May 17, 2013 at 4:18 PM
Mayor Mike McGinn announced Friday that Seattle police will expand their “predictive policing” software project to all five precincts, building on what he described as initial success in the East and Southwest precincts.
Under the program, computer models similar to those that predict earthquake aftershocks analyze Seattle crime data dating to 2008 to forecast times and locations where crime is likely to occur in an area as small as 500-by-500 feet.
In February, McGinn and police officials unveiled a pilot project in the East and Southwest precincts, with the goal of cutting crime and eliminating biased policing.
“We’ve had anecdotal successes with the pilot project … so we’re expanding Predictive Policing citywide,” McGinn said in a written statement.
Seattle police said the wider program will begin Sunday, when officers starting their shifts will be given precinct maps speckled with red boxes forecasting areas where officers “might be more likely to catch a burglar breaking into a home, or a prowler rifling through someone’s car.”
Officers will spend at least two hours of their shifts patrolling areas where crime is forecast, the department said.
As with the pilot program, forecasting will be limited to property crimes — which occur in the largest numbers — but could be expanded to violent crimes.
McGinn asked city residents to help by reporting even minor property crimes, so the data set for predicting crime can be improved.
May 17, 2013 at 11:10 AM
We asked our readers to name their best and worst state parks and to share their photos to mark the 100th anniversary of Washington’s state parks system.
And they did! Their responses were filled with memories of family camping and other outings. In the case of worst parks, readers basically said there aren’t any.
We have an interactive map marking the state’s parks that includes comments from our readers for you to peruse.
Here’s what reader Carrie Schwitters of Redmond had to say about Dash Point:
Is there such a thing (as Worst State Park)? Even a bad camping experience at Dash Point can’t change that it is a beautiful park.
Have a look at the map and comments.
May 16, 2013 at 12:07 PM
RICHLAND — A florist facing lawsuits from the Washington attorney general and the American Civil Liberties Union for refusing to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding has filed her own lawsuit against the state for violating her religious beliefs.
May 16, 2013 at 11:34 AM
An initial draft of the state’s rules for recreational marijuana will be released this afternoon, according to the state Liquor Control Board, the agency charged with implementing a regulated seed-to-store sysem.
The Seattle Times will also have more coverage following the release of the rules, which Brian Smith, spokesman for the WSLCB, called a “a vetting process for stakeholders.”
The liquor board wants input on the intial draft rules by June 10. The best way to contact the LCB is via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The board plans to release formal draft rules in mid-June, which are more difficult to revise, according to Smith.
The rules are expected to become effective in late August, opening the door for WSLCB to start accepting applications from producers, processors, and retailers by September, and to start issuing licenses by Dec. 1 as required by Initiative 502.
Last November, Washington voted to legalize recreational marijuana after the initiative passed by 56 percent of the vote.
May 16, 2013 at 11:10 AM
By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS
UPDATE: 2:20 p.m. | SPOKANE — Two mailings that contained the deadly poison ricin were intercepted at a U.S. Postal Service facility in Spokane this week.
The FBI is investigating the incident, but providing few details.
The FBI says there have been no reports of illness connected to the letters, which were intercepted Wednesday.
The FBI, along with Postal Service investigators, is searching for the sender of the letters, which were post-marked Tuesday in Spokane.
Ricin is a highly toxic substance made from castor beans. As little as 500 micrograms — an amount the size of the head of a pin — can kill an adult.
May 15, 2013 at 10:34 AM
The Associated Press
The U.S. Postal Service says Seattle, along with San Antonio, was the second worst city in America for dog attacks on letter carriers last year, and it urged pet owners to help reduce the attacks.
There were 42 letter carriers bitten by dogs last year in Seattle and San Antonio, according to the Post Service’s tally.
The agency on Wednesday released its city rankings ahead of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which starts Monday. The Postal Service said nearly 5,900 postal workers were attacked last year, a tiny portion of the 4.7 million Americans bitten by dogs annually.
Los Angeles was the worst with 69 attacks. The city with the least attacks was Wichita, Kan., with 20. Tacoma came in at number 19 with 21 postal carriers bitten by dogs.
If letter carriers feel threatened by a dog, they can skip delivery to the house and ask the customer to retrieve any mail at the post office instead.
