West Seattle Blog... » West Seattle online http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Mon, 30 Nov 2015 06:54:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Man who requested Block Watch Captain, Night Out organizers’ names isn’t saying why he wants them, but says he’s requested and received the list before http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/man-who-requested-block-watch-captain-night-out-organizers-names-isnt-saying-why-he-wants-them-but-says-hes-requested-and-received-the-list-before/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/man-who-requested-block-watch-captain-night-out-organizers-names-isnt-saying-why-he-wants-them-but-says-hes-requested-and-received-the-list-before/#comments Tue, 17 Nov 2015 02:08:53 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=329369 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Seattle Police, like most if not all public agencies, deal with many public-disclosure requests.

But one that they are handling right now is so unusual, apparently, that they took the step of sending e-mail to thousands of people whose names will be part of it. We’ve heard from several readers, too, unsettled after receiving this message from Assistant Chief Steve Wilske, sent out by Southwest and South Precincts Crime Prevention Coordinator Mark Solomon and other CPCs around the city:

Right after receiving that, we asked SPD’s media-relations unit if they could tell us who had made the request; at the time, they couldn’t find the information, but it was in this followup that Solomon sent shortly thereafter to the original mailing list:

Dear Community Friends,

As per our legal advisor, the name of the individual who requested the names of all of our Block Captains and/or the individuals who organized Night Out events is public information. The individual’s name is Keith Gormezano. He requested names, addresses, home phone numbers, fax numbers, email addresses, notes and the approximate block where Night Out event was held, as well as the same contact information of Block Watch Captains (past and present). Mr. Gormezano does not have to provide why he wants the information or what he intends to do with it. He has signed a declaration stating that he will not use the list of names for commercial purposes.

As the letter from Chief Wilske states, we are only mandated to give out the names. For South and Southwest Precincts, this information was provided for current (not former) Block Watch Captains and 2014 & 2015 Night Out registrants. If you are not currently a block watch captain, or if you have not been the one to register your group’s Night Out event in the past two years, your name was not disclosed.

I’ve received dozens of responses on this. Many of you are upset, curious and some block captains have quit as a result. We understand. In my 25 years as a Crime Prevention Coordinator, I can say we have been protective of our Block Captains, to a fault. Unfortunately this could not be avoided. I am extremely sorry and saddened for the distress this is causing.

Our subsequent online search quickly turned up an e-mail address for Keith Gormezano, so we wrote to ask him why he wanted the names. His reply:

I am under no obligation to tell you why I am seeking this information.

This isn’t the first time I have requested the names and contact information for BWC and NO organizers.
The department gave me a complete list several years ago.
I would be happy to send it to you.

It is subject to the PDR.
That is the price of living in a free society.
If people are curious, they can look up my voting record or value of my Creekside condo.

If it is causing a lot of distress, one has to wonder why SPD went out of their way to inform everyone after the fact.

Looking him up via Google, you’ll find this 2006 seattlepi.com story featuring what he did to revolt against Safeway’s loyalty program, and a 2003 Stranger story about how he got sued for posting public records from a legal proceeding.

Regarding public records in general – far more is subject to disclosure than you might think. You can read the chapters of our state’s Public Records Act here.

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SPAM SCAM ALERT: Beware of e-mail from ‘seattleschool’ address http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/spam-scam-alert-beware-of-e-mail-from-seattleschool-address/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/spam-scam-alert-beware-of-e-mail-from-seattleschool-address/#comments Wed, 14 Oct 2015 05:29:50 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=325901 With schools in the news more than usual lately, WSB reader Jade wanted to warn you about e-mail spam with a too-close-to-real address: She received e-mail tonight from an address containing seattleschool (dot) org. That’s one letter off the district’s official domain – but some might not catch that and would open it anyway. The body of the e-mail, Jade explains, contained “the ever-so-obvious ‘follow instructions for lottery payout’ instructions” in an attachment. But attachments are one of the most common ways for viruses and other problems to get passed onto your computer – don’t EVER open one you’re not expecting – so beware.

