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Regional News Archives for 2012-07


Oregon International Airshow This Weekend


You’ll see some amazing stunts at the Oregon International Airshow this weekend.  Lieutenant Colonel John Klatt with the Air National Guard flies a propeller driven aerobatic plane that can stall and then fly back toward earth.  The Air Force Thunderbirds are the main act.  You'll also see the Army's Golden Knights Parachute Team and the Marine Corps Harrier Demonstration Team along with several other performers.  The Airshow runs Friday through Sunday.

A Casino Vote Will Be on November Ballot


The second of two measures to authorize Oregon’s first non-tribal casino has qualified for the November ballot.

 

The Secretary of State's Office says that the proponents turned in enough valid signatures.  The measure is a companion to a separate initiative that was certified for the ballot last week.  Taken together, the two measures would allow two Lake Oswego businessmen and a Canadian investment firm to build a private casino in Wood Village.  Currently, casinos can only be operated by American Indian tribes.  Proponents say the casino would create jobs and generate revenue for schools; but critics say it would take gambling dollars from tribal casinos and the Oregon Lottery.

Mutant Frogs in Oregon


More mosquitoes, hungry birds of prey, mass extinction of amphibians. It's possible, says Dr. Andrew Blaustein, an Oregon State University zoology Professor who is watching frog populations morph.  Some growing up to 14 extra legs because of a parasite propelled by pollution. He believes a sixth mass extinction event could be in the works, due to pollution.  The same parasite, the flat-worm, is dangerous for humans and other animals as well. Blaustein says the parasite appears to thrive in polluted waters.

 

New Electronic Lift Tickets for Mt. Hood Meadows


Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort has eliminated the top complaint for skiers: having to show a lift ticket.  New passes have a built in antenna that triggers the system.  “As you approach the gate, that signal is received by the gate and it drops an arm down. And then you just ski or snowboard through it and get on the lift.”  Dave Tragethon says it allows you to easily refill the pass with a credit card.  You can keep the pass in your coat, and at the end of the day you can use a computer to see how many vertical feet you skied.

24/7 Help for Vets


There’s an alarming suicide rate among members of the u-s military. More soldiers are dying from suicide than combat. Here in Portland, “Lines for Life” has a staff of experts and volunteers ready to help. But spokesman Tom Parker says people in the military are often reluctant to reach out.  He says that family members need to watch for signs, and take action. Vets and families can get help by logging on to:  www.militaryhelpline dot org.

 

Talk About Bad Judgment!


Derrick Charles Hess, 29, was babysitting his five year old niece on northwest Scott Street when he thought it would be a good idea to teach her to start a car.  Hillsboro Police Lieutenant Michael Rouches says the child started the car, but her foot slipped off the clutch, the car rolled into a mini-van, knocked down a 64 year old woman.  The fall broke her pelvis.  Hess faces charges of child endangerment, reckless endangering, criminal mischief and assault.

Portland Theaters to Get Extra Patrols


Portland Police are patrolling movie theaters to help reassure people following the shooting in Aurora, Colorado. 

 

Sergeant Pete Simpson says they have no information that anything is planned, but they want to be seen to help reassure people. 

 

They're asking movie-goers to be watchful and if they notice anything suspicious to call 9-1-1.

5000 Lightning Strikes in the Past Week


The lightning storms that passed over central and eastern Oregon this week brought 5000 lightning strikes.  Firefighters will be watching to see whether those turn into larger fires. 

 

Carol Connelly, with the Northwest Coordination Center, says they're concerned about this weekend's weather, which is predicted to be hot and windy. Those winds could quickly turn a small, smoldering fire into an inferno. 

 

Fires that are started by lightning strikes can smolder for days, even weeks, before turning into a larger fire.

Speed Cyclist Finally Caught


A high speed pursuit started in Hood River and ended in Portland.  State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings says Thursday morning - a motorcyclist eluded a Hood River Police officer- driving speeds got up to 135 miles and hour.   State Police tried to stop the rider on I-84 near Troutdale,  but he sped away, weaving through traffic. 

 

A Portland Police motorcycle officer met the bike west of downtown Portland and the driver pulled over and was arrested.  Nikolay Mitkov, 20, was cited for attempt to elude,  reckless driving and driving with a suspended license.

