Archive for September 2010

Wishkah River Bridge To Close Overnight Friday

ABERDEEN, Wash. – The US 12 Wishkah River Bridge closes Friday Night as Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) maintenance crews repair a damage incurred by an over height vehicle.

 

Crews close the bridge from 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, to 7 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 2. During the closure motorists will detour to the US 12 Heron Street Bridge, which will be reconfigured to accommodate two-way traffic.

 

Closing the bridge is necessary for crews to safely stage equipment and complete repairs.

 

The US 12 Wishkah River Bridge was built in 1924 and carries 16,000 vehicles westbound daily.

 

Last Opportunity to Sail on a Tall Ship This Year

After the Battle Sail, Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain will depart for Fort Columbia State Park on the Columbia River and a re-enactment of a fur trade meeting with canoe paddlers of the Chinook Nation. After the event, the ships will set sail for San Francisco to begin their annual tour of California ports.

 

Editors: Download high-res images of our ships at http://historicalseaport.smugmug.com. Click the “Media Images” category and select a gallery. We welcome media aboard to observe operations and interview crew. Contact (media only) Joe Follansbee, 360-589-0766, [email protected] Information is subject to change without notice. A vessel fact sheet is available on the News Releases page at www.historicalseaport.org. Facebook: facebook.com/graysharbor.seaport; Twitter: @graysharborhist.

PennyBiddr agrees to refund consumers under agreement with Washington Attorney General

Bernstein said the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection High-Tech Unit began investigating PennyBiddr after receiving a referral from the Federal Trade Commission. The company was launched by LionHeart Mint, LLC, owner Kanwal Preet Singh, a.k.a. Laly Singh, in November 2009. Singh, who complied with the state’s investigation, recently shut down the site.

In a traditional Internet auction such as eBay, a bidder decides what item they want and how much they’re willing to pay for it. If no one bids higher, they win the item. Consumers who lose the auction pay nothing.

 

In a penny auction, a consumer pays to bid. The price varies; bids cost $1 each on PennyBiddr. All auctions are time-limited, usually starting with several days. But as the time ticks down to a few minutes or seconds, each bid extends the auction by a few more seconds and increases the product purchase price by a cent. In this fashion, continued bidding prevents an auction from concluding until no more bids are placed. When the auction closes, the individual who placed the last bid must pay the final price of the item, plus shipping and handling. That’s on top of whatever was spent on bids. For every winner, there are also losers who are out whatever they spent on bids.

Some sites including PennyBiddr use shill bids, which Bernstein said are illegal. These bids are placed automatically by a software program or people may be hired to manually place bids. Each fake bid inflates the price and extends the auction time and the number of bids required to win an item. Moreover, the program used by PennyBiddr would allow an auto-bid to “win” an auction, in which case nobody received the item and the company simply pocked the money spent by real bidders. Bernstein said the software program used by PennyBiddr was created in the United Kingdom.

The state’s settlement doesn’t require any finding of wrongdoing or admission of guilt. As part of the agreement, Singh will refund every consumer who paid for a bid on PennyBiddr. The Attorney General’s Office estimates about 85 consumers are owed money. Refunds will be made through PayPal and are expected to total more than $7,700.

Singh will also pay $8,000 to reimburse the Attorney General’s Office for legal costs. He is prohibited from using a penny auction site to generate income again.

PennyBiddr Complaint 

PennyBiddr Consent Decree

Washington State Library: Using technology to connect with patrons

In addition, 2009 patrons used the State Library’s online historical books and maps 427,026 times and online newspapers on 124,791 occasions. Through the first six months of 2010, online book/map usage is 325,667 and newspaper usage is 154,632, showing that this is an increasingly popular online feature.      

 

It’s fitting that the State Library’s mission is “To ensure that Washingtonians have access to the information they need today and to the history of Washington for tomorrow.” The State Library is taking advantage of recent technological advances to help its patrons find information in more ways than ever. Below are examples of how the State Library is using technology to connect with its patrons.

 

Ask-WA: Washington’s Statewide Virtual Reference Cooperative

Coordinated by the State Library, Ask-WA is a cooperative of more than 60 libraries throughout Washington providing online reference services via chat, e-mail, and instantmessaging technologies.  Ask-WA ties into a global network, allowing participating libraries to provide 24/7 reference service.

