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-- Linkmeister (email@example.com), September 24, 1999
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Senate Y2K panel reports that seven states in 'danger zone'
By Jim Abrams, Associated Press, 09/23/99
WASHINGTON - The world won't end on Jan. 1 with a Y2K-related computer crash, but Americans should be ready for short-term disruptions ranging from higher gas prices to local power outages, a Senate panel said yesterday.
With 100 days left before computers run up against the year 2000 date, federal agencies and the national infrastructure are in solid shape, but seven states remain in the ''danger zone'' with less than 70 percent of computer systems ready, the Y2K panel said in its final report.
The situation is similar in the private sector, with big businesses, particularly in the banking and investment industry, confident their computers are ready while many smaller businesses could run into trouble.
''There will not be a horizontal, systematic failure,'' said Senator Robert Bennett, Republican of Utah, a co-chairman of the Senate panel. Problems ''will not occur across the nation. They will occur across the street.''
Bennett's committee has held nearly 30 hearings since spring of last year on the consequences of the Y2K glitch, in which computers programmed to read only the last two digits of a year might mistake the year 2000, or ''00,'' as 1900.
He noted that the federal government will have spent some $8 billion to fix its computers, and the nation as a whole anywhere from $50 billion to $150 billion.
This investment, he said, ''appears to have paid off.'' National power grids, phone systems, ATM machines, and air travel should work fine on Jan. 1.
But the report also warned against complacency. It cited an August survey that concluded that seven states - Alabama, California, Colorado, Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Wyoming - had fixed less than 70 percent of systems affecting such programs as child nutrition, food stamps, and unemployment insurance.
The Health Care Financing Administration, which oversees Medicaid and Medicare, listed eight states this month as ''high risk'' in terms of keeping up with Medicaid child health insurance or eligibility claims after Jan. 1. They were Alabama, Alaska, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, and Vermont.
The report named Russia, China, and Italy among the many countries that appear to be far behind in fixing computers.
This story ran on page A24 of the Boston Globe on 09/23/99.
) Copyright 1999 Globe Newspaper Company.
-- Linkmeister (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 24, 1999.
I live in NH. You want to see the garbage running in our local paper!! Unbelievable! No wonder I can't get any family members to buy ANY preps.
N.H. officials confident of being Y2K compliant By DAN TUOHY
Only 103 days remain until choruses of auld lang syne erupt at the stroke of Jan. 1, 2000 and government agencies and businesses are still laboring to be Y2K compliant.
However, local and national leaders are doing their homework, according to Bob Johnson, the Y2K coordinator for the University of New Hampshire and University System of New Hampshire.
He referenced a recent cartoon depicting a man on a street corner holding a sign that reads, "The end is not near deal with it."
UNH, which like so many institutions has examined its computers for two or three years, considers itself Y2K compliant. "The systems have all been tested," Johnson said. "Right now weve done our due diligence."
That diligence above and beyond the fact that students will be on holiday break includes having backup power sources in place, even though Public Service of New Hampshire is confident that its power grid already makes the grade.
Although the state of New Hampshire was only 60-70 percent Y2K compliant as of its last official report in July, state officials are confident that it is "all systems go" for the millennium.
The next Y2K report is due in October and Thomas Towle, director of the Division of Information Technology Management for the state of New Hampshire, is optimistic that considerable progress will be shown.
"Theres no indication that there are any surprises out there," he said. "Everyone seems to be on schedule."
Towle said top issues were power and telecommunications systems, but most concerns have been addressed. E-911 and emergency response systems through the Office of Emergency Management have checked out, he explained.
New Hampshires "critical systems seem to be right on schedule without any hiccups," Towle said.
The state of New Hampshire will spend an estimated $55 million to be in full compliance, according to Towle. That figure includes system upgrades for functionality and efficiency that would be necessary anyway, he said.
In many respects, New Hampshire has been fortunate in working toward Y2K compliance because it is a small state with a centralized government, Towle explained.