"Brushy" A Big Hit


A video from the Oregon Dental Association has gone viral. it stars several local celebrities.  The song is called “Teach Me How to Brushy” and was meant as a fun way to get kids to brush their teeth.  The video features former Trail Blazer Jerome Kersey and announcer Bill Schonely along with House Democratic Leader Tina Kotek and Bruce Goldberg...head of the Oregon Health Authority.  The video has gotten national exposure on “Good Morning America,”  the “Today Show” and the Huffington Post. 

"Naked Passenger" Wins Court Case


A Multnomah County Judge agrees that what John Brennan did April 17th was legal.  That was the day the upset Portland man stripped naked at PDX.  The original charges against Brennan were downgraded to something like a parking ticket.  But Brennan wanted a trial, probably as a way to continue his protest against what he sees as the post 9-11 violation your rights as Americans.

Walden Advocating Tax Cuts Renewals


Oregon Congressman Greg Walden says the tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of the year need to be renewed now.  He says spending out way out of the recession isn't working.  Walden says helping small businesses grow will be the fastest way to get people back to work, and that will create demand which drives the economic recovery.

New Leadership for Oregon House Republicans


A Salem representative steps away from a leadership role with Oregon House Republicans.  Salem Republican Kevin Cameron has stepped down as Caucus Leader citing personal reasons related to his family and his small business. Cameron says he will seek a fifth term in office and will focus on constituent service. House Republicans chose Albany Representative Andy Olson - a retired state trooper - as the new House Republican Leader. And Powell Butte Representative Mike McLane will serve as Deputy Republican Leader.

"Disclosure Act" Defeat Frustrated Merkley


Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley is disappointed that the “Disclose Act” was defeated this week.  It would require the identification of donors who give $10,000 or more to politicians or “Super PACS.”  He says it's important to know the source of the money.  The Disclose Act was defeated on a party line vote. Merkley says it's frustrating, because some Republicans had expressed support for the bill.

Studies Show Many Child ER Visits Are Unnecessary


Oregon hospital records show that one in six visits to emergency rooms by children could be avoided; and that costs $27-million a year.  Dr. David Shute with the Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation says the conditions include ear infections and colds, and those should be handled by “Urgent Care.”  These kids are covered by insurance.  Some of the reasons they end up in emergency rooms could be that their illness happens in the middle of the night, or a parent's work schedule prevents a doctor's visit during the day.

Analyst Says OEA May Not Be the Best for Oregon


The Oregon Education Association is not the best thing for Oregon schools.  That is the opinion of Steve Buckstein at the Cascade Policy Institute.  He says the OEA uses its money to lobby to keep education in the state the way it is.  Buckstein has set up a website on which you can find out how lawmakers are influenced by education lobbyists.  The site is:  www.statusquolobby.com.

Japanese Dock About to be Dismantled


The derelict dock that washed up on agate beach from the Japanese tsunami will be dismantled starting Tuesday July 31st.  Chris Havel, with Oregon Parks, says Ballard Diving and Salvage will cut it apart on the beach.  That will minimize the risk of invasive species contaminating the beach.  The pieces will be trucked to Vancouver where they'll be taken apart and as much of the material as possible will be recycled.  It’ll cost $84,000 and take three to seven days to complete.

Better "Stock" Up On Your Beef Now


Oregon cattle producers are being squeezed by the drought in the Midwest.  Ruined corn crops mean feed grain prices are soaring.  To meet costs cattle producers are selling their herds,  which means there should be lower beef prices now and higher prices later when supply is short and herds need to be rebuilt.

 

Governor Has Plan to Help Businesses Expand


The State of Oregon has a new program to help businesses get the employees they need to expand operations.  Agness Balasa, Policy Advisor to the Governor, says the workforce strategic plan will help communities determine how they can work with businesses to train potential employees for jobs.  It's a long term project, but they hope that it can start to show immediate results by increasing the number of jobs in the state.  The plan was developed using feedback from 400 Oregonians.

