Ferret Archive

WA Teaching Standards Earn C- From Ed Reform Group

February 11, 2014

In a January 30 report evaluating all 50 states on the sufficiency of their K-12 teaching profession laws, rules and regulations, a national education reform group funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other ed reform interests gives Wa... Read more

State: Full-Day-K Packs No Sustained Punch, Academically

January 29, 2014

Washington state legislators seven years ago set a goal to fund all-day kindergarten in all public schools here by the 2017-18 school year but a new report they commissioned says the practice can't now be called cost-effective because the academic ac... Read more

WA Mileage Charge To Replace Gas Tax Gaining Speed ?

January 27, 2014

A special state advisory group issued a new report this month to lawmakers and Governor Jay Inslee that there is a viable business case for a road user charge in Washington to replace the failing by-the-gallon state gas tax. Consultants and members o... Read more

State Will Need to Find $2.4B to Ease Salmon Barriers

January 22, 2014

The minimum cost of complying with a 2013 federal court order to fix by 2030 some 1,019 Washington State Department of Transportation-owned culverts posing barriers to salmon passage will be a whopping $2.4 billion, lawmakers have learned. But "lack ... Read more

Ex-WSP Trooper To Pay $60K For Alleged Pension Scam

January 17, 2014

Several years after the allegations prompted headlines, and more than a year after he settled a related misdemeanor case for official misconduct in King County Superior Court, a former Washington State Trooper who allegedly gamed his state pension pa... Read more

Ds, Rs Push House Bill For Govt. Meeting Agendas Online

January 15, 2014

Taking a gentle approach to the often-contentious annual legislative battle in Olympia over local government transparency, a broad bi-partisan coalition of 41 State House members have signed on as sponsors of a measure to require all but the smallest... Read more

WSDOT: Freight Rail Fixes Are Key, But Funding Is Iffy

January 13, 2014

Freight rail can continue to be a carbon-conserving boon to the environment and economy in Washington state versus higher-polluting trucked freight, and will benefit from at least $419 million in publicly-sourced improvements and repairs through 32 c... Read more

State Parks Repair Backlog $463M; Current Funding Scant

December 30, 2013

Washington State Parks have a backlog of deferred maintenance projects valued at $463 million now, up from $373 million in 2001, according to a new report to the legislature from the state parks and recreation commission. Current legislative funding ... Read more

Report Accents Ups, Downs of WA's Economic Climate

December 23, 2013

Every year Washington's economic data unit takes a good look at where the state ranks nationally on more than 40 key performance measures, and the latest report card came out late last week. It shows that in 2012 Washington had the cheapest business ... Read more

WSDOT Report Muses on Private Transport Partners

December 11, 2013

A Toll Division Operational Review by the Washington State Department of Transportation released recently raises the idea of a state-regulated but privately funded and managed public utility that in theory could replace WSDOT so road projects can be ... Read more

WA Transit Agencies Lag on Fare-box Recovery Ratios

December 09, 2013

Washington state public transit agencies in 2012 badly lagged the national average in paying their own way for operating costs. Reports from the Washington State Department of Transportation and the National Transit Database show respectively that th... Read more

U.S. Fed: Seattle a Gentrification Hub - And That's Good

December 04, 2013

Could much-maligned "gentrification" actually be a rising tide that lifts all boats economically, including in Seattle? A recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland suggests so. It says that out of the 55 largest cities in the U.S. in 2... Read more

Ex-Highline College cleaning supe to pay $8K ethics fine

December 02, 2013

A former custodial supervisor at Highline Community College has agreed to pay an $8,000 fine in a civil settlement with the Washington State Executive Ethics Board for allegations he used public property for his private business and personal use, in ... Read more

State: UW Fire Techs Will Pay Thousands For Ethics Goofs

November 26, 2013

Concluding a state oversight review that began with an auditor's report last year, the Washington Executive Ethics Board has reached civil settlements with two University of Washington fire alarm control technician supervisors for allegations they sp... Read more

EPA to WA: Get Smarter on Puget Sound Transpo Policy

November 17, 2013

For its Environmental Impact Statement on proposed all-lanes electronic tolling of part of I-90, Washington should consider not just a single alternative but a package of them carefully picked from the current menu which includes a regional vehicle m... Read more

For Arab Journos in Seattle: OpenGov Best Practices

November 11, 2013

Visiting Seattle right now are 19 Arab journalists focused on transparency, media and civic life. The U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program and the World Affairs Council of Seattle are coordinating. I'm honored to have b... Read more

Prescription Pot Could Be a Real Bummer, UW Doc Argues

November 05, 2013

In a new editorial for the journal General Hospital Psychiatry, a University of Washington and Veterans Administration doctor argues the scientific literature shows that prescribing smoked marijuana for chronic pain isn't smart because it can cause a... Read more

CRS: U.S. Improper Payments At Least $688B Since '04

November 01, 2013

Improper payments by U.S. government agencies were at least $115 billion in fiscal 2011 and $108 billion in 2012 but billions more may be misspent each year - under the radar of government watchdogs - according to a recent report from the non-partisa... Read more

Washington Charter Schools - The Data Hub

October 28, 2013

A burst of activity late last week brought from 23 to 28 the number of proposed Washington charter schools for which operators say they intend to seek state approval, but they'll be competing for just eight new openings per year starting this fall. N... Read more

U.S. Study: Global Challenges For WA in Math, Science

October 25, 2013

A first-time ever comparison of academic achievement between U.S. states and foreign countries - focused on eighth grade math and science mastery - shows Washington's rankings are above average globally and nationally but still have a long way to go.... Read more

State targets care quality problems at Central District facility

October 21, 2013

A 120-bed retirement home and assisted living facility in Seattle's Central District named Cannon House is now dealing with its fifth state enforcement action this year for substandard care of paying residents. Operated since 2009 by the major region... Read more

Washington State database tracks assisted living mishaps

October 20, 2013

It can be hard to know if you're selecting the right assisted living facility for yourself or an aging relative or friend. A facility's history may include failure to implement prescription drug regimens or individual medical care plans of resident... Read more

Concessionaire owes Seattle Port $635K, auditors report

October 08, 2013

Port of Seattle Sea-Tac Airport concession operator HMS Host owes the port $635,704 in unpaid fees, interest and a late fee, according to a recently released port internal audit. The problem arose because HMS Host subtenants The Great American Bagel ... Read more

Congressional Budget Office: Hey USA, Pick Your Poison

October 07, 2013

The charged public debate over yet another U.S. debt ceiling lift is just the tip of the iceberg. Today's tussles over near-term U.S. borrowing capacity only foreshadow deeper federal fiscal challenges. A recent report from the non-partisan Congressi... Read more

Study: Seattle Schools' family help program needs re-boot

October 02, 2013

There's not yet any evidence the City of Seattle's Family Support Program for at-risk students in Seattle Public Schools is improving academic outcomes, and changes in the program's focus, worker training and performance metrics appear necessary, say... Read more

What's Open, Closed During U.S. Government Shutdown

October 01, 2013

The U.S. government today is shut down due to a Congressional budget impasse on continued funding in the new fiscal year but of 34 very public-facing agencies or programs listed in a special update from USA.gov, 18 are still open, nine more are parti... Read more

Study: Pre-Pregnancy Drinking Boosts Breast Cancer Risks

September 04, 2013

A new study funded by the National Cancer Institute finds that between the onset of menstruation and first pregnancy the risk of breast cancer for women grows 11 percent for each 10 grams of alcohol consumed per day and 34 percent if average consumpt... Read more

Fraud Report: Timesheet Padding Cost Harborview $16K

August 29, 2013

A new fraud investigation report from Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley finds that an "electroneurodiagnostic technician" at Harborview Medical Center - which is owned by King County and operated by the University of Washington - between January 2... Read more

Crime charges in WA courts at 12-year low; recidivism holds

August 20, 2013

Total cases filed by prosecutors in Washington state's criminal courts reached a new low in 2012 compared to the 11 years prior, but the rate at which charged individuals released to the community experience "recidivism" - or being criminally charged... Read more

Ex-software manager deported in Seattle sex sting plea deal

August 15, 2013

In a King County Superior Court plea deal settled August 1 a former Amazon.com software development manager from India named Vishwastam Shukla - who according to his attorney was a rising star at the Seattle company but has lost his job and "most eve... Read more

King County Jury Acquits Accused Hospital Rapist

August 08, 2013

A Seattle man charged in April of 2011 with raping a woman when they were both patients in the mental health unit of St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way was acquitted this August 1 more than two years later by a jury in King County Superior Court. Th... Read more

WSDOT seeks "toll educational" consultant for $2.3M

August 05, 2013

The Washington State Department of Transportation is advertising for a contractor to conduct "statewide toll educational services" focused on the fourth of five Puget Sound highways currently designated for electronic tolling, I-405. The $2.3 million... Read more

U.S. report: global energy use to rise 56 percent by 2040

July 30, 2013

Fueled by growth in emerging economies led by China and India, global energy usage between 2010 and 2040 will jump 56 percent while carbon dioxide emissions from energy use will rise 46 percent, according to the "reference case" 2013 International En... Read more

WA Court Denies Transpo Greens - But Inroads Unfolding

July 25, 2013

A Washington state appeals court in a ruling this week affirmed a King County judge's 2011 dismissal of a suit by prominent environmental groups against the Puget Sound Regional Council transportation planning organization asserting it failed under ... Read more

Ethics board hits ex-DNR buyer with $7.5K fine

July 22, 2013

A former vehicle parts buyer for the Washington Department of Natural Resources used his position to exchange special favors with suppliers and has agreed to pay a fine to a state oversight board of $7,500 for violating state ethics laws, according t... Read more

King County DUI plea deal with Renton driver accents recent U.S. high court constraints on blood alcohol tests

July 16, 2013

Because of an April U.S. Supreme Court ruling normally barring consideration of blood alcohol tests done without search warrants, says a King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office official, a 20-year-old Renton woman who ran into a man in a wheelchair... Read more

Wedgwood man sentenced; sought sex with "girl," 13

July 12, 2013

A 55-year-old lawn service owner from Seattle's Wedgwood neighborhood this week in King County Superior Court pled guilty to a felony sex offense and was sentenced to nearly a year in jail. After police noticed his online post in the "Casual Encounte... Read more

King County Garbage Plans Raising Stink; Meeting Tonight

July 11, 2013

The King County Solid Waste Division is moving forward with plans to evaluate three potential sites for a new facility to replace the aging Algona Transfer Station. Residents of south King County Thursday night can learn more at a public meeting 7 to... Read more

KIng County audit hastens fix pledges on accident pay-outs

July 09, 2013

King County could do far better controlling public risk and related liability pay-outs in negligence cases, especially those related to Metro Transit and other transportation functions, according to a recent and wholly overlooked report from the King... Read more

"Smart guns" with user ID coming; Washington state reactions mixed

July 03, 2013

In January of this year a month after the murder of 26 students and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut by a disturbed shooter using his mother's weapons, President Obama issued 23 executive actions to address gun violence - includin... Read more

South End "Lady Thug" gets felony pimping charges

July 02, 2013

In a case propelled by a tip from a Seattle-based FBI special agent, a 20-year-old Federal Way woman named Jacqueline Pamela Oliver was arrested by Kent Police and charged in King County Superior Court with two counts of commercial sexual abuse of a ... Read more

Seattle "Kitchen Nightmares" family now faces greater test

July 01, 2013

A former assistant chef at a popular eatery in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood who starred earlier this year with her engaging, squabbling Greek family on Chef Gordon Ramsay's Fox Network reality show "Kitchen Nightmares," has been charged with the ... Read more

Sound Transit Would Reject Key Reforms in State Audit

June 27, 2013

In a draft status update to be presented this morning at its audit committee meeting, the three-county Seattle region transit agency Sound Transit pointedly rejects a score of key ethics reforms recommended for its Citizens Oversight Panel in a brist... Read more

State audit: Seattle Schools facility rentals program in disarray

June 25, 2013

A new report from Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley suggests the Seattle Public Schools have left uncollected potentially several million dollars of revenues for facility rentals and related costs in recent years, much of it since last September. ... Read more

Risky Biz: Seattle HIV Patients May Be Hurting Care

June 24, 2013

HIV-infected patients getting primary treatment at University of Washington Harborview Medical Center in Seattle along with counterparts being treated in San Diego and Boston are at significant risk of undermining their care and treatment because of ... Read more

Defense work worth up to $770M to Pac NW firms in Q2

June 20, 2013

In the second quarter of 2013 to date, Pacific Northwest companies mainly in Washington state - and other than Boeing directly - have been awarded contracts by the U.S. Department of Defense worth up to $769.6 million for software management service... Read more

Bio-regional tourism greener, argues WWU enviro dean

June 18, 2013

Tourism has a more pronounced effect on the world than the average tourist realizes. Whether they travel by air, sea or land, the long-distance tourist needs to appreciate the effects on the broader environment, the climate, and their own region and ... Read more

Tutorial: Using NOAA's U.S. Climate Data Mapping Tool

June 17, 2013

Federal data for 2012 show Washingtonians can feel confident crowing about how cool and moist is their climate, even if some other parts of the country experienced record or very high heat and record or very low rainfall. 2012 temperatures and precip... Read more

UW Expert: WA Legal Pot Requires Public Health Vigilance

June 17, 2013

Voter-approved legalization of marijuana last fall in Washington state via I-502 may well improve regulation, oversight, social justice outcomes and revenue collection around use of the drug, but at the same time will warrant ongoing scrutiny for pot... Read more

Inspector General: Misuse, Sloth at Key EPA Facility

June 14, 2013

In an "Early Warning Report" the Office of the Inspector General of the Environmental Protection Agency recommended to the agency it take immediate action on its largest warehouse. Parts of the EPA headquarters storage site had been converted into a ... Read more

Sewer District swindled, suspect ex-worker had prior felonies

June 12, 2013

A new state auditor's fraud investigation report says a former employee of the Valley View Sewer District serving Burien, Seatac and Tukwila actually embezzled more than double what the district, police and prosecutors had thought. But what the new r... Read more

Cab car cost bump to grow Sound Transit's queasy debt load

June 10, 2013

The taxpayer-funded regional transit agency serving the three-county Greater Seattle region, Sound Transit, says its looming purchase of nine new cab cars for expanded service on its South Sounder commuter rail line between Seattle and Tacoma-Lakewoo... Read more

This Is Your Land: Larrabee State Park, The Video

June 06, 2013

On wondrous Chuckanut Drive betwixt Bow, Washington and Bellingham on the eastern shores of the Salish Sea lies Larrabee State Park. From the main parking lot, a small underpass conveys pedestrians beneath the train tracks on a short winding path to ... Read more

WA Supremes OK car search in JeffCo meth conviction

May 31, 2013

The Washington State Supreme Court in a ruling issued May 30 upheld the right of police under certain conditions to search a vehicle for inventory prior to a tow-away and for resulting evidence to be used in a drug possession prosecution. The case in... Read more

UW doc: here's how a small clinic can divorce Big Pharma

May 28, 2013

In a new report published in the May-June 2013 edition of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, University of Washington-Seattle doctor David Evans and several co-authors from Oregon describe how an independent community medical pract... Read more

Calories drop, under King County fast-food menu labeling

May 25, 2013

A new study by researchers at Public Health - Seattle and King County, just published in the June online edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, finds that King County-mandated menu labeling at major fast food chains may finally be st... Read more

Pols urge "system-wide" tolling study; I-90 EIS looms

May 22, 2013

Proposed electronic tolling of I-90 just east of Seattle - to fill a $1.4 billion gap in building the western approach of a new bridge on SR 520 - is getting more complicated. There will now be a full Environmental Impact Statement, not just an Envir... Read more

Accused Highline daycare rapist may avoid trial for 3rd time

May 20, 2013

Since early March Olad Hussein Kaynan, 24, a Somalian refugee who lived with his family in the North Highline Unincorporated Area of south King County has been in jail in Seattle charged with three counts of child rape in the first degree. His bail i... Read more

Bias, bother, then firing - says ex-King enviro worker, in suit

May 17, 2013

A fired resource specialist at the King Conservation District in a civil lawsuit filed this week in King County Superior Court is seeking economic and compensatory damages, claiming she was discriminated against in the workplace for being pregnant, a... Read more

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

May 16, 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.... Read more

Data viz: Seattle public schools "pass rates" on state tests

May 15, 2013

To graduate from a public high school in Washington, students in the classes of 2013 and 2014 must pass the state's High School Proficiency Exam (HSPE) in reading and writing and an End-Of-Course (EOC) test in either algebra or geometry. Starting in ... Read more

U.S.: Washington stays near top in carbon-free capitalism

May 14, 2013

A new report from the U.S. Department of Energy shows Washington state has continued through 2010 to remain near the top among all 50 states in fueling its economy with minimal consumption of carbon dioxide emissions. According to the report from th... Read more

5 years for repeat DUI offender, after Snoqualmie bust

May 10, 2013

With nine prior convictions from 1986 to 2005 for driving under the influence of alcohol plus felony convictions in Yakima County for two counts of vehicular manslaughter and one for vehicular assault - stemming from a 1991 tragedy when he had a bloo... Read more

WA Auditor: New finance IT system could cut waste

May 09, 2013

By rustling up $172 million for a badly needed, contemporary enterprise-wide financial management system Washington state government could reap benefits approaching or perhaps exceeding $228 million in saved effort and improved processes, as awkward ... Read more

12 surgeries for Renton DUI victim; perp gets 6 months

May 09, 2013

When Garrett A. Bakken last July was charged with the felony DUI offense of vehicular assault after veering off Lake Washington Boulevard in Renton, Wash. and slamming into a pedestrian on a pathway, the story garnered coverage from local television ... Read more

Few births in Washington outside of marriage; 5th lowest rate

May 07, 2013

Washington state has one of the lowest rates of out-of-wedlock births in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau. A new report issued in May 2013 says that in the most recent year for which detailed American Community Survey data on the subject are ... Read more

Felony sex bust of California software worker, in Seattle sting

May 03, 2013

A 29-year man from India in the U.S. on a work visa and employed at the time as a San Jose, Calif.-based software development manager for Amazon.com, was arrested April 12 and charged April 19 in King County Superior Court with the felony offense of ... Read more

Software consultant charged in Renton sex sting

April 22, 2013

An Orange County, Calif. Oracle software expert who bills himself at his LinkedIn page as current "finance lead consultant at Boeing" has been charged in Washington state with the felony crime of commercial sexual exploitation of a minor after a stin... Read more

Prosecutors: online sex predator victimized girls in WA, PA

April 17, 2013

In separate cases, criminal prosecutors in King County, Washington and Delaware County, Pennsylvania have charged the same 20-year-old Virginia man with felony sex offenses after he used social media to arrange hook-ups allegedly resulting in sex wit... Read more

CapHill bartender charged for alleged sex acts with girl, 13

April 15, 2013

A hip presence on the Seattle restaurant scene has been charged with the Class A felony of Rape of a Child in the Second Degree. According to King County Court documents Matthew Aaron Cannelora, 28, whose most recent address police say is in the 1700... Read more

UW teaching associate faces felony sex charge in recent Seattle sting

April 12, 2013

A PhD candidate at the University of Washington's Foster School of Business who also teaches undergraduate business courses at UW Bothell was charged in mid-March with the felony offense of commercial sexual abuse of a minor. The case developed from ... Read more

