Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for May, 2012

Chicken liberation hearing Thurs. night in Lake Forest Park

by Matt Rosenberg May 10th, 2012

Behold the versatile egg. How much better, some say, to harvest eggs from your own backyard than in polystyrene or cardboard packages from the grocery store. As interest grows in urban agriculture and locally-sourced foods, it’s not only in overtly green cities such as Seattle that governments are being asked to help pave the way back to a simpler time. Some suburban communities that were once rural are returning to their roots. And so at its regularly scheduled meeting Thursday May 10 the Lake Forest Park City Council will hold a public hearing on a long-in-the-works proposed ordinance to make it easier for local residents to keep chickens on their properties. At approximately 7:30, half an hour in to the council meeting, the hearing is scheduled on the measure to amend to the Lake Forest Park Municipal Code in response to “an increase in citizen demand for backyard chickens and the need to streamline the process associated with regulating this activity,” according to a city staff memo attached to the ordinance.

Washington ranks high in mixed-race households

by Matt Rosenberg May 6th, 2012

A newly-released focus report on U.S. households by the Census Bureau reveals Washington State is in the top fifth nationally in mixed-race households. Which ever way you slice it. Of Washington husband-wife households counted in the 2010 Census, 10.9 percent were mixed race – versus 6.9 percent nationally. That ranks eighth out of the 50 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The trend carried across other types of couplings in Washington households. Of unmarried, opposite-sex partner households in Washington, 19.6 percent were mixed race versus 14.2 percent nationally; the state ranked eighth of 52. For same-sex households in Washington, 18.5 percent included partners of different races, versus 14.5 percent nationally; and the state ranked 10th of 52. The report was full of other notable findings nationally, and for Washington and Seattle – regarding solo households, households with children, households headed by single women and single moms, and same-sex households.

UW report: King County a national leader in life expectancy

by Matt Rosenberg May 4th, 2012

King County ranks in the top two percent nationally for male and female life expectancy, according to a nationwide survey of all 3,147 U.S. counties or county equivalents, by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. IHME’s U.S. County Performance Research Team, led by Dr. Ali Mokdad, of Mercer Island, recently presented the survey data (here, in an Excel file) at a health care journalists conference in Atlanta. Researchers gathered life expectancy data for men and for women in each U.S. county, and used 1989, 1999 and 2009 as key touchpoints.

New state report: 2011 assisted suicides reach new high

by Matt Rosenberg May 2nd, 2012

Under a law approved by voters in 2008, 80 different doctors wrote prescriptions for 103 lethal doses of medication in Washington in 2011 and 94 of the patients are known to have died, according to the state’s third annual Death With Dignity Act report. Issued today by the Washington State Department of Health, the report also notes that the 2011 totals for assisted suicide requests and deaths under the law reached a new high since the enabling state law went into effect in early 2009. Most of the 2011 Death With Dignity participants lived west of the Cascades, and were suffering from cancer. Many were concerned about losing ability to take care of themselves. A high percentage of the 94 participants who died also indicated concerns abut loss of dignity from their disease, and diminished ability to enjoy life. Participants also frequently identified as concerns their loss of bodily functions, imposing a burden on family and caregivers, and to a lesser extent, inadequate pain relief. The main drug prescribed for the assisted suicides was was secobarbital; although some doctors prescribed pentobarbital.