Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for May, 2011

Washington company wins $83 million contract for unmanned U.S. spy plane support services

by Matt Rosenberg May 27th, 2011

SUMMARY: Insitu, Inc. of Bingen, Wash. yesterday won an $83.7 million contract to provide operations and maintenance support for the U.S. military’s ScanEagle unmanned aerial surveillance systems used by the Navy and Marines to support troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and against Somali pirates. Earlier, Insitu and its parent company Boeing also developed ScanEagle. Civilian applications of the system may ensue in coming years, if a safety rules framework is adopted by the Federal Aviation Administration. Early tests and research have shown ScanEagle can be used to count whale populations, monitor river flooding and aid in back country rescue.

Audit: Bureau of Indian Affairs Jails Still Mismanaged

by Matt Rosenberg May 26th, 2011

SUMMARY: Seven years after the problem was highlighted in a government report, a 2011 follow-up investigation reveals that despite a nearly 50 percent increase in funding, understaffing remains a problem at detention facilities in Indian Country because of poor working conditions, low pay, use of funds for other purposes, and failure by Bureau of Indian Affairs management to focus on the problem. Attrition, low morale and increased security risks are among the results. In addition, the physical condition of many of the detention facilities visited is poor.

U.S. warns consumers of unsafe cribs

by Matt Rosenberg May 25th, 2011

SUMMARY: A U.S. government agency yesterday issued a warning to purchasers of about 22,000 Chinese-made Dram On Me brand drop-side and portable drop-side cribs sold nationwide at major U.S. retailers and online. Consumers should stop using the products right away because of safety hazards including possible strangulation or suffocation. Free repair kits or replacements will be made available by Dream On Me in July.

Gig Harbor Bans Roadside Panhandling

by Matt Rosenberg May 24th, 2011

SUMMARY: The Gig Harbor City Council last night approved an ordinance making it a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail for panhandlers to solicit drivers on public roadways. City officials believe there’s a safety hazard posed by the presence of panhandlers and their signage alongside freeway exit ramps and when they approach or interact with drivers or passengers. Several community-based non-profit organizations in Pierce County and Gig Harbor area minister to the needs of the homeless and hungry.

Washington firm wins $66 million military food supply contract

by Matt Rosenberg May 23rd, 2011

SUMMARY: Numerous Washington state companies other than Boeing continue to win sizable U.S. defense contracts, which can be tracked through a Department of Defense Web page which is updated Monday through Friday, and a related database of announcements. Last week, a Mount Vernon company won a $66 million contract for military food distribution. Among others, in March, Seattle firms won a $30 million contract for infrastructure work at Northwest military facilities, and $6.7 million contract for inflatable mattresses. Other military contracts worth more than $5 million were awarded in the last six months to Washington state firms for aviation fuel, helicopter refurbishment, additional food distribution work, and wirelesss services and devices.

Guilty pleas in Seattle Medicaid prescription drug conspiracy

by Matt Rosenberg May 17th, 2011

SUMMARY: A Seattle woman and her fiance last week pled guilty to federal charges in a scheme involving theft of Medicare client information from a Seattle eye clinic where she worked as a billing technician, and to the forging and submitting of fraudulent prescriptions at Oregon pharmacies for straw patients of the narcotic painkillers methadone, oxycodone and hydrocodone. The pair then sold the narcotics to distributors in Seattle and banked some of the proceeds. They’re each eligible for up to 22 years upon sentencing in September but prosecutors have recommended shorter sentences in return for their cooperation on plea agreements.

Seattle to sell old utility property to Port for noise buffer

by Matt Rosenberg May 16th, 2011

SUMMARY: After selling or otherwise disposing of 159 excess properties for $159 million between 1998 and August 2008, the City of Seattle has sold none since then although it has some 212 “property management areas” declared as excess and worth roughly $81 million. Under a city council bill expected to be approved this week in committee and soon thereafter by the city council, Seattle would begin anew the offloading of some of its excess properties, with the sale for $178,212 of the old Sunnydale Substation parcel it owns in Burien to the Port of Seattle, which will use it to fill out the buffer zone near the third runway at Sea-Tac Airport.