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West Seattle Comcast outage: Seaview, Morgan trouble http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/west-seattle-comcast-outage-seaview-morgan-trouble-tonight/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/west-seattle-comcast-outage-seaview-morgan-trouble-tonight/#comments Fri, 02 Oct 2015 06:38:47 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=324685 11:38 PM: If you’ve been having trouble with Comcast service tonight in Seaview or Morgan Junction – it’s not just you. We’ve heard from people via all our channels with problems in those areas. Since Comcast itself doesn’t have a publicly accessible official outage map so far as we can tell, it’s important that you call to report it if you’re affected … let us know what you hear back in terms of a fix. While this doesn’t seem to be as widespread as the infamous June 1st outage, this is the largest number of reports we’ve received since that one.

7:51 AM: Some have theirs back, as noted in comments below. At least one person says on Twitter that theirs came back – then went away again.

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WSB site note: Early-early-morning downtimes for tech upgrades http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/wsb-site-note-early-early-morning-downtimes-for-tech-upgrades/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/wsb-site-note-early-early-morning-downtimes-for-tech-upgrades/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 06:36:52 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=320494 Quick note – if you happen to find WSB inaccessible at some point in the next few early-early mornings – we’re expecting a bit of after-midnight downtime for technical upgrades. Our 24/7 news commitment continues regardless, so if any breaking news happens during those downtimes, you’ll find info on our social-media channels, primarily Facebook and Twitter. Thanks, and sorry in advance for the inconvenience!

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Are you on the list? Seattle Public Library has 200 more borrowable wi-fi hotspots http://westseattleblog.com/2015/07/are-you-on-the-list-seattle-public-library-has-200-more-borrowable-wi-fi-hotspots/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/07/are-you-on-the-list-seattle-public-library-has-200-more-borrowable-wi-fi-hotspots/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 03:29:48 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=318257 When we and others published the first announcement of wi-fi hotspots available to borrow from the Seattle Public Library, a long waiting list developed quickly – WSB reader Diane was on it and chronicled the wait. Now, with another grant, SPL has more than doubled the number available, as announced today:

Thanks to an additional $80,000 grant from Google, The Seattle Public Library has added 200 more Wi-Fi hotspots for Library patrons to check out. The devices provide patrons with free, mobile broadband Internet service for three weeks.

The Library used an initial grant from Google to buy 150 hotspots and launched the lending program on May 18. In the first week, nearly 1,000 patrons placed holds on the devices.

“Clearly, even in a high-tech city like Seattle, there is a huge need for additional broadband access,” said Marcellus Turner, Seattle’s city librarian. “These devices help close the digital divide for Seattle residents who live on low incomes.”

Some Library patrons had requested more devices after the initial launch. The Library now lends a total of 326 devices and librarians use another 24 hotspots during outreach programming.

Many patrons believe the Wi-Fi hotspots provide an exciting new spin on the public library system’s foundational service – ensuring equal access to information for all.

“This is the coolest thing ever,” one user commented. “Kudos to The Seattle Public
Library for carrying a traditional mission of libraries into the Internet age.”

The Seattle Public Library is the first public library in the United States to make
the hotspots available to all its cardholders. For more information, call the Library 206-386-4636 or Ask a Librarian.

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Speaking of broadband: See what the city’s ‘municipal broadband’ feasibility study says http://westseattleblog.com/2015/06/speaking-of-broadband-see-what-the-citys-municipal-broadband-feasibility-study-says/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/06/speaking-of-broadband-see-what-the-citys-municipal-broadband-feasibility-study-says/#comments Tue, 09 Jun 2015 18:23:01 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=312927 We were just talking about broadband options – sort of. Here’s more to consider: Could the city offer it as a municipal utility? The $180,000 study commissioned to look at that question is now out. Here’s the city announcement:

The City of Seattle today released the City of Seattle Fiber-to-the-Premises Feasibility Study, a feasibility study originally commissioned in December 2014 as part of Mayor Ed Murray’s three-part broadband internet strategy.

Read the report here.

