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Seattle’s Free Riders Are Creating a Strain on the City’s Transit System

Sound Transit Map

Passengers who refuse to pay for the city’s transit system are causing problems. A recent study showed that almost two-thirds of all passengers in Seattle are free riders.

Most stations lack turnstiles. This being the case, passengers have to either buy tickets or use pre-paid cards as they enter the station. As a result of the low number of users who are willing to pay, only 5% of the system’s operating costs are covered by fares, a far cry from the required 40% by Sound Transit.

The departing CEO of Sound Transit, Peter Rogoff gave a succinct summary of the issue at a recent Board meeting. “Our fee collecting system depends largely on an honor system,” he stated. “And our extremely severe issue is that our passengers aren’t following the system.”

Estimates show that close to 70% of passengers in the city ride free. This is just an estimate because fare enforcement measures have not yet been implemented. In the wake of a study revealing a disparity in the amount of money fined to passengers of color, Sound Transit eliminated its fare enforcement officers.

There’s however a new “fare ambassadors” system currently in place. If you’re on the light rail system, you’ll only see a few of these vehicles. The fare ambassadors’ approach only works on 2 percent of all the transit system users. They currently only work with 2% of all riders.

When fare ambassadors board a train, they inquire as to whether or not passengers have paid their fare. Usually, not everyone has. Rather than removing ticket evaders off the train, fare ambassadors begin the conversation by requesting proof of identity. It is hard to issue a warning since 76 percent of the free-riders fail to present a valid ID.

Prior to issuing the first fine, Sound Transit provides two warnings to the offender. However, penalties are seldom issued and even less commonly paid due to a lack of identity. Fare ambassadors may not be able to persuade many free riders to pay their fare, but they do gather useful information about them. Non-payers are compelled to provide personal information such as their home address, race, and gender.

Councilmember Reagan Dunn views the lack of enforcement as only a piece of the greater issue in the transportation system in King County. “We are currently experiencing a form of decriminalization of many things, including farebox recovery and even failure to register known sex offenders under the pretext of equity and social justice,” said Dunn. “And the result is an increase in crime”.

Several additional light rail systems, like those in Portland, Denver, and Dallas, depend on the honor system. The first time a fare evader is found, they are all going to impose substantial penalties.

A majority of the Sound Transit Board do not show a lot of concern for the decreased fare collection problem. Claudia Balducci is one of the few who applaud the nonchalant approach of the ticket ambassador. “It’s less scary for people to utilize our system because of the lack of fare enforcement,” said Balducci.

The Sound Transit Board’s only Republican, Bruce Dammeier, says taxpayers who paid more than $168 billion for the system are being scammed. “This is the largest waste of money we’ve ever seen,” said Bruce Dammeier.

Photo: “Sound Transit System Map” by Oran Viriyincy is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0

Why Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner is a Good Pick for the Seahawks

Seattle Blitz

The Seahawks recently traded Russel Wilson. They now have a top 10 draft pick and the question on fans’ minds is who could be the person to fill that No. 9 position. As we head for the April 28 draft, there are several prospects the Seahawks might consider in the first round but the person to watch out for is cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner.

So who exactly is Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner and why is he a perfect pick for the Seahawks? Well, Gardner is a Detroit native and a 3-star recruit in high school. Notably, Gardner never got scholarship offers from Michigan’s Big Ten schools and never played defensive back in high school. As a senior in high school, he weighed 160 pounds only.

After helping Cincinnati make its first berth in the College Football Playoffs as a junior, Gardner allowed only three receptions (on four targets) for 17 yards versus Alabama. According to Pro Football Focus, he was a first-team All-American in 2021 and never allowed more than 18 passing yards in any game. In 33 career games, he has nine interceptions and 17 pass breakups, with no touchdowns allowed in coverage.

He might be an excellent match for the Seattle Seahawks because a lot of people have compared Gardner to the Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman because of his size, quickness, and confidence. If the Seahawks’ scouts feel the same, Gardner should be the easy choice at No. 9 for the team. Actually, it’s a great matchup.

