The National Technology Snapshot

A roundup of information technology news and events from each of the 50 states.

by / February 12, 2001

A study commissioned by Verizon Wireless found that 59 percent of Birmingham households own wireless phones. The national average is about 23 percent. Birmingham has seven to eight major wireless providers, compared to the typical two to three. -- Birmingham Post-Herald


Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer unveiled Alaskas new online business licensing program in November in Anchorage. Alaskan business owners can now obtain, renew, update and print their state business licenses online.


Parents now have a new tool when shopping for a charter school. The Web site includes information about schools test scores, report cards from the state and the experience level of teachers. Information can be found by selecting a school name, district or city. -- The Arizona Republic


The Office of the State Treasurer launched a new Web site in November. Features include an interactive search for outstanding treasury warrants, online submittal of forms and the ability for agencies to track and manage their investments.


Alan Autry, mayor of Fresno, answered questions from residents for 90 minutes in late November during an Internet forum held by He made a promise to repeat his online appearance every three months. -- Fresno Bee


Gov. Bill Owens announced in November that the state is providing funds to four areas of rural Colorado for the purpose of furthering their telecommunications capabilities. The grants were offered to two counties for telecommunications planning and two additional grants were provided for actual implementation of telecommunications connectivity.


General Electric pledged $11 million over the next five years to help the University of Connecticut become a leader in e-business and engineering. The donation is the largest single corporate investment in the school. The money will be used to create a lab at the Stamford campus where students, faculty and GE Capital executives will analyze e-projects. -- USA Today


State Personnel Director Harriet Smith Windsor and State Treasurer Jack Markell launched Delawares new online application form in November. Citizens can now apply for employment with the state of Delaware on the Internet via the State Personnel Department Web site.


In November, Education Commissioner Tom Gallagher announced TeacherNet, a new online teacher recruitment and support system. The site permits school districts to post job vacancies in one location and facilitates the placement of teachers resumes online for review by district personnel responsible for hiring teachers.


The University of Georgia will offer Internet courses in Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and Russian. The languages were chosen for the new program because they are not commonly taught in Georgia colleges and because of the importance of China, Russia and Japan in the global marketplace and politics, officials said. The courses will be offered through Georgia GLOBE. -- USA Today


In November, Gov. Ben Cayetano announced a plan to build a $125 million network access point and Internet data center on 54 acres of undeveloped land in Kapolei. The project is the largest of its kind in Hawaii and will offer a spectrum of services to businesses, from complex Web and server hosting to redundant data storage for disaster recovery.


The Board of Medicine launched a new Web site in late November. The site contains information about health-care officials and how to find a doctor. Patients can also find out how to file complaints against physicians online.


Southern Illinois University students are using computers to locate up to a million acres of abandoned coalmines. They hope the technology will help homeowners learn if their property is vulnerable to collapse. The students scan mine maps into a computer, then place them over other maps to see where they overlap. -- USA Today


The Legislature may consider a bill that would pour more tax money into research intended to put the state at the forefront of new engine technology. Indiana currently commits $25 million a year in tax revenue to the 21st Century Technology Fund. The increased funds would go toward research into automotive fuel cells and electric-hybrid engines. -- The Indianapolis Star


Nearly $3 million in federal money was awarded in late November to help Iowa schools connect to the Internet and the Iowa Communications Network. The money will go to help pay for installation of high-speed telecommunications connections, which will help with access to the Internet, as well as
the state network. -- Des Moines Register


Residents in 22 designated counties now have the option of paying their property taxes online. The application gives taxpayers the ability to use a regular checking account and will offer the option to pay with credit cards within the next year.


A state program will offer interest-free loans to Kentucky colleges and professors for developing online curriculums. The Kentucky Virtual University will use a $1.5 million state venture capital fund to spur creation of online learning programs that turn a profit. -- USA Today


The Louisiana Occupational Information System (LOIS), part of the states Department of Labor Web site, won the second place Homepage and Web Site Award at the 2000 Interstate Conference of Employment Security Agencies Labor Market Information Directors Conference. LOIS graphically displays training and career information, historical data and wage information for the state, parishes and the United States.


Maine residents can now renew vehicle registrations online. Rapid Renewal was announced by Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky in December and can also be accessed through participating municipalities Web sites.


Montgomery Countys eMontgomery interactive online service for citizens expanded in November to include the sale of fare media transportation passes, maps and directions to service facilities and recreation class registration. Upcoming additions to the site will include parking ticket payment, bicycle registration, online payment for permits and vendor recycling registration.


Boston launched a new Web site for youth in November. The site contains information about sporting leagues, after school programs, music, museums and local events.


A program that shows educators how to apply new technology skills to the classroom is getting a boost with a $1 million grant from the Ameritech Foundation. The program will train four-person teams from schools across Michigan in the latest techniques for applying technology. -- The Detroit Free Press


Families in about a dozen city and suburban school districts can find out whether school has been cancelled by going to a Web site. When the weather looks bad, residents can type in their zip code and get an immediate report on delays or closings. -- St. Paul Pioneer Press


Mississippians and federal law enforcement officers came together in November to fight computer crackers and others who might threaten vital information systems and commit technology-related crimes. The state chapter of the National InfraGard Program held the meeting to begin seeking ways to protect businesses and agencies against attacks on computer and information systems.


Missouris Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is funding an online GED pilot program. About 50 students are enrolled in the program, which allows them to work at their own pace. Once completed, they can go to a GED testing site to take the exam. -- The Kansas City Star


The Parmly Billings Librarys periodical databases are now available through the librarys Web site. The databases are updated daily and most of the articles are full text.