And read toplines ahead in the rest of the news release:

“Broadband internet service is a necessity in the 21st century but many Seattle residents don’t have equal access,” said Michael Mattmiller, Chief Technology Officer for the City of Seattle. “This report builds on past studies and take a comprehensive look at whether the City could provide universal broadband service in today’s landscape that is affordable, competitive and equally accessible to everyone.”

In the study, the consultant examined the feasibility of a municipal broadband delivery model, focusing on:

· Reviewing the financial feasibility of constructing and operating a municipal broadband network in Seattle;

· Evaluating the services and applications that are most likely to be utilized over a high-capacity data network; and

· Analyzing current market conditions to gauge consumer interest in a broadband service and the current offerings in the market place.

Less than estimated in previous studies, the report estimates a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) build out to cost $480 – $665 million. To cover these costs, market penetration at monthly service charge of $75 would need to exceed 40 percent, higher than the take rates achieved by any other municipal broadband utility in the country.

Additional findings include:

· The study found that the most feasible approach to constructing and operating a successful municipal broadband utility would be through a joint venture, where the City would work with a partner to create a service that allows the City to maintain its status as a technology leader and provide equity to the public.

· The study looked into the impacts that service price changes, even as minimal as $5, would make on customer subscriber rate and city finances. With a smaller customer base or prices below a $75 monthly charge, financials deteriorate quickly and the City is exposed to significant potential losses. With a proposed service price increase of just $10, raising it to $85 per month, the study found customer interest fell significantly, also exposing the city to substantial risk.

· Incumbents and competitors are moving into the market, offering high-speed and gigabit service to increasing number of customers.

· More than 80 percent of respondents indicated that internet is an essential service, while 30 percent indicated that it is affordable.

Mayor Murray unveiled his three-step broadband approach in June 2014, which he has worked on continuously in that time to reduce regulatory barriers, explore public/private partnerships and examine municipal broadband. Read more here.

The City’s broadband study was performed by CTC Technology & Energy, an independent communications and engineering consulting firm with more than 25 years of experience. CTC was paid $180,000 to complete the study.

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UPDATE: Comcast Internet trouble in West Seattle (and beyond)? No, it wasn’t just you http://westseattleblog.com/2015/06/comcast-internet-trouble-no-its-not-just-you/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/06/comcast-internet-trouble-no-its-not-just-you/#comments Tue, 02 Jun 2015 02:37:38 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=312095 7:37 PM: No official word from Comcast yet, but its Internet service seems to be having some trouble, not just in West Seattle but elsewhere in the metro area, and in the Bay Area too. We started hearing about it via Twitter a short time ago and it seemed widespread enough to mention here. Also via Twitter, you can see the Comcast support account responding to messages from users.

10:09 PM: Readers report service returning to normal – see comments – and @ComcastWA on Twitter also reported areas “coming back up.” No explanation from Comcast of what went wrong (aside from acknowledgment of what users had reported, that it was a DNS issue).

11:34 PM: GeekWire quotes Comcast as saying its people are “working through a root cause analysis to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

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Free Seattle Public Library wi-fi – without being at a branch http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/free-seattle-public-library-wi-fi-without-being-at-a-branch/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/free-seattle-public-library-wi-fi-without-being-at-a-branch/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 23:58:24 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=310837 If you need broadband wi-fi at home or work or school … the library can help. Seattle Public Library unveiled SPL Hotspot today – a program through which you can check out a wi-fi hotspot and use it for up to three weeks. A grant from Google got the library system 150 of the mobile hotspots – you need your own computer to use them, but by midsummer, the system’s getting 75 hotspot-bundled laptops available for checkout too. Here’s how the program works.

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West Seattle Crime Watch: Local resident reports ripoff via router http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-crime-watch-local-resident-reports-ripoff-via-router/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-crime-watch-local-resident-reports-ripoff-via-router/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 17:56:04 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=309550 A Belvidere resident was hit by a “sophisticated identity theft” that she describes as resulting from “an easily overlooked risk,” and wrote this to warn you about it:

Sometime around the end of April, someone hacked into my wireless router and stole my name, address, WDL#, and SS#. I’ve since discovered that wireless routers have two passwords – one for the wireless signal (which I had locked down), but also one for the router admin itself. The router comes from the factory with a standard login/password, and no instructions for changing it. This is something I overlooked, and this is how the thief got in.

