Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for the ‘Grants & Funding’ Category

UW, Group Health study: some pills raise breast cancer risk

by Matt Rosenberg March 5th, 2012

Delving into a hot-button topic about which they state all the science is distinctly not settled, a female-led team of researchers and doctors from the University of Washington in Seattle and the Seattle-based Group Health Cooperative HMO – in preliminary findings of a new study – report that for women aged 20 to 49, use of certain types of oral contraceptives within the previous year are “associated with particularly elevated risk” of being diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. The abstract-only findings were published online in mid-February in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention (link, screen shot.) The findings are also highlighted by Group Health at their Web site in a brief titled, “Taking newer birth control pills may be linked to a higher risk of breast cancer.”

The lead author, Elisabeth Beaber, a UW PhD candidate in epidemiology, declined to discuss the published first-stage research outcomes prior to further peer review. Meanwhile, Beaber was scheduled to give a presentation on the current report March 6 at the 2012 annual meeting of the American Society of Preventive Oncology in Washington D.C. as part of a session (referenced in the meeting agenda on p. 12) titled “Breast Cancer: Risk Prediction, Screening and Behavior Modification.”

The preliminary results of the study show that for women age 20 to 49, using within the last year an oral contraceptive formulation with high-dose estrogen or a progestin called ethynodial diacetate raises the odds ratios to 2.7 and 2.6, respectively, of being diagnosed with invasive breast cancer within that time frame – compared to women who do not use those formulations. An odds ratio of 1 represents no association.

UW axed assistant dean who faked credits for 139 students

by Matt Rosenberg 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 transportation funding bills an exercise in caution

by Matt Rosenberg 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.

King County hopes to revive mileage-based car insurance

by Matt Rosenberg October 27th, 2011

After a planned “pay as you drive” (PAYD) auto insurance pilot program using on-board devices to track mileage and facilitate rate discounts was announced with fanfare by King County in 2007, it quietly fizzled by mid-2011, as a related contract with Unigard Insurance’s Bellevue office was cancelled. But now the County is hoping to ramp up the experiment once more, perhaps lending impetus to stalled state legislation which would authorize insurers to offer a PAYD option to Washington motorists. With a $1.9 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration still in hand, King County is seeking proposals by November 3 from insurance companies to develop a PAYD product, also known as mileage based auto insurance (MBAI), that would be marketed to drivers as a way to save money, reduce vehicle miles traveled, and in urban regions such as Seattle, cut greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

Georgetown, downtown firms share in $74 million Navy contract

by Matt Rosenberg October 19th, 2011

The downtown Seattle marine engineering firm Guido Perla and Associates and Markey Machinery in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood will share in a $74 million contract awarded last week by the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command to Dakota Creek Industries of Anacortes for a new oceanographic research ship. Perla will perform final design for the vessel, and Markey will provide four winches which are used to lower crucial research equipment into the ocean. The vessel will be built in Anacortes by Dakota Creek, and operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. The contract has a $71 million option for a second such ship, which would go to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. Up to three or four more similar boats may be later commissioned by the Navy to continue replacing its aging research vessel fleet.

Blaine Dempke, president of subcontractor Markey Machinery, said, “for a company like ours, this is about a year’s worth of work. It’s quite significant in terms of adding and retaining jobs.” Dempke declined to specify how much the company will be paid from the contract but said the amount is “in seven figures.” Markey will supply two small winches of about 20,000 pounds each and two larger ones each about 50,000 pounds. They’re used to lower research packages and remote-operated vehicles into the ocean which take water samples, coring samples and do other work.

U.S. Military contracts flowing to Washington state this week

by Matt Rosenberg October 6th, 2011

Four U.S. military contracts with companies based in Washington state have been announced so far this week by the Department of Defense. Three of the firms are in Central Puget Sound, in Bellevue, Issaquah and Bothell, and another is in Richland. The four contracts have an aggregate value of up to $53.9 million. Excerpts from DOD daily announcements follow, with additional information.

Oct. 5, 2011. “Spacelabs Medical, Inc., Issaquah, Wash. was issued a modification exercising the second option year on the current contract. Award is a fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract with a maximum $13,460,681 for patient monitoring systems, subsystems, accessories, consumables and training. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. The date of performance completion is Oct. 7, 2012. The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting (entity).” Contract #: SPM2D1-09-D-8351/P00007. (Oct. 5, 2011 contract announcements; Spacelabs Medical, past U.S. military contracts).

Oct. 4, 2011. “Sealaska Constructors, L.L.C., Bellevue, Wash., was awarded a $10,894,289 firm-fixed-price contract. The award will provide for the repair services of the ventilation and mechanical environmental systems in the Aircraft Corrosion Control Hangar, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. Work will be performed in Abilene, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 14, 2012. One bid was solicited, with one bid received. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth, Texas, is the contracting (agency).” Contract #: W9126G-11-C-0084. (Oct. 4, 2011 contract announcements; Sealaska Constructors, past U.S. military contracts).

Oct. 4, 2011. “RC Engineering & Construction Management, Richland, Wash., was awarded a $20,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract. The award will provide for the engineering support services for the Walla Walla District, Corps of Engineers. Work will be performed in Richland, Wash., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 28, 2016. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with seven bids received. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla, Wash., is the contracting (agency).” Contract #: W912EF-11-D-0013. (Oct. 4, 2011 contract announcements.)

October 3, 2011. Philips Medical Systems, Bothell, Wash., “was awarded a $9,626,500 time-and-material contract. The award will provide for the maintenance services for biomedical equipment for the Army. Work location will be determined with each task order, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2016. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with two bids received. The Center for Health Care Contracting, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, is the contracting (agency).” Contract #: W81K04-11-D-0016. (Oct. 3, 2011 contract announcements ; Philips Medical Systems, Bothell, Wash. past U.S. military contracts.)

Public Data Ferret Military Contracting archive

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City of Renton passes resolution against I-1125, but voter survey shows majority support

by Matt Rosenberg September 27th, 2011

After holding a public hearing on the controversial topic of regional tolling, The City of Renton last night approved a resolution opposing Initiative 1125, which would restrict highway tolling. Washington voters will decide it in November. Renton, a growing suburban city at Seattle’s southern border, is at the junction of a multi-billion-dollar proposed tolling project that would connect Interstate 405 with State Route 167 and add tolled express lanes to both, as part of a broader toll-centric plan to unsnarl traffic and fund highway fixes in the Seattle region and elsewhere in the state. Initiative sponsor Tim Eyman sharply disagreed with the vote by the Renton council. Meanwhile, a new Survey USA poll reported today by KING5-TV in Seattle showed more than twice as many voters for I-1125 as against, but a crucial margin still undecided.