STATE LINES

Staying connected. Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist last month signed a bill to make $1.8 million available to state agencies to improve homeland security. Some $312,000 of the funds will go toward improving agency communication and IT infrastructure.

Wendell Gilbert, deputy to the governor for homeland security, said money is needed to connect law enforcement across the state. Some police departments are using antiquated systems not linked to other state law enforcement departments.

Gilbert added the Office of Homeland Security also is applying for a federal grant to enhance the Health Department's communication system in case of a biological threat. Part of President Bush's fiscal 2003 budget request for the Office of Homeland Security includes a $3 billion to $4 billion pool for such projects.

Well-traveled road. On April 1, a reader renewed a copy of Robert Frost's collected poems using the Fairfax County, Va., public library's online catalog system. It was the millionth item checked out online this year. Last year, online library patrons didn't reach the 1 million mark until June.

The library set another record in March. Of all the books put on hold that month, 49 percent were done via the library's Web site at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library.

New CIO. North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley appointed George J. Bakolia the state's new CIO. Bakolia replaces Ronald Hawley, who is retiring from state government to take a job with Search, a nonprofit criminal justice research organization in Sacramento, Calif.

Bakolia has worked in the IT arena for more than 24 years. 'George will be leading the drive to ensure that North Carolina's information network serves the citizens of this state efficiently and effectively,' Easley said.

Since 1990, Bakolia has worked for the state's Justice Department, starting as data processing manager. Before joining state government, he worked for Unisys Corp. and Sperry Corp.

Opportunity. The National Institutes of Health Bioengineering Consortium, at www.becon.nih.gov/becon.htm, gives grants for informatics approaches to disease prevention, diagnosis and rehabilitation.

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