Guilty plea by Renton pipe bomb suspect, sentencing in May

April 10, 2013

A man with 14 prior criminal convictions pled guilty last month in King County Superior Court to a felony charge that came after he left a potentially lethal pipe bomb outdoors on a late June, 2011 day adjacent to the Renton Library and a popular wal... Read more

Data viz: whiteness, not latitude, tied to skin cancer rates

April 09, 2013

U.S. states with the highest skin cancer rates tend to have a high proportion of whites in their population while those with the lowest rates don't. And the top two states for skin cancer, Vermont and Utah, feature especially high concentrations - co... Read more

Port of Seattle temp's scam try brings three felony charges

April 08, 2013

A former Port of Seattle temp named Kelly Wengping Lee hired from the AppleOne firm is charged in King County Superior Court documents with three counts of felony identity theft for allegedly trying to go on an online Nordstrom shopping spree using t... Read more

Port driver tried to draw cash at casino, on work card; lied

April 04, 2013

A Port of Seattle driver used his work procurement card to try to withdraw money at the Emerald Queen Casino in Fife, then lied to an internal investigator about it, implicating his wife instead, before coming clean and getting a seven-day suspension... Read more

State audit says Monroe public hospital district mismanaged - it now pledges reforms, and seeks tax hike in April vote

April 03, 2013

Voters on April 23 will decide whether to increase tax levy support for Valley General Hospital in Monroe and associated clinics in Snohomish County Public Hospital District #1, north and east of Seattle. But the system has not only been underchargin... Read more

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

April 02, 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 notabl... Read more

Washington tops U.S. in 12-year Alzheimer's Death Rates

March 28, 2013

Earlier this month, the U.S. government reported the death rate for Alzheimer's disease rose 39 percent from 2000 to 2010 and that in 2010 Washington had the highest rate among U.S. states. Yet which states had the highest Alzheimer's death rates not... Read more

Port of Seattle porn probe prompts painter's exit

March 25, 2013

Internal reports obtained by Public Data Ferret through a public records request reveal a Port of Seattle sign painter and Snohomish County resident named David John Swensen resigned from his job after confessing to viewing pornography on workplace c... Read more

Seattle Central's Tougher "Occupy" Code Advances

March 20, 2013

Under proposed new state regulations all-night vigils by off-campus groups would be allowed outside of Seattle Central Community College, but a no-camping proviso already enacted would stay in place and a series of other guidelines would be enacted a... Read more

$16K lifted from Seattle Central in parking garage caper

March 18, 2013

According to the results of a fraud investigation made public last week by Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley, two attendants at the Harvard Garage of Seattle Central Community College on Capitol Hill misappropriated $15,932 in mid-2011, and anothe... Read more

Washington combined cancer rates tops in western counties

March 15, 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 wa... Read more

Thurston County eighth-graders middling on state tests

March 14, 2013

In 2012, pass rates on the eighth-grade state achievement test exceeded the state average of 56.6 in four of nine Thurston County School Districts, and were lower in the other five. The best pass rate on that test among the county's districts was in ... Read more

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

March 13, 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, constructi... Read more

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

March 12, 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 wi... Read more

WA achievement test pass rates mostly stagnant since 2006

March 11, 2013

Recently updated state data packaged into customizable visualizations through the University of Washington-Bothell's Center For Education Data and Research and its Washington Achievement Data Explorer (WADE) tool show that for third, fourth, fifth,... Read more

Most King County districts fare well on Grade 8 state tests

March 08, 2013

In 11 of the 18 King County school districts reporting, the percent of eighth-grade students who passed the state math achievement test in 2012 surpassed the state average. But there was a sharp demographic divide in the outcomes. With the exception ... Read more

Most Snohomish Districts Lag On State Reading Tests In 8th

March 07, 2013

Of 13 Snohomish County school districts reporting results, eighth-graders in eight of them in 2012 lagged the state average in percent who could pass the state achievement test in reading. In math, seven of the 13 districts fell below the state avera... Read more

Bellevue to pay $750,000 to woman hit by city vehicle

March 06, 2013

The Bellevue City Council Monday approved a settlement for $750,000 with a pedestrian who two years ago was struck and badly injured by a city vehicle driven by a parks department employee. The victim was Evelyn Rissman of Lynnwood, now 58, a certifi... Read more

Privatize management of Lynnwood's golf course, report urges

March 04, 2013

In a report to be presented tonight to the Lynnwood City Council, the city's director of parks and recreation strongly recommends the city privatize the management its troubled, money-losing golf course. The facility was the subject of a critical sta... Read more

Troubles for most Pierce County school districts in 8th grade

March 03, 2013

By a rate of more than two-to-one, public school districts in Pierce County last year underperformed the statewide average for percentage of eighth-graders who could pass Washington's math achievement test. A majority of districts also lagged the sta... Read more

Citizen Panel: Sound Transit Needs To Tighten It Up

March 01, 2013

In its year-end 2012 Performance Report, presented Thursday at the monthly Sound Transit board meeting in Seattle, ST's Citizen Oversight Panel took the regional transit agency to task for poor operating cost controls and questionable resource alloca... Read more

UW scores DARPA grant add-on to boost soldier health

February 28, 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 s... Read more

Explore latest K-12 achievement data with UW tool

February 25, 2013

Using the Google Public Data Explorer tool, we run two visualizations from recently-released 2012 data on percent of eighth graders meeting the Washington state achievement test passing standard in math, and reading, at 26 selected urban-region distr... Read more

Mercer Island Council Outlines Battle Plan Against I-90 Tolls

February 24, 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 480... Read more

Most Bridge Toll Violators Ignore Penalty Notices

February 22, 2013

On the State Route 520 bridge and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge most drivers who ignore initial tolling fee bills sent through a process using mounted cameras and mailed notices are not moved to compliance after they receive a so-called Notice of Civil P... Read more

State details $352,000 public fraud in Lake Forest Park

February 20, 2013

The former Office Administrator of a sleepy public water district in a Seattle bedroom suburb allegedly embezzled at least $352,641 from taxpayer coffers from mid-2004 to early 2011 through misuse of multiple credit cards, unwarranted reimbursements ... Read more

Tumwater at odds with state on loans for failing golf course

February 19, 2013

A recently-issued report from Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley says the City of Tumwater is breaking state law by continuing to fund its money-losing golf course with revenues from its utility fund which are paid back so slowly the loans are a "p... Read more

New report: State $1.4 billion shy for SR 167 extension

February 18, 2013

A new report to the legislature says Washington state is currently $1.43 billion short of what it would take to complete a crucial six-lane, six-mile partially-tolled extension of State Route 167 from Meridian Avenue in Puyallup across Interstate 5 t... Read more

State survey: more Washingtonians see transportation problems than a year ago, but they're iffy on paying for fixes

February 14, 2013

Across Washington, just 64 percent of regional respondents say the condition of their surface transportation system rated a "C" grade or better in 2012, versus 70 percent in 2011, according to key results of a major survey presented this week to the ... Read more

Washington near top, again, in prescription pain pill misuse

February 12, 2013

For the second time in a row, Washington ranks in the top five among 50 U.S. states in the percent of people aged 12 and older who reported having misused prescription painkillers such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet or codeine in the last year by ta... Read more

State wants public comment on pocket gopher recovery plan

February 12, 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 Ca... Read more

Washington state's "sunshine committee" battles doctors, hospitals, insurers on medical malpractice data disclosure

February 07, 2013

The Washington state legislature's "Sunshine Committee" is advocating for House Bill 1299 to open up data on settled medical malpractice claims but public hospitals, doctors and insurers are voicing strong opposition. A preview of the looming battle ... Read more

Data viz: bank failures by state rates; & mapped with docs

February 07, 2013

The rate of failure for Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-insured U.S. banks continued to drop in 2012 from its 2010 peak of 2.09 percent. The failure rate was .71 percent in 2012, down from 1.24 percent in 2011. Bank failures eased sharply in 20... Read more

Washington legislature adds online bill comment feature

February 05, 2013

Since it debuted last week, more than 850 Washingtonians have signed up to use a new feature on the state legislature's Web site which allows registered users to comment directly to legislators on a bill's merits from the bill history page rather tha... Read more

King County pays $10.5 mil in 4th quarter negligence cases

February 05, 2013

A woman run over by a bus in West Seattle. A man who had already won a large settlement for police excessive force but whose attorney was denied key records in the process. A woman attacked and injured by a neighbor's two pit bulls, about which she h... Read more

AG warns of more "McCleary-esque" suits by county judges

February 01, 2013

Washington could increasingly bear the costs of suing itself, having to pay for suits by state-funded public employees such as county superior court judges aggrieved at budget cuts imposed by county officials who may themselves then turn around and s... Read more

House bill would ease high school graduation requirements

January 31, 2013

The Washington State House Education Committee this week took initial testimony on a bill that would lighten the state academic assessment testing load for students, and ease related high school graduation requirements. Since 2008, to graduate from a... Read more

73 percent of commutes in Washington by solo drivers

January 29, 2013

Each weekday about three million Washingtonians travel to work. A detailed performance metrics report presented last week to the Washington State Senate's Transportation Committee finds that nearly three-quarters of those trips are by solo drivers. A... Read more

SR 99 tolling panel accents broader "systems approach"

January 28, 2013

A state tolling advisory panel for the new deep-bored tunnel on State Route 99 in central Seattle is signaling its support for a linked, regional tolling policy affecting all the major highways in Central Puget Sound, partly to neutralize emerging co... Read more

WA state jobs database lists 500-plus open positions

January 25, 2013

Maybe you'd like to be the new media director for Washington's new Governor Jay Inslee. Or his speechwriter, a state tolling auditor, or to serve on the Helitack crew fighting forest fires out of Ellensburg. Riding in whirlybirds rattle you? Maybe yo... Read more

CDC: flu vaccine has 38% failure rate this season

January 22, 2013

In little more than six out of ten instances - or 62 percent of the time - has flu vaccine actually prevented patients from getting the influenza virus, according to early results for this winter reported from sampling in five U.S. regions including ... Read more

Trees a life-saver? Portland expert, UW dean discuss

January 16, 2013

Trees aren't just a nice-to-have, their widespread removal due to pest infestations can actually be associated with higher rates of mortality, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine by Geoffrey Donovan and a... Read more

Data viz: WA fertility up, abortion down, 1997 to 2011

January 15, 2013

From 1997 through 2011 in Washington, abortions are down and fertility is up. Drawn from state Department of Health data, an interactive visualization below that was prepared for Public Data Ferret by Tableau Software of Seattle reveals that within W... Read more

DSHS manager fined for misusing public facilities

January 14, 2013

The Building Manager for the Children's Administration of the State of Washington's Department of Social and Health Services will pay a $2,000 fine in an adjudicative settlement obtained today from the state's Executive Ethics Board, for using his wo... Read more

Smaller classes no panacea, Washington report finds

January 13, 2013

In a new report for Washington state lawmakers pressed to meet a state Supreme Court mandate to better fund K-12 public education, the state's own policy analysis unit has found that 10 percent class size reductions provide only a very modest gain in... Read more

Rasmussen: Seattle needs transpo levy renewal or increase

January 10, 2013

At a meeting this week of the Seattle City Council's Transportation Committee, Chairman and Council Member Tom Rasmussen said the city will have no "other choice but to go back to the voters again in two years to ask for approval of extending or perh... Read more

South Bend court clerk raided cookie jar for $15K, state says

January 09, 2013

A fraud investigation report issued yesterday by the Washington State Auditor's Office says that the court clerk for the City of South Bend in Pacific County misappropriated $15,690 in traffic and criminal fines from May, 2008 through May, 2012. She ... Read more

Washington state near top in 51-year rates of rape, larceny

January 08, 2013

Washington ranks near the top, or seventh out of 50 states plus the District of Columbia, in average annual rate of reported forcible rape over the 51 years from 1960 through 2011, according to data extracted from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting da... Read more

OIG report: ignored reforms could save HHS $23B yearly

January 07, 2013

The federal government could save more than $23 billion per year and hundreds of billions in the next decade if its Medicare and Medicaid programs and lawmakers acted on ignored audit and efficiency recommendations, some of them now decades old, acco... Read more

WA far outpaces U.S. in gun buy background checks

January 03, 2013

New federal data tied to one prominent indicator suggests Washington state is far outpacing neighboring states plus California and the United States in firearms purchases from 1999 through 2012. That's the number of background checks submitted from f... Read more

Violent crime, murder rates at historic lows in Washington

January 02, 2013

The murder rate in Washington state reached a 45-year low of 2.3 per 100,000 population in 2010, and bumped up a scant tenth of a percent in 2011, according to information retrieved from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reporting d... Read more

Key state ferry terminal project at Mukilteo $38.7M short

December 28, 2012

A new car ferry terminal on the State of Washington's busiest vehicle run - from Mukilteo in Snohomish County to Clinton on south Whidbey Island - is currently $38.7 million shy of a needed $140.9 million for construction, according to a new report t... Read more

Lynnwood's struggling city golf course might be offloaded

December 26, 2012

The City of Lynwood has in effect permanently diverted funds from its utility account to prop up its money-losing city golf course, in violation of state law, according to a newly-released accountability audit from the State of Washington. The city s... Read more

ATF Probes Easing Ban On Armor-Piercing Handgun Bullets

December 20, 2012

The Sunlight Foundation reports that the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is seeking public comment until December 31 on the possibility of loosening regulations stemming from a 1986 federal amendment which restricts the use of armor-pier... Read more

Sound Transit Didn't Validate $17M in Security Charges

December 19, 2012

Violating the terms of its own contract with the King County Sheriff's Office for security services, the regional transit agency serving King, Snohomish and Pierce counties failed to secure documentation to assure the validity of more than $17 millio... Read more

U.S. report: more guns, less murder; loopholes, laissez-faire

December 18, 2012

As public concern begins to crest after the latest U.S. mass murders involving high-capacity semi-automatic weapons, pressure is growing on Congress to take more decisive action to help prevent such tragedies in the future. Exactly one month before ... Read more

Feds: unions keep losing ground even in pro-union states

December 14, 2012

Even in the most pro-union U.S. states, where payment of basic union dues for negotiating work is compulsory for represented members of a collective bargaining unit, the actual percentage of all employees covered under contracts between organized lab... Read more

Coal train EIS scoping hearing in Seattle Thurs. - speak out!

December 13, 2012

A public hearing will be held Thursday at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle to seek comment on how best to assess environmental impacts of a proposed freight train route to a terminal at Cherry Point north of Bellingham that would fac... Read more

Bellevue officials: toll I-5 plus I-90 to fund SR 520 bridge

December 12, 2012

Just this Monday night, the Washington State Department of Transportation's tolling division director Craig Stone briefed the City Council of Bellevue on an environmental assessment and community outreach effort that's to come alive in early 2013, pa... Read more

Fossil fuels will still dominate U.S. energy usage in 2040

December 06, 2012

In 2040 almost four-fifths of the energy the United States uses will be from the fossil fuels of oil, coal or natural gas. That's just a bit less than last year but natural gas - seen by some as greener than oil or coal - will play a larger role in ... Read more

WA advisors give preliminary green light to mileage tax

December 04, 2012

In a report released today, an advisory committee to Washington state transportation officials pronounced as "feasible" an envisioned and sure to be controversial working concept for charging drivers by the mile, to fund future surface transportation... Read more

U.S. report: Montana, Oregon in top tier for underage drinking

December 03, 2012

A survey by the U.S. government on drug use and health shows that from 2008 through 2010, both Oregon and Montana ranked in the top quintile nationally in self-reported underage use of alcohol as a percent of state population age 12 to 20. The Nation... Read more

Washington in bottom third in on-time high school grad rates

November 30, 2012

New rankings that the U.S. Department of Education says are for the first time solidly comparable between states, show that in the 2010-2011 school year Washington ranked in the bottom third nationally in its rate of on-time high school graduation, w... Read more

Up to $106M more in military contracts OKd for WA firms

November 28, 2012

The U.S. Marine Corps and Army will be getting up to $32.9 million worth of top-of-the-line powdered eggs through early 2018 under a contract announced this week between the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency and a Lacey, Wash. company named Nutriom. Nati... Read more

Six thefts of funds found at Seattle Community Colleges

November 28, 2012

A letter from the Washington State Auditor's Office, quietly slipped into the meeting agenda documents packet this month of the Seattle Community Colleges Board of Trustees, reveals that a College investigation verified six distinct instances of vani... Read more

Scant gains from DSHS foster youth ed services program

November 27, 2012

A special services-based initiative for foster youth in K-12 public schools in Washington that was created by the legislature in 2006 isn't correlated with improved academic outcomes for the thousands of students it has served, according to a new rep... Read more

Janitors, secretaries most flu-prone workers in Washington

November 19, 2012

On the one hand, getting the flu is considered fairly mundane, so long as there's no pandemic and nobody dies. On the other hand, this common winter nuisance carries a hefty price tag. The annual bill in the United States for seasonal influenza is es... Read more

U.S. young adults reach a new low - in smoking

November 15, 2012

For the first time since standardized data began to be collected in 1965, young adults - aged 18 to 24 - last year bested all U.S. adults in percent not smoking, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and historical U.S. ... Read more

A bright future for Mom 'n Pop pot shops in Washington?

November 14, 2012

It's entirely possible the U.S. will just chillax on possible prosecutions for marijuana use allowed in states now to include Washington, where voters last week approved medicinal or recreational adult use of an ounce or less starting in a few weeks,... Read more

Cities may seek more delays on green fleet conversion

November 09, 2012

Does the lobbying organization for Washington's cities want to push against a 2018 deadline to convert municipal vehicles to use alternative fuels? The Association of Washington Cities is pondering that question, and expects to be making a decision i... Read more

Metro's share of King County's big tort payouts spikes in Q3

November 08, 2012

King County Metro Transit was responsible for 71 percent of third quarter 2012 large negligence claim settlements paid by the county, according to a newly issued report. Metro's share of those payouts is up from 50 percent for the first two quarters ... Read more

South King County votes to decide on new schools, more

November 06, 2012

Among local ballot measures likely to be decided tonight in suburban King County are a major annexation proposal in Renton, funding for new high schools in Federal Way and Auburn, a new fire station for Mercer Island, and a possibly a new form of gov... Read more

UW study: tattoo snags may mimic diseases, but don't panic

November 06, 2012

In a new study published in a medical journal, a University of Washington dermatologist warns tattoo seekers to beware of possible bacterial complications which can result from variances in types of tattoo inks and practices used, and worrisome-looki... Read more

Seattle region ranks 2nd of 33 in U.S. suicide attempts

November 04, 2012

The Seattle metro region is a hotspot for suicide attempts, according to a newly released federal report drawn from data in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The report, titled "Suicidal Thoughts and Behavior in 33 Metropolitan Statistical ... Read more

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

November 04, 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 pla... Read more

Youth, meth play big role in Washington substance abuse

November 01, 2012

Federal data on alcohol and drug abuse admissions to Washington state-regulated treatment facilities in 2011 show that the prototypical patient is a male either 12 to 17 tears old or 21 to 30 years old, and has been abusing alcohol and marijuana. In ... Read more

Washington juvenile arrest rates highest in rural counties

October 30, 2012

Overall 2011 juvenile arrest rates in Washington state were highest in rural counties while the state's most populous and urbanized county, King, was among those with the lowest rates. The data come from the Washington Association of Sheriffs and... Read more

Irrigation lubricates the farm economy, but challenges ahead

October 29, 2012

Irrigation in agriculture packs a big economic punch. Although the almost 57 million acres of irrigated farmlands in the U.S. represent just 7.5 percent of all crop- and pasturelands in the nation, that good wet earth nonetheless accounts for a full ... Read more

Mapping Washington state unemployment by county

October 29, 2012

The Washington State Employment Security Department provides an online map of unemployment rates by county that's updated monthly. September unemployment in Washington was highest in Lewis, Grays Harbor and Ferry Counties and lowest in Douglas, Whitm... Read more

Global vehicle penetration, sliced three different ways

October 28, 2012

Data visualizations derived from the World Bank's World Development Indicators show that while North America far outpaces other major global regions in vehicles per 1,000 people, that gap compared to the developing world is declining. And perhaps mor... Read more

Sound Transit watchdogs too much like lapdogs, says audit

October 26, 2012

A new performance audit by the State of Washington says the Citizen Oversight Panel of the three-county Seattle region agency Sound Transit suffers from poor ethics, a poor understanding of its mission, and could be also considerably more transparent... Read more

GAO report targets ineffective camouflage for U.S. soldiers

October 25, 2012

Camouflage uniforms that according to U.S. Army soldiers, "provided ineffective concealment in the Afghan environment" may point to the need for an Army-wide revamp of camo cover suited to different environments. And it could carry a price tag of as ... Read more

Port OKs challenge of feds on concessionaire labor rules

October 24, 2012

The Port of Seattle has decided it will revisit a 12-year-old legal setback that sharply limited its powers to micromanage the labor relations of its concessionaires. The Port approved at its October 23 business meeting a motion authorizing outside l... Read more

Washington State judges behaving badly - the database

October 24, 2012

The Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct provides an easy-to-use online database of disciplinary cases involving judges behaving - or alleged to have been behaving - badly. You can slice and dice by geography, type of discipline administer... Read more

Washington marijuana legalization bid: smoke and mirrors?

