Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for the ‘Federal Government’ Category

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

by Matt Rosenberg 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.

U.S. inpatient death rates down, but not for blood infections

by Matt Rosenberg April 2nd, 2013

A recent data brief from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that inpatient hospital death rates are down 20 percent from 2000 to 2010 overall, and down markedly in that time for seven of eight major “first-listed diagnoses” with the notable exception of septicemia, or infections of the bloodstream. The overall death rate for U.S. hospital inpatients dropped from 2.5 per 100 patients in 2000 to 2.2 in 2005 and 2.0 in 2010. Death rates per 100 patients hospitalized for first-listed diagnosis were also down sharply for respiratory failure, pnuemonitis due to solids and liquids, pneumonia, kidney disease, cancer, stroke, and heart disease. But for septicemia, inpatient deaths grew 17 percent – from 13.9 per 100 patients hospitalized for that diagnosis in 2000, to 16.3 per 100 such patients in 2010.

Washington combined cancer rates tops in western counties

by Danning Chen March 15th, 2013

Five years of data from the National Cancer Institute’s State Cancer Profiles database show that within Washington state, the overall rate of cancer is highest in western counties and lowest in rural and eastern counties. From 2005 through 2009 it was highest in Mason County, at an annual average rate of 554.6 cases per 100,000 population versus 476 per 100,000 across the whole state. Among the state’s 39 counties the rest of the top 10 for 2005-2009 in overall cancer rate, in order, are Grays Harbor, Whatcom, Pierce, Snohomish, Skagit, Thurston Jefferson, Cowlitz and Kitsap. King County ranked 13th. Lowest overall cancer rates were, in order, in the counties of Klickitat, Skamania, Garfield, Asotin and Ferry. Hover over any Washington county in the mapped visualization below to get its overall – known as “all types” – cancer rate, and also use the pull-down menu to select mapped data by Washington county on rates of breast, lung and prostate cancer. A tab atop the map also provides access to U.S. cancer rates by state, for 2009. As we reported recently, Washington ranked 13th among 50 states in the “all types” rate in 2009, but first in breast cancer.

For breast cancer by county in Washington for 2005-09, Walla Walla County had the highest annual average rate, 159.4 diagnosed cases per 100,000 population. It was followed by the counties of Mason, Cowlitz, Snohomish, Whatcom, King and Thurston. Douglas County had the highest rate of prostate cancer, followed by San Juan, Chelan and Whitman. Grays Harbor County had far and away the highest rate of cancer of the lung and bronchus.

Contributing to the “all types” rates, according to NCI, are “all invasive cancer sites combined, bladder, breast, brain, cervix, childhood cancers all sites combined, colon and rectum, esophagus, kidney, leukemias, liver and bile duct, lung and bronchus, melanomas of the skin, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, oral cavity and pharynx, ovary, pancreas, prostate, stomach, thyroid, and uterus.”

(UPDATE: Why one county has a higher rate than another is hard to determine precisely. However in a backgrounder the Washington State Department of Health notes that cancer risk factors include exposure to tobacco and second-hand smoke, excessive alcohol use, excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun or tanning beds, lack of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, unhealthy weight, physical inactivity, and not regularly seeking medical care. Additionally, the National Cancer Institute provides an online collection of fact sheets on risks related to different types of cancer.)

An average annual count of newly-diagnosed cancer cases in each jurisdiction, along with official population data and other statistical and methodological controls are used to develop the rates. More details are available under the links titled, “Interpret,” “About This Table” and “Quick Reference Guide” at the NCI State Cancer Profiles chart for Washington state “all types” rates by county.


Assistance on the data visualization provided by Mike Klaczynski. Additional reporting by Matt Rosenberg. Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.


New defense awards worth up to $82M to Washington firms

by Matt Rosenberg March 13th, 2013


Another few weeks, and another batch of U.S. defense contracts for Washington state companies worth tens of millions of dollars. Under the new contracts, companies in Seattle, Lakewood, Bremerton and Bingen will provide channel dredging, construction and base operations services, and support for unmanned drones gathering images and data over Afghanistan. The following are via recent announcements from the Department of Defense, at its weekday contract notices hub.

Manson Construction Co. of Seattle has been awarded an $8 million contract for maintenance dredging of Mobile Harbor Channel, Alabama, by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Mobile.

The MACNAK Corte Design Build partnership of Lakewood, Wash. won from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Louisville, Kentucky a $14.3 million contract to perform construction work at an Army Reserve site in Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island, New York. The work is to be competed by July, 2014.

A sister enterprise, Macnak-Saybr Joint Venture 1, also of Lakewood, won a bid worth up to $30 million over the next three years to deliver general construction services for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle.

Skookum Contract Services of Bremerton, Wash. won a $22.5 million incrementally dispensed award from the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Fort Lee, Virginia to provide base operations services at Fort Lee over the next two years. The first chunk of funding is for $2.2 million.

