The Arkansas Employment Security Department unveiled the Arkansas Occupation and Skill Computer-Assisted Researcher (ArkOSCAR) in early July. ArkOSCAR is a customized, Internet-accessible job research system. The employment agency funded the Internet version of ArkOSCAR, which is based on an application developed by the Texas Workforce Commission. - The Arkansas News Bureau
The Santa Cruz County, Calif., Board of Supervisors is working on a plan to allow residents to visit the county Web site and e-mail agenda comments to supervisors and have those comments added to the public record. - USA Today
Idaho officially announced the creation of TechConnect East, a regional science and technology office, in late June. TechConnect East will support job creation and high-tech business development in southeastern Idaho. The Bannock Development Corp. and Idaho State University will provide office and administrative support.
HopeLine, a new program sponsored by the Maryland Family Violence Council and Verizon Wireless, recycles donated cell phones to give to victims of domestic abuse and provides newer phones to Maryland's domestic violence programs and shelters. Donated phones will allow victims to reach shelters, prosecutors, police and others for non-emergency calls. - The Capital
Missouri Gov. Bob Holden signed a bill into law that will allow the state to set up a regional computer forensics laboratory. The lab's main job would be finding Internet users who are preying on children. The Missouri Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies also will use the lab to track down child pornographers that use the Internet. - St. Louis Post Dispatch
The University of Nebraska's Technologies Across Nebraska initiative, in partnership with the Nebraska Information Technology Commission's Community Council, is offering $2,500 grants to communities and groups in the state. The money will fund activities that support the development of community or regional plans to use IT to enhance community and economic development.
Ohio Gov. Bob Taft approved and sent to the U.S. Department of Justice a request and spending plan for $9.8 million in federal homeland security funds. The governor's plan calls for dividing $8.2 million among Ohio's 88 counties for continued purchase of emergency response equipment. Another $428,025 from the grant will be set aside to help finance and host local homeland security exercises and drills.
Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker signed legislation in late June to modernize the state's Right-to-Know law. The updated law makes it a basic responsibility of state and local government to furnish records to the public, and it places reasonable deadlines on officials to fulfill requests. This legislation also requires that all public records be made available electronically.
Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed announced in mid-June that the state is taking steps to create a Digital Archives building that will use storage area networks (SANs) to store electronic records from the various branches and levels of state government. The $14 million archive building will contain a scalable SAN that is currently capable of storing a pedabyte of records - or one quadrillion bytes.