The State Library has made available a new “Ask-WA” app for “smart phone” users. This is the first app of its kind in America in terms of “mobile-izing” an entire statewide virtual reference service.

 

The Ask-WA app, the first one offered by the State Library, is available for both Android and iDevice (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) users.  People can check out and download this new app for Android at: http://www.androidpit.com/en/android/market/apps/app/gov.wa.sos.askwa/Ask-WA . To download the app for iDevices, go to: http://itunes.apple.com/app/ask-wa/id384143749 .

Contact: Ahniwa Ferrari, (360) 570-5560, [email protected]

 

Off the Page: Downloadable Audiobooks for Washington

This project provides free access to collections of eAudiobooks to public, academic and K-12 school libraries throughout the state. The State Library has this link (http://www.sos.wa.gov/library/eaudiobooks/) that lists the public libraries offering access to these free eAudiobooks. To access the downloadable audiobooks, a library patron would log into the vendor’s site, which requires authentication (usually provided by entering the patron’s library card number), select a book, and then “check out” the book by downloading the file or files. Most eAudiobook files are broken down into several parts, usually in roughly one-hour segments, so that one can download and start listening right away without having to download all eight or 12 hours of some longer books. The length of time it will take to download depends largely on the speed of the user’s connection.

Contacts: Will Stuivenga, (360) 704-5217, [email protected] or Ahniwa Ferrari, (360) 570-5587, [email protected]

 

Statewide Database Licensing (SDL)

Non-profit Washington libraries receive the ProQuest and eLibrary database collections, providing online access to more than 4,500 full-text journals and other sources, including CultureGrams and several Washington and hundreds of national and international newspapers. Federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding subsidizes half the cost, with libraries providing the rest.

Contacts:  Will Stuivenga, (360) 704-5217, [email protected] or Ahniwa Ferrari, (360) 570-5587, [email protected]

 

Washington State’s National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP)

WA -NDNP is a collaborative project to digitize and provide enhanced access to Washington’s historic newspapers. The project is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and managed in part by the Library of Congress. The program web site, called Chronicling America, provides free and open access to more than 2.3 million full-text searchable pages from 295 titles published between 1860 and 1922 in 19 states and the District of Columbia. The Washington State Library’s National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) grant was recently renewed through June of 2012, allowing more pages from other newspapers around Washington State to be uploaded over the next two years.

Contact: Laura Robinson, (360) 570-5568, [email protected]

 

Historical Newspapers in Washington

Historical newspapers are primary research tools for students, teachers, historians and genealogists. Newspapers document the daily life of communities in a way no history book can. The State Library is digitizing some of its earliest, most historic newspapers for this project. People can use the Internet to access the Washington State Library’s Historical Newspapers in Washington project by going to:  http://www.sos.wa.gov/history/newspapers.aspx

Contact: Marlys Rudeen, (360) 704-7132, [email protected]

 

Washington History Online

Classics in Washington History offers searchable, full-text versions of significant biographies and histories covering early Washington explorations, pioneer life and local history.  http://www.sos.wa.gov/history/publications.aspx  The Historical Maps page features online maps drawn from state and territorial government records, historic books, federal documents, and the Northwest collection.  http://www.sos.wa.gov/history/maps.aspx

Contact: Marlys Rudeen, (360) 704-7132, [email protected]

 

Washington Rural Heritage

The Washington Rural Heritage (WRH) program is an online repository of special collections in and around small, rural communities throughout the state. It features items important to Washington’s history, culture, places and people. This program enables small, rural libraries to build digital collections of historically significant materials from their own holdings. The physical collections are housed locally by their owners, while the digital collections are hosted by the State Library. The research, digitization and cataloging of items is a collaborative effort between local staff and volunteers at local libraries and the Washington State Library staff.

 

So far, Washington Rural Heritage has published 15 collections. To date, almost 30 libraries and partnering heritage institutions throughout the state have contributed to the project. There are more than 5,000 items in the rural heritage collection, although not all are published online yet.