On the same day, InSitu, Inc. of Bingen, Wash. won from the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, Maryland a $7.8 million modification to a previously-awarded contact for operational maintenance and support for the ScanEagle unmanned drones used to deliver real-time images and data for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The contract runs to January, 2014.

Public Data Ferret’s Military+Contracting archive


Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.



WA led U.S. in breast cancer, for most recent year reported

by Danning Chen March 12th, 2013

Recently-updated data from the National Cancer Institute’s State Cancer Profiles database show that for incidence of breast cancer in the most recent year for which data are currently available, 2009, Washington ranked highest in the United States with a rate of 139.20 reported cases per 100,000 population. It was followed by Connecticut, Hawaii, Rhode Island and North Dakota. For prostate cancer Louisiana, Utah and Georgia ranked highest and for lung cancer, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee and Maine. Looking at overall rates of cancer, seven of ten states with highest rates in the United States were in the Northeast. The top 10 in order, were Connecticut, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Maine, Iowa, New York, New Jersey, Vermont. Washington ranked 13th of 49 states (data for Wisconsin was not available), with 474.5 cases of cancer per 100,000 population. Select from the four visualizations accessible below to compare state cancer rates in 2009 – for all types combined, plus breast, prostate and lung cancer. Contributing to the “all types” rates, according to NCI, are “all invasive cancer sites combined, bladder, breast, brain, cervix, childhood cancers all sites combined, colon and rectum, esophagus, kidney, leukemias, liver and bile duct, lung and bronchus, melanomas of the skin, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, oral cavity and pharynx, ovary, pancreas, prostate, stomach, thyroid, and uterus.”

According to a recent article in the U.S. Centers For Disease Control’s journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly, the overall cancer rate in the U.S. in 2009 was higher for men than women; and among racial groups was highest among African-Americans and lowest among Native Americans/Alaska Natives.

An article last fall in the National Cancer Institute Bulletin cites research that increased breast cancer screening since the 1970s has resulted in some cases being diagnosed which posed no risk to the subjects.

Related Findings
At the same time, research continues into various factors which may contribute to breast cancer risk. Work published last year by Seattle researchers from Group Health Cooperative and the University of Washington included detailed data from electronic pharmacy records of women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and found that use of certain types of oral contraceptives within the year prior to diagnosis may increase that risk for women aged 20 to 49. (UPDATE – Another recent study, from the National Cancer Institute, accents the connection between regular alcohol consumption prior to first pregnancy, and breast cancer risk.)

More information on breast cancer risk factors is provided by the American Cancer Society.


Assistance on the data visualization provided by Mike Klaczynski. Additional reporting by Matt Rosenberg. Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.



UW scores DARPA grant add-on to boost soldier health

by Matt Rosenberg February 28th, 2013

According to an announcement this week by the U.S. Department of Defense the University of Washington has won a $9.6 million modification to a “cooperative agreement” with a high-tech DoD special projects unit to advance its work on a system to let soldiers in the field self-collect biomarker-bearing substances such as semen, urine, saliva and hair, and swipe them onto cards sent to labs where they will be used to help diagnose possible health problems which can then be treated on the fly if needed with other advanced tools in development. Meanwhile, other U.S. military contracts sent the way of Washington state in this month alone are worth up to another $293 million. They are for unmanned drone support, a tactical equipment facility, food and radiology systems.

Mercer Island Council Outlines Battle Plan Against I-90 Tolls

by Matt Rosenberg February 24th, 2013

Admitting local state legislators have already warned their colleagues will likely approve electronic tolling on Interstate 90, Mercer Island City officials are still poised Monday night to approve a work plan to battle the move.

Council bill 4809 would OK an initial appropriation of $150,000 from the city’s $2.34 million general contingency fund to hire experts on the economic and traffic impacts to the well-off city of planned state tolling on I-90, plus federal and state lobbyists and a communications and government affairs consultant to fight the plan. Mercer Island has already engaged the high-powered Seattle law firm of K&L Gates, which recently completed a letter to the the Washington State Department of Transportation outlining what should be examined, and how, in the planned Environmental Assessment, or EA, on I-90 tolling.

State wants public comment on pocket gopher recovery plan

by Matt Rosenberg February 12th, 2013

Some 6,000 years ago in what became Oregon, volcanic Mount Mazama erupted. That carved out Crater Lake, from around where later originated Thomomys mazama, or the Mazama pocket gopher. It thrived in western Oregon, western Washington and northern California. But the advance of man has spelled trouble for this five-and-a-half-inch long, prominently-incisored rodent – which helps wildflowers grow and provides shelter for salamanders and Western Toads. By year’s end the U.S. government may designate four of its subspecies as officially threatened in Washington. The state has already listed it as threatened, in 2006, and recently released a draft recovery plan upon which public comment can be submitted through April 19.