02-19-2017  10:41 pm      •     
The Mahogany Project

The Mahogany Project members Merri Anne Osborne, Tina Austin, and Robin Dawn performed a piece about how easy it is to fall into a cycle of debt and poverty during the annual Urban Poverty Forum, Sunday, Feb. 22, at Town Hall.  This year’s forum focused on the New Debt and how it effects the poor (particularly people of color) in the Pacific Northwest.  The featured speakers included Eddie Rye, host of the Urban Forum Northwest on 1150 AM Radio; Jonathan Grant, executive director of the Tenants Union and  Pamela Banks, president and chief Executive officer for the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle.  Susan Fried photo

Friends of the Public Library Provides Free Books to Seattle Teachers

More than 100 Seattle elementary school teachers will receive free books at the Friends of The Seattle Public Library’s annual Books for Teachers book sale this Saturday, Feb. 28.

The free books are made possible by a $15,000 grant from the Renee B. Fisher Foundation. The foundation offers grants to provide books to teachers in Title 1 schools where at least 75 percent of the students are eligible for free or reduced lunches. Currently there are 36 Title 1 schools in Seattle.

The Friends’ Books for Teachers program has helped fill classroom libraries throughout Seattle since 2009.

At the book sale, each teacher will have vouchers to buy up to 100 books for classrooms. Two children's librarians from The Seattle Public Library will be on hand to help the teachers pick out books.

For more information about the Books for Teachers program, contact Maggie Taylor from the Friends of The Seattle Public Library at 206-612-8469 or maggiefishing@gmail.com.

Seattle Central Encourages High School Girls to Pursue IT Careers

More than 80 young women from seven area high schools will visit Seattle Central College on Friday, Feb. 27 to learn about IT careers as part of a special event called GLITTER – short for Get Launched in Technology through Education and Resources. Now in its eighth year, the half-day event allows participants to connect with women who have built successful IT careers, both on campus and in the private sector.

The event will feature a variety of workshops on technology, working in the IT field, applying to college and the navigating financial aid system, among others, to encourage those who want attend to start thinking about higher education. Current IT students will also offer a day-in-the-life look at what it’s like to study at Seattle Central. During lunch, the girls will hear from a panel of women currently employed in the IT field.

The program is hosted in partnership with local non-profit IGNITE (Inspiring Girls in Technology Evolution). The organization establishes chapters in schools across the globe to connect young girls with female mentors and role models who have careers in STEM fields. For more information go to www.seattlecentral.edu.

Free help with Tax Forms at the Rainier Beach Library

The Seattle Public Library and AARP have consolidated the free tax preparation service available in southeast Seattle. Tax help is no longer offered at the NewHolly Branch, but remains available at the Rainier Beach Branch.

Drop-in tax help at the Rainier Beach Branch, 9125 Rainier Ave. S., 206-386-1906 is offered on a first-come, first-served basis from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays through April 11.

Due to federal budget cuts, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is unable to provide the Library with certain tax forms and instruction booklets. Most IRS forms are available online at www.irs.gov. Black-and-white prints of the forms may be printed from Library computers for 15 cents per page. To request forms by mail, order online at IRS.gov/orderforms or call 1-800-829-3676.

Tax help at the Rainier Beach Branch is provided by AARP.

For more information, call the Rainier Beach Branch at 206-386-1906, visit spl.org/taxhelp, or www.spl.org.

Learn How to Start a Business at the Seattle Public Library

Entrepreneur and business coach Jeff Levy will present an overview on how to start and run a business from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 5 at the Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Level 1, Microsoft Auditorium.

Library events are free and open to the public. Seating is limited and registration is suggested. Parking is available in the Central Library garage for $6 after 5 p.m.

At the workshop, Levy will share stories from his experience as a business owner and manager. Attendees will learn the fundamentals of starting a business, including incorporation, financing, stakeholder development and how to write a business plan. After the presentation, there will be a question and answer period.

Levy is a nationally recognized consultant and coach to individuals interested in exploring self-employment. Levy was a founding member of Windswept Capital, president and COO of Spider Staging Corporation, an officer at Flow International, and executive vice-president and principal of SafeWorks LLC. He is the co-author of "Making the Jump into Small Business Ownership."

This event is co-sponsored by the Small Business Administration (SBA) Seattle District office.

For more information, call the Central Library at 206-386-4636 or www.spl.org.

Network with Government Contractors at Regional Forum

The Seattle Public Library and other regional government entities will meet and greet businesses and organizations at the 2015 Regional Contracting Forum (RCF) from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 10 at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center, 800 Convention Place, Seattle.

The event is free and everyone is welcome. Registration is required.

Representatives from the Library will be at the RCF to talk about free tools and resources that support business information needs. RCF attendees will have the opportunity to meet government contracting representatives and network with contractors, consultants, and suppliers all at one event.

For more information, call the Library at 206-386-4636 or www.spl.org.

Semi-Finals for The 2015 Global Reading Challenge Start March 3

Thousands of elementary school students from 54 Seattle public schools are gearing up for the 20th anniversary of The Seattle Public Library’s 2015 Global Reading Challenge, where students will compete as teams after they read and discuss a set of 10 books. The seven semi-final rounds will take place from March 3 through March 13 at The Seattle Public Library, Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Level 1, Microsoft Auditorium.

Library events are free and everyone is welcome. Registration is not required. Parking is available in the Central Library garage at the regular rates.

Dates and times for the semifinals in the Central Library's auditorium are as follows:

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 3 - Round 1

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, March 5 - Round 2

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Friday, March 6 - Round 3

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 10 - Round 4

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 11 - Round 5

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, March 12 - Round 6

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Friday, March 13 - Round 7

According to Global Reading Challenge rules, questions are read and repeated once. Teams have 30 seconds to write down the answer to a question.

A series of in-school challenges will take place in February at participating elementary schools. See the Library’s website for the list of participating schools. The top team from each school will then compete in semifinals against other top teams, and the winning schools from the semifinals will go on to compete in the city final. Adams Elementary School’s "The Little Team That Could" won the 2014 Global Reading Challenge.

The books for the 2015 Global Reading Challenge include:

"Home of the Brave" by Katherine Applegate

"Because of Winn-Dixie" by Kate DiCamillo

"Orphan Trains: An Interactive History Adventure" by Elizabeth Raum

"An Elephant in the Garden" by Michael Morpurgo

"How Tía Lola Learned to Teach" by Julia Alvarez

"Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in It" by Sundee Frazier

"Seaglass Summer" by Anjali Banerjee

"The Game of Silence" by Louise Erdrich

"One Crazy Summer" by Rita Williams-Garcia

"Half and Half" by Lensey Namioka

The Library has also launched a suspenseful first episode of the Global Reading Challenge Book Team video. Will the Global Reading Challenge be shut down forever by the Evil Ignore-Ant and his Ignore Ray Machine? Will Book Team get kids to read again? Learn what’s at risk by watching the video on the Library's website and watch out for those laser beams!

The Global Reading Challenge is made possible by funding from The Seattle Public Library Foundation, The Norman Raab Foundation, Northwest Literacy Foundation, and the Ballard and Fremont Rotary clubs.

For more information, call The Seattle Public Library at 206-386-4636 or www.spl.org.

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  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
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