Gardner embodies everything Pete Carroll looks for in a cornerback—size, length, speed, and, of course, confidence. In a recent tweet, Gardner stated “I’m the greatest draft pick in the league. God knows how modest and confident I am and how much effort I put in to even be able to make that remark, and that’s all that counts. Confidence and cockiness are required for the position I’m in,”

When Russell Wilson retires, Carroll has said that he intends to rebuild the defense to be even more dominating, and acquiring a cornerback with Sherman’s press coverage skillsets would be a wonderful place to start. Additionally, the Seahawks are in need of a new cornerback with the departure of D.J. Reed to the New York Jets in free agency.

No one disputes that Gardner can play as a starter right away as a rookie cornerback. If Gardner is still available at No. 9, the Seahawks should choose him. According to several draft experts, Houston too might choose Gardner in the top three.

However, there are a few reasons why the Seahawks would not want to sign him. When was a Seahawks obvious selection made under John Schneider-Pete Carroll? You could trade down and take a cornerback like Trent McDuffie or Andrew Booth with the first selection if the Seahawks are looking to acquire additional draft capital, which they are known to do. Even though Schneider and Carroll have participated in 12 drafts together, they have never selected a cornerback in the first round of the selection process. They picked Shaquill Griffin, a cornerback, in the third round in 2017. (90th overall). For now, we can only wait to see if the draft will happen.

Credit: “Loudest crowd roar at a sports stadium Seahawks” by Philip Robertson is marked with CC BY 2.0

Anthony Anderson Biography

Anthony Anderson

Coming from humble beginnings, Anthony Anderson has become a beloved shining star in some of Hollywood’s most well-known comedy productions. Anderson, born in Compton, California, in 1970, pursued his stardom while going to Hollywood High School for the Performing Arts. He won first place for a rendition of the iconic monologue from “The Great White Hope” in the NAACP’s ACT-SO Awards. His performance and commitment to his art earned him a scholarship to Howard University.

In the late 90s, after a brief stint as a stand-up comedian, Anderson began auditioning and landing roles in various film and tv roles. His first ever role was as Eddie on the show In the House, followed by his long-standing role as Teddy Broadis on NBC’s teen drama Hang Time. His film debut came in 1999 when he portrayed Scribbles in Liberty Heights, and in the same year, he took roles in two other films as well, playing Cookie in Life and Z-Boy in Trippin’. Anderson started taking on roles in films and TV shows, expanding his filmography to include classics like Me, Myself & Irene, and Barbershop, propelling him to stardom.

Prominent Works

Anthony Anderson’s acting adventures, primarily on TV,  have spanned decades and genres. As an Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actor, Anderson serves as both the executive producer and star of the ABC television show Black-ish. He plays Andre “Dre” Johnson, an upper-middle-class black father who tries to find a sense of cultural identity while parenting his children in a predominantly white environment. Alongside Black-ish, Anderson also hosts a beloved prime-time remake of the cherished classic game show of the same name, To Tell the Truth, on ABC. His Mother, Doris Hancox, is also featured on the show.

Along with Uzo Aduba and Khalil Everage, Anderson recently starred in the Netflix movie Beats, which was helmed by Star director Chris Robinson. He gained recognition via his parts in well-known movies, including Michael Bay’s blockbuster Transformers, Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award-winning drama The Departed, in which he co-starred with a brilliant cast that included Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson, and the ensemble comedy The Big Year.

In addition, he recently appeared in the films Small Town Crime, starring alongside Octavia Spencer, John Hawkes, and Dale Dickey; The Star, produced by Columbia Pictures and starring Tyler Perry, Gina Rodriguez, and Oprah Winfrey; and Ferdinand, an Oscar-nominated film from 20th Century Fox.