October 23, 2012

The Seattle Channel's "City Inside Out" takes a look at Initiative 502 in an informative TV magazine segment below. If approved by voters, the initiative would legalize possession in Washington state of an ounce or less of marijuana for medicinal or ... Read more

Controversial Cowlitz shooting range still needs key grant

October 22, 2012

Scattered across the State of Washington are dozens of target practice ranges for owners of rifles, pistols and archery bows, and more than a few involve cooperative arrangements between local governments and non-profit shooting clubs. One these is t... Read more

Washington voters to decide on lowering state debt limit

October 21, 2012

One more decision facing Washington voters as they mull their mail-in ballots and state Voters' Guides at their kitchen counters and dining tables in the days prior to the Nov. 6 Election Day deadline, is whether to tighten the state's borrowing lim... Read more

World Bank data visualization: lower fertility, longer lives

October 19, 2012

At Google Public Data Explorer, the World Bank recently posted this revealing visualization showing how lower fertility rates correlate with longer life expectancies for females and males. The results are given for major nations and are also colored-... Read more

Process-rich effort continues to clean WA shoreline toxics

October 18, 2012

For a month starting today the public will be able to comment to the Washington Department of Ecology on the plan so far, including interim clean-up actions, to ease the toxic legacy of a plywood mill that operated on the city waterfront in Port Ange... Read more

State report: K-12 spending hikes would yield modest gains

October 17, 2012

In its McCleary ruling last January, the Washington Supreme Court said the state has failed to meet its constitutional responsibility "to make ample provision for the education of all children." As a result, by 2018, state K-12 spending could grow by... Read more

Blue Scholars bust some verse for Sound Transit rail

October 16, 2012

Seattle hip-hoppers Blue Scholars are rapping the praises of their regional transit agency in a new music video for Sound Transit. Here's one-half of the Scholars, MC Geologic, bustin' some verse on the South Sounder commuter train from Tacoma to... Read more

Puget Sound Partnership looks in mirror, not pleased

October 15, 2012

State audits have critiqued the Puget Sound Partnership for lax management, and a federal watchdog group tied it to alleged ethical missteps by a powerful Washington Congressman. But in a newly-released bi-annual "State of the Sound" assessment, the ... Read more

Bill to open Hanford's Rattlesnake Ridge stalled in Senate

October 15, 2012

A bill has stalled in Congress that would open up Eastern Washington's Rattlesnake Ridge to the public. The 3,600-foot-high ridge is the dominating feature of the Hanford nuclear reservation and the Tri-Cities area. The ridge marks Hanford's southwes... Read more

City of Yakima tries 'managed competition' experiment

October 13, 2012

The Yakima City Council has unanimously approved a resolution opening the door to competitive bidding between in-house departments and outside contractors. The resolution OK'd October 2 says that because the city, state and national economies "are ex... Read more

Data viz: oil imports, per-capita GDP for 25 nations, 1980 on

October 12, 2012

Earlier this week we used Google Public Data Explorer to craft a data visualization of debt as a proportion of Gross Domestic Product for 16 nations, over a multi-year period. It was from a dataset in the International Monetary Fund's October 2012 Wo... Read more

Washington wants to bury Native American school mascots

October 12, 2012

Washington State's non-profit public affairs TV channel TVW this week aired a segment on the continuing push by the state board of education against Native American school mascots. The board at its September 25th meeting in Walla Walla passed a resol... Read more

Sound Transit's ridership up, but big challenges loom

October 11, 2012

Commuter volume through August of this year on the buses and trains of Seattle's regional transit agency Sound Transit was 18.5 million, up 11.7 percent compared to the same time last year. Regional express buses have carried a majority of Sound Tran... Read more

Data visualization: gross debt as portion of GDP, 16 nations

October 10, 2012

From the International Monetary Fund's October 2012 World Economic Outlook database comes this data visualization we easily built at the Google Public Data Explorer site, depicting the gross debt of selected nations as a percentage of their gross dom... Read more

Everett-based egg giant sued by EEOC for worker sex harassment

October 09, 2012

Seattle and San Francisco attorneys for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have filed suit against the Everett-based egg producer and processor National Food Corporation, alleging that for almost seven years a manager of one of the comp... Read more

This Is Your Land: The Kubota Garden, Seattle

October 09, 2012

Perhaps the most unique of the City of Seattle's parks is The Kubota Garden. From the page for The Kubota Garden at the City of Seattle Parks and Recreation Department's web site: "Hidden in South Seattle, Kubota Garden is a stunning 20 acre landscap... Read more

Seattle Channel looks at WA charter school initiative

October 08, 2012

The Seattle Channel recently posted online an edition of its City Inside/Out public affairs show which delved into the debate over whether or not Washington State should have charter schools. On the ballot for the November 6 election, Initiative 1240... Read more

Health care problems for Spokane area veterans, says audit

October 08, 2012

Earlier this year, a U.S. report accented major problems with quality of health care at VA hospitals in Puget Sound. Now, a more recent probe has found significant shortcomings at the major facility serving Spokane area military veterans. Primary car... Read more

Auditor estimates $73 million in WA childcare overpayments

October 05, 2012

Almost one in four federal and state dollars spent on Working Connections program child care subsidies in Washington state during Fiscal Year 2011 were overpayments, according to a new report from the office of Washington State Auditor Brian Sonntag.... Read more

Oregon firms cash in on weapons, defense gear and services

October 04, 2012

It's been a good week for FLIR Systems Inc. of Wilsonville, Oregon, just 18 miles south of Portland off Interstate 5. The thermal imaging technology manufacturer booked $33 million in sales to U.S. defense agencies in just seven business days. FLIR w... Read more

Washington housing vacancy rate 2nd lowest in nation

October 03, 2012

A U.S. Census spreadsheet reveals that for 2011, Washington was tied with California and Nebraska for second lowest housing gross vacancy rate among U.S. states, at 10.1 percent. Only Iowa ranked lower, at 9.8 percent. The national average was 14.2 p... Read more

County in 10-year deal with popular dog wash at Marymoor

October 03, 2012

If you've been glad to give your muddy, happily exhausted canine a good sudsy hosing at Wash Spot Express in King County's Marymoor Park in Redmond after a romp in the "Doggy Disneyland" off-leash area there, you'll be pleased to learn the company an... Read more

Washington state companies land more military contracts

October 02, 2012

Washington companies other than Boeing in the last week won four more contracts from the U.S. military, together worth $45.3 million. The work is for pipeline dredging, building renovation, barge moorage construction, and water and wastewater system ... Read more

Cap Hill rehab house ex-worker cops to felony; hid suspect

October 01, 2012

Caitlan T. Grassi, a former caseworker at a halfway house for federal felons in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood, pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Seattle Friday on a felony charge of concealing someone from arrest, and a drug-related misdeme... Read more

University of Washington video highlights apps for students

October 01, 2012

Recently at Public Data Ferret we reported on a number of digital initiatives to enhance the student experience at the University of Washington. Today we came across a newly-posted video by UW on some of those apps. It gives quick profiles of too... Read more

Puyallup council likely to ban electric dog leashes

September 30, 2012

Following several months of investigation, the Puyallup City Council Tuesday night is poised to give approval to an ordinance that electronic dog leashes and collars don't meet its code requirements to keep dogs under control in public. A city staff ... Read more

North Sounder low ridership, high costs "not acceptable," says oversight body

September 27, 2012

In a report aired publicly today at the board meeting of the Seattle region's three-county regional transit agency Sound Transit, its Citizen Oversight Panel said at half of original projected passenger levels, North Sounder commuter rail service run... Read more

Video: UW info school aids SF Zen Center in digital archiving

September 27, 2012

Information and library science experts from the University of Washington feature in a new video segment for UWTV's UW/360 magazine show. It's about their work helping the San Francisco Zen Center archive 50 years worth of historical materials. UW As... Read more

How to get involved in the WA mileage tax feasibility study

September 26, 2012

Assistant civil engineering professor Cynthia Chen of the University of Washington and Sammamish City Council member Don Gerend are among 20 experts serving on a new state committee charged with overseeing a preliminary feasibility assessment of a r... Read more

Seattle wants takeover of mismanaged Indian commission

September 25, 2012

A Seattle City Council committee Wednesday will hold a public hearing and then likely approve for a full council vote soon afterward a resolution to take over the floundering Seattle Indian Services Commission. A city public development authority for... Read more

Local governments fight new state storm water permits

September 25, 2012

Many Puget Sound and Western Washington local governments are appealing the state permits requiring them to upgrade how they deal with storm water pollution. At least 12 cities, King County, Pierce County, Snohomish County, Clark County and Cowlitz C... Read more

This Is Your Land: On Lummi Mountain - The Video

September 24, 2012

Lummi Island is the northeastern-most of the San Juan islands in Washington State, and is reached via a small car ferry operated by Whatcom County. It's a lovely, quiet place and public lands to visit include numerous shorelines and beaches plus seve... Read more

WA gas tax, license fee hikes eyed; local MVET option seen

September 23, 2012

Around Washington state this fall city councils, regional associations of cities and regional transportation planning boards are trying to find common ground on what sort of transportation revenue measures to push in the Winter 2013 session of the st... Read more

Big learning curve ahead on U.S. automated weapons, intel

September 22, 2012

U.S. national security and military cost-efficiency will increasingly depend on automated weapons and automated information gathering systems on land, air and sea, but as procurement and deployment grow, coordinating and improving that effort will be... Read more

Look What Washed Up Ashore: WA Ecology, on Flickr

September 21, 2012

Yes, of course the Washington State Department of Ecology is on Flickr and yes, they've got exactly the pix you know you want to see: marine debris of the first order. It ain't pretty. Following are a few highlights from the album. Perhaps we could a... Read more

Federal Way R.N. surrenders license in wake of rape charge

September 20, 2012

In an order made public today by the Washington State Department of Health, a former registered nurse named Konstantin V. Kurkov who worked in the emergency room of St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way has agreed to permanently surrender his license, ... Read more

"Quick Stop" Skills Key To Passing WA Motorcycle Test

September 20, 2012

Washington residents who'd like to drive a motorcycle have to pass a riding skills test to get the added "endorsement" on their driver's license. The state Department of Licensing guide to the process says you can do it in one step at an approved mot... Read more

WA adjusts ethics rules for horse racing commission workers

September 20, 2012

The Washington State Horse Racing Commission will take a more direct role in regulating potential conflicts of interest for its employees working in the off-season for the horse racing industry they help regulate - at the Emerald Downs track in Aubur... Read more

Seattle bill would restrict employer use of criminal histories

September 19, 2012

A proposed City of Seattle bill being championed by Councilmember Bruce Harrell would restrict the right of Seattle employers to factor in to their hiring decisions a job applicant's past arrests, convictions or pending criminal criminal charges. Un... Read more

This is your land: Melakwa Lake, the video

September 19, 2012

Washington State is blessed with a wide range of public lands upon which to hike and a lot of them seem to reside within the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Only 45 minutes east of Seattle off Interstate 90 at Exit 47 is the signed route to t... Read more

Ethics troubles mount for state minority biz unit

September 18, 2012

In a civil case settlement agreement approved last Friday, the Washington Executive Ethics Board fined a former manager for the state Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprises named Jean Wheat $2,500 for ethics missteps. OMWBE helps busines... Read more

Doing biz with Washington State too tricky, audit says

September 18, 2012

Getting permits and licenses from Washington's government is nowhere as simple as it could be, according to a recent Washington State performance audit. A longtime state government goal has been to allow people and businesses who must comply with reg... Read more

Now THAT'S Boring!

September 18, 2012

From the Washington State Department of Transportation via Flickr comes this arresting image. Here's WSDOT's caption: "Workers stand in the shadow of what will become the world’s largest-diameter tunnel boring machine. Currently being assembl... Read more

Chrysler needn't pay last $1.3 billion owed to U.S.

September 18, 2012

The Congressional Research Service reports that the reformulated Chrysler Corporation cannot be required to pay the last $1.3 billion of $10.9 billion in loans received from the United States government's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) starting... Read more

Ex-State agency head to pay $12.5K fine for ethics goofs

September 17, 2012

A former U.S. Marshall and Clallam County Sheriff who was forced to resign as head of Washington Criminal Justice Training Commission has agreed to pay a $12,500 penalty in a civil case brought against him by the Washington State Executive Ethics Boa... Read more

Reading gains, but achievement gaps for Highline Schools

September 14, 2012

Sixth-graders in the Highline School District in southwest King County fully closed the reading proficiency test score gap last year, catching up with the statewide performance average after years of lagging behind, according to the 2012 State Test R... Read more

$95K fine eyed for oil spill safety risk at Richmond Beach

September 13, 2012

The Seattle-based Region 10 office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached a proposed consent agreement and final order with California-based Paramount Petroleum Corporation including a $95,606 civil penalty for what the agency asser... Read more

Washington State will push for expanded U.S. defense role

September 12, 2012

If Washington Governor Chris Gregoire and the state's Congressional delegation have anything to say about it, planned cutbacks in U.S. defense facilities and spending won't get in the way of an expanded U.S. military role for the Evergreen State and ... Read more

UW aims to transform learning via cloud, Web and mobile

September 12, 2012

The University of Washington is moving ahead with an ambitious campus technology initiative that aims to transform learning. Key components include electronic textbooks allowing collaborative exchanges among students, a cloud-based cache of teacher l... Read more

State audit dings Sunnyside schools for poor alt ed scrutiny

September 11, 2012

The Sunnyside school district in Yakima County was wrongly paid $213,110 because it misreported the number of students in a home-based computer learning program, a recent state audit said. The Washington State Auditor's Office reported that the d... Read more

UW study: scat-sniffing dogs can help in spotted owl counts

September 10, 2012

Conservation biologists at the University of Washington in Seattle report that dogs trained to sniff out small pellets of dried fecal matter from the threatened species the northern spotted owl can play an important role in ongoing efforts to gauge i... Read more

WA scores well in one aspect of Medicaid fraud detection

September 07, 2012

Washington state is batting almost 1,000 in due diligence checks of Medicaid applicants for financial eligibility, but needs to run checks on their vehicle ownership to ensure it is properly weeding out those whose net assets are too high to qualify ... Read more

WA Audit: Snoho-Skagit EMS boss tied to dubious spending

September 06, 2012

The Washington State Auditor's Office concluded that potentially tens of thousands of dollar in public money went to an emergency services official under suspicious circumstances from 2002 to 2010, according to a fraud investigation report released T... Read more

Monroe Schools honcho forced to quit after sex pics scandal

September 04, 2012

The director of the Monroe, Wash. School District's high school-level alternative education program called Leaders In Learning, who was earning $109,260 in total salary and benefits, was forced to resign because he used his school computer to view se... Read more

Washington Winners: Public Meeting Transparency Online

September 04, 2012

Below: the Washington state winners and champions in public meeting transparency online. They not only put meeting agendas online; they use software platforms which put into those online agendas, individual links to individual business items. This is... Read more

WA Local, Regional Govts. - Agendas, Documents

September 04, 2012

Open meetings laws and public records laws are a bulwark of our democracy, to be widely promoted and firmly upheld. Yet the bar is rising still higher for government transparency as many elected bodies go beyond mere compliance with these legal requi... Read more

EEOC wins $2.3M today from Fry's in Renton sex harassment, whistleblower case

August 30, 2012

A $100,000 fine of Fry's Electronics last month by a federal court judge in Seattle for procedural misconduct in a harassment and retaliation case at its Renton store, was just the first shoe dropping. Today, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Com... Read more

King County's big tort claims: $37.3M in last 2.5 years

August 29, 2012

Court verdicts or settlements of $100,000 or more in government negligence claims against King County from January 2010 through June 2012 have totaled $37.3 million and 40 percent of that has resulted from actions by transit employees at King County ... Read more

CBO infographic explains deficit, debt, taxes, services

August 28, 2012

A recently released report and infographic from the U.S. Congressional Budget Office warn that Congress should stick to its guns and execute the intent of the federal deficit reduction laws it has passed in recent years, or risk putting the nation on... Read more

Washington State Parks ranks high in visits, vs. U.S. peers

August 27, 2012

Washington State Parks ranked sixth out of 50 systems for combined day and overnight visitors, according to the 2012 Annual Information Exchange report prepared for the National Association of State Parks Directors (NASPD) by researchers at North Car... Read more

27 years of data: Seattle crime rate sharply declining

August 24, 2012

Annual rates of reported crime in Seattle have continued a steady and overall, sharp decline from 1985 through 2011, paralleling a trend seen in all other King County cities and nationwide, according to local police department data provided to Washin... Read more

Data viz: crime-specific rates, King County cities, 2007-2011

August 21, 2012

Recently, we published an original data visualization showing the overall crime rate per capita for each King County city, from 1985 through 2011. Below we zero in on crime rate data for King County cities during the years 2007- 2011, broken down and... Read more

City of Seattle-funded 501c3 SEED under microscope

August 20, 2012

The iconic Seattle non-profit SouthEast Effective Development (SEED), which has increasingly moved into government-funded affordable housing, is reportedly investigating its finances while its high-profile Executive Director Earl Richardson is on pai... Read more

Data viz: King County city crime rates, 1985-2011

August 16, 2012

The highest per capita crime rates among King County cities in 2011 were in Tukwila, SeaTac, Seattle, Auburn, Burien, Federal Way, and Kent. The lowest were in Duvall, Sammamish, Yarrow Point, Clyde Hill, Medina, Snoqualmie, and Black Diamond. That a... Read more

Woodinville traffic impact fee hike sparks council debate

August 15, 2012

Woodinville's City Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday to revamping its traffic impact fees - opting for a system that would charge developers of newly-built homes a one-time per house fee more than double the current level but still in the mid... Read more

Recent widespread industrial accidents spur state warnings

August 14, 2012

A series of workplace deaths and accidents has prompted Washington's Department of Labor and Industries to issue worker safety warnings about hazards to several segments of the state's industrial economy. In the past three months, the state has issue... Read more

Magnolia seafood firm pays $430,000 pollution settlement

August 12, 2012

Headquartered at Fishermen's Terminal in Interbay at the eastern edge of Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood, across from historic Ballard, Icicle Seafoods is a King Salmon in the U.S. seafood industry. Icicle harvests and processes several species of fi... Read more

2000-2009: SOVs still dominate region's work commutes

August 09, 2012

A data profile currently feaured on the web site of the Puget Sound Regional Council shows that on weekday work commute trips in King, Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap Counties and on a percentage basis, there's been only very scant progress from 2000 to... Read more

State finds gaps in sex offender screening at foster homes

August 08, 2012

Twenty-eight sex offenders fell between the cracks of state background checks on child care homes between 2002 and 2012, said a state performance audit released last week. "We found that even with required criminal background checks, monitoring and/o... Read more

Group says tourism brought $484.5M to Bellevue in 2011

August 07, 2012

At a study session prior to last night's Bellevue City Council council meeting, Visit Bellevue Washington presented findings detailing that 1,253,000 overnight and day-trip visitors brought more than $484 million in spending to the growing Eastside c... Read more

City to expand U District park, but overpaying for property?