Lt. Gov. Dave Maurstad, chair of the Nebraska Information Technology Commission (NITC), announced in November that grant applications are being accepted for the Community Technology Fund. The guidelines, application materials and information on the grant program are available from the NITC Web site.


Governors from 10 Western states and Guam agreed in Las Vegas in November to enlist technology industry leaders to help the region keep pace with the Information Age. The governors approved the concept of a Western High Technology Council, which would be aimed at helping Nevada and other member states compete in the technology-based global economy. -- The Las Vegas Sun

New Hampshire

Parents who want to see how their childrens schools stack up will have a convenient place to find out. The states Department of Education was slated to release its first school profiles on the Internet in November. Parents will have instant access to test scores, enrollments, school spending, dropout rates and other information. -- USA Today

New Jersey

The Commission on Higher Education awarded $6.5 million to six New Jersey universities to boost their capacity for biomedical and other high-tech research and to help the state become a leader in the advancement of knowledge and a hub for the high-tech industry.

New Mexico

An agreement was set up in early December between the government and the Navajo Nation to encourage the use of government-developed technology on the Navajo Reservation. The plan is to reduce the cost of wholesale electricity sold and help the Navajos find the most effective way to deliver the electricity. -- Albuquerque Journal

New York

The states public colleges and universities have initiated a core class that touches on topics like Internet search engines and academic databases. The information literacy course demonstrates the steps colleges are taking to make sure students can sift through the glut of online information. -- USA Today

North Carolina

North Carolinas colleges and universities have launched a new Web site designed to streamline the application process and attract more students to the states schools. The site also helps students choose a college, find financial aid and explore career options. -- Charlotte Observer

North Dakota

Citizens of North Dakota now have access to articles in hundreds of magazines, newspapers and journals via the Internet. This statewide project allows librarians, patrons and students to download entire articles from any computer with Internet access.


Reports of vehicle crashes in Columbus are now available on the Police Divisions Web site within 72 hours of the reports filing. To view reports, users must type in the last name of at least one driver and the date of the crash. -- The Columbus Dispatch


Oklahomas new child-care-payment system, Access Oklahoma Day Care, will be the first fully automated statewide system of its kind when all 77 counties are brought online by spring 2001. A test pilot was launched in October through the Department of Human Services and is expected to improve the speed and accuracy of finding a licensed child-care provider.


Residents of Washington County can now look online for caregivers registered with the Washington County Department of Aging and Veterans Services. All of the caregivers listed have cleared a criminal background check and are approved through the state.


Students at Drexel University are now offered widespread, wireless access to the Web. All 62 acres of Drexels property, including 52 buildings in University City, are accessible. Use of the system is free for students, although they are required to buy a laptop computer when they enroll in the university. -- The Philadelphia Daily News

Rhode Island

In November, Gov. Lincoln Almond highlighted the report of the Career and Technical Education Task Force, a panel he created last year to develop recommendations to improve career and technical education in Rhode Island. The report calls for a greater state role in providing policy direction and oversight to the career and technical education system.

South Carolina

Gov. Jim Hodges in November unveiled a new state Web site. The site ties the separate Web sites of the states agencies and branches into a single Web portal. Residents can now, among other things, renew a drivers license, run a criminal background check and search for unclaimed money in dormant bank accounts online. -- The State

South Dakota

Santa Claus paid a technologically advanced visit to area children in early December. Telehealth Services at Avera St. Lukes Hospital set up the morning event that allowed children to visit Santa Claus via video conferencing. -- South


Chattanooga police are testing photogrammetry, a new method of measuring distances at highway accident scenes. Police set out markers in the areas they want to measure and take photographs of the scene. Investigators then download the film into a computer, and software gives them accurate measurements from the scene. -- The Times & Free Press


Plano residents now have a new resource to avoid traffic jams and road construction. Planos Geographical Information Systems Department has added an interactive Capital Improvement Program status map to its Web site. The site indicates street closures, each projects status and a contact for each project. -- The Dallas Morning News


Washington County taxpayers now have the option to pay their property taxes online. The County Justice Court is also in the process of using the system to allow residents to pay fines and other court-related fees.


Windham County officials from a variety of towns learned that they should establish a plan or zoning ordinance to deal with telecommunication towers because of an expected rush by wireless telecommunications companies to erect cellular towers in the state. A December meeting was called to help officials determine the best way to deal with increased cellular towers. -- The Rutland Herald


In November, Gov. Jim Gilmore announced that Virginia awarded $739,000 to 183 nonprofit emergency medical services (EMS) agencies across the state to purchase new or updated computers and Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). EMS agencies are receiving funding for a total of 199 AEDs, 144 desktop computers and 12 computer upgrades.


The Department of Social and Health Services is funding a new Web site in an effort to enhance early childhood learning and brain development. The site offers tips to parents and other caregivers about the importance of playing, listening, talking and reading with preschoolers. -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer

West Virginia

West Virginians connected to the Internet can now use their computers to learn about most school closings and delays due to inclement weather. The Web site is provided through the Department of Education as an added service to county systems, school system employees, parents, students and the news media.


Gov. Tommy G. Thompson announced in November that $5 million in grants have been distributed to Wisconsin technical colleges to help them train workers to fill the demand from businesses for skilled labor. The grants will help expand course offerings in key industry fields, such as computer information systems, tool and die and printing.


In November, Tandberg announced the launch of Wyomings new interactive distance-learning network. With a coverage area of over 90 sites, the network has already improved the quality of Wyomings educational system.