Awards And Accolades

For his well-liked performance on Black-ish, Anderson has been nominated for three Critics’ Choice Awards, two Golden Globes, and five consecutive Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. He also received his fourth solo Image Award in 2018 for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series, bringing his career total of Image Award nominations to 12. He has received four Screen Actors Guild nominations, four BET nominations, four Teen Choice nominations, one People’s Choice nomination, and two Kids’ Choice nominations. Anderson has also presided over the NAACP Image Awards for the past six years.

Philanthropy Efforts

After being diagnosed with Type II Diabetes in 2002, Anderson has been making an effort to connect with others facing the same illness. He has been prominent in his support for research efforts and medical treatments. Anderson has done work with the American Diabetes Association, Get Real About Diabetes, and the Fearless African Americans Connected and Empowered (F.A.C.E.) Diabetes campaign, which specifically benefits the black community.

In support of the American Diabetes Association, Los Angeles Mission, and Boys & Girls Club of America, to name a few, Anderson presents an annual golf tournament, “Anthony Anderson Celebrity Golf Classic,” to raise money for various charitable organizations. Anderson is an active member of the community and a philanthropist. In 2011, Anderson made a guest appearance on Who Wants to Be A Millionaire, winning $250,000 for his chosen charity, the Alzheimer’s Association. Along with being recognized in the Boys & Girls Club of America’s National Alumni Hall of Fame for the Class of 2017, he proudly serves on the GOOD+ Foundation’s Fatherhood Leadership Council.

Anthony Anderson Today

After working on Black-ish for eight years as both his titular character and executive producer, the season finale for the show aired in April of 2022. Anderson’s work on the Black-ish spinoff show Grown-ish, which started in 2018, helped continue his legacy and love for his original work, spearheading the production team and creating new episodes with each new season. Following the children of Anderson’s character Dre from Black-ish, the show chronicles their journey into adulthood. Anderson’s life and career have brought so many relatable, iconic pieces of media to life. From the dedication he shows to larger projects like Black-ish to his range of productions like The Departed and Barbershop, Anthony Anderson is a phenomenal actor whose presence and influence go beyond the screen. His philanthropic work, as well as his commitment to bettering his community, has cemented him as one of Hollywood’s most cherished contributors.

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Seattle Residents Concerned About the Increase of Graffiti Now Using a Mobile App to Solve the Problem

Seattle Graffiti Problems

Graffiti in Seattle, Washington, is as common as rain and dreary skies these days. Public and private property has been defaced all around the city, from shops to apartments to commercial cars to roads to bridges to street signs and recycling bins.

There is no holding back. Everything, including magazine racks, power poles, and even historic places, seemed to be fair game. Apparently, taggers don’t seem to discriminate.

Parents and other locals are now speaking out against the rise of graffiti in the area. Ari Hoffman, a Seattle resident and the father of three says that graffiti isn’t “some person writing ‘Jim was here.'”

If you’re going to use graffiti to define your territory, you’re going to utilize gangs or drug dealers or even individuals living on the street who are used for illegal activities,” Hoffman said. Ari Hoffman is the host of “The Ari Hoffman Show” on Seattle’s KVI AM 570 and a previous candidate for the Seattle City Council.

“Residents in Seattle who want to live quietly and politely with their neighbors feel they are being neglected by the city because it has opted to cease enforcing regulations, policies and laws”, Vassie Skoulis, a mother of two and a homeowner in the city recently stated. According to her, the responsibility for cleaning up trash and vandalism falls squarely on the shoulders of residents.

Additionally, residents must “pay for property damage caused by people who refuse to be a member of any community,” she said.

In the last several years, Christine Villani, a 30-year Seattle resident, has witnessed an uptick in graffiti. She says, “I find it discouraging, and I feel like I reside in a battle zone.” No one seems to care.

Find It Fix It App

A smartphone app called “Find It, Fix It” has been developed by Seattle in order to fight the city’s graffiti issue. In addition to reporting graffiti to the city, the app may also be used to report other concerns including abandoned cars and unlawful dumping. Needles and syringes are among the items thrown out at the landfill.