Still, if systems arent Y2K compliant, Towle knows there will be an overload of Y2K complaint.
Keeping the public informed and alleviating any concerns is critical, he said.
To that end, Gov. Jeanne Shaheens Y2K Preparedness Task Force hosted a community forum on the issue last week. Even federal Y2K czar John Koskinen of the Presidents Council on the Year 2000 attended.
It was the best Y2K presentation to date in New Hampshire, said Bob Sedgwick, deputy director of the New Hampshire Small Business Administration.
Large businesses are fine, its the small businesses that are "a mixed bag," according to Sedgwick. There are 33,000 small businesses in New Hampshire, and a large percentage are not at much risk because they are in retail or hospitality.
Sedgwick said some small businesses are using what some call a "Russian solution," meaning they are waiting until Jan. 1, 2000 to see what might go wrong.
The states estimated 3,500 small business manufacturers, however, are at some risk. But the SBA and the New Hampshire Technical College system has provided Y2K training, in conjunction with $22 million in assistance from the U.S. Department of Commerce for training, Sedgwick said.
"We dont anticipate a problem," he said, though he acknowledged that information experts and many business owners or executives will be "on call" just in case there is a problem.
"Some people say its going to be the end of the world. Some say its going to be more like a 24-hour northeaster. Probably somewhere in between is whats going to happen," he said.
Whatever happens, the skies should be computer friendly, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. FAA Administrator Jane Garvey declared this summer that air travel and safety would not be compromised. Financial and health care institutions have issued similar comments, though some may not be able to brag about Y2K compliance.
And while Y2K awareness speakers such as Peter de Jager continue to forecast great computer conflicts because of computer inability to register the date change from 99 to 00, the public at large (those that arent tuned out altogether) are not fretting. Just look at Wall Street.
This sense of relief, whether real or fake, was reinforced last week by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. He said the probability of critical computer systems failure was "negligible," even though he qualified his comments by saying the economy could take a hit because of Y2K.
In New Hampshire and Maine, a number of state agencies and businesses will have contingency plans in place.
Central Maine Power is ready for any Y2K problems and Northern Utilities Natural Gas will equip its New Years Eve workers with two- way radios, cell phones, and satellite phones to ensure clear communications.
The city of Portland will open its emergency operations center. Maine Medical Center will have a fuel truck parked nearby in case the hospital has to run its generators for an extended period.
Businesses and retailers are well-submerged in selling the millennium is it any wonder why the public is losing its stomach on Y2K?
Whether you plan to be armed with a survival guide or a bottle of champagne this New Years Eve, chances are good youve at least considering stashing some basic goods away just in case.
Officials at the New Hampshire State Liquor stores say the rush on champagne began last winter, a year in advance.
Year 2000 items are everywhere, and not just from survivalists pitching wood stoves and manual coffee makers.
Many products are the same-old, same-old. Take, for example, the Millennium Barbie. Please.
Other austere business entities are deep in the action. Consider American Express Cards new Y3K Compliant "Blue" Card, which the credit card company insists will have you seeing "Blue." ) 1999 Geo. J. Foster Co. http://www.fosters.com/news99csrch/september/19/su0919d.htm
-- Nicki (email@example.com), September 24, 1999.
Nicki, I agree with you, but you really can't blame these businesses for wanting to make a buck as fast as they can before Y2K. Maybe people can't believe it when they are told that a lousy 4 digit number is going to make their life miserable. Sounds crazy doesn't it?
-- bardou (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 24, 1999.
Here's the chart of risks for medicaid. It lists every state and there status. I haven't posted it because I wasn't sure if it had been posted before.
-- The Count of Meijer Crisco (email@example.com), September 24, 1999.
That should be "their" not there
This report goes along with that one
-- The Count of Meijer Crisco (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 24, 1999.
Well... we knew that.
-- Diane J. Squire (email@example.com), September 24, 1999.