Condit Dam Removal Almost Done


The massive project of removing the Condit Dam from the white Salmon River in southwest Washington is nearly complete.  The dam was breeched last year and by the end of August the last of the concrete will be removed.  Tom Gaunt with Pacific Power says they want the work finished in time for the fall salmon runs; but rafters above the dam are already seeing fish.  There were 2.5 million cubic yards of sediment behind the Dam and about two-thirds of that has washed down river.

Phil Knight Removes Paterno's Name From Facility


The name of Joe Paterno's been removed from the Child Care Center at Nike.  Company officials announced the decision in the wake of a report concluding that the late Penn State Coach helped cover up sex abuse.  A statement from chairman and co-founder Phil Knight says, it appears that Joe Paterno made some mis-steps, and says Knight, “I missed that Joe missed it. I’m extremely saddened, my love for Joe and his family remains.”  Company President Mark Parker says with the new findings, he has decided to remove Paterno's name from the child care center, and his thoughts are with the victims and the Penn State community.

No Pot Initiative on November Ballot


With decisions over legal issues surrounding marijuana, the Oregon Marijuana Policy Initiative is suing the Secretary of State, saying she was wrong to disqualify petition signatures.  The initiative would legalize adult marijuana use; but now won't be on the November ballot.  Complainant Robert Wolf says signature disqualifications were arbitrary.  A Secretary of State spokesperson says they kicked out duplicate signatures, and has stopped validating any more signatures.   Wolf wants the state to keep validating.  Wolf is also being fined for violating state law on paying signature gatherers per signature.

Study Says Moderate Alcohol Consumption Good for Older Women


Older women who drink a moderate amount of alcohol may have stronger bones than they're friends who don't drink. That’s the finding of a recent Oregon State University study on post-menopausal women. Professor Russell Turner says it's hard to specify how much is a moderate amount but something along the lines of up to 2 drinks a day.  Turner says women have accelerated bone loss after menopause, but alcohol, like estrogen, may help improve and balance bone turnover.  Turner says more research must be done to know the other ways alcohol can affect the body because it is a powerful substance.

Coal Terminals Planned for Oregon & Washington Draw Criticism


There’s fresh criticism of those plans for coal terminals in Oregon and Washington. Transportation consultants worry about the effect on rail traffic in the northwest.  The plans on the drawing boards call for as many as sixty coal trains arriving daily with 150-million tons of coal every year. Opponents say that's going to cause problems for other industries that ship by rail, mainly crowded rail corridors, delays, higher freight rates. The railroads say that's overblown. They’ll have more revenue from the coal trains and make the needed improvements.

More Foreclosure Help for Those on the Edge


Oregon’s home foreclosure rate is now near three percent with about that same number of homeowners within 90 days of foreclosure.  Michelle Rogelstad in Representative Kotek's office says it's not just a problem for the affected homeowners.  Under a new Oregon law, homeowners facing foreclosure can apply for mediation services to bargain with their lender.  In other states similar programs have avoided foreclosure in 50 percent of cases. For more information go to foreclosure mediation or dot org.

Obama Coming to Portland


President Obama will be in Portland later this month.   But it'll cost you to see him.  President Obama has a fundraiser planned at the Portland Art Museum July 24th.  The campaign's website says donors will need to pay between $500 and $5000 to see the President.  The Oregonian reports that the President's visit is part of a west coast swing.  He doesn't plan any public appearances during the visit.  Republican Mitt Romney has made three fundraising stops in Portland over the last year, none of which included any public events.   Obama’s last visit to Oregon was in early 2011 when he visited an Intel facility in Hillsboro.

Timber Exports Rising


It’s the second consecutive year Oregon’s timber export numbers have risen.  Asian markets are demanding more from Oregon loggers.   Harvests were low at 2.75-billion board feet after the 2008 housing collapse.  But in 2010, the industry posted a gain, up 32% from last year. And in 2011, another gain of 32%.  The Oregon Forestry Department's top economist attributes the gains to an active export market to eastern Asia especially China; noting the U.S. housing market continues to be slow in recovery from the crash. But even with the increases, were far from the record high from 1988, when nearly five billion board feet was harvested. About 49% of Oregon is forested.  That's more than 30-million acres.

