Arkansas set up a corporate program through which citizens can donate old cell phones to help victims of domestic violence. Old phones may be dropped off at more than 100 locations statewide to be refurbished. Victims of domestic violence can then use them to dial emergency numbers for free. - USA Today
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Metrolink and 17 municipal bus operations in Los Angeles County, California, agreed to honor a smart card to increase ridership and convenience for public transit users. A single prepaid fare card will let riders use buses and commuter trains from Santa Monica to San Dimas. - The Los Angeles Times
Three Purdue University professors are headed from Indiana to Afghanistan to help rebuild Kabul University, gutted by more than 20 years of war and looting. Purdue will help develop the engineering, agriculture and technology programs, which should help improve the country's transportation, communications and food production systems. - USA Today
The Maryland Department of Education's Division of Library Development and Services is using a $51,000 federal grant to fund a pilot program in libraries in five counties to help students with homework. Live Homework Help connects students to online tutors who suggest Web sites to visit for researching homework. - The Baltimore Sun
Michigan Gov. John Engler signed a package of bills into law in March to make affordable high-speed Internet connections available statewide. The bills create a single statewide right-of-way authority; a broadband finance authority that will provide low interest loans to expand broadband access; and provide tax credits to telecommunications providers who invest in new broadband infrastructure.
Montana is implementing an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system, called Montana Access, to replace food stamps and comply with federal regulations. Montana is the only state so far that will act as its own bank, keeping all the accounts for users of the new EBT cards. - The Great Falls Tribune
A medical emergency rapid-response system was tested in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties, Oregon, in March. The e-mail notification system and companion Web site will give public-health officials the power to alert the 4,200 practicing doctors in the counties in the event of bioterrorism, a natural disaster or a serious disease outbreak. - The Oregonian
More than 100 ambulance services across South Dakota received new computers and software that will streamline data collection and improve communications. Gov. Bill Janklow said the state-provided computers and software will allow 106 ambulance services to communicate and share information in the event of a disaster or bio-terrorism incident.
Houston, Texas, is transforming its data network and standalone phone systems into a single, converged voice/data communications system based on a Cisco product. The network is expected to generate $6.2 million in annual savings with an investment payback in less than one year. The full network deployment will include 25,000 Cisco IP phones throughout 400 facilities.