I was first alerted to the theft when I received an email receipt from a store in University Village for a large purchase I didn’t make, on a card I haven’t used in years. I called the store, and they fortunately remembered the woman who made the purchase, and were able to provide a description – a white woman, age 30-35, with long blond hair (not a description of me). She had a WDL ID with her photo and my name and address.

I of course immediately checked my credit reports and set up fraud alerts, and discovered that over a dozen inquiries had been made with my name, and several new cards opened.

It turns out the thief also had a plan to collect the new credit cards and statements. The thief put a vacation hold on my mail at the post office on California & Oregon (using her fake ID), saying she would be back May 15 to pick up the mail. Sure enough, when I figured this out & got my mail restarted, there were the new credit cards and statements.

With further investigation, I discovered that my identity had been used in Puyallup and Everett to open store credit accounts, and that the thief was using a prepaid cell phone purchased in Everett. I also received an alert that my complete information (plus passport # & medical ID #) was for sale on a black-market website.

I’ve filed reports with both the police and postal service investigators.

Just want to emphasize this was a complex and local theft – to get into my router, the thief had to physically be close to my house. Then of course they visited the WS post office, and shopped at nearby shopping centers. Everyone, please check your wireless router admin login and secure it! If you find your information has been compromised, do report it to the police and let them know you’re aware of my case so they can put it all together. I was told the police cannot investigate this kind of fraud without more evidence, more thefts, or a higher amount of actual monetary loss.

Here’s what the Federal Trade Commission says about how to protect yourself from what happened to “Belvidere Resident.”

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CenturyLink 1-gig questions? Info session with cupcakes Sunday http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/centurylink-1-gig-questions-info-session-with-cupcakes-sunday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/centurylink-1-gig-questions-info-session-with-cupcakes-sunday/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 22:01:53 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=308725

CenturyLink is sponsoring WSB right now to get out the word that its 1 Gig service has arrived in some areas of West Seattle. You’re invited to a special event to find out more about it this Sunday at Cupcake Royale in The Junction:

On Sunday, May 3, CenturyLink is teaming up with Cupcake Royale to celebrate West Seattle becoming a CenturyLink Fiber Lit Community. CenturyLink invites West Seattle residents to celebrate in the sweetest way possible: by enjoying one of Seattle’s best cupcakes for free (cupcakes available while supplies last). To add a cherry on top, you can also enter to win Taylor Swift concert tickets from KISS 106.1!

CenturyLink is excited to meet you and share more about bringing next-generation Internet speeds up to 1 Gig to West Seattle. The CenturyLink team will be at the West Seattle Cupcake Royale location (4556 California Avenue SW) starting at 11 a.m. on May 3. You can sign up to be notified when your address qualifies for speeds up to 1 Gig by visiting centurylink.com/fiber.

One cupcake per person, and unlimited info about CenturyLink service – just drop in any time between 11 am and 3 pm Sunday.

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Fauntleroy Community Association’s new survey is now online http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/fauntleroy-community-associations-new-survey-is-now-online/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/fauntleroy-community-associations-new-survey-is-now-online/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 01:16:40 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=305511 From the Fauntleroy Community Association:

Do you live between the Arroyos and Morgan Street? Travel through or do business in Fauntleroy? The Fauntleroy Community Association (FCA) wants to hear from you!

The FCA has prepared a new community survey seeking input to identify and rank local issues. The anonymous survey can be accessed through www.fauntleroy.net and then clicking on “FCA Survey.” The survey takes about 5 minutes, and will provide guidance to the FCA Board on where to focus their efforts during the next two years.

The results from the 2013 survey led to the FCA organizing community meetings with city officials to address crime and traffic issues. Dialogues between residents and officials were constructive and resulted in agreed-upon action plans.

Take the survey and help to shape the future of your community!

