Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for January, 2012

Interactive map: King County library system building projects

by January 30th, 2012

A series of construction and expansion projects continue to unfold in the new year in the King County (Wash.) Library System, following voter approval in 2004 of a $172 million bond issue. Courtesy of the library system’s staff we are happy to present a color-coded interactive map including links to project overview/status pages for each facilitity. Each branch name when clicked leads to a KCLS page detailing the respective project. We will seek to keep this map updated here, but going forward, you will always be able to find the most recent version of it at the KCLS 2004 bond-funded projects page. The projects page has additional information, including Frequently Asked Questions.

According to a portion of the December 2011 “Dashboard” report presented to the KCLS board by staff, highlights of the capital improvement plan building program already achieved in 2012 or expected to be completed this year include new facilities in Newcastle and Duvall and expansions in Auburn, Bellevue, and Lake Forest Park. New facilities are expected to progress this year toward an eventual construction start (2013 or later) at Vashon Island, Federal Way (320th St.) and Tukwila. In addition, non-bond construction of new libraries for Renton and Renton Highlands have cleared the design phase.

USER INSTRUCTIONS: Simply click on any branch name below (not the nearby dot) for more project-specific information. Our special thanks to KCLS Web Services Manager Lisa Hill for her assistance developing and sharing a WordPress-embeddable version of the KCLS code we used for the live map here.

Boulevard Park Traveling Library Center Algona-Pacific Auburn Muckleshoot Black Diamond Kent Regional Maple Valley Covington Federal Way 320th Federal Way Regional East Hill of Kent Des Moines Woodmont Fairwood Library Connection @Southcenter Vashon Skyway Tukwila Foster Burien Greenbridge White Center Newcastle Issaquah North Bend Snoqualmie Mercer Island Newport Way Fall City Library Connection @ Crossroads Bellevue Regional Lake Hills Sammamish Carnation Redmond Regional Kirkland Skykomish Duvall Library Kingsgate Woodinville Lake Forest Park Bothell Regional Kenmore Richmond Beach Shoreline Library2GO! and Digital Discovery Zone

Public Data Ferret’s Data Visualization archive

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WA transportation funding bills an exercise in caution

by January 27th, 2012

A recently released report from a special task force convened by Washington Governor Chris Gregoire says Washington state should settle for no less than $21 billion of a needed $50 billion in surface transportation spending over the next decade to preserve the system and make strategic corridor investments. But if the legislature will be stepping up to that lesser challenge in a big way, it is proceeding quite cautiously so far in the current session. The centerpiece transportation funding bill in the senate, SB 6455, would if passed in current form garner by 2023 little more than one-twentieth of the recommended $21 billion.

Risks drop from prescription opioids for WA injured workers

by January 25th, 2012

According to a new federally-funded study by University of Washington researchers, cautionary guidelines developed by Washington state agencies on physician-prescribed painkilling opiates for patients suffering from chronic pain preliminarily appear to be correlated with important overall risk reductions among one large sub-group of patients: injured workers seeking compensation through the state’s Department of Labor and Industries. Prime among these are reductions in related deadly overdoses; drops in number of claimants who were prescribed opioids; and a steady decline in the percent of workers who were being compensated for disability while using prescribed opioids, sometimes with little improvement, for pain treatment. Because of the potential for abuse and dependence, public health experts increasingly want to foster greater oversight of prescription opiates. The “yellow flag” educational program directed at physicians may very well help explain the measured changes although more data is needed in coming years to strengthen the connections.

These are the key findings of the new study published late last month in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine by researchers at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine, the university’s departments of Environmental and Ocupational Health Sciences, and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (DLI). The study was funded by the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and the National Center For Injury Prevention and Control.

Shoreline Mulls Smoking Ban In City Parks

by January 24th, 2012

Shoreline plans to roll out an online survey of residents in the first quarter of 2012 to help officials decide if it should join a growing group of Washington jurisdictions which ban use of tobacco products in their parks and sometimes other outdoor public spaces as well. At a city council meeting last night, members considered as a study item a detailed information packet including a city staff memo on the policy-making process and written presentations from King County – which is taking a regional leadership role in promoting smoke-free public parks. A key provision identified by city staff in the packet is that there is no money for extra enforcement. That would depend on hoped-for effects of signage and enforcement by local parks users and any police or parks staff who happened to observe violations while conducting other work tasks.

Auburn’s red-light, speeding cameras awash in more red ink

by January 22nd, 2012

The chairman of the City of Auburn’s Municipal Services Committee, Bill Peloza, says he’ll be asking some questions about the future of the town’s traffic safety automated camera enforcement program called PhotoSafe when the panel meets Monday night. The committee’s agenda includes a review and discussion of a new report showing PhotoSafe’s mounting red ink and suggesting beneficial changes in driver behavior that may have resulted from the installation of the cameras is leveling off.