August 05, 2012

Under an ordinance set for approval Monday August 6, the Seattle City Council would authorize the spending of $967,617 in 2008 city parks levy funds to expand the tiny pocket park called Christie Park in the University District. Once the city complet... Read more

King County labor pacts eye four-year, 6.5 percent COLAs

August 03, 2012

A proposed 2011-2012 labor pact for 750 workers in the King County Department of Public Health and the Department of Community and Human Services that entered the county council's legislative pipeline this week would initiate a projected four-year Co... Read more

84 percent of King County animal fines in 2012 uncollected

August 02, 2012

More than four out of every five dollars owed to King County for violations of animal control regulations in the first six months of this year have yet to be collected, according to a violations summary report from the county's animal control divisio... Read more

Audit: oversight lax for alt. ed students in Yakima

August 01, 2012

A state audit said Yakima County's East Valley school district improperly collected $66,717 in state money for an Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) program serving home-based students via computers, by failing to exercise required oversight ensur... Read more

After Kennewick teacher's series of sexual emails: a salary hike, retirement, then a state reprimand

July 31, 2012

A teacher at Kamiakin High School in the Kennewick, Wash. school district is finally getting a penalty from the state for using his school email account to receive, view and forward pictures of nude and partially nude women; and for using it to recei... Read more

Report: Asia prime turf for American wood pellets

July 30, 2012

The Asian wood pellet market is growing, and the the United States and Canada are poised to be a prime source for it, according to a second-quarter 2012 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Pacific Northwest Research Station. "The West C... Read more

WA audit: fiscally, City of Sunnyside skating on thin ice

July 26, 2012

The City of Sunnyside in Yakima County improperly juggled its internal funds in the past two years, so its general fund landed in the red just five months into 2012, according to a state audit report released this week. That red ink in the general fu... Read more

Perp's appeal fails, in Capitol Hill hate crime at LGBT club

July 24, 2012

A ruling from a Washington State appeals court Monday upheld the conviction of a Seattle man for other charges related to an anti-gay hate crime for which he was also convicted, near a Capitol Hill LGBT nightclub. Muhamet M. Sumaj was convicted in 20... Read more

WSU-Vancouver's $130K promo blitz aims to up enrollment

July 24, 2012

Washington State University's Vancouver, Wash. campus is seeking requests for proposals from marketing firms to help the school boost its overall campus population an ambitious seven to nine percent yearly through a direct campaign targeting prospect... Read more

Pertussis in WA hit Hispanics at double the rate of others

July 23, 2012

The headline-grabbing outbreak of whooping cough, or Pertussis, in Washington state this year affected Hispanics at a rate more than twice that of non-Hispanics, according to a new report from the Washington State Department of Health and U.S. resear... Read more

Airport concessionaire underpays Port of Seattle by $250K

July 20, 2012

A major SeaTac Airport concessionaire owes the Port of Seattle $256,269 because of confusion on how to report revenues, according to a June port audit. The concessionaire's umbrella company, American Management Services, agreed with the audit results... Read more

WA eyes new U.S. transpo bill funds, but with questions

July 18, 2012

The passage of a new two-year $100 billion-plus federal transportation funding bill by Congress June 29 is expected to bring roughly $652 million to Washington state in 2013 and $657 million in 2014, compared to roughly $652 million for 2012, accordi... Read more

Port OKs $475,000 to Kent man's widow in asbestos case

July 17, 2012

The Port of Seattle Board of Commissioners last week approved by unanimous vote a $475,000 settlement its attorneys recommended with the widow of a union electrician who worked for a construction firm at the Port's SeaTac Airport in the early 1970s a... Read more

Green tourism campaign eyes fewer cars to San Juans

July 16, 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 ... Read more

Older, overweight? Not really a health issue, UW study says

July 12, 2012

Obesity remains a significant health problem. But the next classification down, being overweight, is no worse for older adults than being of average weight, based on more than a dozen indicators. That's the conclusion of a study that was recently pub... Read more

WA Revenue Dept. unveils sales tax-rate app for businesses

July 12, 2012

The Washington State Department of Revenue has released an iPhone app, soon to appear for Andriod as well, that lets businesses doing transactions in different areas look up the local sales and use tax rates, which vary according to city and county. ... Read more

King County jail revenues seen falling at least $10M short

July 10, 2012

A shortage of prisoners and a decline in paid services provided to them will blow a hole of at least $10 million this year in the budgeted revenue projections of the King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention. Revenues collected by the de... Read more

Report: most Seattle-King County taxi driver test-takers fail

July 09, 2012

There are more than 3,000 licensed taxi drivers driving 592 licensed taxicabs in Seattle and King County, but officials certainly aren't passing out the required credentials like candy. Nearly two-thirds of all applicants to become taxi drivers who t... Read more

WA state site has new interactive data sets on population

July 06, 2012

Population data for Washington cities and counties from 2010 to April 1, 2012 released in late June by the state's Office of Financial Management is now available as a series of interactive datasets at Washington State's official open data site, data... Read more

1,000 items, including laptops, vanish from Seattle schools

July 05, 2012

More than 1,000 school-owned "assets" - primarily computers, laptops, maintenance equipment, and classroom items - have been reported missing from Seattle schools since January 2009, said a Washington State Auditor's Office report released this week.... Read more

Medicaid fraud fixes top of mind in both Washingtons

July 03, 2012

It was just weeks after Washington State enacted a landmark Medicaid anti-fraud measure, and only weeks before a U.S. Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for a sweeping federal health care bill that, as the Seattle Times reported, will boost Medicai... Read more

Bellevue College seeks approval of new bachelor's degree program in 'Big Data' analytics; fall 2014 start eyed

July 02, 2012

For many community college students in Washington state, getting a two-year associate degree might be a ticket into the workplace. But more so than ever, advancing to a higher rank and responsibilities requires more education. So rather than merely s... Read more

WA vehicle collisions and fatalities drop notably, '02 to '10

July 01, 2012

Data from the Washington State Department of Transportation show that over the past decade there's been a significant downwards trend in The Evergreen State's total vehicle collisions and fatalities, even with an uptick in vehicle miles travelled. Ad... Read more

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

June 30, 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 repre... Read more

Gas Works Park environmental clean-up work continues

June 29, 2012

The next tweak in fixing Seattle Gas Works Park's contamination problem will likely occur next fall when a half-acre tarp will be buried in the site's northeast corner. This will be the latest measure to ensure more pollution, in this case toxic an... Read more

Gas station pollution fix-it work from Seattle to Bellingham

June 28, 2012

Last year, Washington state and a Dutch corporation signed a contract to take care of leaking underground gasoline storage tanks at 40 former and current gas stations in King, Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties. The work is tentatively expected t... Read more

Snoqualmie dam project OK was fair, appeals court says

June 27, 2012

Despite strong community opposition tied to related downstream flooding risks, Puget Sound Energy is now even more firmly in the clear to further widen the Snoqualmie River, lower a dam and keep operating its Snoqualmie Falls hydro-electric power pl... Read more

State Dept.: Russia badly mistreats LGBTs, and the disabled

June 26, 2012

Russia is no walk in the park, according to the recently released survey of global human rights conditions in 2011 by the U.S. Department of State. The report's Russia section details problematic prison conditions, police corruption, the lack of safe... Read more

U.S. wildfire risk zones and current incidents: mapped

June 26, 2012

Washington state isn't currently included in the areas predicted to be at greatest risk for wildfires this summer, according to The National Wildland Significant Fire Potential Outlook for July through September that is updated monthly online by the ... Read more

WA teacher helped students game standardized tests

June 24, 2012

A Washington state elementary school teacher in the Colville district with 26 years of experience resigned her job as disciplinary actions unfolded following charges she provided "unauthorized assistance" to students in her fifth-grade classroom for ... Read more

New report: still 100K fewer jobs in WA now than in 2007

June 21, 2012

Washington has had three recessions since 1990, but the current recession's recovery has been glacially slow compared to the last two. Roughly 150,000 jobs slower, based on each economic recovery after 50 months. The slight recession in 1990 ended af... Read more

WSDOT survey: If there's more freight delay, you will pay

June 19, 2012

If traffic congestion on Washington's interstate and state highways were to grow by a far-from-impossible 20 percent, 56 percent of freight-dependent businesses would pass the added costs on to consumers, more than a third would reroute or eat the co... Read more

WSU report: state needs citizen journalism networks, training

June 16, 2012

A new report issued by Washington State University's Murrow College of Communication calls for creation and training of citizen blogger networks across the state, allied with daily newspapers and funded by foundations - in an effort to transform Wash... Read more

Iconic Seattle outdoor gear firm continues sales to U.S. military

June 14, 2012

A Seattle-based company that markets popular brands of snowshoes, kayaks, tents and other outdoor gear used widely by Northwest outdoorsmen and women continues to enhance its revenues with sales to support the programs of the U.S. military, as well. ... Read more

What's next for cash-strapped Washington State Parks?

June 13, 2012

The Great Recession hasn't been kind to state parks systems. They're unavoidably even farther up the line for state budget cuts than education and social services - which have also taken big hits. As the Los Angeles Times reports today, state parks s... Read more

Senate panel raps Boeing over bogus P8-A test model part

June 10, 2012

A U.S. Senate's Armed Services Committee report sharply critiques Boeing Company for failing to notify the U.S Navy for 17 months after it issued its own internal "suspect discrepancy report" that a key component in an ice detection system to be used... Read more

Bainbridge teacher resigned after computer porn use found

June 07, 2012

A public document recently posted online by the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction reveals that a high-profile Bainbridge Island public school teacher quietly resigned at the start of the current school year after the... Read more

State to contract for feasibility report on vehicle mileage tax

June 06, 2012

Building on an experiment with drivers on Puget Sound roads plus a 2010 legislative study and a task force report issued in January 2012 by Governor Chris Gregoire, the State of Washington is now seeking bidders for a feasibility study on something t... Read more

Interactive asset map of public art in Seattle

June 05, 2012

This data visualization shows the location and site information for each of the 316 art installations sponsored by the City of Seattle as of June 2012. Blue circles indicate the geographic location of each project. Hovering your cursor over a circle ... Read more

Honors program coming to Community Colleges of Spokane

June 05, 2012

Next fall Community Colleges of Spokane (CCS) hopes to begin trial phases of a new honors program at its schools. CCS has published a request for proposals (RFP) from consulting firms to help create an honors program that will increase enrollment and... Read more

Pacific County public hospital district trying to stay afloat

June 04, 2012

On the rural coast of Washington in Pacific County, a small but vital critical-care, taxpayer-funded hospital has new interim leadership trying to dig its way out of financial problems that threaten its survival, including a four-fold increase in ope... Read more

$2.5K ethics fine for Evergreen College-Tacoma chief

June 01, 2012

A high-level state college administrator in Tacoma who also teaches a course on "the ways in which colonialism and neocolonialism have created unequal distributions of power, wealth and access to resources," will pay a $2,500 state ethics penalty for... Read more

Seattle Community Colleges seek help to improve image

May 31, 2012

Last winter in the wake of contentious anti-corporate protests led on its Capitol Hill central campus by Occupy Seattle, Seattle Community College District officials were beginning to grapple with proposed legislation from its teachers union that was... Read more

Seattle firm wins $30M fuel contract with U.S. military

May 29, 2012

Seattle-based Troy Company, Inc. has won a contract worth up to $30 million to supply various types of fuel to the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force. The announcement came late last week for the bulk distributor of petroleum products. The award ceiling i... Read more

State seeks bids on more probes for geothermal energy

May 25, 2012

The State of Washington's Department of Natural Resources is seeking bidders for drilling exploratory geothermal boreholes in Skamania and Klickitat counties at up to five of six targeted sites that have passed environmental muster: Swift Creek, Nort... Read more

Seattle NGOs echo concerns of USAID Haiti audit

May 23, 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 a... Read more

State: $12M in yearly lottery ads not boosting ticket sales

May 21, 2012

It's the size of the jackpot and economic factors that really influence the volume of Washington Lottery ticket sales, not the $12 million per year the lottery spends on advertising, according to a newly-released report from Washington State's Joint ... Read more

U.S. has diverse energy for electricity, but not transport

May 17, 2012

A series of data visualizations accompanying the recent "Energy Security in the United States" report by the Congressional Budget Office shows the lion's share of energy used in the United States still comes from fossil fuel sources such as oil, coal... Read more

U.S. report: anti-"Pink Slime" campaign was misleading

May 15, 2012

The media’s portrayal this past March of the long-used lean finely textured beef (LFTB) ground beef additive as suspect “pink slime” has had far-reaching effects, according to a recent report on the controversy issued by the Congressional Resea... Read more

Gold Bar man jailed for nest egg theft from mom, of Everett

May 14, 2012

A Gold Bar, Wash. man named Michael Robert Downer is now serving a 45-day jail term for felony first degree theft after without authorization he spent at least $13,735 on himself from a larger nest egg account that he jointly administered with and fo... Read more

Chicken liberation hearing Thurs. night in Lake Forest Park

May 10, 2012

Behold the versatile egg. How much better, some say, to harvest eggs from your own backyard than in polystyrene or cardboard packages from the grocery store. As interest grows in urban agriculture and locally-sourced foods, it's not only in overtly g... Read more

UW plans mobile app for gay men at risk of HIV

May 09, 2012

The University of Washington is planning to contract with a smartphone applications developer who will build an app for iPhone and Android to promote events, information resources, testing and research to help gay men avoid or manage the HIV virus an... Read more

Washington ranks high in mixed-race households

May 06, 2012

A newly-released focus report on U.S. households by the Census Bureau reveals Washington State is in the top fifth nationally in mixed-race households. Which ever way you slice it. Of Washington husband-wife households counted in the 2010 Census, 10.... Read more

UW report: King County a national leader in life expectancy

May 04, 2012

King County ranks in the top two percent nationally for male and female life expectancy, according to a nationwide survey of all 3,147 U.S. counties or county equivalents, by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washin... Read more

New state report: 2011 assisted suicides reach new high

May 02, 2012

Under a law approved by voters in 2008, 80 different doctors wrote prescriptions for 103 lethal doses of medication in Washington in 2011 and 94 of the patients are known to have died, according to the state's third annual Death With Dignity Act repo... Read more

Negligence suit reinstated against Valley Medical Center and doctor in Baby Diego's death

April 30, 2012

A Washington state appeals court ruling today re-opens a medical negligence lawsuit against Valley Medical Center in Renton and a doctor who worked there, by the Tukwila, Wash. parents of a prematurely born infant known as Baby Diego. They claim the ... Read more

IRS overpaid $100B in earned income credit from '03-'11

April 29, 2012

An audit report from the U.S. Treasury Department's Inspector General For Tax Administration says the Internal Revenue Service has overpaid U.S. taxpayers between $99 billion and $119 billion in earned income tax credit (EITC) payments, or allowances... Read more

Yet another sticky-fingered caper reported at UW-Seattle

April 27, 2012

Adding to a continuing series of revelations on ethical and fiscal misconduct at the University of Washington in Seattle, the university's Office of Internal Audit has in response to a Washington State Public Records Act request by Public Data Ferret... Read more

Audit: Iraq elections contractor falls short, wins renewal

April 26, 2012

An audit by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the federal government's USAID agency says that what turned into a seven-year, $102 million contractor-driven effort to bring fair and open elections to Iraq has failed to become sustainable by... Read more

Data viz: major U.S. pipeline incidents, 2008-2010

April 23, 2012

A study released by the Congressional Research Service on U.S. energy pipeline management and security says that despite potential vulnerability to accidental malfunction or purposeful sabotage, the risk of a terrorist threat is low, but safety overs... Read more

Vashon schools eye classroom cuts to close budget gap

April 20, 2012

A short ferry ride but galaxies removed from the commotion of Seattle, the unincorporated King County community of Vashon Island is sylvan, artsy, and laid back. The size of Manhattan, it is home to 10,624. Organic farmers, dreadlocked 30-somethings... Read more

Non-violent crime in Washington state: the data say it pays

April 18, 2012

Nine years of Washington figures released recently in the Office of Financial Management's wide-ranging state Data Book show that with the exception of murder and assault, the odds are long here that criminals will even be arrested, much less convict... Read more

WA: one in five social programs checked don't pencil out

April 17, 2012

A new report from the Washington legislature's non-partisan policy analysis unit, the Washington State Institute For Public Policy, finds that of 98 programs recently reviewed for what researchers liken to an investment advisor's "buy-sell" list, 79 ... Read more

U.S. audit accents broad problems at VA's Puget Sound hospitals

April 13, 2012

A new oversight report from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General (OIG) identifies problems with sedation safety, colorectal cancer screening, sanitation, medication management, coordination of care, quality assuranc... Read more

Seattle inches closer toward rental housing licensing

April 11, 2012

The City of Seattle continued today to advance toward implementing a rental housing licensing and inspection program that officials say would be aimed at especially at chronically negligent landlords and tenants who may well be afraid to use the city... Read more

Woodinville teacher forced out for faking signatures on students' special ed plans

April 09, 2012

An agreed order recently posted online by the Washington state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction discloses that the Northshore School District - which operates 33 schools primarily in Kenmore, Bothell and Woodinville - successfully s... Read more

$44M more in military dough announced for WA firms

April 08, 2012

According to a recent announcement from the U.S. Department of Defense, two Washington employers can expect a total of up to $44 million more in military contract revenues in coming months. First, the Tacoma division of the French-born international ... Read more

UW's curious cold case: track team loses $12K cash

April 04, 2012

A previously undisclosed University of Washington internal audit dated April 2011 and records of a related UW Police investigation, both recently obtained by Public Data Ferret using the Washington state Public Records Act, detail the theft of almost... Read more

