system with a comprehensive, flexible Health Services Management System. HSMS will not only meet Medicaid billing needs but also will assist with all business operations and management of clinical services.

The 79 county health departments and seven county health districts will use the system for schedules, patient records, reports, accounting and eligibility checks. Bids for the system were due last month.


TO THE NINES. According to a recent report by the Governor's Y2K Council, all of North Dakota's telecommunications, power and financial institutions sailed through a year 2000 drill on Sept. 9 with flying colors. The state is one of only three whose systems were 100 percent ready for year 2000 as of Aug. 1 [GCN/State & Local, September, Page 6].

Memphis, Tenn., police are testing a pager-sized device from Datamaxx that lets officers call up data while on patrol.


VIOLENCE METER. School officials in Reynoldsburg are discussing with the state superintendent of public instruction the possibility of piloting software that evaluates the risk of violence by particular students, Education Department spokeswoman Dottie Howe said.

The state superintendent, attorney general and lieutenant governor recently met with security consultant Gavin de Becker about his Mosaic-2000 software. The program is a tool that evaluates how seriously to consider a student who has, say, threatened violence or exhibited other potentially harmful behavior.


MACHO MAN. In 1990, Tulsa's city network consisted of six PCs linked to one mainframe. The city was growing fast, and the network couldn't keep up with the traffic. City planners recently introduced an asynchronous transfer mode network that merges voice, video and data. The metropolitan area network has 16 CoreBuilder 7000 ATM switches from 3Com Corp. of Santa Clara, Calif., that provide a 155-megabit/sec OC-3 backbone to sites in 130 city buildings.

City officials said the ATM MAN is less expensive than T1 lines. It delivers bandwidth to 2,000 desktop PCs that run Windows 9x and NT, Mac OS, and Unix.


ON THE CASE. State Police officials recently completed final testing of the Law Enforcement Data System. Science Applications International Corp. of San Diego had won a $2.9 million contract to re-engineer the state's central criminal justice information system.

Oregon police use SAIC's CrimeVue software to manage criminal history, warrant, stolen vehicle, restraining order and other records. Written in Microsoft Visual C++, CrimeVue runs on a Compaq AlphaServer SMP PC with two 400-MHz Alpha CPUs.


IN FOCUS. As part of Pa2K Day, Lt. Gov. Mark Schweiker recently honored Allegheny, Erie and York counties for their leadership in year 2000 work.

The state designated Sept. 23 as Pa2K Day, during which it called on schools, businesses, local governments and citizens to focus attention on year 2000 and prepare for potential problems.


KIDS COUNT. The Children, Youth and Families Department plans to award a one-year contract with two one-year options to support the Rhode Island Children's Information System.

RICHIST has four modules: service management, financial management, provider management and a common administrative module.

It links to several other systems, including statewide systems for accounting, child support and Medicaid management.


POINTS OF VIEW. The Governor's Office is looking for a firm to design, build and maintain a database of at least 8,000 key opinion leaders in South Carolina in the areas of religion, education, business, health care, law enforcement, municipal and county government, and the media.

The office plans to use the database to keep state constituencies better informed of issues that may affect them. It also hopes to gain follow-up information and feedback from the leaders to stay informed about the constituencies.


CUSTOM FIT. The Custom Year 2000 Readiness Reporting Web site has been a hit since it went online Sept. 1, said Jan Newman, South Dakota's Year 2000 coordinator. Newman's office based the program on 3,200 year 2000 surveys completed by ambulance services, banks, hospitals and clinics, electric and gas utilities, phone companies, fire departments, and water, sewer, and other government departments, among others. The program's development shop then digitally mapped the information into an ESRI ArcView application.

Visitors to the site, at, can select the type of organizations they want mapped, such as banks, utilities, and hospitals, then click on any location in the state. The site quickly serves up a customized year 2000 report, showing readiness levels and contact information for each group.


SMALL WONDER. The Memphis Police Department is testing a pager-sized device that lets officers punch in vehicle identification, license plate, driver's license and serial number information on a miniature keypad and get ID information back in less than 10 seconds.

The CyberForce devices from Datamaxx Applied Technologies Inc. of Tallahassee, Fla., can tap data from several national, state and local law enforcement databases. Vital information appears on the pager screen, and detailed data goes to a dispatcher's computer for further action.


READY FOR ANYTHING. San Antonio officials recently installed an Amdahl Corp. Millennium 2000 server to get ready for the year 2000. The city runs more than 1 million transactions a day off the server, including the life-or-death transactions handled by the city's Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Services departments.

The Millennium server has up to 2G of data storage. The city also adopted Amdahl's Spectris RAID storage system and EnVista rackmount central server with up to 1G of RAM to hold data on San Antonio's 1.2 million residents.


SALT SHAKE CITY. Each year, Utah experiences about 700 earthquakes, 13 of which have a magnitude of 3.0 or larger, said Lorraine B. Nelms, an earthquake information specialist with the University of Utah's seismographic stations.

State geologists are testing a real-time earthquake location system written in C and Fortran that runs under NT 4.0 and Unix, said Sue Nava, network manager of the seismograph stations.


DOUBLE TROUBLE. The Office of Child Support has called for vendor bids for an electronic imaging system. Office users now tap case data from a mainframe system, but each case also has a paper folder typically filled with court documents.

Often, two people need to access the case folders at once, and papers are sometimes misplaced, said Jeffrey Cohen, director of the Office of Child Support. The new system will let users simultaneously tap the digital images of court documents along with mainframe data.


FREEZE FRAME. The town of Vienna uses a citation system that captures red-light runners on video and transmits the images back to a processing facility'with no film removal or development necessary.

The CrossingGuard system from Nestor Traffic Systems Inc. of Providence, R.I., records a brief video sequence of a red-light violation, often from multiple camera angles. The digital images, which travel via standard phone lines from the intersection, also help officials assess any traffic or emergency situation in real time.


HE'S BAAACK. Steve Kolodney returned to his post as director of the Information Services Department early last month. Kolodney had left the job June 30 to accept a position in private industry in Sacramento, Calif. [GCN/State & Local, August, Page 9].

Kolodney said he missed the challenges of working with the Information Services Department, 'which is on the cutting edge of information technology in our nation today.''


DOCUMENT DOCTOR. The state has awarded an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract to Vredenburg Information Technology Group of Reston, Va. The contract, part of a series of Electronic Document Management Systems contracts, will run three years and has three one-year options.

State agencies will be able to buy hardware, software and services from the contract to support document imaging, document management and workflow. Services may include systems analysis, systems installation and training, application development, document backfile conversion, and project management.


BLOCK VOTING. The state Assembly recently voted 76-23 in favor of a bill that would require schools receiving aid through a state technology program to install Internet site filtering software on their computers.

The software would have to block content considered inappropriate for minors.

The program, Technology for Educational Achievement in Wisconsin, provides telecommunications access, educational technology grants, wiring loans, technical assistance grants and training grants to public and private schools, colleges and libraries.


FINAL EXAM. The Transportation Department is using the GASP PC asset management tool for an internal audit to prepare systems for the year 2000.

Made by Attest Systems Inc. of San Francisco, the software runs under Win9x, NT and Mac OS, said Michael Bush, audit supervisor for the department.

Bush said he ran the tool on about 750 high-end Pentium PCs, most of them from Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp. and Gateway Inc.


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