Anti-Jewish hate crime probed at University of Washington

by January 20th, 2012

Campus police at the University of Washington in Seattle say they are investigating “as a hate crime” the drawing of a swastika and the word “Jew” on the the door of a Jewish student who lives in the residential facility Haggett Hall. In a written response to an information request by Public Data Ferret, University of Washington Police Department Commander Steve Rittereiser stated the incident is believed to have occurred January 8th and the victim is a 19-year-old Jewish male who resides on Haggett’s third floor. Sometime between 9 a.m. and 8:25 p.m. on the 8th, Ritteresier said, a “Nazi-type swastika” and the word “Jew” were written apparently by the same instrument on a door tag or eight-by-eleven-and-a-half inch piece of construction paper common to many other rooms in the dorm, bearing the first name of the chamber’s residents.

According to UW Police, the student said he had not been involved in any disputes or other activites which would have prompted the graffiti. Rittereiser stated,”‘this is being investigated as a hate crime due to the connection of the symbolism and the victim’s religious affiliation.” He added that UW Police detectives “are looking to see if there are similar incidents that may have happened and may not have been reported.” Haggett personnel are assisting with the investigation. No suspects have yet been identified. Haggett’s Resident Director Marissa Adamczyk responded to a reporter’s requests for an interview Friday afternoon with an email that she would not be available to talk until next Tuesday and has so far declined to reply to a follow-up email request to discuss the incident sooner.

If a suspect were to be identified and probable cause determined by campus police, then the case would be turned over to the King County Prosecutor’s office for further review and possible prosecution. Under Washington state law defacing with a swastika the property of an individual who is or is perceived to be Jewish is one way in which the Class C felony of malicious harassment can be committed. According to state statutes, Class C felonies upon conviction can be punished by up to five years in jail or a $10,000 fine, or both.

Haggett Hall is located at 4290 Whitman Court NE. Haggett’s third floor An adjoining but separate portion of Haggett’s third floor is a themed “International Community” which according to its UW Web page aims “to offer an enhanced living learning environment with an international focus. This community may be of particular interest to international students, students with experience or interest in studying abroad, and students interested in world issues.”

According to the constitution of the Haggett People’s Council, which is the governing body of the residence hall and its liaison to UW-Seattle’s student government, “we are dedicated to fostering an inclusive environment for students of all racial, ethnic, cultural, sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic, and religious backgrounds.”

UPDATE, Monday, 1/23/12: In a phone interview Adamczyk said, “I was aghast that a student accepted to the University of Washington would do something like this. We assume that they come in with a certain level of maturity and respect for others, but that was not the case in this instance.” Adamczyk added an email was sent to all Haggett Hall residents notifying them that a hate crime had occurred; that the building administration takes it seriously; and that they should forward any information about this or similar incidents. Adamczyk confirmed no suspect has yet been identified and for now the assumption is that the act occurred in an empty hallway. There are no security cameras covering the hallway in question. The affected student was disturbed but has received assistance and support from building staff, students and his faith community, Adamczyk said.

Public Data Ferret’s University of Washington archive

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WA had 2nd-highest eligible-voter turnout in U.S. in 2010

by January 18th, 2012

As its share of ballots cast by mail has steadily increased, Washington state in 2010 reached a new high in national ranking of “voting-eligible population” voter turnout, a more precise measure of civic engagement than the traditional turnout reports on the percent of registered voters who voted. One of only two U.S. states along with Oregon where all voting is now by mail, Washington state ranked second highest in percent of the voting-eligible population which actually cast ballots counted in the November 2010 elections. This is according to a recently-updated report based on government data and released by the United States Elections Project at George Mason University.

Cocaine isn’t only “psychostimulant” death risk for WA ex-cons

by January 16th, 2012

A recently published federally-funded research study tracking more than 30,000 ex-prison inmates released in Washington state shows that among the cohort of 1.5 percent or 443 that died within an almost two-year medical surveillance period, one-sixth perished in connection with use of so-called psychostimulant drugs – typically from an overdose. Researchers wanted to begin to zero in on the role in these deaths of non-cocaine psychostimulants such as meth, and found they’re definitely in the mix. The report also underscored that the risk of psychostimulant-related deaths for Washington state ex-inmates is highest within the first two weeks of release. So-called psychostimulants such as cocaine, meth and ecstasy are a distinctly different class of drugs from opioids such as heroin, morphine, codeine, fentyl and Oxycontin; which are prescribed for pain but also sometimes abused.