Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt's Smart Site Program, an initiative to create IT jobs in rural Utah, added an online training component in June to help rural, low-income families develop IT skills. Individuals can visit a handful of Smart Site OnlineExpert centers throughout the state to take free online courses.

The Coeur d'Alene Tribe of Idaho received a $2.8 million grant to provide high-speed telecommunications to residents on the panhandle reservation. It was the largest single grant from a $20 million total awarded by the U.S. Agriculture Department. The agency hopes bringing broadband connections to rural communities will attract commerce. -- USA Today

A team of University of Kentucky College of Engineering students and faculty members successfully completed a project that could send a glider near the surface of Mars to gather data about the planet and transmit it back to Earth. NASA provided financial backing, and the U.S. military has taken an interest in the project, known as "Big Blue." -- Lexington Herald-Leader

New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey signed legislation making technology education part of New Jersey's core curriculum content standards. The bill, A2169, puts technology on even footing with mathematics, science, social studies, world languages, visual and performing arts, comprehensive health and physical education, and language arts/literacy.

Thompson Sarkodie-Gyan, a New Mexico Tech scientist, developed an "electronic nose," which could be useful in law enforcement, public health and pollution monitoring. Sarkodie-Gyan built a prototype of the analyzer, which can detect odorless substances. Researchers have been calibrating it to detect gases such as methanol or propane. -- USA Today

A program to train hospital workers to recognize signs of domestic violence will be implemented in all 11 New York City hospitals, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced. Digital cameras will be installed in emergency rooms to document physical evidence of abuse. Bloomberg noted that rather than going to police, many domestic violence victims go to hospitals first.

The first online charter school approved by Pennsylvania under new regulations governing "cyber" charter schools will open in the fall, officials announced. Commonwealth Connections Academy plans to enroll about 400 K-12 students from across the state.

Low-risk U.S. and Canadian residents who frequently travel between Vermont and Quebec can soon flash a specialized ID card and zip through Vermont's busiest border crossing. ID cards, which store their fingerprints and photos, are flashed at the border crossing. An antenna picks up the information and transmits it to a screen for border inspectors. The NEXUS system exists at six major crossings. Seven more will be added this year.

City officials in Chattanooga, Tenn., mapped the nearly 5,000 trees downtown to within a foot. The data entered with GPS coordinates allows the city forester to estimate maintenance costs and advise city officials on varieties of trees to plant. -- USA Today

Miriam Jones  |  Chief Copy Editor