Washington ranks in the middle nationally on executions

April 03, 2012

According to a recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Washington is ranked twenty-fourth among U.S. states in the number of inmates it executed during the years 1930-2010, at 52. However, very few prisoners have received the death... Read more

Woodinville to OK local wine, beer sales at city park concerts

April 02, 2012

Come this summer in Woodinville, it won't just be wineries such as Chateau St. Michele reaping the fiscal harvest of concert crowds drawn by the unbeatable combination of smooth Syrah and samba, or Cabernet and cool jazz. The Woodinville City Council... Read more

UW, WA researchers: tobacco-prevention ROI more than 5-1

March 30, 2012

Washington state has gotten a good bang for its buck on tobacco-prevention spending, at a rate of more than five dollars in benefits for every dollar spent, according to a recent analysis published in the American Journal of Public Health by a team i... Read more

Report: county auditors, treasurers group scammed for $73K

March 28, 2012

A fraud report just issued by the Washington State Auditor's office says the former financial operations manager of the Washington Association of County Officials (WACO) embezzled more than $73,000 from the group by writing checks to herself and doct... Read more

$61K DSHS supe used work as playground, pays $1.5K fine

March 28, 2012

A supervisor at the Washington state Department of Social and Health Services has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $1,500 for using state time and equipment for his own interests, in apparent violation of the state's Ethics in Public Service Act, acc... Read more

UW: $100K-plus Harborview supe faked hours for more pay

March 26, 2012

Another case of employee ethical misconduct at King County's Harborview Medical Center - operated by the University of Washington's UW Medicine unit - has come to light, and is expected to be highlighted in an upcoming Washington state auditor's offi... Read more

Court says Kirkland firm must answer age bias firing charge

March 22, 2012

In a ruling published this week the Washington State Court of Appeals reversed a "summary judgement" signed by King County Superior Court Judge Douglass A. North that a yard foreman working in Dutch Harbor, Alaska for a Kirkland, Wash.-based marine ... Read more

Ex-Marine, and ex-Seattle news exec warn U.S. Senate against overly broad disclosure shields

March 21, 2012

In a recent testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary committee, a retired Marine and a national proponent of government transparency with long and deep ties to Seattle, ratcheted up concerns about a recent military attempt to censor from the publi... Read more

Ex-Bellevue teacher, SPU innovator jailed for sex crimes

March 20, 2012

A then-resident of Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood who had deep ties to Seattle Pacific University during his tenure as a science teacher in the Bellevue school district, this month had his state teaching license permanently revoked following a gu... Read more

Shoreline parks smoking ban survey draws pointed views

March 19, 2012

With a planned discussion of a recent citizen survey and a presentation of what could be the final draft of a new ordinance, the Shoreline City Council March 19 is poised to move one step closer to a scheduled vote March 26 to ban all tobacco use in ... Read more

TVW video of Seattle conference panel on open government's future

March 13, 2012

In 1972 Washington state voters were concerned about government accountability and ethics for a wide variety of reasons, some emanating from within the state and some from without. As a result they approved Initiative 276, creating an initial version... Read more

King County whistleblower fired day of complaint, but no foul

March 12, 2012

After she claimed she was forced to donate volunteer labor to a women's sports officials association founded by her boss in King County government, a web designer in the Accountable Business Transformation unit of the county's Department of Executive... Read more

Connected Seattle city worker stayed on payroll after felony

March 07, 2012

In a ruling issued this week a state appeals court upheld the convictions for first-degree perjury, and gross misdemeanor counts of stalking and cyberstalking by a then-City of Seattle Parks and Recreation Department employee named Andre L. (Luis) Fr... Read more

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

March 05, 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 prelim... Read more

Hidden report: UW sacked burn unit aide for diverting funds

March 01, 2012

According to a University of Washington internal audit report obtained by Public Data Ferret through the Washington Public Records Act, King County's Harborview Medical Center - which is managed by the UW Medicine unit - last June 30 fired a recreati... Read more

For 5th drunk driving offense in 10 years, Maple Valley man faces felony DUI sentencing by King County judge

February 28, 2012

Kenneth Wayne Sandholm, 55, of Maple Valley is scheduled to be sentenced this coming Friday by King County Superior Court Judge Michael Heavey for up to five years in prison on a felony conviction earlier this month for Driving Under the Influence. S... Read more

UW axed assistant dean who faked credits for 139 students

February 24, 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" Olso... Read more

WA bill would amp up science disclosure by enviro agencies

February 21, 2012

A "show your work" bill which earlier this month cleared the Washington State House of Representatives by a 97-0 vote and is now under consideration in the Senate's Government Operations Committee would require Washington's departments of ecology, an... Read more

Bothell firm wins military contract extension worth up to $46M

February 17, 2012

Yesterday as the first stage of its $995 million purchase by Tokyo-based Fujifilm was successfully completed, Sonosite, Inc. of Bothell, Wash. was awarded a third-year contract extension worth up to $46,303,658 to supply the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Forc... Read more

UW study: low-dose CT scans for lung cancer too costly?

February 15, 2012

A new study from University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center experts in Seattle finds that the overall costs of detecting and treating lung cancer among heavy smokers through a potentially promising process involving screening... Read more

Congressional Facebook Hackathon report maps legislative transparency solutions; now what will Congress do?

February 13, 2012

Imagine if instead of emailing or calling your U.S. Congressman or Senator with concerns about pending legislation, you could re-draft a portion of the bill text online, or endorse the revisions of another reader, knowing you'd be heard by decision-m... Read more

Coal, gas will still power most electricity in 2035, unless...

February 10, 2012

Without a major shift in government policy such as extension of expiring renewable energy subsidies, or a carbon tax, coal will continue to be the predominant source for generating electricity used in the United States in 2035. This is according to t... Read more

Seattle Community College teachers urge board to buy ethically; cut ties with Bank of America, Georgia Pacific

February 09, 2012

The meeting this afternoon of the Seattle Community College District Board of Trustees will be preceded by a study session in which officials will begin to publicly mull a request from the teachers union to adopt a socially-responsible purchasing pol... Read more

Seattle region U.S. Census office fires confessed sex abuser

February 09, 2012

A former employee of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services who worked as a nursing aide in a Shoreline, Wash. DSHS-staffed home for developmentally delayed adults and who admitted in a detailed confession to committing repeat... Read more

U.S. out of Afghanistan, WA senate committee urges Obama

February 06, 2012

Fueled by a parade of proponents who testified at a public hearing in Olympia Friday, legislation is beginning to work its way toward a possible vote on the floor of the Washington State Senate that urges President Barack Obama and the Congress to g... Read more

WA House bill could help pave way for mileage tax

February 02, 2012

Sponsored by a bipartisan group of lawmakers from Federal Way, Mercer Island, Lynnwood, Spokane and Wenatchee, a bill heard in the Washington House Transportation Committee Wednesday Feb. 1 if passed into law could help revolutionize transportation f... Read more

New report: WA gives taxpayers $29.3 billion in special breaks

February 01, 2012

As Washington state lawmakers grapple with either raising taxes or trimming $1.5 billion from the 2011-13 state budget because revenue projections have failed to keep pace with planned spending increases, a new report issued Jan. 31 by the state depa... Read more

Interactive map: King County library system building projects

January 30, 2012

A series of construction and expansion projects continue to unfold in the new year in the King County (Wash.) Library System, following voter approval in 2004 of a $172 million bond issue. Courtesy of the library system's staff we are happy to presen... Read more

WA transportation funding bills an exercise in caution

January 27, 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 pr... Read more

Risks drop from prescription opioids for WA injured workers

January 25, 2012

According to a new federally-funded study by University of Washington researchers, cautionary guidelines developed by Washington state agencies on physician-prescribed painkilling opiates for patients suffering from chronic pain preliminarily appear ... Read more

Shoreline Mulls Smoking Ban In City Parks

January 24, 2012

Shoreline plans to roll out an online survey of residents in the first quarter of 2012 to help officials decide if it should join a growing group of Washington jurisdictions which ban use of tobacco products in their parks and sometimes other outdoor... Read more

Auburn's red-light, speeding cameras awash in more red ink

January 22, 2012

The chairman of the City of Auburn's Municipal Services Committee, Bill Peloza, says he'll be asking some questions about the future of the town's traffic safety automated camera enforcement program called PhotoSafe when the panel meets Monday night.... Read more

Anti-Jewish hate crime probed at University of Washington

January 20, 2012

Campus police at the University of Washington in Seattle say they are investigating "as a hate crime" the drawing of a swastika and the word "Jew" on the the door of a Jewish student who lives in the residential facility Haggett Hall. In a written re... Read more

WA had 2nd-highest eligible-voter turnout in U.S. in 2010

January 18, 2012

As its share of ballots cast by mail has steadily increased, Washington state in 2010 reached a new high in national ranking of "voting-eligible population" voter turnout, a more precise measure of civic engagement than the traditional turnout report... Read more

Cocaine isn't only "psychostimulant" death risk for WA ex-cons

January 16, 2012

A recently published federally-funded research study tracking more than 30,000 ex-prison inmates released in Washington state shows that among the cohort of 1.5 percent or 443 that died within an almost two-year medical surveillance period, one-sixth... Read more

DSHS ethics woes continue

January 13, 2012

Following at least five other documented cases of ethical or major administrative missteps in the last 10 months and two more being investigated, the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services is in the spotlight again, for possible em... Read more

Documenting witness intimidation by phone - legally

January 11, 2012

Since a Washington State Supreme Court ruling in 2008, King County Jail authorities have been able to continue legally recording phone calls made by detainees. County prosecutors say calls by those charged with domestic violence especially can yield ... Read more

Washington state remains a leader in low-carbon energy

January 11, 2012

Washington state ranks second among 50 states behind only Vermont in the low-carbon intensity of its energy supply, according to a report issued Monday by a branch of the U.S. Department of Energy. Washington is also just outside the lowest tenth of ... Read more

One in five WA bilingual students transitioned out last year

January 10, 2012

Twenty percent of students enrolled in transitional bilingual education programs in Washington state K-12 public schools in 2010-2011 who took a key English language proficiency test passed it. Four-fifths didn't. Those who passed were then able to t... Read more

Infographic: deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions

January 06, 2012

Because trees help absorb greenhouse gases, forest preservation plays an important role in controlling climate change. When forests are destroyed or degraded that harms our ability to control climate change. The problem is primarily concentrated in t... Read more

Private cash might save state money on two big toll projects

January 05, 2012

A study summary presented yesterday to the Washington State Legislature's Joint Transportation Committee says money from profit-motivated private companies could be a way to deliver better value to taxpayers on construction and management of some tol... Read more

Readiness worries for state's public high school grads

January 04, 2012

Close to six of ten graduates of public high schools in Washington state who go on to community and technical colleges here have to take remedial, non-credit courses to be ready for their new college coursework, according to a report from the Washing... Read more

Mercer Island High band slays 'em at the Rose Parade

January 03, 2012

The Mercer Island High School marching band delivered a high-energy performance at the 123rd annual Rose Parade 952 miles from home Monday in Pasadena, capping a highly anticipated five-day trip of music and sightseeing. Several band members share th... Read more

Auburn's new poet laureate strips away the varnish

December 30, 2011

The city of Auburn, Wash. sits 28 miles south of Seattle astride major highways, riven with burger joints, casinos, and the exhaust fumes of sixteen-wheel rigs. Yet here too in the long shadow of Tahoma are rushing rivers, broad pastures of livestock... Read more

Seattle cruise line's ship hit with gastrointestinal illness again

December 28, 2011

For the second time since November, the MS Ryndam luxury cruise ship operated out of Tampa by Seattle-based Holland America Line has suffered an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness marked by vomiting and diarrhea, according to a report published by ... Read more

In Seattle streams, six to ten out of ten adult coho salmon die before spawning

December 27, 2011

A final report published this month by a team of 17 Seattle, King County and U.S. government researchers in an open-access peer-reviewed science journal adds to evidence that metal filings from brake pads mixed into storm water run-off, and hydrocarb... Read more

Tutorial: Using the Washington Achievement Data Explorer

December 20, 2011

You can easily compare state achievement test score results between school districts and between schools within a district, using the University of Washington-Bothell's Washington Achievement Data Explorer (WADE) tool online. It was developed and is ... Read more

Conviction for stalking on Aurora #358 bus route overturned

December 19, 2011

A state appeals court last week threw out the conviction of Akbar Mhea in Seattle Municipal Court and King County Superior Court for stalking 87-year-old Vera Galbreath of Seattle on an Aurora Avenue bus late at night and after both debarked at 80th ... Read more

More U.S. funds to Boeing-Seattle for Saudi air defense fixes

December 16, 2011

A $50 million Foreign Military Sales contract announced this week by the U.S. Department of Defense will bring to at least $277,292,000 the maximum value of U.S. government spending with the Seattle-based defense unit of Boeing Co. and subcontractor... Read more

Admitted sex abuser was Census field rep in King County

December 16, 2011

For more than two years year after he began repeatedly sexually abusing a developmentally disabled woman he cared for as a nursing aide in a state-run assisted living facility in Shoreline - and for three months after public release of a Washington S... Read more

Identity theft cost U.S. households $13.2 billion in 2010

December 14, 2011

Seven percent of U.S. households were victimized by identity theft in 2010 at a cost of $13.2 billion, according to a recent report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The percentage is a slight drop from 7.3 percent in 2009 but still considerably... Read more

Report: improve data on USDA food facility inspections

December 13, 2011

Instead of just providing opaque aggregated data as at present, the U.S. Department of Agriculture should closely consider beefed-up public disclosure which names names and provides facility-specific outcomes of food safety inspections, sampling, tes... Read more

Bald eagle viewing on Skagit River starts Saturday

December 12, 2011

Starting this coming weekend of December 17 and 18 and through January 29, visitors can again witness one of the largest wintering populations of bald eagles in the lower 48 states descending upon the Skagit River’s supply of salmon. Providing assi... Read more

Redmond's Physio-Control wins defense contract extension

December 08, 2011

Physio-Control of Redmond, Wash. this week won an one-year extension worth roughly $10 million of a contract with the Philadelphia-based U.S. Defense Logistics Agency. It could extend another four years at a total value of up to $49 million. For at l... Read more

King County seeks up to $5.5M-plus in yearly PR consulting

December 07, 2011

Attention, contractors with "messaging" skills: King County is seeking requests for qualifications from communications consultants to bid for up to and possibly more than $5.5 million per year in work. Duties include developing strategy, writing, edi... Read more

11-fold hike in emergency room visits related to energy drinks

December 06, 2011

Despite a Washington state ban and tough federal enforcement against energy drinks containing alcohol, alcohol-free energy drinks with up to five times the caffeine blast of a cup of coffee pose growing public health concerns. According to a new stud... Read more

$2.2 million in U.S. tax refunds due Washington residents

December 05, 2011

The Internal Revenue Service announced today that 2,087 Washington state taxpayers are due a total of $2.2 million in refunds for their 2010 federal taxes, which could not be delivered because of wrong mailing addresses. If you think you may be in th... Read more

Renton may delay annexation vote due to state budget woes

December 05, 2011

It now appears that the state of Washington's struggle to narrow a $2 billion gap between planned expenditures and revenues in the 2011-13 budget could affect the timing of a major annexation vote in Renton. The Renton City Council is expected to dec... Read more

Fruity granola, drones, and firefighting: more U.S. military contracts for Northwest firms

December 01, 2011

The U.S. Department of Defense has announced that Longview, Wash.-based Mallory Co. was awarded by the Troop Support division of the Defense Logistics Agency in Philadelphia a third year option on a contract to provide "tailored logistics support...f... Read more

How to monitor the insurance industry in Washington state

November 30, 2011

Government agencies continue to voluntarily disclose online substantial portions of their work, including disciplinary and regulatory proceedings, as well as accountability and performance measures. But often the key links to those Web pages are scat... Read more

State of Washington spending up 57 percent from 1999-2011

November 29, 2011

House Bill 2127 is the focus of the Washington State Legislature's special session which began Monday amidst noisy protests and the urgent strains of Barry McGuire's 1965 anti-war anthem, "Eve of Destruction" blaring loudly from a big tent on the Cap... Read more

Tracking committees during legislature's special session

November 27, 2011

Front and center in the Washington state legislature's special session starting Mon. Nov. 28 is revising the state budget to close a $2 billion gap between planned spending and anticipated revenue, perhaps setting the stage for a statewide voter refe... Read more

Government as platform: the podcast

November 25, 2011

The Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU-FM at American University in Washington, D.C. recently featured an hour-long podcast about how governments are using emerging technology to engage stakeholders. Joining the host were: Bryan Sivak, Chief Innovation Officer... Read more

Gastroenteritis outbreak on Seattle-based cruise line's ship

November 22, 2011

One hundred and forty-eight passengers and eleven crew members took ill with with vomiting or diarrhea, or infectious gastroenteritis, on a two-week voyage from Barcelona which ended November 20 in Tampa, on the ms Ryndam, a cruise ship of Seattle-ba... Read more

State ethics sanctions for four DSHS workers

November 22, 2011

The Washington State Executive Ethics Board has finalized disciplinary sanctions in four cases involving employees of the state's Department of Health and Social Services who broke state law by conducting private business at work, or in one case, by ... Read more

Seattle region scores poorly on HIV risk behaviors

November 16, 2011

The Seattle area is tied for first among 21 major U.S. metro regions in casual and unprotected anal intercourse between men who have sex with men, or MSM, and that is "the sexual behavior that carries the highest risk" among this group for HIV - the ... Read more

Washington state near top in U.S. home Internet use

November 15, 2011

Washington state is outranked only by New Hampshire and Utah in percentage of households that are connected to the Internet, according to a new report from the U.S. Commerce Department titled, "Exploring The Digital Nation: Computer and Internet Use ... Read more

North Creek Forest conservation gets big boost from Bothell

November 14, 2011

A community-driven and grant-funded effort to preserve a forest for recreation, conservation and environmental learning in the heart of suburban Puget Sound has received a big boost with the City of Bothell okaying a purchase from the Boy Scouts of A... Read more

Surveillance Cameras Coming To King County Parks

November 11, 2011

Frustrated by years of continuing vandalism in the parks and natural areas it operates, King County has quietly announced it is seeking bids for surveillance cameras to watch over some of those facilities. Next Thursday November 17 is the revised dea... Read more

More self-dealing alleged at Seattle Indian Services Commission

November 09, 2011

The troubled Seattle Indian Services Commission, already in the process of being stripped of ownership of its adjoining properties on 12th Ave. S. by the city in King County Superior Court, is now under fire in a newly-released state audit because fo... Read more

Kent firm gets $64 million more in U.S. military contracts

November 08, 2011

Sysco Seattle, Inc. of Kent, Wash. yesterday was awarded two contracts totaling up to $64.6 million from the Philadelphia-based U.S. Defense Logistics Agency to provide food service for U.S. military troops at an assortment of facilities in Washingto... Read more

U.S. report: transit use, car mileage gains stuck in low gear

November 07, 2011

According to a new U.S government report released in October, the "greening" of the nation's transportation sector has a long way to go. Total passenger miles traveled on public transit are about one-eightieth those traveled in private vehicles. Solo... Read more

