Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Volunteers wanted for Stevens Pass clean-up, Mt. Baker trails

by Matt Rosenberg June 9th, 2011

Stevens Pass Clean-up
On July 12 from 9:30 am to 2 pm join dozens of volunteers from Seattle Parks and Recreation, First Nations Snowboard Team, Washington State University 4-H, and the other organizations to clean trash off the ski slopes at Stevens Pass. A barbeque lunch will follow.The event is organized by the National Forest Foundation. More information and a waiver form to be completed and brought to the event are here. Reserve your spot with Stella Torres, 425-783-6096, storres@national forests.org. Stevens Pass is 78 miles east of Seattle on beautiful State Route 2. Take I-405 north to exit 23 (Highway 522) and exit at SR 2 in Monroe, turning left/east off the exit ramp. Follow Route 2 for 50 miles to the Stevens Pass ski area and park in lot A.

Mount Baker Steward Volunteer Opportunities
Another outdoor volunteer opportunity this summer is to teach wilderness ethics, natural history and safety, as a mountain steward working on the Mount Baker trail system in the U.S. forest Service’s Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. You need to be 18 or older with experience in hiking and outdoor recreation; able to attend training July 16 and 23; and to volunteer a total of three weekend days between July 23 and September 11. Complete the application and return by June 24 to brichey@fs.fed.us, or fax to 360-856-1934. More information: 360-854-2615.

Nooksack River Salmon Talks and Walks
Saturday evenings at 6 pm from July 9 to September 3, the Nooksack River Stewards will present a “Wild About Salmon” campfire talk on salmon and stream ecology, at the Douglas Fir Campground picnic shelter, including snacks of smoked salmon, cream cheese and crackers. The campground is 2.5 miles east of Glacier, Wash. on State Route 542, on the west side of the road just after crossing the North Fork of the Nooksack River near mile post 35.

Sundays at 9 am from July 10 to September 4 the stewards will lead “Noisy Waters: A Nooksack River Walk” on the Horsehoe Bend Trail, on the east side of Highway 542 directly across from the Douglas Fir Campground entrance.

RELATED: Mount Baker- Snoqualmie National Forest.

Stevens Pass stewards, July, 2010/U.S. Forest Service

U.S. to spend $375 million for more Russian copters in Afghanistan

by Matt Rosenberg June 6th, 2011

SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Defense has announced a $375 million contract with a Russian state export firm to purchase 21 new Russian-made Mi-17 military transport helicopters for the Afghan air force, plus spare parts and engineering services. A non-competitive bidding process was used, and upheld by U.S. regulators over protests from a U.S. manufacturer.

June 10 screening accents video storytelling, healthy communities

by Matt Rosenberg June 1st, 2011

Get an in-person look 6 p.m. June 10th in the Chinatown Community Center at grassroots videos by South Seattle residents on nutrition and health, which are featured in an innovative digital storytelling public health campaign that will utilize online mapping and collaboration with Seattle neighborhood groups. The videos feature stakeholders from The International District, Georgetown, West Seattle, White Center, South Park, and other South Seattle neighborhoods telling their own stories about starting community gardens, finding youth sports programs for low-income families, green space and exercise, smoking and other prevention and health topics. The June 10 screening coincides with an open house at the center, and refreshments will be provided. There will be Q & A with the video producers and organizers welcome suggestions from attendees on how and where to use the videos in their community outreach effort. Some of the videos are already posted to an interim Vimeo channel and in October 2011 will be available via an online map at the Mapping Our Voices for Equality (MOVE) web page. (It currently re-directs to the interim Vimeo channel).

MOVE is a digital media and health initiative staffed by several Seattle-area non-profits with funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Public Health Seattle and King County. It’s part of a program in King County and 54 other locales nationwide called Communities Putting Prevention To Work, designed by the U.S. Centers For Disease Control, and aimed at obesity and tobacco use among low-income and minority populations. Following are several of the videos.

U.S.: Washington’s child, family services fall short

by Matt Rosenberg June 1st, 2011

SUMMARY: A recently released U.S. government assessment found that as in the last federal review, dated 2003, Washington state is still failing to meet baseline standards in seven of seven key outcome areas for its child and family services – centered around safety, permanency and well-being. The assessment, called a Child and Family Service Review, was based on a review of foster and in-home child welfare cases in King, Spokane and Whatcom counties. It accents the responsibilities of the Washington Department of Social and Health Services, and parents, in ensuring the health and welfare of children. The report also evaluated organizational strengths and weaknesses, and found the state meeting standards in five of seven areas.

Washington company wins $83 million contract for unmanned U.S. spy plane support services

by Matt Rosenberg May 27th, 2011

SUMMARY: Insitu, Inc. of Bingen, Wash. yesterday won an $83.7 million contract to provide operations and maintenance support for the U.S. military’s ScanEagle unmanned aerial surveillance systems used by the Navy and Marines to support troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and against Somali pirates. Earlier, Insitu and its parent company Boeing also developed ScanEagle. Civilian applications of the system may ensue in coming years, if a safety rules framework is adopted by the Federal Aviation Administration. Early tests and research have shown ScanEagle can be used to count whale populations, monitor river flooding and aid in back country rescue.

Audit: Bureau of Indian Affairs Jails Still Mismanaged

by Matt Rosenberg May 26th, 2011

SUMMARY: Seven years after the problem was highlighted in a government report, a 2011 follow-up investigation reveals that despite a nearly 50 percent increase in funding, understaffing remains a problem at detention facilities in Indian Country because of poor working conditions, low pay, use of funds for other purposes, and failure by Bureau of Indian Affairs management to focus on the problem. Attrition, low morale and increased security risks are among the results. In addition, the physical condition of many of the detention facilities visited is poor.

U.S. warns consumers of unsafe cribs

by Matt Rosenberg May 25th, 2011

SUMMARY: A U.S. government agency yesterday issued a warning to purchasers of about 22,000 Chinese-made Dram On Me brand drop-side and portable drop-side cribs sold nationwide at major U.S. retailers and online. Consumers should stop using the products right away because of safety hazards including possible strangulation or suffocation. Free repair kits or replacements will be made available by Dream On Me in July.

Gig Harbor Bans Roadside Panhandling

by Matt Rosenberg May 24th, 2011

SUMMARY: The Gig Harbor City Council last night approved an ordinance making it a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail for panhandlers to solicit drivers on public roadways. City officials believe there’s a safety hazard posed by the presence of panhandlers and their signage alongside freeway exit ramps and when they approach or interact with drivers or passengers. Several community-based non-profit organizations in Pierce County and Gig Harbor area minister to the needs of the homeless and hungry.