Contact: Evan Robb, (360) 704-5228, [email protected]

 

Wayfinder: The Catalog of Washington Libraries

“Wayfinder” is an online catalog that provides a single search for locating materials owned by most libraries in Washington. The State Library’s goal is to eventually include all of Washington’s libraries in this catalog.  Wayfinder currently allows people to search for materials among nearly 18 million items found in 250-plus Washington libraries. If you are a researcher or student looking for a tough-to-find item, the Wayfinder catalog will be especially useful by helping you pinpoint where you can find it. To visit the State Library’s Wayfinder page, go to: http://www.secstate.wa.gov/quicklinks/Wayfinder. The link also provides information about Wayfinder that is geared toward librarians.

Contact:  Will Stuivenga, (360) 704-5217, [email protected]

 

Ask a Librarian

The Ask a Librarian service connects people to librarians who answer questions about Washington or Pacific Northwest history and culture; federal, state or local government; genealogical information; current and historical Washington newspapers; and more. Patrons can talk to a librarian via chat, e-mail, telephone, or in person.

Contact: Crystal Lentz, (360) 704-5275, [email protected]

 

Hard Times Resource Portal

The Hard Times Resource Portal makes job-related information and resources just a few clicks away on a computer. It compiles useful resources for Washington library users and staff during the currently tough economic times. The portal includes resources to help users find jobs, develop resumes and interview skills, file for unemployment, manage money and finances, and find education and worker training information and resources. It also provides links to mortgage help and affordable housing. It literally places lots of helpful information at someone’s fingertips.       

Contact: Ahniwa Ferrari, (360) 570-5587, [email protected]

 

Renew Washington

The Renew Washington project provides grant funds to libraries to address the needs of people who are affected by the downturn in the economy. Through these grants libraries are helping individuals search and apply online for jobs, write resumes, seek mortgage information, start small businesses, and assist those who need access to employment-related information, resources and services.  The project is also helping libraries communicate their value to their communities.

Contact: Karen Goettling, (360) 570-5561, [email protected]

Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain to Participate in Chinook Trade Re-Enactment

Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain crew meet regularly with Chinook canoe paddlers to ask formal permission from tribal elders to sail on the Columbia River during the ships’ visits. After the event, both vessels will sail for California to begin their 2010-2011 living history education programs in the Golden State.

Conservative Comments with Mike Yarmakovich

Click Title to Listen Online or Download audio file

Commentary from the Left with Gary Murrell

Click Title to Listen Online or Download audio file

Vision for world-class tunnel training developing at Satsop

With all the tunnels – including the next phase of the Sound Transit project to the University District and the Alaskan Way Viaduct project in downtown Seattle and more projects coming in the years ahead – skilled tunnel workers are needed, he explained.

 

“And when we get done putting together our different training modules at Satsop, we will offer the only hands-on training of its kind in North America,” he said. He noted that there’s excellent training at the Colorado School of Mines and in West Virginia, but that the training to be developed at Satsop will be more hands-on and concentrate on tunnels instead of mine work.

 

 “We already have people in California, the Midwest and the East Coast interested in attending the program,” said Warren who helped establish Satsop as one of the NW Laborers Training sites in 2007. The organization also has training centers in Kingston, Spokane, Pasco and West Jordan, Utah.

 

“At Satsop, we’ve already taught mason tending, scaffolding building, concrete classes, railroad installation, grade checking, transit and level, elevation control, asphalt workers class and forklift operation and certification,” Warren said.

 

In addition to people who want to work in tunnels, various regulatory agencies have shown interest in having their people, who would have occasion to go into tunnels as part of their work, attend the SHAFT course, Warren said.

 

Satsop Development Park was chosen for this new tunnel training center because it offered space that was becoming tight at the NW Laborers Training facility in Kingston. In addition, originally organizers thought they could use the extensive tunnel network built beneath the planned nuclear power plants that were never completed, Warren said.

 

While hopes are still high that some of those pre-existing 12-foot tunnels can be used for training as the center develops, some significant work would need to be done first to ensure safety, Warren said.

 

“We’re not going underground yet, “ he said, adding that instead they are working on a simulated tunnel and using a local merchant to supply the 1,800 pieces of specialty wood needed for the students to build it.

