National Technology Snapshot

A round-up of information technology news and events from each of the 50 states.

by / September 30, 1998

The Alabama Research and Education Network is upgrading its bandwidth from 1.5 Mbps to 45 Mbps to facilitate and enhance intrastate data flow during the system's expansion efforts over the next two years.


An enhanced state paging system means Division of Information Services technicians will be alerted to system problems before failures occur. The system also allows e-mail, voice and numeric messages to be sent to DIS technicians 24 hours a day.


Arizona signed an enterprise-wide license agreement with Phoenix-based ViaSoft Inc. to ensure that all state desktops are year-2000 compliant.


Crime victims can check the status of offenders under the new VINE system. The program offers anonymous phone registration for crime victims, who are automatically notified if an inmate is released, transferred, escapes or dies.


The Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting is using GIS software to automate its various business processes and develop advanced solutions that will eventually provide Web-GIS and enterprise-GIS integration across city-government departments.


Coloradans United Against Hatred established a Web site that posts a tolerance message and reports on hate crimes and Internet sites that promote bigotry. The site also lists community events that support positive race relations. It is sponsored by the cities of Denver and Aurora.


In the Superior Court case of Taconic Data Corp. v. Town of Suffield, the judge ruled that fee provisions of the Freedom of Information Act supersede existing court fees. Charges for information on electronic disk have to be limited to cost.


Newark police plan to use their share of a $1.2 million crime-law grant to continue funding computer-aided dispatch and update the records management system. The money may also be used for laptop computers.


High-school and college students will team to design, build and maintain computer networks capable of supporting local, national and global organizations under a partnership between the Florida Community College System and Cisco Systems.


A new management-information system based on a TCP/IP network will give Georgia court officials detailed information about a suspect's history and allow counties to pool information about criminal activity and other court matters.


Voice, video and data technologies play a big role in the Kamehameha School campus being built on Maui. Each classroom will be able to transmit and receive video, enhance public communications, support instructional programming and access distance-learning opportunities.


An Information Technology Training Program offering online registration and class information is available to state workers in Idaho. The program is a collaboration between the state and private industry.


Officials from an elementary school district serving Park Forest and Chicago Heights had to find a way to run computer cables without drilling holes in the concrete block walls. To do this, they used Panduit Pan-Way Type T130 Surface Raceway to access power lines that supplied microwave ovens, pencil sharpeners and other electrical devices.


Indiana University is the site of the Abilene network operations center, an Internet2 backbone network for research and education unveiled by Vice President Al Gore this year. The center is considered critical to the deployment of advanced networking initiatives and services.


The Simplified Tax and Wage Reporting System (STAWRS) is being touted as an easier way to file federal and state tax paperwork. One STAWRS goal is to reduce the tax- and wage- reporting burden on employers.


The U.S. Department of Labor awarded a $2.5 million grant to the state for a one-stop career center system. The grant will be used to link job-training and public workforce programs.


A public-private partnership has resulted in the Kentucky Information Highway, a statewide integrated communications and information network. With commonwealth government as the catalyst and anchor tenant, the network provides equal access to residents in rural areas.


The U.S. Attorney's Office for the state's western district set up its Web site to provide information to the media and the public. Eventually, officials plan to link the site to a victim/witness page offering assistance to victims of crime.


Side-scan sonar -- technology that emits radio beams to give searchers an image of the ocean floor -- was used to search for a missing lobsterman.


A computer-based teaching environment capitalizing on Web technology was used in the development of the Maryland State Archives. Highlights of the project include an interactive, computer-equipped seminar room, an information-management system and creative-content training for teachers.


The commonwealth collected more than 400,000 returns for the 1997 tax year using IPAT's IVR and remote PC access tax filing system. IPAT will provide electronic tax return systems for 18 states for the 1998 tax year.


The state Department of Transportation reports that its new correspondence-tracking system has vastly improved inquiry response time. The system uses STAR with STAR/Worksaver and the CoStar image-management software.


Orion is a $38.9 million initiative to create an intelligent transportation system that addresses traffic issues in the Twin Cities region. The system's five major components are designed to provide a consistent flow of information and improve traveler safety.


The final phase of a statewide private network sponsored by the state Department of Education was completed this summer. A Hewlett-Packard Netserver 6/200 LH PRO was installed at each school district and regional site, completing the project that began in 1995.


