Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for February, 2012

For 5th drunk driving offense in 10 years, Maple Valley man faces felony DUI sentencing by King County judge

by February 28th, 2012

Kenneth Wayne Sandholm, 55, of Maple Valley is scheduled to be sentenced this coming Friday by King County Superior Court Judge Michael Heavey for up to five years in prison on a felony conviction earlier this month for Driving Under the Influence. Sandholm was convicted February 13th, for his fifth DUI offense committed within 10 years – making the most recent one a felony under state law. The circumstances of his arrest are detailed in the probable cause statement and the statement of charges.

Crossing the lines on State Route 18
According to these documents from the case file, Sandholm had four prior (misdemeanor) DUI convictions between 2000 and 2008; in Pierce County Court in 2000, 2005 and 2008; and in Tacoma Municipal Court in 2007. Each of those DUI convictions was accompanied by a conviction for driving with license suspended. On October 29, 2009 Sandholm was observed by a Washington State Patrol trooper driving east on State Route 18 just west of State Route 516 in his blue 1987 Mazda pickup and having major difficulties staying in his lane. The trooper reported that Sandholm at one point lurched from one eastbound lane into another by half a vehicle width, then after correcting, straddled the two lanes again, this time for 10 car lengths. Both before and after this, Sandholm’s vehicle went across the line dividing one lane with the road’s shoulder. The trooper stooped Sandholm, who according to the trooper’s report, had watery, bloodshot eyes and smelled of alcohol.

UW axed assistant dean who faked credits for 139 students

by February 24th, 2012

An ethically dicey work-around to help University of Washington School of Social Work master’s degree students maintain eligibility for financial aid and tuition waivers led to the forced resignation of an assistant dean named William G. “Gary” Olson. The Bellevue resident is now an adjunct instructor at Bellevue College, and claims through his attorney he was wronged by UW for engaging in what was an accepted practice there – albeit one about which he himself raised the initial questions that led to his exit.

Well away from public view UW found last year in an Internal Audit division investigation that from 2003 to 2011 Olson, the Assistant Dean of Student Services at its School of Social Work, awarded 139 students passing grades in a “Readings In Social Work” independent study course he taught, even though they did no work for the course. According to the audit division’s report dated June, 2011 – and obtained recently by Public Data Ferret through a public records request – the actions by Olson rendered invalid more than $200,000 in financial aid awarded to 54 of those students. University officials firmly maintain that Olson’s actions were isolated and that strong corrective steps have been taken.

WA bill would amp up science disclosure by enviro agencies

by February 21st, 2012

A “show your work” bill which earlier this month cleared the Washington State House of Representatives by a 97-0 vote and is now under consideration in the Senate’s Government Operations Committee would require Washington’s departments of ecology, and fish and wildlife, to disclose online an index of supporting peer-reviewed scientific literature for every major proposed rule, policy, guidelines or guidance document they are going to issue. ESHB 2335 was heard Monday in the Senate committee and is backed by interests including the Washington Retail Association, the American Chemistry Council, Schnitzer Steel and the Washington Small Agriculture Producer Coalition. Opponents include the Umatilla Tribe.

A senate bill report adds that the Department of Ecology supports the intent of the bill but not the bill itself because of the fiscal impact, which the most recent fiscal note on the bill estimates at $523,520 from 2012 through 2017. The bill report says the Department of Fish and Wildlife also supports the intent but is concerned about the measure’s scope, which it says could extend to the setting of fishing and hunting catch limits. The House sponsors of the legislation were Rep. Shelly Short (R-7th), Rep. Dave Upthegrove (D-33rd), and Rep. Larry Springer (D- 45th). For the bill to stay alive, it must be approved by the Senate committee by this coming Friday Feb. 24th. The last meeting of the committee now scheduled by then is for Feb. 23.

Bothell firm wins military contract extension worth up to $46M

by February 17th, 2012

Yesterday as the first stage of its $995 million purchase by Tokyo-based Fujifilm was successfully completed, Sonosite, Inc. of Bothell, Wash. was awarded a third-year contract extension worth up to $46,303,658 to supply the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and federal civilian agencies with ultrasound devices used near combat settings and in hospitals to detect injuries to war-fighters and other personnel. The company’s 2010 gross revenues were $275 million.

According to the company’s Vice-President of Governments Accounts and MSK Imaging, Ronald S. Dickson, the contract with the Philadelphia-based U.S. Defense Logistics Agency means Sonosite will continue to sell core products such as the M-Turbo and NanoMaxx portable ultrasound devices for use by field physicians in tents and medics in “far-forward” battle locations, as well as other ultrasound products for U.S. military and Veterans Administration hospitals. There are approximately 70 to 80 of the former globally and about 170 of the latter in the U.S.

UW study: low-dose CT scans for lung cancer too costly?

by February 15th, 2012

A new study from University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center experts in Seattle finds that the overall costs of detecting and treating lung cancer among heavy smokers through a potentially promising process involving screening with low-dose CT scans may currently be too costly to a nation struggling to control growing health care costs, even though some lives would be saved. They urge development of cost-effectiveness standards to guide further policy-making, and emphasize that costs can be cut if health care providers improve their diagnostic skills to more frequently sidestep “false positive” results of the scans.

Coal, gas will still power most electricity in 2035, unless…

by February 10th, 2012

Without a major shift in government policy such as extension of expiring renewable energy subsidies, or a carbon tax, coal will continue to be the predominant source for generating electricity used in the United States in 2035. This is according to the 2012 Energy Outlook – Early Release, from the U.S. Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration. The report includes a data visualization reproduced below.

It shows that if policy continues on its current and expected future course – in the so-called “reference case” scenario – coal will account for 39 percent of U.S. net electricity generation in 2035 compared to 45 percent in 2010. (Net generation is the amount of power produced minus that used at the facility where it’s generated.) Natural gas would follow, accounting for 27 percent of U.S. net electricity generation in 2035, up from 24 percent in 2010. The percent of net electricity generation from renewable energy sources will rise from 10 percent in 2010 to 16 percent in 2035 in the EIA’s reference case scenario, with nuclear-sourced electricity declining from 20 to 18 percent of the generation mix over the same time span.

Source: Annual Energy Outlook 2012 - Early Release/U.S. Energy Information Administration

RELATED; Electricity Generation Overview, Annual Energy Outlook 2012 – Early Release

Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the Seattle-based 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News; Donate.

Seattle Community College teachers urge board to buy ethically; cut ties with Bank of America, Georgia Pacific

by February 9th, 2012

The meeting this afternoon of the Seattle Community College District Board of Trustees will be preceded by a study session in which officials will begin to publicly mull a request from the teachers union to adopt a socially-responsible purchasing policy and cut ties with two major SCCD vendors reviled by many Seattle progressives.

A local unit of the American Federation of Teachers which represents SCCD instructors is pressuring the board to adopt a “socially responsible purchasing policy” that among other things would sever current business ties with the Bank of America and the Georgia Pacific paper company owned by the prominent national conservative political funders the Koch brothers. The district operates three community colleges in Seattle – North, South, and Central, and a satellite program at the Seattle Vocational institute.