THE 50 STATES<@VM>THE 50 STATES: Maryland to Wyoming

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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].


VIRTUAL KNOWLEDGE. The state Legislature has sponsored an online library system that gives registered users access to 53 databases of information. Students, teachers and other Alabama residents can access thousands of full-length articles and definitions, as well as links to numerous Web sites, from the Alabama Virtual Library.

The site, at, was created by a partnership of the state's Supercomputer Authority and Computer Sciences Corp. The site retrieves information from McGraw-Hill Companies of New York, Encyclopedia Britannica, Online Computer Library Center Inc. of Dublin, Ohio, EBSCO Industries Inc. of Birmingham, Ala., and several other databases.

The site runs customized software and resides on a dual-processor 550-MHz Pentium III Dell PowerEdge server with 512 of RAM.

BUYER BEWARE. Launched this fall, the Law Department's Consumer Protection Web site offers citizens a place to handle complaints about products or businesses or check out businesses that have been reported for fraud or unfair practices. Visitors can download froms in Adobe Portable Document Format, print them out and mail them in.

The site also gives advice on such issues as credit cards and mail fraud.

Law Department officials will load consumer complaint information into a searchable database. The department then can discern patterns of unfairness, fraud or deception.


CAMPAIGN FINANCE. Charity begins at home'or a home page. The Secretary of State's Office recently put the state's campaign finance data online. Secretary of State's Office chief information officer Mike Totherow wrote the program in Delphi from Inprise Corp. The data is stored in a Microsoft SQL Server Version 7.0 database. Visitors to the site, at
htm, can search the site by contributor, committee or date. Home addresses and phone numbers are excluded from the data for privacy reasons, said Jessica Funkhouser, director of the Office of Elections.


BRAINIACS ONLINE. Attention, all brainiacs. The Board of Education adopted Science Brainium, an online science program, for use in the state's public elementary and middle schools. Students log on at the site, at, and enter a user ID and password. The program offers lessons and games on bugs, the solar system and other topics required by Arkansas curriculum standards.

Science Brainium is the brainchild of Brainium of Salt Lake City. The online program, which works with most browsers, requires the Shockwave plug-in from Macromedia Inc. of San Francisco and at least a 486 PC with 16M of RAM or a Macintosh 68040.


DO YOU EVERDREAM? East of San Francisco lies Lafayette, a city of 23,500, which recently outsourced most of its desktop PC services to Everdream Corp. The Fremont, Calif., company will provide city employees with a 24-hour help desk, Microsoft Office 2000, Windows NT file, print and firewall servers, a virtual private network and a digital subscriber line connection.

The contract, which is valued at about $85,000 annually, includes 32 Hewlett- Packard PCs with 733-MHz Pentium III processors and 128M of RAM. The city will continue to run its own Web site and services, said Tracy Robinson, the city's administrative services director.


SECRET IN SUMMIT. Blind and visually impaired voters in Summit County cast their votes using a secret ballot for the first time last month, thanks to the eSlate 3000, a tablet-sized portable PC developed by Hart InterCivic of Austin, Texas.

With eSlate, a voice synthesizer reads instructions and the choice of candidates to the voter. The device has large buttons that users click to record their votes.

In past elections, blind voters had to tell another person their choice of candidate.


SMART ROADS. The Transportation Department received a $2.38 million federal Intelligent Transportation Systems grant to improve highway and road traffic conditions by using computer systems.

Connecticut has not yet decided how to use the funds.


GOT JOBS? Applicants can now apply for state jobs on the Internet via the State Personnel Office's Web site, at The online application is available for citizens to apply for nearly all positions statewide.

The state used Microsoft Visual Interdev 6.0 to build the site. The site accesses a Microsoft SQL 7.0 database and runs on a dual-processor 800-MHz Pentium III Xeon Dell PowerEdge 4400 server with 2G of RAM under Windows NT.


NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which operates the Metro subway system, last month resumed using computers to operate its trains after 21 months of manual operation. Metro switched from automatic to manual operations in March 1999 after three relays failed, probably because of con- tamination that accumulated over time. Relays control critical functions of the rail cars, including brakes and doors.

WMATA launched a comprehensive replacement program for all 21,000 relays along the subway tracks. It already has installed 11,300 new relays from Alstom of Paris. Crews will replace the remaining 9,700 relays over the next several months.


HOT SITE. The Law Enforcement Department (FDLE), in conjunction with the Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association and local law enforcement agencies, is placing the Florida Crime Information Center on the Internet in an effort to solicit public support in locating stolen property.

Records of stolen guns, vehicles and parts, license plates, boats and parts, appliances, televisions, stereos and other articles with serial numbers can be found on FDLE's site, at

Wanted and missing persons files can also be found on the site.


PAY THAT FINE ONLINE. Cobb County State Court teamed with EzGov Inc. of Atlanta to make traffic citations payable online.

The county is using EzTicket software on its site, at

Ticketed drivers can pay fines by entering the name and traffic citation number or name and driver's license number and charging the transaction to a credit card.

An instant confirmation of payment is then delivered to the ticket payer, who can print it out to save.

The system is hosted by EzGov and accesses the county's Oracle 7.5 database residing on a Sun Microsystems Inc. server running SunSoft Solaris 2.7.

The Hawaii county uses a thin-client system in which all computing is performed on centralized servers.


TECH-READY ISLANDS. Maui County installed 1,400 new computers in schools, libraries and youth centers as part of the community's Tech Ready program.

Sun Microsystems Inc. supplied the county with discounted Sun Ray 1 thin clients.

The system uses Lotus Notes Domino 5.0 for e-mail and electronic documents, Sun Microsystems' StarOffice 5.2 productivity suite, and Netscape Navigator 4.7 browser.

All processing in the Tech Ready system is performed on centralized, shared machines. Everything runs in a session on a SunSoft Solaris 7 server. Teachers use a Sun Hot Desk smart card to access a user session.


IDAHO FALLS FOR WEB. Idaho Falls, population 50,000, has put its building permit system online. City officials chose the VelocityHall system from of San Francisco. The city Web site, at, links to the permitting site, at Users select their state and city from a pull-down menu. The site accepts credit card information over Secure Sockets Layer Protocol.


RADIO DAZE. The Kankakee County Emergency Telephone System Board is evaluating bids from Motorola Inc. and Com-Net Ericsson of Pittsburgh for an upgraded 800-MHz trunked radio system with voice and data capability.

The board, which has representatives from all public safety agencies in the county, has raised about $3.5 million in local and state funds to pay for the expanded system.

It expects to buy between 450 and 500 portable public safety-grade radios and to commission up to three new towers for a simulcast system that will improve transmission.


THE TAX MAN. Marion County has contracted with Convergent Group Corp. of Englewood, Colo., to upgrade its tax and land records systems.

The county is implementing Integrated Assessment System Suite software from Cole, Layer and Trumble Inc. of Dayton, Ohio.

The new system will help the county keep track of land parcel information. '''

The system also automates the county's tax billing functions and tracks delinquent tax payments. In addition, the system includes a scheduling module for tax appeals hearings.

The county has not yet chosen its hardware for the system.


SQUIRRELED AWAY. The Information Technology Department has issued a request for proposals through the General Services Department for a storage area network and storage consolidation for the state's servers.

The IT Department eventually plans to build a statewide enterprise SAN that would be integrated with other departments' storage networks and disaster recovery sites.

The department by February plans to buy 1T of mainframe storage, expandable to 5T. The upgraded storage system must be compatible with its IBM Corp. mainframe.

The winning contractor also will implement by June a Fibre Channel SAN that the department will use to consolidate data storage across several Unix servers.


SCHOOLHOUSE CALLS. Thanks to a telemedicine program called TeleKidCare, students at three elementary schools in the Wichita School District next month will be able to visit the doctor without leaving the school nurse's office.