A $146 million plant-science research center is expected to position Missouri as the Silicon Valley of plant biotechnology. The nonprofit center will combine the resources of five of the nation's top plant-science research organizations.


The state Legislature allocated more than $380,000 to bring 76 new computers to Bozeman schools. The state also applied for $41,000 in federal funds to boost computer technology in schools.


The Aurora Information Technology Committee is working to educate residents of the city and Hamilton County about new technologies, including the Internet. The committee and Hamilton Telecommunications have attracted coverage from The Wall Street Journal and several television networks.


Reno set up a special Annexation Information Source Web page to increase the availability of information on annexation. The site posts information and lets residents give input on annexation issues.

New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Municipal Association is exploring the development of a statewide computer network to improve communication and technological compatibility within state, county and municipal government.

New Jersey

The National Governors' Association recognized the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for its leadership in producing the nation's first online, integrated environmental data management system.

New Mexico

Gun buyers no longer have to wait five days while law enforcement officials run criminal and mental-health checks. Technet, a public nonprofit corporation, provides an online search connected to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

New York

The University of Albany and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute formed one of two consortiums of major universities chosen to participate in the semiconductor industry's Focus Center program. The program will conduct research for new generations of more powerful computer chips.

North Carolina

Scientists at Duke University are using a $500,000 grant to develop new devices to find land mines quickly and more safely.

North Dakota

Stark County approved a lease purchase for new equipment that will digitally log telephone calls for the E-911 center. The equipment cost $25,000, about $50,000 less than what was paid for a tape system purchased nine years ago.


The use of "phase-change" material in pizza-warmer bags is joining pharmaceuticals, a jet-engine cleaning process and a way of stringing pianos as technologies that provide revenue for southwest Ohio universities.


Gov. Frank Keating praised the partnership between Francis Tuttle Vo-Tech and Oracle Corp., which brings high-tech training to the school. Keating said the state's economic future depends on a workforce with information technology skills.


The Employment Department implemented the Intra.doc Management System, by IntraNet Solutions Inc., to ease the burden of publishing, revising and searching for documents on the agency's intranet and extranet.


The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency employs powerful encryption methods to protect the confidentiality of information supplied by students on their loan applications.

Rhode Island

The University of Rhode Island used a Champlin Foundation grant to expand its central World Wide Web server capacity to accommodate a URI virtual-courses server.

South Carolina

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health started a program offering "teleconsultations" by digital satellite in 46 counties, including rural parts of the state. The satellite will also allow mental-health workers to have access to higher education courses.

South Dakota

Six South Dakota universities requested a total of $4.5 million for computers and related technology for the budget year beginning July 1999.


A building in downtown Knoxville is being considered for a publicly funded information technology resource center surrounded by privately owned offices. This could be a start-up location for technologies developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory or the University of Tennessee.


The city of Lake Jackson is one of the first to test client-server software created to manage all aspects of a city or county parks and recreation program. PARCSoft, by HTE Inc., offers class registration, scheduling, billing and collection services.


The Utah Department of Corrections placed information about the state's convicted sex offenders online to comply with Megan's Law.


With results from technical feasibility and market-research studies in hand, Burlington Mayor Peter Clavelle said the Burlington Electric Department may be able to provide cable television service to city residents.


Gov. Jim Gilmore appointed Michael E. Thomas as deputy secretary of technology and Fred H. Williamson as assistant secretary of technology. "These individuals share my commitment to move Virginia forward as a technology leader into the 21st century," Gilmore said.


Sea Tac International Airport travelers can get a jump on traffic conditions in Seattle from Smart Trek, a partnership of the state and PBFarradyne. A traffic-flow map near baggage pickup areas allows people to select the best route to their destination.

West Virginia

A new information technology center for the West Virginia Health Care Authority has a centralized database combined with GIS software. It consolidates information from 90 databases.


Waunakee sixth-graders brought briefcases, notebook computers and floppy disks back to school to use in a state-of-the-art classroom equipped with special wiring and a laptop computer at each desk.


Wyoming has spent about $10 million to prepare its computers for the turn of the century. Another $30 million to $50 million is needed to finish the job, according to estimates made by companies bidding on the upgrade project.

"Have a news item? E-mail it to Sharon McCullough and include your name and phone for confirmation.


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