Official: Michigan will be OK for Y2K : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

June 25, 1999


OKEMOS -- The guy trying to ensure that Michigan residents stand a good chance of having lights, food, heat and phones on Jan. 1, 2000, isn't too worried.

That isn't to say there's a sense of complacency about Capt. Edward Buikema, deputy state director for emergency management at the Michigan State Police.

But after tracking down how well everything from gas stations to grocery stores and jails will handle the effects of potentially malfunctioning computers, computerized equipment and software as 2000 begins, he thinks Michigan is in pretty good shape.

"If there are disruptions, they should be only sporadic," Buikema said Thursday at a Y2K regional symposium at Okemos High School. "You will be able to use your telephone on January 1st."

The Y2K bug is a problem for some older computers, computerized equipment and software programmed with only the last two digits of the year. Unless they're fixed, they may think the year 2000 is the year 1900 and malfunction.

Thursday's symposium was one of three sponsored this week by state and federal officials as well as telephone, electricity and natural gas providers to give the public a chance to hear about Y2K preparations.

The others were held Tuesday at Northern Michigan University in Marquette and Wednesday at the Holiday Inn in Grayling.

Grocers and gas station owners are hoping to see a bonanza in the final days of 1999 as residents stock up on food and water and top off their tanks in case any Y2K glitches arise.

And some businesses, such as farming, are naturally dormant in winter and won't face too many Y2K pressures, said David Charney, emergency management coordinator for the Michigan Department of Agriculture.

Food haulers, warehouses and major grocery store chains all say they've fixed their Y2K problems, Charney said, so finding food on the shelves shouldn't be difficult. Some superstores even plan to have extra staff on hand to add up purchases manually if the cash registers don't work.

State environmental officials will have their laboratory up and running -- with a generator, if necessary -- to test potentially toxic substances if fires, train derailments or industrial disasters occur, said Flint Watt, chief of drinking water and radiological protection for the state.

Capt. Scott Herner of the Michigan State Police said the department will be able to run all of its police posts with generators, if necessary, and has set up several backup communication systems in case something happens to police radios or phones.

"I expect no surprises," he said.

The Michigan National Guard, already primed to help with disasters, is prepared if Y2K problems develop, said Col. Dennis Hull, emergency management coordinator for the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

That includes opening armories as temporary shelters if needed, feeding large groups of people, delivering medical supplies to hard-to-reach areas and helping police control any civil unrest.

State transportation officials have made sure the computers controlling traffic signals are Y2K-compliant. They've also made sure they have adequate supplies of sand and ice-melting materials as well as extra parts for snow plows in case Y2K problems snarl deliveries.

-- Mild Mannered Reporter (Clark@super.duper), June 27, 1999


For chrissakes Chelsea.....quit playing with the system in the Oval Office, would ya?

-- Will continue (, June 28, 1999.

"The guy trying to ensure that Michigan residents stand a good chance of having lights, food, heat and phones on Jan. 1, 2000, isn't too worried. he thinks Michigan is in pretty good shape. "

Well, allrighty then! I'm from Michigan, and we're in "pretty good shape"! So that means ....what, exactly? Pretty good is not good enough. to be fair, tho, I see that much contingency planning appears to be being done. So, what exactly is new about this news? It sounds like they're saying "We're just gonna tell you this now, so you can't say (next Jan, Feb.) that we didn't even mention the possiblity of troubles." Major CYA!

-- (, June 28, 1999.

Might be true - if so, more power to them. Particularly the statements from the Ag Department representative. [Note though that no other state (or food distribution company, or trucking company, or warehouse(s) have publically said this level of compliance has been obtained. Now, would you believe the state ag dept rep (who is not accountable if he "expands" the truth - or the companies themselves who have to do the work?]

Other good points (not yet issued from elsewhere):

The National Guard appears to further ahead than most. But how many could be taken care of in the armories? 1% 5% of the population? Who is left outside? Who is premitted inside?

Getting emergency power and plans at the testing lab(s ?) is a good idea - loing needed elsewhere, but not mentioned anywhere else.

DOT is at least looking at lights and snow removal contingencies.

Notable in their absence:

Hospitals, retirement centers, doctors and ambulances, EMS, welfare and other services, state and all county tax offices, schools, natural gas, water and local utilities - other than in the planning for power failure! Courts and government offices. Drivers license and police records, police and state law enforcement computers and computerized records (drivers license, health inspections, food permits, etc..)

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (, June 28, 1999.

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