Doctors at the University of Kansas School of Medicine at Wichita will use a Pentium PC equipped with codec software that will transmit digitized images over an Integrated Services Digital Network WAN. School nurses will hook up stethoscopes and otoscopes'to examine ears'to a digital camera and audio receiver.


IMAGE IS EVERYTHING. The Transportation Cabinet has released a request for proposals for a digitized driver's license system.

The state wants to buy at least 155 digital imaging terminals for the 141 state offices that issue driver's permits, as well as 15 portable systems and 20 additional printers for backup use.

The state also expects to buy a central image storage system as well as services for designing document formats, maintaining the digital imaging system and training.


TALKING E-MAIL. The State Senate recently adopted a combination voice, e-mail and fax system that delivers text or voice files straight to legislators' e-mail inboxes.

Senate information technology officials run CallXpress from AVT Corp. of Kirkland, Wash., off a Microsoft Exchange server.

Legislators access voice messages as .wav audio files and fax messages as .tif files through Outlook 2000 e-mail on notebook and desktop PCs or wireless devices.


UNLOCK YOUR MIND. The Corrections Department is teaming with NovaNet Learning Inc. of Tucson, Ariz., and Southern Maine Technical College to provide online college courses to prisoners.

Inmates at state prisons use 500-MHz Pentium III Dell Optiplex PCs with 64M of RAM running Microsoft Windows 2000 to access the NovaNet education network.

Dorothea Socea, project coordinator, said the department did not attach modems to the PCs in order to restrict prisoners' access to the Internet.

Instead the Corrections Department uses a Ravlin 10 router from RedCreek Communications Inc. of Newark, Calif., at the college site and a Ravlin 3200 router at each corrections facility to connect to NovaNet.MARYLAND

VIRTUAL CREDIT. The Board of Education seeks to launch a statewide virtual classroom next year to provide high school courses over the Internet. The project will let homebound students and high school dropouts earn high school diplomas online. The courses will be offered free.

The Web site will also provide a component for teachers who are working toward certification or professional development.


HEALTHY AND SECURE. The Massachusetts Health Data Consortium, a public-private health care partnership, is working with five security system vendors to produce a standard for secure e-mail.

The initiative is a response to the federal 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that requires health care organizations to assure the security of e-mail that contains identifiable personal information.

The five vendors are Baltimore Technologies Plc. of Dublin, Ireland; TenFour E-Mail Security Solutions Inc. of Stockholm, Sweden; Tumbleweed Communications Corp. of Redwood City, Calif.; Vanguard Security Technologies Ltd. of Yokneam, Israel; and Viasec Ltd. of Donegal, Ireland.


ARE YOU BEING SERVED? Wayne County's Geographic Information Service Management Unit plans to activate a new online customer service application on its Web site, at

The GIS service center will use RightNow Web from RightNow Technologies Inc. of Bozeman, Mont., which is written in C and will run under Microsoft Windows NT on the GIS unit's Web server. The unit's staff built the site with Microsoft FrontPage 2000.


PAY UP NOW. Minneapolis has adopted a plan to resolve $16 million in debt owed to the Information Technology Services Department by other city agencies.

The internal deficit arose because the city has struggled to balance its books in the face of rising expenses and a flat state contribution to the city budget. Minneapolis' expenditure of $6 million to cope with year 2000 date change fixes compounded the shortfall, officials said.


LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP. In a series of meetings that have brought together dozens of state and county agencies, the Governor's Commission on Electronic Government has been wrestling with creating e-government in Mississippi.

Project plans, timelines and cost estimates are taking shape to implement the e-government plans of a high-level task force that Gov. Ronnie Musgrove formed in May of last year.

The commission has ranked 29 tasks that would be required to implement the e-government plan as high, medium or low priority.


TRAGIC DELAY. The Missouri Public Safety Department's failure to develop a system to track funds for domestic violence shelters has perpetuated the problem of battered women and their children being turned away from shelters, state officials said.

Missouri auditor Claire McCaskill reported in September that mismanagement of state tax receipts intended for domestic violence shelters resulted in more than 5,000 women and children being turned away from shelters in 1998.