Since its first release in 2013, it seems that the demand for this app and a “Graffiti Report” phone line, which anybody in the community may contact, is stronger than ever. A public information officer for Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) tells Fox News Digital that there has been an uptick in graffiti complaints since 2020.

SPU stands for the city’s municipal code and graffiti eradication initiatives, which are backed by the mayor’s office. It has been made quite evident that Mayor Harrell intends to combat graffiti. After being elected mayor in November 2021, Bruce Harrell began his duties in January.

Seattle had 16,625 graffiti complaints in 2021, according to SPU. When compared to the 13,000 complaints that were filed in 2019, this is a significant rise. A total of 500,791 square feet of graffiti were “abated” in 2021 by SPU’s Graffiti Rangers squad. According to Register, that’s around the size of 10 1/2 football fields.

iPhone users in Seattle’s tech-savvy neighborhood are being urged to contribute to the solution by installing the app they’ve just learned about. The application is available on the Google Play Store for Android users.

It’s as simple as taking a picture with your phone, filling out the necessary information, and pressing submit, according to the city’s website. In addition to using the “drag and drop” function on the map, you can also utilize your phone’s own technology to identify where you are located.

SPU Graffiti Rangers have been able to swiftly identify places with various graffiti that can subsequently be abated thanks to customer complaints submitted via the ‘Find It, Fix It’ app,” Register stated. With six SPU employees, the Graffiti Rangers squad in Seattle now covers the city’s areas of Freemont, Ballard, and the Central District, as well as Little Saigon.

Graffiti on public property is supposed to be removed within 10 business days – and hate graffiti is to be removed within 24 hours or less – according to the city of Seattle’s website.

Photo: “Seattle Graffiti” by cactusbones is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Residents in Seattle and Spokane Are in Favor of Developing Additional Apartments

Seattle Housing and Apartments

With growing housing prices, most residents of Washington’s main metro regions approve the construction of new apartments near their homes, according to a Zillow study.

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue and Spokane-Spokane Valley, Washington’s two most populous metropolitan regions, participated in the study. Between January and February of 2022, a total of more than 850 people were interviewed in both metro areas.

The housing market in both Spokane and Seattle seems to be overcrowded and overpriced, according to a recent survey. Residents of Seattle and Spokane are equally concerned about home costs, according to Zillow, at 73% and 74%, respectively.

  • Accessory dwelling units, which Seattle residents favor 72% of the time and Spokane residents support 81% of the time, are largely supported by both cities’ residents.
  • Duplexes and triplexes; 66% approval in Seattle and 70% in Spokane.
  • Apartment structures; 53% of Seattle residents and 50% of Spokane residents approve them.

Zillow points out that people’s views on this specific topic are polarized. More than half of those who oppose the construction of new apartment complexes in Seattle say they strongly disagree with them, while the other half say they strongly agree.

More than half of people in Seattle and Spokane supported the construction of apartment complexes, while the majority of people in the suburbs were less enthusiastic. People in the suburbs preferred more moderate densification measures like duplexes, triplexes, and auxiliary living units.

As a result, suburbanites in Seattle (71 percent) and Spokane (70 percent) said that they would be in favor of small or medium-sized apartments.

In both Seattle and Spokane, the majority of respondents (62 percent in Seattle and 54 percent in Spokane) said that these additional residences will have a detrimental effect on parking and traffic. Free parking is more essential to 60 percent of Seattle residents and 61 percent of Spokane residents than providing more affordable homes.

House Bill 1782 was the subject of a hearing on Saturday, and two things are clear: There is a severe housing shortage in Washington State, and reaching a consensus on how to address it will be difficult. It’s dubbed as the “Missing Middle” housing measure because it would overturn the restriction on multi-family dwellings in certain jurisdictions.

