Collaboration in Civic Spheres

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Seattle Science Fest “Open Science” panel coming soon

by Administrator 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 info@realscience.us as space is limited. The session is suitable for teens and adults.


MORE: Directions.

Auditor: state-funded EMS council bilked of $389K by boss

by Matt Rosenberg November 4th, 2012

The longtime Executive Director of a state-funded non-profit emergency medical services and trauma care council in Western Washington over six years bilked the agency out of almost $400,000 by writing herself extra paychecks, plus “operations and planning” stipends, and other unauthorized payments and excessive reimbursements. So asserts Washington State auditor Brian Sonntag in a fraud investigation report released November 1. It details the actions of Anice J. Grant while she worked for the Northwest Region Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Care Council. The council is one of eight statewide which coordinate first response to accidents, and related public and professional education programs. Its members include representatives of emergency medical and trauma care providers in Kitsap, Mason, Jefferson and Clallam counties.

According to Sonntag’s report, the Inspector General’s Office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is now probing the case and it has also been forwarded to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. U.S. authorities have been notified because federal funds, passed through the Washington State Department of Health, helped fund the council. Though Grant is not named in the fraud investigation report, board meeting minutes and an interview with the council board chairman reveal her as the subject.

Green tourism campaign eyes fewer cars to San Juans

by Matt Rosenberg July 16th, 2012

It’s a Pacific Northwest ritual endured by visitors, newcomers and even old-timers who should know better. Book a trip to one of the idyllic San Juan Islands served by the Washington State Ferries’ stolid vehicle-bearing vessels. Then wait for hours in line at the mainland dock in Anacortes, and plot a better strategy for next time. Rinse, and repeat a few summers later. A consortium of San Juans government, tourism, and non-profit officials say there’s a better way, or at least some painless alternatives that warrant stronger promotion. So at a presentation to the Friday Harbor, Wash. Town Council July 19, leaders of the San Juan Islands Scenic Byways Partnership will discuss their plans to accent car-free travel to the popular vacation spots of San Juan Island and Orcas Island, aided by a new, two-year $171,000 alternative transportation grant from the America’s Byways office of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Atop Mount Constitution, Orcas Island/San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau

The new grant to promote transportation alternatives comes at a timely juncture.

Cuba smackdown of rights testifier to U.S. Senate backfires

by Zachariah Bryan June 30th, 2012

Earlier this month in Cuba, peaceful political dissident Jorge Luis Garcia Perez, or “Antunez,” was jailed, beaten and pepper sprayed. This took place just three days after he testified to a U.S. Senate subcommittee about the Cuban government’s repression of citizens’ free speech rights. Though for thousands of Cuban citizens such harassment has long been common, acts of repression in Cuba burgeoned last year, according to the Cuba section of a recent global human rights report from the U.S. Department of State. In 2011, The Cuban Commission on Human Rights and Reconciliation counted a total of 4,123 short-term detentions, a 99 percent increase over 2010, according to the State Department report. This year’s pace is even higher, with documented political arrests in Cuba at more than 2,400 since January; 1,158 in March alone, according to testimony of U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) at the subcommittee hearing earlier this month.

Seattle NGOs echo concerns of USAID Haiti audit

by Zachariah Bryan May 23rd, 2012

A program aimed at improving watersheds and water quality in Haiti and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development hasn’t made inroads against major environmental risks and could be facing potentially expensive setbacks, according to an audit by the agency’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Discussing the audit’s concerns, representatives of two NGOs in the Seattle region which track Haiti respectively accented ongoing cholera risk from unsafe water; and the need for a deeper level of personal investment from citizens to augment external aid for environmental and public health problems. But underlying these challenges is a staggering unemployment rate which defies easy answers.

Haiti’s troubled environment is compounded by a weak government and wanting infrastructure resulting in part from the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Trash pick-up, environmental regulation, and water systems are especially problematic. Haiti’s watersheds have been long in decline due to decades of unchecked logging and charcoal demand, leaving the island with an estimated two percent forestation today, according to the audit. This boosts susceptibility to tropical storms and hurricanes which can bring flash floods to communities from eroded watersheds, taking lives and damaging property.

USAID in response launched a partnership with Chemonics International Inc. named the Watershed Initiative for National Natural Environmental Resources program (WINNER). It has $128 million in authorized funding and is designed to reduce environmental and economic vulnerability by rehabilitating watersheds and reducing flood risk along rivers. It also aims to train farmers in agricultural practices. Haiti produces less than half the food it consumes.