McCaskill's office suggested that the Public Safety Department, as a state office that already administers grants to shelters, would be an appropriate agency to set up a centralized system to track and disburse the funds.

But the department 'isn't doing it yet, and there is no office in Missouri that is doing it,' Public Safety spokeswoman Tammi Holliday said.


IT'S A GAS. Fueled by a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Energy Department, Montana's Environmental Quality Department joined forces with the state's Oil and Gas Conservation Board and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to study whether coal-bed methane development damages the environment. The team will use ArcInfo from Environmental Systems Research Institute of Redlands, Calif.


'MORNING MR. GRANT. The Information Technology Commission is sponsoring its third annual Community Technology Fund grants, which are awarded to communities for information technology proj- ects. The legislature has appropriated $270,000 for competitive grants, with individual awards ranging between $15,000 and $25,000.

All public entities in the state, including local governments, public schools, community colleges, state colleges and county hospitals, are eligible to receive the grants.


BEATING THE ODDS. Richard Hardman, emergency services coordinator for Clark County, trained more than 6,800 casino workers to use automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to resuscitate people who have heart attacks.

Hardman described the results of the project in the New England Journal of Medicine. He reported a 74 percent survival rate for casino patrons who received defibrillation within three minutes of a cardiac arrest.

Hardman used the Lifepak 500 AED from Medtronic Physio-Control of Redmond, Wash., a seven-pound, lithium battery-powered device that works with the company's Code-Stat software.

The Lifepak 500 AED also collects data that the user can download onto a PC over a modem for use by a doctor.


ELDERLY CARE. The Elderly and Adult Services Division unveiled its ServiceLink Network Web site, at

The site provides seniors, adults with disabilities and their families with financial, employment, health care and long-term care information. In addition, the site includes data about home care, adult day services, caregiver support, volunteerism and retirement planning.


I SEE YOU. The state launched a project to bring videoconferencing to schools and libraries. The Video Portal project is part of Access New Jersey, a public-private partnership funded by Verizon Communications Inc. and the state's Public Utilities Board and Education Department.

The Video Portal uses Accord MGC-100 multi-conferencing units to connect schools so that they can interact simultaneously.

In addition, the project uses BPX 8600 asynchronous transfer mode switches from Cisco Systems Inc. of San Jose, Calif., for core long distance as well as Cisco Catalyst 8540 ATM switches.

Blind voters in Summit County, Colo., cast their votes using a secret ballot for the first time, thanks to the eSlate 3000, a tablet-sized computer with a voice synthesizer from Hart InterCivic.


BOLLIXED BALLOTS. Election officials in New Mexico's Bernalillo County, the state's most populous area, thought 67,000 absentee and early voting ballots were incorrectly counted following last month's election.

Panicked officials first suspected their computerized tabulation machines or balloting software. The county uses the AccuVote optical scan system from Global Election Systems Inc. of McKinney, Texas.

Frank Kaplan, Global's Western regional manager, said the tabulation system and software worked correctly, but a county programmer failed to link individual candidates to their respective parties on the straight party section of the ballot. The ballots allow voters to choose a straight party ticket or split their votes. Therefore, when the tabulation machine scanned the ballots, it didn't read each vote, only the party.

'There was nothing wrong with the machines or the software, and the problem took 22 minutes for us to fix,' Kaplan said. 'It was just a matter of fixing the situation through clicking on the correct link.'


FOUL REPLAY. The Brooklyn 67th and 72nd precincts are conducting a pilot to put photographs and videotaped evidence of domestic violence crimes online in hopes of garnering more accurate evidence and resolving cases faster.

The project, which begins in February, will give police officers in the precincts digital cameras and video recorders to photograph victims' injuries and record defendants' statements. The videotapes and photographs, along with copies of 911 calls and police reports, will be entered into a secure Web site for immediate use by judges, police officers and prosecutors.