The objective is to increase the supply of more reasonably priced “middle housing,” such as duplexes, triplexes, and townhouses. For properties within a half-mile of major transportation hubs, HB 1782 would alter residential zoning regulations.

New Burien City Councilmember Hugo Garcia spoke in support of the measure. He claimed that the only way he could manage to be near to his ailing parents was to live in a duplex. Other mayors in the Puget Sound region aren’t as enthusiastic.

Gig Harbor, Issaquah, Kent, Auburn, and Lake Stevens elected officials all came out against the measure, as did the mayor of Lake Stevens. As a response to worries over over-expansion, several leaders suggested that regional governments had a better knowledge of local requirements.

This law will increase the density outside the metropolitan center, where amenities like shopping and education aren’t readily available,” Mary Lou Pauly of Issaquah stated. In his words, “This law will lead to car-centric development undercutting our climate objectives and exacerbating our inadequate transportation infrastructure.”

Nobody disputed the need for affordable housing. The cost of a house in the Puget Sound region has increased dramatically during the last three years.

Photo: “The city of Seattle, Washington in the fall, from, Beacon Hill, USA” by Wonderlane is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The 86-Year-Old Artist Michael Spafford, One of Seattle’s Finest, Has Passed Away

Michael Spafford Seattle Obituary

Michael Spafford, an artist, painter, and art educator best known for his work in Seattle, passed away last weekend at the age of 86. Spike Mafford, his son, said that lung cancer was the cause of his sudden demise. He was born in Palm Springs, California on November 6, 1935.

When he was in high school, he started drawing classically influenced works, as per the artist’s HistoryLink online page. While attending Pomona College, Spafford and Elizabeth Sandvig met and got married; they have been together for 63 years. In 1967, Sandvig and their 4-year-old son joined Spafford to Italy for a two-year residence under the auspices of the coveted Prix de Rome scholarship.

The city of Rome, in particular, was an ideal location for the artist to continue his studies in classical literature. In 1969, Spafford returned to Seattle, where he maintained ties to the University of Washington and the Francine Seders Gallery, which has represented his work for more than 50 years.

Since then, he has established himself as a key figure in the Western art world as a painter and printer. While at Harvard, he was influenced by his courses in art history (especially the epics), and subsequently by graffiti artists while he was living in Mexico, his focus has been on Greek and Roman mythology.

It’s little wonder that he produced such extensive series as The Iliad, The Odyssey, Labors of Hercules, and other stories about Europa, Romulus, and Remus. With no modeling, the figures are reduced to flat shapes and patterns that have been stylized to the extent of abstraction.

Spafford made up his mind early on about both his subject and his method of presentation. Over the course of over 60 years, he produced paintings, prints, and watercolors that represented traditional myths via the use of highly exaggerated silhouettes of human and mythological figures. Many of the characters lacked characteristics; hands had no fingers, and black and white were commonly used instead of color.

A cacophony of corporeal war was what he had, and it might at times be nearly overpowering, with figures embroiled in fights that the spectator was left to interpret. Spafford devoted a lot of time and attention to the Herculean labors. Greek hero’s battles against monster and beast gave a suitable outlet for the artist’s love of artistic drama, in which shapes blend and disintegrate into one other like a field of combat shrouded by dust and smoke.

The ambiguity of the images in the Labors may have contributed to Spafford’s most difficult period in his life. As a result of an outcry from those who thought Spafford’s series was too modern or unsavory for their taste, Washington state commissioned the artist to paint a massive mural for the House chamber of the state Capitol, which he did in 1981 and which sparked a bitter legal battle and ultimately resulted in the series being relocated to an auditorium at Centralia College, well to the artist’s chagrin. He has since seen his works sell and receive positive critical acclaim.

A special bond developed among Spafford and his son, who lived together and often collaborated on projects together, including a painting that Spafford did on top of one of his son’s pictures. As Mafford put it, “My father remained at our home, working, up until the week before he died. It’s safe to say dad supported my desire to pursue the arts, and he also let me make my own choices”.