State worker car crashes cost $21 million from '07-'10

November 03, 2011

In the four most recent years for which public data is available from the State of Washington, the state has paid $21,661,799.44 in costs related to car and light truck crashes involving state workers. That total includes: $7,537,186.85 in worker'... Read more

Audit: state could save millions by reducing snail mail

November 02, 2011

A performance audit released Tuesday says four large State of Washington agencies that were examined spent almost $10 million dollars last year for un-required bulk mailings. The report from Washington State Auditor Brian Sonntag's office stops short... Read more

"Making The Open Government Partnership Work"

November 01, 2011

From our special report for the Open Knowledge Foundation of Cambridge, U.K.: "....the big questions that need to guide any open government visioning at national scale...fell into two broad areas. 1) Political culture. Are political corruption and cr... Read more

Seattle parks gun ban shot down again

October 31, 2011

A gun ban approved by Seattle for city parks and other city recreation facilities has been rejected again in court, this time by a three-judge state appeals court panel. The court was hearing an appeal of a earlier decision, reported by The Seattle T... Read more

UW Dental School should ban free samples, prof urges

October 28, 2011

Dental schools including that of the University of Washington should seriously consider banning free drug and product samples due to ethical, medical, consumer and educational considerations, says UW Professor of Dentistry Philippe Hujoel after compl... Read more

King County hopes to revive mileage-based car insurance

October 27, 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... Read more

KIng County youth court guardians seek to unionize

October 26, 2011

A prominent public employee labor union filed a request Monday with the State of Washington's Public Employment Relations Commision (PERC) to establish itself as the collective bargaining agent for 15 non-supervisory and non-clerical workers of the ... Read more

State auditor: Port Townsend's finances shaky

October 25, 2011

A financial audit on the city of Port Townsend released Monday by the office of Washington State Auditor Brian Sonntag warns elected officials and city staff that the municipality's finances are badly eroding. The city of 8,925 is a distinctive an... Read more

MOVE maps digital stories on diet, smoking in King County

October 24, 2011

Almost 70 digital stories on healthy diet, obesity prevention and smoking prevention from Seattle and King County residents are mapped online at a new web site called Mapping Our Voices For Equality (MOVE). Featured are digital personal narratives on... Read more

University of Washington's graduation rate slows

October 21, 2011

Six-year graduation rates for freshman entering the University of Washington at the main campus in Seattle had been rising for the classes of 2000 through 2003 but slowed last year as the rate for the class of 2004 dropped slightly. Overall, UW is so... Read more

Auditor's whistleblower reports: workers misusing state computers

October 20, 2011

Five separate whistleblower investigation reports issued this week by Washington State Auditor Brian Sonntag find that employees at state agencies misused their workplace computers for personal purposes. According to the reports, they used their stat... Read more

Georgetown, downtown firms share in $74 million Navy contract

October 19, 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 ... Read more

UW Study Decodes Female Genital Cutting In Senegambia

October 12, 2011

Just published in the October issue of Social Science and Medicine, a new study of communities in Senegal and Gambia over three years led by University of Washington anthropologist Bettina Shell-Duncan finds that the controversial practice of female ... Read more

State Auditor: Douglas County PUD worker stole $12K in fuel

October 11, 2011

Chelan County Deputy Prosecutor Doug Shae said today a pre-trial settlement involving full restitution is likely in the case of a Douglas County Public Utility District employee whoaccording to a fraud investigation report released last week by the W... Read more

Appeals court clears Puyallup Tribe cops in suspect's death

October 10, 2011

Puyallup Tribe police officers acted properly and under the protection of tribal sovereign immunity when in May, 2007 they subdued with a stun gun an erratically-behaving intruder named Jeffry Young at a tribal drug treatment center who then in their... Read more

Fast-food menu labels don't cut calories in King County

October 07, 2011

A new study by researchers from Public Health Seattle and King County, the University of Washington and Seattle Children's Research Institute, just published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, finds that mandatory la... Read more

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

October 06, 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... Read more

City will remove race-based graffiti at Seattle Parks boating facility

September 29, 2011

Only last month, after 12 years and a $3 million public-private fundraising effort, the George Corkery Family Boating Center re-opened at the City of Seattle's Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center at Stan Sayres Memorial Park along Lake Washington B... Read more

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

September 27, 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... Read more

Whistleblower report: UW prof got job for unqualified daughter

September 27, 2011

On the heels of a mid-July state report that a University of Washington professor took a contract fee from a state agency for work he never delivered, and following another 2011 case which sparked a criminal prosecution against an alleged embezzler i... Read more

Seattle eyes transfer of troubled Indian services properties to non-profit

September 26, 2011

SUMMARY: A public development authority formed by the City of Seattle in 1972 called the Seattle Indian Services Commission, which has been the subject of several critical city and state audits in recent years, now appears unable to continue to servi... Read more

Weak job growth triggers frustration for Washington's unemployed

September 22, 2011

When Tommy Lamoth lost her job in 2009, she didn't envision a job hunt that would include eight months of collecting unemployment benefits, ping-ponging between temp jobs across Seattle, and still being unable to find work in her field after a ye... Read more

New UW study assesses "net benefits" in African malaria fight

September 21, 2011

SUMMARY: Working with U.S. and African colleagues, researchers from the University of Washington's Institute For Health Metrics and Evaluation, in Seattle, integrated data from several dozen qualifiying health surveys in malaria-prone Sub-Saharan Afr... Read more

Mercer Island Council might sock adults with civil fines for covert teen drinking

September 19, 2011

The Mercer Island City Council Monday night will consider whether to approve the drafting of an ordinance that could levy civil fines on adults responsible for premises where underage alcohol consumption has occurred, even if the drinking occurred wi... Read more

State worker sexually abused vulnerable patient at Shoreline facility

September 16, 2011

With his signature on a state health department disciplinary document, a former nursing assistant at a group home operated in Shoreline by the Washington Department of Social and Health Services admitted he sexually abused a developmentally-delayed 5... Read more

CDC report: U.S. adult smoking isn't fading away

September 13, 2011

SUMMARY: U.S. adults made only slight progress quitting smoking between 2005 and 2010, and are not on track to meet the nation's formal 2020 goal of only 12 percent of adults smoking, according to a new report released by the U.S. Centers For Disease... Read more

Inspector General: national parks climate initiative weak, ineffective

September 12, 2011

SUMMARY: According to a report by the U.S. Department of the Interior's Inspector General, a voluntary climate change initiative of the U.S. National Park Service called Climate Friendly Parks is mainly window dressing because it has no consistent ac... Read more

Bellevue man, Kirkland firm charged with securities fraud

September 08, 2011

SUMMARY: Attorneys for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a legal complaint today in U.S. District Court in Seattle against Richard A. Finger, 32, of Bellevue, Wash. for defrauding investors in the Kirkland, Wash. securities trading fi... Read more

Seattle Police memo: body cameras easier said than done, now

September 07, 2011

SUMMARY: In a report to be presented Sept. 8 to a Seattle City Council committee, Seattle Police say they haven't begun to test four body-mounted cameras on police officers as directed but that the SPD training unit has done preliminary testing of on... Read more

UW study probes factors in Washington animal-vehicle collisions

August 31, 2011

SUMMARY: Collisions between vehicles and animals exact a large toll in injury and property damage every year in the U.S. and also have a significant impact in Washington state. A new study led by the director of a transportation research laboratory a... Read more

State Auditor: manager defrauded UW Med Center of $252,059

August 29, 2011

SUMMARY: Echoing criminal charges already filed in King County Superior Court, a fraud investigation report issued today by the office of Washington State Auditor Brian Sontag and addressed to new UW President Michael Young says a former manager at t... Read more

WSDOT: Transportation funding needs to be fixed

August 25, 2011

OVERVIEW: Last year the Puget Sound Regional Council issued a landmark report titled Transportation 2040 which found that baseline surface transportation needs in the four counties in and around Seattle would require $64 billion more in toll, tax and... Read more

UW doctors detail how to better care for hospitalized elderly

August 24, 2011

SUMMARY: Doctors are seeing a growing percentage of elderly hospitalized patients, who often have special and potentially costly needs. The risks to elderly patients from hospitalization and related procedures are significant: surgical complications,... Read more

Federal Reserve: mainly, we buy American

August 22, 2011

SUMMARY: China’s rising inflation and labor costs will have little effect in increasing American prices because, despite perceptions to the contrary, China has a small share of the U.S. consumer market, according to a recently-released economic rep... Read more

Results of Seattle Police watchdog agency's 2010 excessive force probes: 120 allegations, but no smoking guns found

August 19, 2011

According to information obtained by Public Data Ferret from the Seattle Police Department's Office of Professional Accountability, OPA in 2010 completed 77 investigations into use of force complaints against SPD personnel, including 120 related alle... Read more

ACT results: good news, bad news for Washington state

August 17, 2011

Only 20 percent of Washington state Class of 2011 graduating high school seniors took the ACT test of college and career readiness, less than half the suggested threshold of 40 percent for state-by-state comparison purposes. Nonetheless, the results ... Read more

New report: urban traffic pollutants can lower birth weight

August 16, 2011

According to a new study from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences polluted air from diesel and gasoline combustion and paved road dust increases the likelihood of low birth weight among infants by as much as five percent for ever... Read more

Regional tolling fair to low-income households, UW researchers report

August 15, 2011

SUMMARY: With plans unfolding for electronic tolling of highways in the Seattle region, the state of Washington commissioned a study of whether it is fair to low-income households. The report by a professor at the University of Washington's Evans Sch... Read more

Everett-based counselor loses license for sex with patient

August 09, 2011

A woman named Dana Blyzes who state officials say resided in Bothell and was employed as a counselor at Sunrise Community Mental Health in Everett has surrendered her license as a registered "agency affiliated counselor" for at least three years aft... Read more

"Donut Hole" sale could bring more growth to Maple Valley

August 05, 2011

The “Donut Hole” is up for sale. And if King County sells it, the City of Maple Valley could become 156.5 acres larger by the end of the year and gain housing and jobs. It is a somewhat tricky proposition, though. If King County can succe... Read more

UW report: charter schools part of the learning gap solution

August 04, 2011

SUMMARY: Incorporating high-performing charter schools in public school districts can help overcome the achievement gap between minority and white students, according to a paper released by the University of Washington's Center On Reinventing Publi... Read more

Mukilteo company recalls 16,000 Chinese-made flashlight batteries

August 03, 2011

SUMMARY: Mukilteo-based high-grade flashlight maker NexTorch and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission today announced the recall of about 16,000 Chinese-made NexTorch NT123A lithium batteries for flashlights, which can rupture and catch fire, ... Read more

Medicare's improper payments totaled $48 billion-plus in 2010

August 03, 2011

SUMMARY: In recent testimony to a U.S. House subcommittee, officials of the Government Accountability Office reported that improper payments in 2010 for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Medicare program totaled at least $48 billion, ... Read more

State Supreme Court: Bothell violated defendant's civil right to fair trial

August 02, 2011

SUMMARY: The Washington Supreme Court late last week confirmed a man convicted of stalking in Bothell will get a new trial because he didn't get a fair hearing of his peers. The justices ruled that under the state constitution, the city court erred... Read more

National Academies: green buildings can harm health, productivity, costing billions

July 26, 2011

SUMMARY: According to a recent report prepared for the United States Environmental Protection Agency under the supervision of the Institutes of Medicine of the National Academies, the use of new, energy-efficient building materials or construction me... Read more

Puyallup construction company wins $35 million defense contract

July 25, 2011

The U.S. Department of Defense announced recently that Puyallup, Wash. company Absher Construction has won a $35,275,888 contract from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Honolulu, to build an enlisted personnel housing facility at the U.S. Army's Scho... Read more

GAO: EPA still failing to safeguard drinking water

July 22, 2011

SUMMARY: The head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office's division of Natural Resources and Environment, David Trimble recently testified to a senate committee that the Environmental Protection Agency continues to fail scientifically and proce... Read more

Cascade Natural Gas will pay $425,000 safety fine to state, under proposed settlement

July 22, 2011

SUMMARY: Cascade Natural Gas Corp. has agreed to pay a $425,000 fine for breaking a number of state and federal gas safety laws and under the proposed settlement announced last week with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, is subj... Read more

UW study urges stronger response to student Net addiction

July 21, 2011

SUMMARY: A new study by University of Washington researchers of students at UW and the University of Wisconsin finds that Internet addiction among college students may be as common as asthma among children. The study found that 4 in every 100 college... Read more

CDC: Haitian cholera epidemic imported by Nepalese soldiers

July 20, 2011

SUMMARY: According to a recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report, the cholera outbreak in Haiti in October 2010 was caused by contaminated river water downstream from a United Nations military camp for Nepalese soldiers. The study was conducte... Read more

Violent sex offenders never got health study DSHS paid UW for

July 19, 2011

SUMMARY: A whistleblower report investigation by the Washington State Auditor's Office found that the State Department of Social and Health Services paid the University of Washington more than $24,000 for contracted work never performed, to develop r... Read more

U.S. report: Worst human trafficking in Africa, Middle East

July 18, 2011

SUMMARY: A Public Data Ferret interactive mapped data project below shows the full country-by-country assessments in the U.S. Department of State's recently-released 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report. Of 184 counties evaluated in the report, the Sta... Read more

Enumclaw finalizes $900,000 public-private funding package for new multi-use sports field

July 18, 2011

SUMMARY: The city of Enumclaw passed an ordinance last week to accept a $300,000 state grant that completes a public-private funding package for a $900,000 project at the Enumclaw Expo Center complex, where a poorly-draining and deteriorated natural ... Read more

EEOC Seattle office charges Fred Meyer with overlooking sex harassment

July 14, 2011

SUMMARY: The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Seattle Field Office has charged Fred Meyer Stores, Inc., with failing to address blatant sexual harassment of female employees by a customer at one of its stores in a Portland subu... Read more

U.S. Ninth Circuit: Kent teacher not responsible for student's sexual misconduct

July 13, 2011

SUMMARY: The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has found a Kent School District teacher to be not responsible for one developmentally disabled student’s sexual misconduct during the school day. Madhuri Patel, the mother of a developmentally disa... Read more

Foreign lottery fixation leads to license revocation for Yakima optometrist

July 13, 2011

SUMMARY: Yakima-based practitioner Gary Martinkus was found by the Washington State Department of Health's Board of Optometry to be unfit to practice and to be posing a risk to patients after he involved them and office staff in buying money orders o... Read more

In Burien case, Supreme Court eases burden of proof for childcare license revocation

July 12, 2011

SUMMARY: In a ruling last week involving license revocation of a former Burien, Wash. in-home childcare provider whose son and management were thought to pose a risk to children, the Washington Supreme Court found that the burden of proof is lower th... Read more

Downtown Seattle design firm wins $15 million Navy contract

July 11, 2011

SUMMARY: The downtown Seattle firm Makers Architecture and Urban Design has won a $15 million contract from the San Diego-based Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest to provide "project planning documents, plans, studies, geo-spatial informa... Read more

U.S. report accents human trafficking "special cases" in Somalia, Haiti, Ivory Coast

July 10, 2011

SUMMARY: The U.S. State Department's report last week on global human trafficking includes portraits of "special cases" Cote d’Ivoire, Haiti, and Somalia - impoverished nations on the verge of lawlessness, without government infrastructure to effe... Read more

Legislative audit: benefits of Washington state's green buildings not clear

July 07, 2011

SUMMARY: The benefits of Washington state's push for environmentally friendlier public buildings remain unclear, according to a legislative report. The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee's High Performance Public Buildings report reveale... Read more

JLARC: Tort claims costs Washington $399 million from '04 to '10

July 06, 2011

SUMMARY: According to a recent Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee preliminary report, the State of Washington spent $399 million in so-called tort claim payouts related to alleged governmental negligence between 2004 and 2010. Three state a... Read more

Culver City firm and feds recall flammable dresses sold at Macy's

July 01, 2011

The Culver City-based apparel firm Topson Downs and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission have announced a recall of about 2,100 "Mint Chili Combo" dresses sold at the Impulse Department of Macy's department stores nationwide and on macys.com d... Read more

City Auditor: Seattle legal and liability claims total nearly $75 million over four years

July 01, 2011

SUMMARY: A recent City of Seattle Auditor’s report found that over a four-year period, from 2007 to 2010, the City of Seattle spent nearly $30 million to settle lawsuits filed against it. This accounts for 39 percent of the total $74,767,406 spent ... Read more

Shoreline awards neighborhood matching grant for Sunset Park pARTy

June 29, 2011

SUMMARY: The Shoreline, Wash. City Council this week approved a mini-grant of $3,942 to the Richmond Highlands Neighborhood Association for a community art project and public event at Sunset School Park. The school has been closed since 2007 and has ... Read more

UW gay discrimination case reinstated by appeals court

June 28, 2011

SUMMARY:The Washington State Court of Appeals yesterday rescinded an April 2010 King County Superior Court ruling that dismissed a gay discrimination case against the University of Washington and a former supervisor. Debra Loeffelholz alleges UW an... Read more

GAO: Aid contracts to Afghani vendors require stricter review

June 27, 2011

SUMMARY: According to a June 2011 United States Government Accountability Office report, nearly 75 percent of all U.S. government aid contracts to non-U.S. organizations in Afghanistan were not evaluated to determine possible criminal affiliations pr... Read more

Eagan, Minn. and Keyport, Wash. cooperate on $758 million upgrade to Navy war subs

June 22, 2011

The U.S. Department of Defense announced this week that the Eagan, Minn. unit of defense contractor Lockheed Martin has won a contract worth up to $758 million to retrofit Navy submarines with new combat and sonar components. According to the DoD ann... Read more

FAA's air traffic upgrade plan: "fire, ready, aim"

June 22, 2011

SUMMARY: A June 15 U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) report found that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has no clearly defined goals for implementing its proposed Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). NextGen relies la... Read more

HHS Report: Eight New Substances Listed as Carcinogens

June 20, 2011

SUMMARY: Newly revised findings from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) suggest that two new substances, formaldehyde and a botanical known as aristolochic acid, are cancer-causing human carcinogens. The findings, released in the ... Read more

HHS report: Half the antipsychotic drug claims paid by Medicare for elderly nursing home residents unwarranted

June 16, 2011

SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General recently released a report revealing that some senior patients in nursing homes are being overmedicated with atypical, or tranquilizing, antipsychotic drugs administered outs... Read more

GAO: U.S. government's cache of depleted uranium could fetch up to $4.2 billion in net profit

June 14, 2011

SUMMARY: In testimony yesterday to a U.S. House subcommittee, the Government Accountability Office said the Department of Energy is sitting on assets currently worth $4.2 billion in the form of depleted uranium "tails" that could be sold to nuclear p... Read more

State: nurse at Auburn facility took patients' opiates, worked under the influence

June 10, 2011

SUMMARY: The Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission of the Washington state Department of Health has charged registered nurse Deborah M. Asrari with unprofessional conduct for allegedly appropriating the prescription opiate hydomorphone for her un... Read more

FCC: philanthropy, non-profits, transparency key to fill local news gaps

June 09, 2011

SUMMARY: A new report from the Federal Communications Commission warns of an overall national deficit in professional local news reporting focused on government accountability. In response, the report recommends a number of strategies. These include ... Read more

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

June 06, 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... Read more

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

June 01, 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 - centere... Read more