RESCUE ME. The Revenue Department is using ResQPortal from Inc. of New York to upgrade its property tax Web site, at

The Java Hypertext-Markup-Language-to-host application helps residents find property tax data on the Web.

The app displays information stored on the department's IBM System/390 mainframe on the Web.


PROMISE ME. In a program called Oracle's Promise, Oracle Corp. has offered the state more than 1,000 network computers as well as training software to be used in kindergarten through grade 12 classrooms. 'We're still negotiating with them about the exact details,' said chief information officer Curt Wolfe. The company also offered free licenses to its software and access to an online classroom called


QUICK RESPONSE. Dayton's fire and police departments are using CorManage 4.10 from CorVu Corp. of Minneapolis to track emergency response time for firefighters, police officers and emergency medical services.

The application runs on quad-processor 200-MHz Pentium II NCR 4300R servers with 1G of RAM on a MetaFrame platform from Citrix Systems Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The system accesses a Progress 8.3B database running on an 8-way 166-MHz Pentium NCR 5100 under Unix.

Tulsa County Court clerk Sally Howe Smith is working with auditors to untangle the financial record errors caused by code problems in the $5 million Oklahoma Court Information System.


COURT AND SPARKS. Hopes were high a year ago when the Oklahoma Supreme Court rolled out the $5 million, Web-enabled Oklahoma Court Information System. OCIS was supposed to link all 77 of Oklahoma's court clerks' offices through the Internet.

The problems started when state officials took down the not-ready-for-year-2000 mainframe system that handled the court's financial accounting, said Sally Howe Smith, Tulsa County Court Clerk.

The new information system was soon sidelined with code problems. But because court officials had decided to junk the old system, court clerks could not rely on the mainframe, which at least worked.

'It was a mess,' Smith said. 'Some agencies weren't paid the right amounts, others weren't paid at all. Now we have to go back and reconcile all that.'

Oklahoma enlisted an outside auditing agency, Advancia Corp. of Oklahoma City, to see if OCIS can be salvaged.


TRANSIT PORTALS. The Transportation Department this fall held a workshop on ways to improve public transportation through intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and other technology.

One of the topics discussed was development of a statewide transit trip planning system, said Glen Hammer, ITS coordinator for the department.


TOWN MEETING. The Pennsylvania Geospatial Information Council and the Pennsylvania Mapping and Geographic Information Consortium are working together to develop geographic information systems standards for the commonwealth and will be conducting statewide town meetings to seek input.

The meetings are being held to give GIS users throughout the state the opportunity to help develop and implement standards for transportation, hydrography and other data.


MOCK VOTE. Students at two dozen Rhode Island elementary, middle and high schools voted last month for president, senators and representatives in the first and largest nationwide online election in history., an education project developed by the Freedom Channel Inc. of Washington was designed to get youngsters interested in voting.

More than 1 million students in 10,000 schools across the country participated. The youth voters handed the White House to Texas Gov. George W. Bush with 56 percent of the popular vote and 383 electoral votes. Vice President Al Gore polled 38 percent of the popular vote and 155 electoral votes among the student electorate.


LEARNING LINKS. Jasper County School District is contracting with NEC Business Network Solutions Inc. of Melville, N.Y., and Cisco Systems Inc. of San Jose, Calif., to implement a data and telecommunications network.

The district is installing a high-speed voice, data and fiber-optic cable network linking all classrooms within the district. The network will support a complete NEC voice, asynchronous transfer mode and data server network, along with an Ethernet network.


CISCO KIDS. The Labor Department spent $1.3 million on PCs, networking products, software and other computer lab equipment to help students in 21 technical and high schools take the Cisco Network Academies Program, a four-semester course that trains people to design, build and support computer networks.

'When they graduate, they're going to be a leg up on everybody else,' said Ray Christensen, South Dakota's education secretary.

Students who successfully complete the training can get jobs as systems analysts, computer support technicians and network administrators, three of the fastest-growing occupations in the state.