Spafford’s family encourages charitable contributions in his honor to any organization that supports the arts. No public activities are scheduled in line with the preferences of the artist.

Photo Credit: “I love flower so much…” by Thai Jasmine (…Smile..) is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Jewell Loyd Will Remain with the Seattle Storm

Seattle Storm Jewell Loyd

According to a source familiar with the Seattle Storm, both Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart want to remain in Seattle. Noelle Quinn, the head coach of the Seattle Storm, noted that having Jewell back in the lineup “really enhances our ability to compete for a fifth title.” When combined with her attacking prowess, she proved last season why she’s one of the finest defenders in the league.

Because there has been no official statement on Stewart, the source spoke on the condition of anonymity on Monday night. Stewart has agreed to a one-year contract with the Storm at a maximum salary of $228,094. The WNBA’s shooting guard Sue Bird stated on media platforms that she will return for another season, so she could have another season with her.

Signings began on Tuesday, which was the 1st day on which athletes could formally join clubs. Before Stewart’s injury later in the preseason and her absence from the overtime playoff defeat to Phoenix, the Storm had won the prestigious 2018 and 2020 titles with the same set of players. A modest repair and strengthening of Stewart’s left ankle were performed surgically in October, after suffering an Achilles injury while playing abroad which put her out of the 2019 WNBA season.

Stewart’s deal was initially reported by Yahoo! Sports. Free-agent agreements can’t be completed until Tuesday, according to anonymous sources who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

All-Star Sylvia Fowles officially re-signed with the Minnesota Lynx for her 15th and final WNBA season, making her the most decorated player in league history. Fowles, 36, is entering her 9th season with the Lynx after winning the WNBA Defender of the Year title in 2021 for the 4th time in her career.

“I opted to prolong my career for a variety of reasons”, Fowles said in a statement to the Minnesota Lynx. Our fans were a major factor in my decision to return. It was important for me to give my family and friends a chance to witness me play in my last season. There is no place I’d rather end my playing career than in Minnesota”.

A multi-year deal was negotiated by Connecticut to keep MVP Jonquel Jones. The Connecticut Sun’s head coach and general manager, Curt Miller, expressed his joy at JJ’s choice to come home and finish her career in Connecticut. “Without a question, she’s one of the most talented and dynamic players in the world. We know she’s hungry to become better, and we’re excited to build on her MVP season’s momentum. JJ is a selfless star who is determined to assist Connecticut wins a championship. For the sun, it’s a fantastic day.”

Free agents Tianna Hawkins, as well as Elizabeth Williams, were signed by the Washington Wizards, while Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Myisha Hines-Allen were re-signed. Re-signing Tiffany Hayes and bringing in Nia Coffey were two of Atlanta’s offseason moves. This season, we will set the mark for the franchise to go ahead since Tiffany is such an important part of the Dream’s history, according to current Atlanta GM Dan Padover.

One of the top two-way players in the WNBA, she has always played with a competitive spirit that has represented Atlanta well on the court.” The Dream family is overjoyed to welcome her back to the team. Liz Cambage, Tina Charles, and Candice Dupree are three more unrestricted agents who have yet to sign.

Photo Credit: “Seattle Storm Victory Rally, Westlake Plaza, Seattle, WA” by djwudi 

Three Lives Lost in a House Fire in Thurston County

Remembering Lives Lost in House Fire

According to reports from the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, a home fire early Saturday morning claimed the lives of three people: two adults and a kid.

Around 1:20 A.M., firefighters from Thurston County responded to a fire in Rainier’s 16100 block of Village Drive Southeast. According to the TCSO, the home was engulfed in flames when firemen arrived.

Firefighters were notified by a survivor that two people and a kid remained in the residence. It was not possible to save a couple in their 40s and their 3-year-old granddaughter, despite the efforts of the crews and partner organizations. The only survivor is a young lady in her early twenties, according to reports.