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

May 27, 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 Ira... Read more

Audit: Bureau of Indian Affairs Jails Still Mismanaged

May 26, 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 beca... Read more

U.S. warns consumers of unsafe cribs

May 25, 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 produc... Read more

Gig Harbor Bans Roadside Panhandling

May 24, 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 safet... Read more

Washington firm wins $66 million military food supply contract

May 23, 2011

SUMMARY: Numerous Washington state companies other than Boeing continue to win sizable U.S. defense contracts, which can be tracked through a Department of Defense Web page which is updated Monday through Friday, and a related database of announcemen... Read more

Guilty pleas in Seattle Medicaid prescription drug conspiracy

May 17, 2011

SUMMARY: A Seattle woman and her fiance last week pled guilty to federal charges in a scheme involving theft of Medicare client information from a Seattle eye clinic where she worked as a billing technician, and to the forging and submitting of fraud... Read more

Seattle to sell old utility property to Port for noise buffer

May 16, 2011

SUMMARY: After selling or otherwise disposing of 159 excess properties for $159 million between 1998 and August 2008, the City of Seattle has sold none since then although it has some 212 "property management areas" declared as excess and worth rough... Read more

Feds warn of hazardous hoodies sold at Pike Place Market

May 12, 2011

SUMMARY: According to a recently-issued recall notice from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, any purchasers of one of an estimated 300 hand-knit, hooded wool sweaters with drawstrings made in Ecuador and sold at the El Gringo Imports stall... Read more

Court restores engineering license of convicted child molester

May 11, 2011

SUMMARY: A Washington state appeals court in Tacoma today overturned the five-year license suspension meted out in 2009 by a state oversight board to professional engineer Dennis E. Ritter, the former Public Works Director of Lacey, Wash., who was co... Read more

State agency overpaid $13.7 million for drugs in '09-'10

May 10, 2011

SUMMARY: According to a performance audit released last week, Washington state's Department of Labor and Industries through 2010 paid an overly generous reimbursement rate to pharmacists for prescriptions of generic drugs to injured workers covered u... Read more

Seattle Owns Excess Properties Worth Roughly $81 Million

May 03, 2011

SUMMARY: A new annual report shows the City of Seattle owns 212 excess properties or groups of properties with a combined assessed value of $80.9 million. Officials stress that appraisals would be needed to better calculate market values. Twenty-two ... Read more

State issues online guide to appealing health claim denials

April 29, 2011

SUMMARY: The Washington state Office of the Insurance Commissioner has published an online consumer guide to appealing denied health insurance claims. It includes sections on how to correctly launch your appeal, traits of successful and unsuccessful ... Read more

Sound Transit to pay penalty to state disclosure commission

April 28, 2011

SUMMARY: Sound Transit has agreed to a pay a $15,000 civil penalty - with half the amount conditionally suspended - for violating state law requiring timely filing of lobbying expenses. The penalty stems from 21 quarterly reports from Sound Transit t... Read more

State: Patient abandoned by home nursing aide, found on floor

April 27, 2011

SUMMARY: The Washington state Department of Health last week announced it had filed charges of unprofessional conduct against registered nursing assistant Janice. N. Lorenzana, who allegedly abandoned an elderly patient for whom she was supposed to b... Read more

Federal Way hospital nurse charged with rape of patient

April 26, 2011

SUMMARY: A registered nurse working in the emergency department at St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way, Wash. has had his license suspended and has been charged in King County Superior Court with second-degree rape of a patient seeking treatment for ... Read more

Printing reforms could save Washington state up to $13.6 million per year

April 25, 2011

SUMMARY: According to a newly-released state performance audit, Washington could save between $5 million and $13.6 million per year by eliminating duplication in printing operations, controlling costs of printing equipment and supplies, using electro... Read more

Mercer Island Urged To Re-Name Community Center

April 25, 2011

SUMMARY: The Mercer Island City Council tonight will consider a proposal to change the name of the city's Community Center at Mercer View to the Mercer Island Community and Event Center. A consultant hired by the city recommends the change, to make m... Read more

Renton Readies Matching Grants To Homeowner Groups

April 21, 2011

SUMMARY: The Community Services Department of Renton has recommended the City Council approve nearly $50,000 in matching neighborhood grants for six projects sponsored by homeowners associations. The projects would make home addresses more visible to... Read more

Insufficiently Jewish prisoner's claim against Washington state nixed

April 19, 2011

SUMMARY: A U.S. appeals court has ruled against a Washington state inmate who alleged his right to religious freedom was violated when a Jewish religious services contractor for the State of Washington denied his request for a Torah, Jewish calendar ... Read more

Nailed Lakewood merchant: "it was necessary to cheat on the taxes"

April 15, 2011

SUMMARY: State documents released today show that a merchant in the Pierce County, Washington city of Lakewood admitted to cheating the state out of at least $92,543 in sales taxes at his cigarettes and beer store. Seeking leniency after being caught... Read more

U.S. Report: Seattle Can Model Next Steps Against Trafficking

April 15, 2011

SUMMARY: A recently released report by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash. posits that Seattle and Western Washington partners in the battle against human trafficking would be well-suited to demonstrate new methods of informa... Read more

U.S. Model Estimates Green Car Costs Per Mile

April 12, 2011

SUMMARY: Assuming that new technical and business strategies can be successfully adopted to accelerate transition to electric and hybrid electric vehicles, the potential long-term savings to consumers could be substantial. The National Renewable Ene... Read more

Sammamish Mulls Writing Off Developers' Bad Debt

April 11, 2011

SUMMARY: The City Council of Sammamish April 12 will consider a proposed resolution to write off $113,309.55 in bad debts from approximately 30 developers who prior to 2010 didn't pay service fees owed to the city. For these accounts, reminder letter... Read more

Report: U.S. Military Must Fix Vaccine Program

April 06, 2011

SUMMARY: A new report by a prominent U.S. military medical official, published in an Air Force policy journal, faults the Department of Defense for failing to sufficiently protect the health of U.S. military forces with vaccines for common naturally ... Read more

Merrill Gardens Med Tech Cited For On-The-Job Intoxication

April 04, 2011

SUMMARY: The state department of health released case information last week on Joseph B. Barsana, who worked as a registered nursing assistant/medication technician at a West Seattle assisted living facility, and has failed to contest a citation of u... Read more

State Sues Eastside Firms For Alleged Mail Order Scam

April 01, 2011

SUMMARY: Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna today filed suit against a Seattle man and two companies he owns on Mercer Island and in Bellevue, charging that they violated the state's Consumer Protection Act by marketing stethoscopes and ot... Read more

DSHS Must Pay Back $8.4 Million For Medicaid Claims

March 31, 2011

SUMMARY: In response to a recently issued federal audit, Washington state's Department of Social and Health Services will pay Medicaid back $8.4 million for improper reimbursement it claimed and received for family planning services and products. The... Read more

UW Report: Teacher Bonus Plan Not Helping Needy Kids

March 30, 2011

SUMMARY: Washington state legislation providing annual bonuses for each K-12 public school teacher that becomes nationally board certified, plus another annual bonus for each year they teach in "challenging" schools is increasing the number of those ... Read more

U.S. Audit Of Peace Arch Border Facility Rebuild: Construction Contract Management Was Lax, Costly

March 29, 2011

SUMMARY: Contrary to mandates and guidelines meant to ensure competition in government construction contracting, the U.S. General Services Administration set aside the lead contractor's proposed guaranteed maximum price of $59.9 million for construct... Read more

"Police Legitimacy And Predictive Policing"

March 25, 2011

SUMMARY: Writing for a publication of the U.S. Justice Department, the Chief of Police of Lincoln, Neb. warns that modern mapping and data analysis techniques which let police pinpoint likely crime hot spots and perpetrators should not be used as a p... Read more

State: Tukwila Bar Owes $200,000 In Local Gambling Taxes

March 23, 2011

SUMMARY: The White Horse Bar and Grill in Tukwila, Wash. is facing possible suspension or revocation of its two state gambling licenses. The state charges that the establishment has failed to pay more than $200,000 to the City of Tukwila in local gam... Read more

Puyallup Seeks Library Funding Fix

March 22, 2011

SUMMARY: Puyallup's city-run library has suffered deep cuts and can't keep up with customer service demands so the city is being urged by local library officials to examine contracting with or annexing to the larger, regional Pierce County Library Sy... Read more

Appeals Court Upholds Dismissal Of Auburn Pot Conviction

March 17, 2011

SUMMARY: A state appeals court this week rejected an attempt by the City of Auburn to reverse a King County Superior Court ruling which threw out convictions in Auburn Municipal Court against Dustin B. Gauntt, a driver stopped and cited by local poli... Read more

Unapproved Rate Hike Earns $50K State Fine For Insurer

March 16, 2011

SUMMARY: Washington's Office of the Insurance Commissioner has fined a Philadelphia insurance company $50,000 for enacting unauthorized annual rate hikes of up to 12 percent in student accident and sickness plans and failing to include policy numbers... Read more

Seattle-Nairobi Team Has Better HIV Test For African Infants

March 15, 2011

SUMMARY: Early detection of the HIV-1 virus in infants in Africa is a pressing global health concern but current testing tools are too expensive. A team of researchers from the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Se... Read more

CBO Director Stresses Rising Public Debt, Taxes, Spending

March 14, 2011

SUMMARY: In a public presentation and official blog post last week, U.S. Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas W. Elmendorf warned of rising U.S. public debt. It hit $9 trillion or 62 percent of Gross Domestic Product at year-end 2010, and is ... Read more

Seattle Ethics Board To Electeds: Blog And Tweet Away, But Carefully!

March 10, 2011

SUMMARY: The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission has posted a draft advisory opinion that if ultimately adopted in its current form would encourage City elected officials to continue using blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other social media without w... Read more

Washington State Disciplines Health Care Workers

March 08, 2011

SUMMARY: The state of Washington last week announced it has indefinitely suspended the license of a registered nursing assistant working in the emergency department of Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland after he was reported for apparent intoxication and... Read more

King County Researchers Report Maternal Health Risk Disparities For Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders

March 07, 2011

SUMMARY: According to a report recently published in a journal of the U.S. Centers For Disease Control, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders in King County, Wash. have significantly higher rates of maternal obesity, smoking during pregnancy, adolesc... Read more

Audit: Soap Lake Didn't Collect Up To $515,000 In Utility Fees

March 04, 2011

SUMMARY: Due to a combination of frequent turnover in the position of city clerk, and the introduction of new billing software which decreased city oversight of utility account classification changes and resulting billing rates, the City of Soap Lake... Read more

GAO: Medicare's Path "Fiscally Unsustainable"

March 03, 2011

SUMMARY: In testimony to a U.S. House subcommittee yesterday, U.S. Government Accountability Office Director of Health Care Kathleen King said the Medicare program is at risk of failure because of waste, mismanagement, and increased demand for servic... Read more

Annex North Highline To Seattle? City Council Digs In, Again

March 01, 2011

SUMMARY: A Seattle City Council staff report ups the ante on the low-end estimates in a January, 2011 analysis from the administration of Mayor Mike McGinn on the annual and one-time net costs to the city of annexing the 3.55 square mile North Highli... Read more

Excess Postal Space Worth $26 Million In Seattle District

February 28, 2011

SUMMARY: A recently-issued audit by the Inspector General's office of the United States Postal Service finds that in the Seattle District, covering Washington and Idaho, mail volume has dropped 22 percent in the last five years and more than 800,000 ... Read more

Supreme Court Affirms Kitsap Child Rape Conviction, Overturning Appeals Court Reversal

February 25, 2011

SUMMARY: The Washington State Supreme Court has reversed a state appeals court which last year threw out a conviction against Arthur C. Russell, convicted in trial court in August, 2008 for first degree rape of a child, a stepdaughter, when the famil... Read more

Boeing Renton Plant Cleanup Planned To Protect Water

February 24, 2011

SUMMARY: Dangerous chemicals are being or could be released from Boeing's Renton Plant into the soil and groundwater, potentially affecting water quality in Lake Washington and the Cedar River and posing "ä threat and/or potential threat to human he... Read more

Know Your Government: WA Energy Facility Site Council

February 24, 2011

WHO, WHAT, WHY: The Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council was created by the legislature in 1970 to consolidate state agency reviews of proposals for new or expanded energy facilities, needed for deciding whether or not they will get of... Read more

New UW Report Maps Challenges For Charter Schools

February 23, 2011

SUMMARY: The final report was recently issued in a four-year study by University of Washington education scholars on charter schools in the U.S. It finds charters typically provide a strong emphasis on college preparation and high academic expectatio... Read more

King County Is Hiring

February 22, 2011

SUMMARY: King County, Wash. provides an online jobs data bank and an online job application tool for its open positions. At this writing, the county is accepting applications for 41 different jobs, ranging in pay from $18.37 to $23.28 per hour for an... Read more

Study IDs Old Woodinville Schoolhouse Rehab Options

February 17, 2011

SUMMARY: A consultant team's study for the City of Woodinville reports that the cost of redeveloping the city's Old Woodinville Schoolhouse property, which dates to 1909 and served as city hall from 1993 to 2001, would range from $4 million to $5.5 m... Read more

Seattle Chronic Nuisance Property Report: 2010

February 15, 2011

SUMMARY: The first annual report on the City of Seattle's nuisance property ordinance and its enforcement program will be presented by the police and law departments to a city council committee tomorrow. Although a formal nuisance declaration can com... Read more

City Of Toppenish Agrees To $134,500 EPA Fine On Clean Water Act Citations For Wastewater Plant Outflows

February 14, 2011

SUMMARY: Under a proposed Consent Agreement and Final Order, the City of Toppenish, Wash. would pay the U.S. Treasury $134,500 to settle civil penalties for allegations by the U.S. Environment Protection Agency that outflows of ammonia, copper and zi... Read more

UW Study: Licensing Foreign-Trained Dentists In WA Doesn't Boost Access For Vulnerable Populations

February 14, 2011

SUMMARY: Forty-nine million U.S. residents live in federally-designated dental Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), typically rural or low-income areas where care is often provided through public health insurance programs such as Medicaid. One... Read more

State Could Save $180 Million Each Two Years In K-12 Employee Health Costs

February 10, 2011

SUMMARY: A state performance audit found Washington could save up to $180 million for every two-year budget cycle - enough to pay for 1,000 more teachers and their benefits - if the state implements major organizational reforms in K-12 public school ... Read more

French Slough Flood District Dealt No-Bid Projects To Its Own

February 09, 2011

SUMMARY: In a newly-issued report the Office Of The Washington State Auditor Brian Sonntag has cited the French Slough Flood Control District In Snohomish County for violating state conflict-of-interest law and state law requiring competitive bidding... Read more

Kenmore Would OK Study On Replacing County Police

February 08, 2011

SUMMARY: The cost to the City of Kenmore, Wash. of contracting with the King County Sheriff's Office for police services has risen 28.2 percent from $2.28 million in 2006 to $2.9 million in 2010. The Sheriff's Kenmore precinct is being closed in a co... Read more

Restaurant Food Safety Inspections: Bellevue 98005

February 07, 2011

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 sear... Read more

U.S. Oil To Pay $230,000 For Alleged Goofs In Benzene Waste Reporting At Tacoma Refinery

February 04, 2011

SUMMARY: Under a consent decree finalized this week in the U.S. District Court of Western Washington, U.S. Oil will pay a $230,000 fine split between the United States government and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, in response to a complaint allegi... Read more

Avista Would Pay $200K Penalty For Gas Pipeline Explosion

February 03, 2011

SUMMARY: Under a proposed settlement agreement issued today, Avista Utilities would pay the state a penalty of $200,000 for rules violations in connection with a December, 2008 natural gas pipeline explosion and fire in Odessa, Wash. The proposed set... Read more

U.S. Birth Rate Hits New Low In '09, Cesareans Peak

February 03, 2011

SUMMARY: The U.S. crude birth rate - live births per 1,000 women aged 15-44 - reached an historic low of 13.5 in 2009. The birth rate for all age groups decreased in 2009 except for women aged 40-44 years. The birth rate for U.S. teenagers fell to hi... Read more

Seattle Study: Gift Card Vouchers Don't Help Cut Meth Use And High-Risk Sex Among Gay Men

February 01, 2011

SUMMARY: A recently-published study by Seattle-based public health researchers of Seattle gay men who use meth and engage in high-risk sex found that compared to traditional intervention approaches such as referral to community resource providers, gi... Read more

Court Supports Disclosure Of Medical Incident Data In Doctor's Negligence Suit Against Bellingham Hospital

January 31, 2011

SUMMARY: A then-staff physician specializing in obstetrics and gynecology at St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, Wash. was herself a patient there in January, 2007 and suffered permanent neurological damage resulting from an intravenous infusion... Read more

Wildlife Refuge Locator: Online Guide To Washington, U.S.

January 28, 2011

SUMMARY: A U.S. government online compendium provides convenient access on a state-by-state basis to official Web pages of national wildlife refuges. The Web guide to these facilities may be used for day-trip and vacation planning, as background info... Read more

WA Supreme Court: Department Rules No Liability Shield In Car-Accident Damage Suit By Spouse Of State Worker

January 26, 2011

SUMMARY: The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that the State of Washington may not escape liability for a negligence claim stemming from injuries caused to a spouse riding as an unauthorized passenger, when a state vehicle driven on state business ... Read more

New Study: Taco Time Test Reveals King County Mandate On Fast Food Menu Labeling Doesn't Cut Calories

January 25, 2011

SUMMARY: Public health concerns about obesity have prompted requirements by some governments that restaurants, especially fast food chains, disclose calorie and other nutritional information at the point of purchase, to help compel healthier consumer... Read more

Recent Vehicle Recalls Include Saab, Honda, GM Light Trucks, Ducati Cycles, Salem And Keystone Trailers

January 24, 2011

SUMMARY: The U.S. federal government's database of vehicle safety recalls shows that manufacturer reports to date in January, 2011 of needed recalls have included up to 4,400 Saab 9-3s made in the second half of 2010; up to 25,751 2011 GM light truck... Read more

Washington State K-12 Bilingual Ed Transition Success Rate Drops 24 Percent In '09-'10; Spending Reaches New High

January 19, 2011

SUMMARY: According to a new report from Washington state's Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), the number of students enrolled in the Transitional Bilingual Instructional Program (TBIP) in grades K-12 in Washington public schoo... Read more

South Kirkland Transit-Oriented Mixed-Use Project Advancing; But Fate Still Uncertain

January 18, 2011

SUMMARY: The cities of Kirkland and Bellevue have approved an agreement outlining principles to guide the development of the South Kirkland Park and Ride into a regional transit, commercial and housing hub intended to boost transit usage and model th... Read more

Expert Review Panel To WA State: Aggressive Finance Plan Needed For 1-405/State Route 167 Mega-Project

January 17, 2011

SUMMARY: The 40-mile-plus Interstate 405/State Route 167 is already badly congested and will get worse as population grows over the next 20 years unless a planned $1.95 billion tolling and demand management mega-project is funded and completed. Even ... Read more

State Audit Critiques Seattle Port's Property Management, Cargo Crane Oversight, And Under-reported Pilferage

January 14, 2011

SUMMARY: A State of Washington performance audit found the Port of Seattle: failed to sufficiently report to the state, as required by law, 41 instances of pilferage valued at $107,000; failed to monitor actual usage of its cargo cranes and related l... Read more

Audit Targets Testing Of U.S. Army's Body Armor

January 11, 2011

SUMMARY: Ballistic testing by oversight personnel of the U.S. Army's Interceptor Body Armor vest components for five of six contracts, and quality surveillance procedures on four of the contracts, were not performed properly, according to an audit by... Read more

Well Water Around Ephrata Landfill Poses "Low To Very Low" Added Risk Of Cancer; Vinyl Chloride Still A Concern

January 10, 2011

SUMMARY: In the nearly 70 years since it opened, management of potential environmental risks at and from the Ephrata landfill in Central Washington state has gradually improved. In recent years, public health authorities have been addressing the afte... Read more

State Auditor Warns City of Ocean Shores About Finances

January 06, 2011

SUMMARY: According to a report from the office of Washington State Auditor Brian Sonntag, The City of Ocean Shores has been engaging in poor financial practices, including over-budget spending in its general fund, spending down city cash reserves, de... Read more

6,000 New Homes Mean Six New Schools In Black Diamond

January 04, 2011

SUMMARY: The Black Diamond City Council is poised to approve an agenda bill Jan. 6 granting final authorization to the mayor to sign a comprehensive school mitigation agreement between the city, the Enumclaw School District, and the developer of two ... Read more

King County Exec. To Recommend New Gov 2.0 Services

December 15, 2010

SUMMARY: Under an ordinance just approved by the King County Council, King County Executive Dow Constantine will by May, 2011 prepare for council review and approval a plan identifying his proposed top five proposed new county government services to ... Read more

Merger Review: WA Accountancy Board, Licensing Dept.