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Girls Who Code has room for more this summer – but Friday’s the deadline http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/girls-who-code-has-room-for-more-this-summer-but-fridays-the-deadline/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/girls-who-code-has-room-for-more-this-summer-but-fridays-the-deadline/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 07:07:06 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=302874 We got a note today from the West Coast regional director of the nonprofit Girls Who Code, looking for more 10th- and 11th-grade girls to apply for a free summer-immersion program. The catch – the deadline is tomorrow (Friday), so hurry!

Due to exponential growth, Girls Who Code is welcoming additional applicants for its 2015 Summer Immersion Program. Girls in 10th and 11th grade have until tomorrow, Friday, March 6th at 11:59 PM PST to submit their applications for Seattle.

Girls Who Code is partnering with Adobe, Amazon, AT&T, Expedia, Google, and Microsoft!

Go to girlswhocode.com/applynow to apply now!

The Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program represents an innovative approach to computer science education, pairing seven weeks of intensive instruction in robotics, web design, and mobile development with engaging, career-focused mentorship and exposure led by the industry’s top female entrepreneurs and engineers.

Participation is free and no prior CS experience is required, just an interest in learning more about Computer Science in an encouraging environment.

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You can help! West Seattle High School seeking to connect with tech pros for a bit of volunteering http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/you-can-help-west-seattle-high-school-seeking-to-connect-with-tech-pros-for-a-bit-of-volunteering/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/you-can-help-west-seattle-high-school-seeking-to-connect-with-tech-pros-for-a-bit-of-volunteering/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 07:15:40 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=301991

Do you work in tech – software, or engineering? Can you share your expertise with a high-school teacher and her/his students? Read the letter above from West Seattle High School principal Ruth Medsker and see if you might be able to give a bit of time to boost computer science at her school; if you want to find out more about TEALS first, go here.

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Seattle Public Schools tech ‘Town Hall’ set for March 2 @ WSHS http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/seattle-public-schools-tech-town-hall-set-for-march-2-wshs/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/seattle-public-schools-tech-town-hall-set-for-march-2-wshs/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 04:14:09 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=300188 Something to say about tech at school? Here’s your chance:

Seattle Public Schools wants to give everyone an opportunity to provide feedback and input into the district’s Technology Vision process. To accomplish this we are scheduling five “Town Hall” meetings around the District. One in each of the five major regions …

WEST SEATTLE REGION: Monday, March 2, at West Seattle High School cafeteria

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. so that attendees can browse sample results from the Tech Summit. The structured meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Interested individuals who are unable to attend any of the Town Hall meetings are encouraged to submit their vision, ideas, and comments to techvision@seattleschools.org

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Followup: See what Holy Rosary’s Gator-bots did with your help! http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/followup-see-what-holy-rosarys-gator-bots-did-with-your-help/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/followup-see-what-holy-rosarys-gator-bots-did-with-your-help/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 05:50:30 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=298262

One month ago, we published a request for your help with a student research project – Holy Rosary School students were testing a hypothesis about how people learn about new technology. With almost 700 responses to their online survey, as noted the following week, they proceeded to modify their hypothesis, and win an award. Now, the next step – explained by their coaches:

The Holy Rosary Gator-bots will continue their journey this Sunday by participating in the First Lego League semi-finals at Shoreline Community College. Thanks to the West Seattle Blog and their wonderful readers, the Gator-bots received a lot of great ideas on the project portion of the competition asking the question, How can we improve the way people learn about Technology?

The Gator-bots considered different ways they could help people with technology from the readers responses and finally chose to made a website with step-by-step videos. Their first wave of videos are out on the site for your viewing pleasure at yourtekhelp.com. Please take a look, and we encourage you to sign into the guestbook with your comments! The boys have worked long and hard learning about website technology, video creation technology and video production. Words of encouragement are always appreciated!

And if you come out to Shoreline Community College on Sunday to watch the competition, the first 50 people to mention that they saw the Gator-bots on the blog will receive a Gator-bots button!

Thank you WSB and West Seattle. We feel blessed to be part of such a wonderful community.

Gator-Bot coaches
Brian Christenson
Rise Pyscher
David Redenbaugh

Good luck, Gator-bots!

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