Police from the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office is collaborating with detectives from the Lacey Fire Department and the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office on this investigation.

Mark King, Southeast Thurston Fire Authority Chief, reported seeing flames explode up to 80 feet into the air. There were two adults and one kid still inside when a woman, 20, fled via a window, according to the lady’s account to rescuers. In spite of attempts to save them, all three were killed. In their late 40s, the couple had been married for a number of years.

Accessibility was a problem, according to King, since the property was located at the end of a cul-de-sac on a tiny dirt road. Additionally, there was no nearby water source. You have to carry water in on wheels since there is no hydrant. “Being that far away provides a restricted dynamic in the scenario,” King added.

Home Fire Safety Tips

In most cases, a fire starts in a house. When it comes to cooking fire safety, whether you live in a single-family home or an apartment complex, there are some simple steps you can take. There has to be a plan in place for each member of the household to react rapidly in the event of a fire.

As temperatures drop and the holidays approach, the danger of a house fire increases due to the increased usage of candles, home heating, and decorations during the colder months.

Your family’s safety may be improved with these winter safety tips:

  1. Prepare for the worst-case scenario – There should be a strategy in place for everyone in the family. People of all ages may want assistance in escaping a dangerous situation.
  2. Every room should have at least two exits, including windows.
  3. Decide on an outdoor gathering spot where everyone may congregate.
  4. The best way to test your strategy is to work with youngsters. Check that the smoke alarm is audible and can be recognized by everyone in the house.
  5. Close doors to contain the fire if possible.
  6. Make your way to the exit if you come across smoke.
  7. Don’t go back in. There’s nothing you need to return for.
  8. If the first exit is blocked by smoke or flames, go to the second.
  9. Close all the doors that stand between you and the blaze. The door gaps should be sealed with a towel or a piece of linen to prevent smoke from getting in.

Apartment Fire Safety Tips

If you hear the fire alarms go off in the building, you should pay serious attention. Every second that passes without action is a precious opportunity to flee.

This is why planning and rehearsing a house escape plan with all occupants is so critical. You should know how to exit your building fast if there is a fire. Do not wait to learn how serious things are.

There should be two routes out of your flat and a predetermined meeting spot outside the building in your home escape plan. Remember to call 911 and provide the dispatcher with your exact location.

Photo Credit: “Candle” by José Pestana is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Why Washington Needs to Enact Laws That Will Help Improve Charter Schools

Seattle School Buses Charter Schools

Charter schools in Washington have been met with significant opposition since they were authorized by an initiative by voters a decade ago, notably from the state teacher’s union. There are, in fact, two pieces of legislation that need to be passed this year to eliminate discriminatory hurdles to the development of outcomes-focused learning communities.

With Washington’s charters, low-income children may have a free and public alternative to costly private education. Traditional schools tend to have lower numbers of pupils of color, low-income children, and students with impairments.

Champions of public charter schools have long held that all children should be given the option to attend a top-notch public institution of higher learning. Millions of kids have beaten the odds to seek college degrees and rewarding professions and lives thanks to charter schools.

Compared to pupils in regular public schools, those who attend urban charter schools in 41 metropolitan zones obtain an additional year’s worth of instruction in mathematics and reading, according to a study by Stanford University.

Black and Hispanic English language learners fared much better than their white peers, according to the survey. In addition, data show that graduates of high schools in the Charter School Growth Fund’s portfolio are four times more likely to go to college than other low-income kids.

The Washington State Charter Schools Association says that the state only authorized 24 of the 40 charter schools available under the law well before the authorization window expired in April. At least two schools in the Puget Sound region are unable to go forward until that deadline is extended.

The authorization date would be extended to 2027 if House Bill 1962 is passed, allowing this and other parties more time to conclude their plans. As a past critic of charter schools, Rep. Debra Entenman (D-Kent) says she has grown to respect the role they play in bringing families together and assisting children of color.