Here’s the list to the worst cities for dog attacks on letter carriers last year:
May 14, 2013 at 3:51 PM
The Associated Press
TUMWATER, Thurston County — State regulators say they have fined a Bellevue gun shop more than $23,000 for exposing workers to lead dust when it remodeled its shooting range last year.
The Department of Labor and Industries cited Wade’s Eastside Gun Shop for 17 violations of worker safety and health rules Tuesday.
Workers can be exposed to lead dust when they clean the range, clean firearms or perform other tasks at gun ranges. But regulators say construction and demolition at a gun range poses even greater risk.
The state says that last summer and fall, blood tests on a number of Wade’s employees and construction workers indicated high blood-lead levels. Several workers had to be sent immediately away from the workplace exposure. Lead exposure can cause long-term health effects.
Wade’s did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
May 14, 2013 at 2:17 PM
Civilian Defense Department employees will face 11 days of furloughs that would begin as early as July 8, according to a statement that Defense Department Secretary Chuck Hagel released Tuesday.
The furloughs are likely to affect more than 20,000 of these employees in Washington state, according to Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wa.
The furlough, which could be stretched through the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, are roughly half the number previously contemplated as the Defense Department has sought to deal with automatic budget cuts known as sequestration.
“If our budgetary situation permits us to end furloughs early, I would strongly prefer to do so,” Hagel said in the statement. “That is a decision I will make later this year.
Hagel said that exemptions to the furloughs would be “driven by law and by the need to minimize harm to the execution of core missions.”
At Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Tacoma, a spokesman said that more than 10,000 civilians employees could be hit with the furloughs.
At JBLM, Madigan Army Medical Center has a workforce of some 5,100 workers, with nearly 70 percent of them civilians and thus likely to face furloughs.
May 14, 2013 at 11:40 AM
The Washington State Liquor Control Board announced today it has unanimously chosen Rick Garza to serve as its next agency director.
Garza, the agency’s deputy director, replaces Pat Kohler, who was recently appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee to lead the Washington State Department of Licensing.
According to a press release from the liquor board, Garza has led the agency’s policy, legislation and media relations. He also serves as its legislative and tribal liaison. Garza has been with the Liquor Control Board since 1997.
“Rick was a clear and unanimous choice by the board,” said Board Chair Sharon Foster. “Rick’s leadership on policy, legislative and tribal matters has been instrumental to the agency’s successes. He is regarded by stakeholders and legislators as an expert on many issues and is frequently called upon to help find solutions to difficult challenges.”
Gov. Jay Inslee lauded the Board’s choice for agency director.
“I have known Rick for many years and I’m thrilled the board selected him to lead the agency,” said Inslee. “He is a creative leader and a team player and I have full confidence in his ability to lead the agency during this important time.”
The LCB is drafting the rules, along with Colorado, that will govern the world’s only comprehensive systems of growing, processing and retailing marijuana for recreational use. The agency expects to begin accepting license applications in September.
Prior to joining the Liquor Control Board, Rick served 13 years as a staff member for the Washington State Legislature, including five years with the Washington State Senate and eight years with the state House. His legislative assignments included policy analyst in the state Senate, House of Representatives staff director, and adviser to House and Senate leadership.
May 10, 2013 at 4:31 PM
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration will keep open for now the 149 control towers at small airports that had been slated to close as the result of governmentwide automatic spending cuts imposed by Congress, the Transportation Department said Friday.
Five of those towers are in Washington state: Olympia Regional Airport, Renton Municipal Airport, Felts Field in Spokane, Tacoma Narrows Airport in Gig Harbor and Yakima Air Terminal, McAllister Field.
The towers, which are operated by contractors for the FAA at low-traffic airports, had been scheduled to close June 15. They will now remain open at least through Sept. 30, the end of the federal budget year, the department said in a statement.
A bill hastily passed by Congress last month to end air traffic controller furloughs also makes enough money available to keep the towers open, the statement said. The bill gave the FAA authority to shift $253 million from accounts with unspent funds to keep controllers on the job. The furloughs at all FAA-operated airport towers and air traffic control facilities caused widespread flight delays across the country for nearly a week before Congress stepped in.
FAA officials have previously said they needed at least $200 million to eliminate the need for furloughs. The bill didn’t require the FAA to spend the remaining funds on keeping towers at small airports open, but lawmakers said they anticipated the agency would use the money that way.
While the decision gives the small airports a temporary reprieve, FAA officials will still be under pressure to find ways to further cut spending in next year’s budget. (more…)
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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