LAST TRAIN TO... The Clarksville/Montgomery County Geographic Information Services Center held a GIS day Nov. 15 at Austin Peay State University. More than 100 people attended lectures by city and county employees and viewed exhibits on GIS projects. The center, located in Clarksville, works closely with the state Office of Information Resources' GIS services unit.

The state agency has extended its Tennessee Base Mapping program to 17 counties and held the GIS day to promote spatial technologies in state government. The county center already works with 16 city and county governments that have implemented OIR's Enterprise GIS Structure [GCN/State & Local, July, Page 8].


CUSTOMIZED CUSTOMERS. The Texas Workforce Commission has launched a new Web site, at

Commission officials worked with Andersen Consulting of Chicago to make the site 'customer-centric rather than agency-centric,' said Larry Jones, communications director for the work force commission.

Visitors to the site click on an area they are interested in, whether as an employer, job seeker, service provider, researcher or Texas Workforce member.

The site then serves up the appropriate information, whether job leads or policy documents.


WISH LIST. The Utah Administrative Rules Division recently began offering the Utah State Digest for free by e-mail using list server mailing list management

Distributed on the first and 15th of each month, the digest is a summary of administrative rule changes proposed by state agencies, public notices, executive orders and proclamations. A recent issue ran about 19 printed pages.

Lawyers and other interested people can subscribe to the Utah State Digest list server by sending a blank e-mail message to join-admin_rules_ [email protected]. A paper version of the Digest costs $2 per issue or $48 for a 24-issue subscription.


IMAGE POLISHING. The Motor Vehicles Department plans to buy a new, $900,000 imaging and storage system from Midcontinent Business Systems Inc. of St. Paul, Minn.

To replace paper document processing, the department wants a system that it can use to capture, store and distribute images of documents electronically. Department officials are negotiating with Midcontinent about the hardware and software for the system, which is expected to begin operation next year.


HOME WORK. Fairfax County teamed with the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments and the International Telework Association and Council to sponsor the First Annual Washington Area Conference on Telework. County Supervisor Gerald Connolly, COG chairman, organized the conference.

Fairfax wants to have at least 20 percent of eligible county employees telecommuting at least one day a week by 2005.

Ellice Amanna, Connolly's chief of staff, said the county is working out details of providing computers and other equipment for employees who want to work at home.


NEVER AGAIN. Holocaust survivors and their heirs who may be beneficiaries of unpaid insurance policies are getting online help from the Washington State Insurance Commission.

The commission aims to help survivors and heirs track down details of insurance coverage denied by European companies at the end of World War II.

The records, at, include the names of more than 5,000 people who held policies issued by insurance companies in Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Britain and elsewhere. So far, the commission has helped file more than 400 claims from 103 state residents.


DO NOT DISCARD. The state is planning to provide about 26,000 low-income families with used computers under an initiative from the Governor's Office of Technology.

Y2Kids will give qualifying families computers that are no longer in use by state agencies and private businesses.

'Most agencies in the state are on a three-year cycle to upgrade and replace computers, but there is still a lot of life left in a three-year-old computer,' a governor's office spokesman said.


MOVIN' ON UP. Milwaukee has hired Acuent Inc. to upgrade its financial management software suite at a cost of $400,000.

The Parsippany, N.J., company will upgrade five financial modules from PeopleSoft Inc. of Pleasanton, Calif. By upgrading the PeopleSoft apps from Version 6.0 to Version 7.5, the city will be able to add more Web capabilities.

The apps run under HP-UX Version 10.20 on a Hewlett-Packard HP 9000 K580 server with two PA RISC processors, 2G of RAM and 54G of storage.


INSIDE JOB. The e-mail server at Tongue River High School in Dayton crashed after a computer hacker broke into it.

The school's Linux server was down for two and a half days, said Judy Hier, technology coordinator for Sheridan County District 1. The school runs Linux SendMail e-mail software. The e-mail messages piled up in a queue while the server was down, but nothing was lost, Hier said.

The school district is still investigating the hacking. School officials suspect the culprit is someone within the school district, perhaps a student, Hier said.


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