Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for May, 2013

WA Supremes OK car search in JeffCo meth conviction

by May 31st, 2013

The Washington State Supreme Court in a ruling issued May 30 upheld the right of police under certain conditions to search a vehicle for inventory prior to a tow-away and for resulting evidence to be used in a drug possession prosecution. The case in question involved a Jefferson County Superior Court conviction for possession of methamphetamine of a driver who lacked a license and was driving the car of his jailed girlfriend.

Seattle Science Fest “Open Science” panel coming soon

by May 30th, 2013

The Seattle Science Festival running June 6 to June 16 will include a special panel discussion June 12 with Q&A, on your right to know what publicly-funded scientists are discovering, and how “open science” can be advanced. The free event is Tuesday June 12, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the West Seattle Branch of the Seattle Public Library, 2306 42nd Ave. SW, just north of Metropolitan Market. More below from panel host Michael Bradbury.

So much science is freely available online if you know where to look. There’s a treasure trove of open science available for journalists, bloggers and the public. Learn about open access journals and other online sources that don’t require subscriptions. Hear about how public data helps tell important regional health and science stories. Join us on June 12 as we listen to some of the stories that local science writers and science social media experts have covered and written in this general discussion of open science.

Sally James brings her years as a science and health writer to bear on open science. She will discuss how she uses social media to access open science papers. She will also talk about how citizen science projects and open science projects have become a staple and how they fit into science writer’s toolbox. She recently started her own blog, SeattleScienceWriter and is former president of the Northwest Science Writers Association. Recently she appeared on KUOW-FM’s Weekday, talking about current science news.

Matt Rosenberg will add to the panel discussion his perspectives covering the Open Science beat for his site Public Data Ferret, a project of the 501c3 he founded and directs, Public Eye Northwest. Matt will share lessons learned mining open access journals online for news of general interest, including that which ties directly into local, regional and state public policy issues.

Michael Bradbury will host the discussion. He is a journalist and the founder of REALscience, a Seattle-based online science news site. He is a longtime proponent of open science who believes that the public should have full access to all research that tax dollars make possible. He would also like to see a proliferation of citizen science projects that engage and encourage the public to help scientists gather and analyze data, further breaking down the barriers between the public and the scientific community.

Please RSVP to as space is limited. The session is suitable for teens and adults.

MORE: Directions.

UW doc: here’s how a small clinic can divorce Big Pharma

by May 28th, 2013

In a new report published in the May-June 2013 edition of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, University of Washington-Seattle doctor David Evans and several co-authors from Oregon describe how an independent community medical practice can consciously adopt new policies to diminish the influence of big pharmaceutical firms on their drug prescribing policies and thus give patients and insurers opportunities to cut related costs. They say theirs appears to be the first report on how small private practices, in particular, can develop a clear process on how to do this.

Calories drop, under King County fast-food menu labeling

by May 25th, 2013

A new study by researchers at Public Health – Seattle and King County, just published in the June online edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, finds that King County-mandated menu labeling at major fast food chains may finally be starting to have the desired effect. On average, customers are consuming 870 calories per lunch 16-18 months after labeling began – 38 calories less or the rough equivalent of one slice of bacon. It’s a reversal from initial results 4-6 months afterward showing a caloric increase. Along with other studies the findings “suggest that menu labeling” at fast food outlets “has the potential to contribute to obesity prevention,” the authors write. Last year some of the researchers involved in the new study reported in another paper they were seeing longer-term improvements, but they did not release any actual data at the time.

Pols urge “system-wide” tolling study; I-90 EIS looms

by May 22nd, 2013

Proposed electronic tolling of I-90 just east of Seattle – to fill a $1.4 billion gap in building the western approach of a new bridge on SR 520 – is getting more complicated. There will now be a full Environmental Impact Statement, not just an Environmental Assessment. Regional pols are also pushing for a “system-wide” study of tolling in greater Seattle which they say should include looking at using vehicle tolling revenues to fund transit. And in the end it could be that instead of relying on I-90 user fees, tolling on a broader swath of SR 520 itself will help pay for the new bridge’s western approach.

Accused Highline daycare rapist may avoid trial for 3rd time

by May 20th, 2013

Since early March Olad Hussein Kaynan, 24, a Somalian refugee who lived with his family in the North Highline Unincorporated Area of south King County has been in jail in Seattle charged with three counts of child rape in the first degree. His bail is set at $200,000. It’s been almost five years since he was first charged but state psychiatrists, defense and prosecuting attorneys, and King County judges have kept him in a cycle of custody that has so far not allowed him the opportunity to go to trial and clear his name.

Bias, bother, then firing – says ex-King enviro worker, in suit

by May 17th, 2013

A fired resource specialist at the King Conservation District in a civil lawsuit filed this week in King County Superior Court is seeking economic and compensatory damages, claiming she was discriminated against in the workplace for being pregnant, and was sexually harassed by female superiors and then railroaded out of her job for speaking up about it and for starting union organizing talks amongst employees even though – she claims – she had nothing but positive performance reviews and pay raises with no disciplinary notices prior to the day she was let go.

New DOJ report: U.S. firearm homicide rate at 18-year low

by May 16th, 2013

The rate of firearm-related homicides in the U.S. in 2011 was 3.6 per 100,000 persons, the same as in 2010 and otherwise lower than any year from 1993 forward, according to a new report from the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics. The previous low in the 18-year study period was 3.8 in 2000. And, according to the BJS report, the rate in 2011 of non-fatal firearm victimizations, or reported acts of violence in which firearms were used, was 1.8 per 1,000 people 12 and older. That was up one-fifth of one percent from the last two years but down five-and-one-half points since 1993.