Silverton Community Theater Suffers Loss


A devastating blow to a community theater in Silverton.  Someone has drained almost their entire bank account.  The Brush Creek players, known for the shows they stage in a century old schoolhouse, discovered a $12,000 discrepancy on the books, and it could be over $20,000 going back several years. The board accepted the resignation of the treasurer and a board member, and contacted the Marion County Sheriff to report the apparent theft.  The President of the Board says it's a blow, from which they fully intend to recover.

Oregon Voters Could Decide Pot Law in November


Oregon voters, like those in Washington, may be voting on legalizing marijuana this November.  Supporters turned in their signatures to the Secretary of State in Salem Friday.  Chief petitioner Paul Stanford says if marijuana becomes legal, people will drink less alcohol.  Opponents say the measure would make it easier for kids to get pot.

Two Women Steal Dead Man's Wallet


Two women in Longview are under investigation for stealing a dead man's wallet and going on a spending spree.  Daniel Younger is the man's son.  He says  the woman waited hours to tell him his dad died from a heart attack.  Then he couldn't find his dad's wallet.  Bank records show $1200 in spending after younger's father had died.  Police have investigated and the case has been turned over to prosecutors to determine whether charges should be filed.

Tsunami Debris Will Be Washing Ashore for Years


The Oregon Coast will be dealing with tsunami debris for years and years, says Oregon Congressman Kurt Schrader, and better systems are needed to track the incoming material.  Schrader says the Coast Guard has a pretty good handle on the debris, but they can't monitor the whole ocean, so everyone needs to be alert to the hazards.

Gas Prices Continue to Decline


Gas prices on the west coast continue to decline.  Over the last week, Oregon's average dropped 15-cents to $3.62 a gallon, Washington's average is $3.64.  Triple-A's Marie Dodds the West Coast is still catching up with the rest of the country.  Since last week, diesel prices have dropped 15-cents to $3.64 a gallon.

Some Pacific Power Customers Getting Scammed


Another phone scam - this one apparently targeting Spanish-speaking customers of Pacific Power. Jan Mitchell, a spokeswoman for Pacific Power, says they have received complaints that someone's calling and threatening to disconnect the power if a payment isn't made immediately over the phone.   

Mitchell says customers can ask the caller to confirm their account numbers, or call Pacific Power through their customer information line to make sure they're talking to a legitimate Pacific Power agent.

Rosenblum Ready to Roll


Democrat Ellen Rosenblum is sworn-in as Oregon's next Attorney General. She was appointed by Governor John Kitzhaber as John Kroger leaves the post early to become President of Reed College in Portland. Rosenblum won the Democratic primary in May, but she will still be required to beat the Republican candidate James Buchal in November to secure the position in 2013.  Rosenblum says one of her first tasks is to get to know the leaders of the eight sections within the Department of Justice and work to remedy any morale problems rumored to exist within the agency.

Benzene Levels Lowered in Oregon


Oregon uses gasoline made from Alaska crude; that oil is high in benzene.  Gasoline burned in Oregon cars and trucks releases benzene into the air; benzene is a carcinogen.  Jared Ishkanian with the Oregon Environmental Council says a new law is now in effect to lower benzene levels.  In pushing the law, Senator Ron Wyden noted the cancer causing emissions have a disproportionate effect on minority and low-income populations.

Oregon Beach Finally Meets Clean Standard


For thirty years they made gas for heating and lightning, and though that ended in the 1950's, the environmental impact has remained for decades in Young’s Bay. There’s been contamination soil from spills and leaks, potentially a threat to people and aquatic organisms. But D-E-Q's Jennifer Sutter says Pacific Corp has completed a decade-long cleanup and DEQ is recommending no further action, except for long term monitoring.

Find Tsunami Debris? Call 2-1-1


Oregon beachcombers can dial 2-1-1 to find out what they should do if they find what looks like tsunami debris on the beach. General Mike Caldwell, who heads the Oregon Tsunami Debris Task Force says the 2-1-1 Hotline and the website: www.211info.org , offer advice if you find debris on the beach.  He says some items - like chunks of styrofoam - should just be tossed in state park dumpsters. The State will monitor the increase in debris disposal costs and use that information to appeal to the federal government for funds later on.

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