December 12, 2010

SUMMARY: An outside evaluation required by the state legislature finds that a merger between the Washington state Board of Accountancy and the state Department of Licensing would yield no appreciable savings and would likely increase the time require... Read more

U.S. Mint: The Cost Of A Penny Is 1.6 Cents

December 11, 2010

SUMMARY: In its 2009 annul report, the U.S. Mint included a chart showing the costs from 2007 through 2009 of manufacturing and initial distribution of its different coin denominations. It costs more than half-again as much to make and produce a penn... Read more

WA State Board Of Accountancy: 2010 Disciplinary Actions

December 06, 2010

SUMMARY: Through Dec. 3, 2010 the Washington State Board of Accountancy has issued 13 suspensions or temporary "stays" of licenses or professional certificates for accountants or CPAs this year, for reasons including criminal convictions, failure to ... Read more

Audit: Low Accountability For Offender Reentry Programs

December 04, 2010

SUMMARY: U.S. Department of Justice "offender reentry" grant programs meant to help released prisoners reintegrate with society and avoid future criminal convictions were not properly designed and implemented because they don't include any substantiv... Read more

Lynnwood Is Hiring For Rehabbed Rec Center

November 30, 2010

SUMMARY: Following city council approval last night of an authorization request, the Lynnwood parks and recreation department will be interviewing candidates in December and January for a wide range of positions to be filled at its newly renovated an... Read more

Edmonds Ordinance On Homeless Encampment Permits

November 27, 2010

SUMMARY: The Edmonds City Council at its Nov. 1 meeting approved an ordinance establishing a permitting process and health, sanitation, zoning and legal requirements for temporary homeless encampments within the city. The ordinance states that a hear... Read more

Lakewood, Wash. Lodging Tax Expenditures, 2011

November 24, 2010

SUMMARY: City staff is recommending Lakewood dispense $394,330 in hotel lodging tax grants to 13 recipients. The largest would be the annual $101,850 grant (to be given for 20 years) for construction of the Sharon McGavick Student/Conference Center a... Read more

Restaurant Food Safety Inspections: Mercer Island, Wash.

November 22, 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 sear... Read more

Wenatchee Public Facilities District's Underperforming Asset

November 16, 2010

SUMMARY: An indoor arena in Wenatchee, Wash. owned by an intergovernmental agency is unable to generate sufficient revenues to cover its combined operating expenses and debt service obligations, and the agency needs to devise a new plan to make the f... Read more

City Of Redmond: 2011 State Legislative Agenda

November 16, 2010

SUMMARY: The Redmond, Wash. City Council on Nov. 16, 2010 was scheduled to vote on adoption of its 2011 state legislative agenda. The agenda emphasizes funding for transportation and other infrastructure projects, and continued efforts to manage regi... Read more

Idaho Nat'l Lab: "Transforming The Energy Infrastructure"

November 15, 2010

SUMMARY: In a July, 2010 report the U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory advanced a five point strategy for the country to meet ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals in a way that best serves U.S. economic and security objectives.... Read more

U.S. Congressional Commission: China Human Rights Suffer In 2010

November 01, 2010

SUMMARY: An annual report issued in October by the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) identifies serious shortcomings in observance of human rights and the rule of law in China in 2010. The U.S. monitors conditions there in accor... Read more

U.S. Postal Service: Declining Mail Volumes, Higher Rates

October 25, 2010

SUMMARY: The continuing proliferation of electronic communications is having an effect on volume of traditional mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. A new report prepared for the Postal Service's Inspector General's Office by researchers at the... Read more

WSDOT: Southeast King County Commuter Rail Study

October 19, 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 p... Read more

City of Kent: Amendments to Parking Restrictions

October 07, 2010

OVERVIEW: Paid public parking is a scarce commodity and as a result, parking time limits and other parking regulations are usually strictly enforced by cities. On June 15th of this year the city council of Kent, Washington increased the penalty asses... Read more

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

October 03, 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 "repr... Read more

Washington State: Public Disclosure On Local Elections

September 14, 2010

BACKGROUND: In 1972, Washington state voters approved Initiative 276 which established the Public Records Act, landmark open government legislation. The reforms included mechanisms for citizens to request and receive public records from all branches ... Read more

Washington State: Database Of Disciplinary Actions Against Insurance Providers

September 07, 2010

OVERVIEW: The Office of the Washington State Insurance Commissioner provides an online database for consumers to check on disciplinary and administrative actions taken against insurance providers. The commissioner's office also provides another datab... Read more

Wanted: U.S. Long Term High Level Nuclear Waste Solution

August 31, 2010

Public Data Ferret White Paper #1. Links to footnoted sources are at bottom. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Nuclear power will remain an important source of electricity in the U.S. More than 100 reactors are operating in U.S. now, and applications are pending... Read more

WSU, UW Researchers: Nuclear Power, High-Level Waste Disposal Can't Advance In U.S. Without Building Trust First

August 27, 2010

OVERVIEW: Washington State University sociology professor Eugene A. Rosa is known for his scholarship on issues surrounding public acceptance, or the lack thereof, of nuclear energy facilities and related waste disposal sites. With 15 other experts,... Read more

Congressional Budget Office: Federal Debt And The Risk Of A Fiscal Crisis

August 23, 2010

OVERVIEW: With spending continuing to far outpace income, U.S. government debt owed to the public - as a proportion of total domestic economic output (Gross Domestic Product or GDP) - is now higher than ever except for in the years following World Wa... Read more

Washington State Auditor: Debt Woes In City Of Winlock

August 17, 2010

OVERVIEW: Winlock is a city of 1,340 in Lewis County, Washington. It provides a full range of municipal services including police, street maintenance and construction, water, wastewater and sewer systems. Winlock's 2009 operating budget was $2.4 mill... Read more

Washington State Indoor Smoking Ban: Good For Bars, Taverns And The State's General Fund?

August 16, 2010

OVERVIEW: In November 2005, Washington State voters approved Initiative 901, to ban smoking in all public locations and places of employment. In the lead-up to the vote on the ballot measure, one argument advanced by opponents was that if approved, t... Read more

U.S. Senate Hearings: Fraud In For-Profit Education Industry

August 09, 2010

OVERVIEW: Enrollment in U.S. for-profit colleges has grown to 1.8 million students, five times the total in recent years. More than three-quarters attend institutions run by publicly-traded corporations such as Apollo Corp. (University of Phoenix), E... Read more

Countywide Community Forums & King County Auditor: Public Trust, Customer Service & Public Engagement

August 03, 2010

SUMMARY: King County government handles criminal justice, law enforcement, public health, social services, elections, property assessment and tax collection, wastewater treatment, transit, environmental protection, land use regulation and much more. ... Read more

User Guide: Seattle Police Department Crime Mapping Tool

July 29, 2010

BACKGROUND, AND KEY LINK: Hoping to make crime information more accessible and timely, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) began publishing police reports for robberies, burglaries, aggravated assaults and homicides online here earlier in 2010. In Ju... Read more

U.S. Government Accountability Office: Federal Oil and Gas Lease Oversight Needs Sweeping Fixes

July 27, 2010

BACKGROUND: The Gulf oil spill has refocused attention on the role of the U.S. Department of the Interior's oversight of activity by companies which lease federally-regulated properties to drill for oil off-shore, or for oil or natural gas onshore. I... Read more

City Of Seattle Report: Employee Pension System Underfunded By $1 Billion; Major Rate Hike Eyed

July 18, 2010

SUMMARY: According to a report released this month, the Seattle City Employees Retirement System (SCERS) pension plan has $1 billion more in actuarial liabilities than current market value. The plan is only 62 percent funded, as of January 1, 2010. ... Read more

Seattle City Council: Informed Consent For Commercial Display Of Human Remains

July 12, 2010

SUMMARY: The Seattle City Council begins consideration this week of a bill requiring written consent from the deceased or his or her legal representative for use of human remains in educational or commercial exhibits. The proposed legislation is dire... Read more

Corporation for Public Broadcasting: Examination of Northwest Communities' Education Center and KDNA-FM

July 07, 2010

BACKGROUND: KDNA-FM is a radio station based in Granger, Washington licensed by the Northwest Communities' Education Center (NCEC). NCEC is a non-profit community organization serving the Latino/Chicano/Hispanic populace of the region. NCEC uses KDNA... Read more

Global Energy Use and Carbon Emissions, 2005-2035

July 05, 2010

SUMMARY: Barring a game-changing breakthrough in policy or technology, global carbon dioxide emissions will grow by 50 percent between 2005 and 2035, thanks in large part to steadily increasing use of coal for energy in developing nations, particular... Read more

King County Beaches - Fecal Coliform Bacteria Data

June 28, 2010

BACKGROUND: The King County Water and Land Resources Division monitors levels of fecal coliform bacteria in the water, plus algal toxins and water temperatures at a total of 28 swimming beaches or creeks in King County - including several in Seattle ... Read more

Washington State Hospital Infection Rates

June 21, 2010

BACKGROUND: "Central line" tubing, ventilators and surgery all provide an opportunity for hospital patients to become infected. The Washington State Department of Health tracks annual infection rates at hospitals in the first two categories and publi... Read more

King County: Ordinance Creating Open Data Web Site

June 15, 2010

SUMMARY: On May 17, the Metropolitan King County Council passed Ordinance 16838, establishing the county will create an unrestricted public website providing access to high value data sets. BACKGROUND: The ordinance comes at a time where munici... Read more

U.S. State Department: 2010 Trafficking In Persons Report

June 14, 2010

BACKGROUND: Ten years ago the United Nations negotiated international standards to help identify and combat trafficking in persons. This term applies to practices such as forced labor, bonded labor and forced prostitution. At the time, the United Sta... Read more

City of Renton: Moratorium On Adult Entertainment Businesses

June 08, 2010

BACKGROUND: The current adult entertainment ordinance in place in the City of Renton is over 25 years old and has not been updated. The ordinance allows adult entertainment venues in the "Valley" area of the city. With more adult entertainment venues... Read more

Washington State Department of Licensing: Disciplinary Actions Database

June 07, 2010

The state of Washington licenses many professions. The Department of Licensing's online information services for consumers and businesses include a regularly updated compendium of disciplinary actions against business licensees in specialty professio... Read more

Washington Horse Racing Commission: Equine Health And Safety Report 2009

May 31, 2010

The Washington Horse Racing Commission reported in April 2010 that the state's racing fatality rate per 1,000 starts reached its highest level yet in 2009, of 2.64, since the commission began compiling data on annual racehorse fatalities in Washingto... Read more

Public Data Ferret: Lake Forest Park Tax Hike Arguments

May 26, 2010

After a vote on May 13, 2010, the City of Lake Forest Park adopted Resolution 1209: "Appointing committees to prepare written arguments advocating approval and rejection of proposed levy lid lift ballot measure." The aim of ballot measure Proposition... Read more

King County Superior Court: State Of Washington v. Bobby Wayne Wells

May 23, 2010

Last Friday May 21, Bobby Wayne Wells, 35, of Burien was reminded - conclusively - that it does not pay to ingest a pint of bourbon, then enter a pet store, stuff a squawking cockatiel down your pants in full view of an employee, deny said action whe... Read more

Seattle Police Office Of Professional Accountability: 2009 Complaint Statistics

May 17, 2010

SUMMARY: Seattle police had 450,355 contacts with the public in 2009, including 22,983 arrests, plus dispatch calls, traffic stops and on-view citizen contacts. (Source: SPD). SPD's Office of Professional Accountability was formed in 1999 by the City... Read more

Redmond Red Light Camera Pilot Program: Policy Memo

May 11, 2010

Aligned with policy recommendations in an April 20, 2010 memo from Redmond Mayor John Marchione, the Redmond, Wash. City Council voted 6-0 on that date to authorize the city negotiating a contract to install red light cameras at three intersections a... Read more

Puget Sound Regional Council's "Transportation 2040:" A $64 Billion Question

May 10, 2010

According to the final draft of the "Transportation 2040" plan for the four counties of Central Puget Sound, in the next 30 years we'll need to raise $64 billion more than we've currently got coming - in order to maintain, operate and improve our sur... Read more

Consumer Product Safety Commission: Product Recall Database A Robust, Versatile Tool

May 03, 2010

If you follow the news at all, it's likely you've heard of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and product recalls they've enforced - maybe a toy that poses a choking hazard because of small parts that can easily get loose, or blinds with fa... Read more

GAO Report: Federal Protective Service's Contract Security Guards Lax

April 26, 2010

BACKGROUND: Since the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City perpetrated by Timothy McVeigh, killing 168 people and injuring 500, there has been increased emphasis on security procedures at high-traffic, high-risk federal facilit... Read more

National Academy Of Sciences: Choosing The Nation's Fiscal Future

April 20, 2010

BACKGROUND: "The Committee on the Fiscal Future of the United States was established under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Public Administration, supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundat... Read more

Seattle Department Of Planning & Development's Permit "Activity Locator"

April 15, 2010

At any one time in Seattle there are many requests pending with the City's Department of Planning and Development (DPD) by property owners for permits to do things such as build a second home in their back yard, expand existing homes with possible im... Read more

City Of Shoreline 2010-2011 Goals And Work Plan

April 12, 2010

BACKGROUND. The community of Shoreline, Wash. developed throughout the 1900s and voted to incorporate in 1995. It has 50,000 residents and is the 15th most populous city in Washington state. The Shoreline City Council at a March 5 and 6, 2010 retreat... Read more

Washington State Joint Transportation Committee: Implementing Alternative Funding Methods

April 09, 2010

"The 2009 legislature directed the Joint Transportation Committee (JTC) to conduct a comprehensive analysis of mid-term and long-term transportation funding mechanisms and methods. The study analyzes the feasibility and practicality of implementing f... Read more

Public Health Seattle-King County Inspections Of Food-Service Establishments In Zip Code 98136

April 07, 2010

BACKGROUND: This overview from Public Health Seattle King County (PHSKC) reports there are an estimated 76 million people per year in the U.S. who suffer from food-borne illnesses, and 5,000 who die annually in the U.S. from these ailments, which inc... Read more

City Of Seattle Labor Contract With IBEW Local 77, Seattle City Light

April 07, 2010

BACKGROUND: The City Of Seattle provides an index page with links to current labor agreements with 24 different collective bargaining units. In early 2009, the city signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the International Brotherhood Of Elec... Read more

Redmond Mayor John Marchione: Memo On East King County Bicycle Wayfinding Program

April 05, 2010

OVERVIEW: Highly-developed suburban and city locales can pose daunting challenges for those who wish to travel on bicycle or foot because of potential conflicts with vehicular traffic and lack of marked safe corridors, particularly on extended trips.... Read more

ESSB 6381: Public Transportation Roadmap, "Flexible-Carpooling" Pilot Project Funded With Stimulus Dollars

April 05, 2010

Effective March 30, 2010, Washington State Engrossed Senate Substitute Bill (ESSB) 6381 finalizes spending plans in the 2009-2011 budget period for $341.4 million in federal stimulus money for state transportation work. The funds are to help accelera... Read more

Washington State Legislature SSB 6367: Encouraging Online Responses To Public Information Requests

March 31, 2010

On March 15, 2010, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signed into law SSB 6367, encouraging online responses to public information requests of state government. The text of the bill states that if commonly requested records were made available on... Read more

Washington State Pregnancy, Birth And Abortion Rates, 1984-2008

March 29, 2010

The Washington State Department of Public Health makes available a summary of pregnancy, birth and abortion totals and rates. The most recent data are given for each year from 1984 through 2008. The key findings are that from 1984 through 2008, the r... Read more

City Of Lake Forest Park Resolution 1202 Would Set Property Tax Hike Vote For August 17, 2010

March 28, 2010

PUBLIC HEARING SCHEDULED FOR APRIL 22. At its March 25, 2010 meeting, the city council of Lake Forest Park, Wash. heard the first reading of Resolution 1202 to seek voter approval on August 17, 2010 of Proposition 1 to hike the general property ta... Read more

U.S. Government Accountability Office: "Energy Star" Program Vulnerable To Fraud

March 27, 2010

The U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the 1990s initiated a program called "Energy Star" in which that label was allowed to be applied to consumer electronic devices and home construction and other products if ... Read more

Federal Communications Commission: Broadband And Civic Engagement

March 25, 2010

On March 16, 2010 the Federal Communications Commission released its National Broadband Plan, detailing strategies for making high-speed Internet service more widely available in the United States and more effective in meeting the varied information ... Read more

College-Going Rates: Highline Public Schools

March 24, 2010

Highline Public School District serves more than 17,000 K-12 students in racially- and economically-diverse communities south of southwest Seattle, including White Center, Burien and Des Moines, and the smaller, more upper-income community of Norman... Read more

City Of Seattle Transportation Director Peter Hahn: Responses To Confirmation Questions

March 21, 2010

At its 9:30 a.m. Tuesday March 23, 2010 meeting in the council chambers at Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Ave., the Seattle City Council's Transportation Committee will vote on whether to confirm Mayor Mike McGinn's new nominee as Director of the Seattle... Read more

Congressional Research Service: "The U.S. Postal Service's Financial Condition - Overview & Issues For Congress"

March 21, 2010

One of the major policy analysis arms of the U.S. Congress is The Congressional Research Service. This January 19, 2010 report from CRS examines major fiscal sustainability challenges facing the United States Postal Service (USPS). The report is ... Read more

Performance Audit Of Transit, King County Auditor

March 18, 2010

BACKGROUND: King County is the largest population county in Washington State, containing 39 cities including Seattle, and unincorporated areas. Among the many services King County provides is public transit. The King County Auditor's Office undertook... Read more

Performance Audit Of Seattle City Light, WA State Auditor

March 17, 2010

Washington State Auditor Brian Sonntag on March 16, 2010 published a performance audit of Seattle City Light. The nation's 9th largest electric utility serves residential, commercial and industrial customerss in the City of Seattle and other jurisdic... Read more

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