 

In addition, Warren said the tunnel industry has generously donated many key pieces of equipment. The Obayashi Corporation donated 300 feet of railroad track. Frank Coluccio Construction Co. donated a hyperbaric transfer station and the Vinci, Parsons Frontier-Kemper Joint Venture donated a huge tunnel boring machine – TBM—all so that students can have a true hands-on experience. Even King County donated 100 feet of leftover concrete tunnel segments that would have cost them money to destroy, but are a great asset to the training program, Warren said.  

 

“These are big, big donations to help us put together a top-notch training program,” Warren said, noting that the value of the TBM for scrap metal alone is about $130,000.

 

After the NW Laborers Training facility at Satsop offers the SHAFT class, it plans to offer a class on light rail and maintenance, tunnel rescue training and hyperbaric work, Warren said.

 

In an interesting twist, the tunnel instructor, Stan Simons, 50, who has been underground around the world, began his career at Satsop in 1978 doing dirt work for both cooling towers, both reactor buildings, and the turbine building.

 

             Now, the 6-foot 5-inch Simons says he’s eager to be teaching this new course and working hard to develop other related tunnel courses at Satsop.

 

“We love this partnership with the NW Laborers Training and we’re particularly excited about the new tunnel training courses,” said Tami Garrow, CEO of Satsop Development Park.

 

“The building trades are a huge part of our regional economy and we’re so glad the Park’s space, super-sized infrastructure, classrooms and outdoor training facilities so perfectly suit these kinds of job-training opportunities.”

 

“What a great way to match tomorrow’s workforce with those high-wage, high-demand job-training opportunities,” she said.

 

For more information about the tunnel classes go to www.nwlett.org.

 

 

Satsop Development Park is a 1,700-acre mixed-use business and technology park located in scenic Grays Harbor County in Southwest Washington just 30 minutes from Olympia and the I-5 corridor. It is home to more than 30 businesses, offers 440 acres of developed, pad-ready land and buildings supported by super-sized infrastructure and surrounded by 1,200 acres of sustainable managed forestland.

 

            The Park is managed by the Grays Harbor Public Development Authority, a public corporation whose mission is to create new jobs and investment for the region. More information on Satsop Development Park can be found at www.Satsop.com.

State Program Responds to Baby Formula Recall

The company’s website and phone number have been jammed with high volume and may not respond right away. Caregivers who aren’t sure if the Similac product they have is part of the recall should not give it to infants until they’re able to verify that it’s not. If parents confirm that they have formula with lot numbers that match those that may be tainted, they should not give it to their children, and should check the WIC website as the situation develops.

The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says the formula containing this beetle poses no immediate serious health risk. But FDA says babies who consume the beetle parts may have gastrointestinal discomfort, which could discourage them from wanting to eat. Parents should take their babies to a health care provider to be checked if the symptoms continue.

Washington WIC (www.doh.wa.gov/cfh/WIC/default.htm) is a public health program that improves health in lower income families. The program reaches about half of all babies born in the state. More than 85 percent of WIC infants start off breastfeeding. Washington WIC provides nutrition education, breastfeeding services, healthy foods, and referrals to other important preventive health services.

Wilderness Week Celebrates WA Scenery, Greenery

Scott says polls and surveys have shown the National Wilderness Preservation System enjoys some of the widest support of any federal law since the system began in 1964. About 109 million acres nationwide are federally-protected wilderness – more than 4 million of them in Washington.

Gregg Bafundo, western Washington co-chair of the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, says groups that care about wilderness are getting better at bringing all sides together at the start of a proposal, to forge compromises before they become problems.

“To be able to essentially do what Congress can’t do right now, which is work together and bridge political gaps and socio-economic gaps, is powerful – and we’re seeing progress.”

In Washington, where 10 percent of the state is federally protected wilderness, Bafundo says it’s easy to take wildlands for granted. He thinks setting aside one week a year is a valuable reminder of the reason Congress preserves such places.

“This week highlights the natural beauty and the areas that we have, not only in the Northwest, but across the nation. Having this opportunity for people to realize what’s right outside their back door is extremely important.”

In addition to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness expansion now in Congress, Bafundo says local groups are working on future proposals for wildlands on the Olympic Peninsula and in the Colville area.