Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for the ‘King County’ Category

Restaurant Food Safety Inspections: Mercer Island, Wash.

by November 22nd, 2010

SUMMARY: Inspectors for the combined public health department serving King County and Seattle regularly conduct on-site assessments of food service establishments and their compliance with necessary food safety procedures. Results are online and searchable by name, address, city or zip code. Recent inspections in the King County city of Mercer Island – zip code 98040 – revealed that a number of establishments were not following proper food safety procedures to minimize the risk of food-borne infections, at the time of inspection.

BACKGROUND: An estimated 76 million people per year suffer from food-borne illnesses, and 5,000 die annually in the U.S. from these ailments, which include botulism, campylobacteriosis, norovirus, salmonellosis, and shigellosis. As a result, proper hot and cold holding temperatures of foods and beverages in food service establishments are considered important. So are hand washing and hot water, soap and paper towels in the restrooms, general sanitation and avoidance of cross-contamination between ready-to-eat foods and uncooked raw meat, poultry or seafood. These and other necessary food handling procedures are detailed online by Public Health Seattle-King County and in educational visits to food establishments following inspections. Violations cited during inspections are divided into two categories. Red violations are more serious, and pose a heightened risk of transmitting food-borne illnesses to customers. Blue violations relate to maintenance. Each violation is assigned a certain number of points. Any inspection score above 5 points earns an “unsatisfactory” grade for a restaurant. It takes 35 red points to trigger a re-inspection within two weeks, and 90 red points or 120 combined red and blue points to warrant a closure.

KEY FINDINGS

According to the most recent King County-Seattle Public Health inspections of food service establishments in zip code 98040 as of this writing, the following establishments received ratings of “unsatisfactory” which were higher than the minimum “unsatisfactory” rating of 5 points.

WSDOT: Southeast King County Commuter Rail Study

by October 19th, 2010

SUMMARY: A proposed east-west spur commuter rail line in Southeast King County – connecting with the main north-south commuter rail line operated by Sound Transit, and with Amtrak Cascades service – would run every 33 minutes, and carry 1,140 daily passengers by 2030. It would cost $169 million to $190 million to build, and $4 million to $4.7 million to operate and maintain annually. Passenger fares would cover 16 percent of annual operating and maintenance costs, or as much as 30 percent if cost-sharing occured with Sound Transit. Due to relatively low ridership and high per-mile costs, the project would compete poorly for federal grants. No existing transit or rail agency would likely sponsor the project but a transportation benefit district could, particularly if state law were amended to clarify its role as a transit operator. A public vote would be required to grant taxing authority to such a body.

Washington State Commission On Judicial Conduct: Highlights Of 2010 Disciplinary Actions

by October 3rd, 2010

BACKGROUND: The Washington State Commission On Judicial Conduct investigates allegations of impropriety by judges in local, county and state court systems. It issues disciplinary rulings in each case, ranging from dismissal to “admonishment” or “reprimand” all the way to recommendations to the state Supreme Court for “disqualification” or barring a judge from serving further on the bench. At its “Public Actions” page, the commission provides links to all disciplinary cases from 1982 to the present, by year, and provides another link to the most recent, or “open” complaints. Following are selected 2010 decisions by the Commission.