“I see a diverse student body in many of the charter schools, as well as achievement,” stated Entenman. On Jan. 13, the House Education Committee forwarded Entenman’s measure. There should be a public hearing scheduled by Committee Chair Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-Seattle) so that individuals of the neighborhood may speak out for themselves.

“We don’t have a millionaire contributing money for us,” stated Oglala, Lakota Sarah Sense-Wilson. Currently, she serves as chair and co-founder of the Urban Native Education Alliance, which has been involved in the Seattle proposal. “There is no other choice than charter schools.”

Another plan, House Bill 1591, would correct the systemic underfunding of charter schools by granting charter schools an additional $1,550 per student in academic enrichment programs, levy equalization money for extracurricular activities, and key support personnel, among other things.

Local levy monies often used by conventional school districts to augment basic education earnings are not available to charter schools. According to the Charter Schools Association, it amounts to a $1,550-$3,000 per student shortfall for charters. The fundamental objective of the public charter school statute is betrayed when charter children are subjected to such an unfair disadvantage.

When it comes to these two concerns, this isn’t exactly the first time that legislators have debated them. This time, legislators must resist government pressure and do the right thing for children attending public schools.

*User submitted post. If you want to tell your story, contact us. Your voice is important so share it with us. Emerald City Journal – Seattle’s Newspaper

Photo Credit: “Seattle School Buses” by peffs

Seattle Area Concrete Strike Enters the Third Month

Seattle Washington

Seattle-area development might be disrupted for months to come as a result of a disagreement between local concrete producers and dozens of mixer drivers on strike that concluded early Thursday afternoon without a settlement.

Workers in the Seattle area who went on strike at the end of 2021 have promised to maintain their protest to the Port of Everett, Washington, and have already delayed the delivery of 500 trucks to 4 key Sound Transit Authority job sites. Because the six companies are all covered by the same master employment agreement, the strike started on a lower scale on November 19th with 34 employees. Since then, the walkout has increased from 34 workers to 320 drivers.

There has been minimal movement on any agreements since the commencement of the work stoppage. Concrete firm owners say they’ve been attempting to engage with the union for the past three weeks to begin negotiations under federal mediation but to no effect.

A representative for four specific companies said that discussions had ended “without a settlement to the open union contract.” Both parties refuse to reveal the specifics of their discussions to each other. The union officials claim to speak for their members when they say they have received a settlement that falls short as to what other trades have gotten.

A rise in wages of 17.6 percent over the course of three years, “improved pension contributions,” and “continuing support” for medical coverage were among the perks firms announced to employees on Monday.

Despite this, a statement from the Teamsters regarding the ongoing strike said that an owner’s representative had not communicated to the Teamsters in almost six weeks. Workers at the Port of Everett said Monday that their three-hour protest had closed down the facility and that the owners’ offer was “subpar.”

Local 174’s secretary-treasurer Rick Hicks claimed that “these foreign construction organizations are pushing that workers accept a mix of pay, healthcare, and pension that would imply a loss in compensation over four years,” when inflation is taken into consideration. Other construction workers in Seattle get far better pay, so this package would be a bargain.

At the same time, a statement from seven prominent general contractors with businesses in the Seattle region encouraged negotiations and warned of significant economic harm already done, stating that in the autumn of last year, the region’s 2,000 carpenters went on a wider strike, which was eventually settled after workers consented to a salary increase and parking perks.

It also follows a bigger national labor movement nicknamed “Striketober,” in which employees from numerous sectors went on strike in October. These strikes greatly affected the local economies of the regions affected and it may take longer to recover if the strikes go on any longer.

The Teamsters union stressed the ripple effects of the strike on other industries in their statement, saying it is possible that thousands of workers may lose their jobs if the Puget Sound area runs out of concrete to use in new building projects. With middle-class households in Seattle still waiting for a paycheck, businesses’ refusal to deal with the Teamsters may have a terrible impact on the local economy.

Photo: “Space Needle – Seattle, Washington” by Dougtone

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