For the week of January 27, 1999   thru February 2, 1999  

‘Big ones’ shun SV Y2K meeting

Express Staff Writer

Assessment of potential city problems emanating from the so-called Millenium Bug was the major topic for discussion at the first of several Y2K meetings hosted by the city of Sun Valley.

The meeting to address possible computer shutdowns caused when the date clicks to Jan. 1, 2000, was attended by representatives from several city departments, but the business owners and suppliers were conspicuously absent.

Sun Valley city administrator Bob Van Nort said the "big ones" were not there, referring to Sun Valley Company, Wood River Medical Center and Elkhorn Resort.

City staff members said both Sun Valley Company and Elkhorn Resort could potentially be hosting more than the usual number of guests on New Year’s Eve 1999, when, at the stroke of midnight, a programming glitch could cause computers and products with embedded computer date chips to cease functioning.

The process to avoid problems includes replacing and updating any equipment, vehicles, software and hardware containing programming that used a two-digit date. When the year turns to 2000, such programs will record 00 instead.

Seeking out all such instances in this electronic age is time consuming.

But, Van Nort pointed out, "(the city) is far ahead of the game right now. We want to be ready by October at the latest."

The city has so far sent letters all over the country asking its suppliers for information on their progress in updating, Van Nort said.

"The reply letters are all nice and vague…so far," said Sun Valley Fire Chief Jeff Carnes.

Also, the city has taken an inventory of all of its potentially problematic electronic devices, Van Nort said.

Carnes said the fire department will station a fuel truck with a few thousand gallons of fuel—enough to operate for one month—at the Elkhorn fire station in case gas shipments fail.

Idaho Power and Brico Gas are two of the city’s largest concerns, since failure of either could leave homes without heat and fuel for generators in the middle of winter.

"A major power outage at that time of year would certainly be a disaster," he said.

Those in attendance included representatives from KART, Sun Valley Water and Sewer District and the Sun Valley Fire and Police departments.

Medical Center and Sun Valley Company Y2K representatives did not return Mountain Express phone calls by press time.


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