Archive for March, 2014

Mar 31 2014

“Make my day”

Published by under Carlson

carlson CHRIS
CARLSON

 
Carlson
Chronicles

Anyone who has watched a Clint Eastwood western is familiar with the line he utters to a bad guy who is thinking of drawing his gun. Steel blue eyes, taut jaw, usually a toothpick in the corner of his mouth, a look of undeterred force and with a growly voice he dares his opponent to be dumb enough to try.

That response should be the model for President Barack Obama’s response to the many Republicans who think they can make a politically-winning issue out of the President using his authority under the 1906 Antiquities Act to declare the Boulder/White Clouds a National Monument.

Recently, the Republican-led House passed by a narrow margin (222 to 201) a bill designed to prevent the President from issuing such a declaration without first conducting a complete Endangered Species Act review of the action as well as holding hearings in the local area and conferring with a state’s governor and its congressional delegation before he could utilize the Antiquities Act’s power to withdraw lands from the federal domain. They conveniently ignore the fact that after a presidential declaration the law itself requires public hearings to establish the rules and regulations which will govern the set-aside.

Republicans are making two bad assumptions. First, they assume that requiring a strong showing of local support will set the bar too high for any President to even think of using the redefined Act. Second, they assume that local sentiment will always oppose turning an area into another land-restricting Federal entity.

Ever since the law was passed, most places where a President has used this authority have opposed the initial designation. In fact, local sentiment against protecting a national treasure in the national interest almost always comes about in spite of public sentiment, not because of local, public support.

According to the Idaho Statesman writer Rocky Barker, Interior Secretary Sally Jewel has made the mistake of assuming that a public meeting in Stanley will result in hundreds turning out to talk against the Monument designation. She sees such a hearing, controversial as it may be, giving Interior a better chance at selling a change in status. Continue Reading »

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Mar 31 2014

On the front pages

Published by under First Take

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Idaho gets $1.40 for $1 in federal payments (Boise Statesman)
Stillaguamish mudslide aftermath (Lewiston Tribune)
Redistricting gives 2nd district more Democrats (Boise Statesman, Moscow News)
National origins of Idaho bills (TF Times News)
Idaho trade affected by Russian/Ukaine tension (TF Times News)
Tuition at ID colleges on rise again (TF Times News)

No landslide reporting system (Medford Tribune, Corvallis Gazette Times)
Ashland review pot moratorium (Ashland Tidings)
restoration of Lake of the Woods location (Medford Tribune)
Oregon nears pre-recession job levels (Portland Oregonian)
Conference of pot business owners (Salem Statesman Journal)

Stillaguamish aftermath (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Everett Herald, Longview News, Port Angeles News)
New WSU apple coming to area (Kennewick Herald)
Judge rules fish run procedures must change (Port Angeles News)
Obamacare deadline hits (Seattle Times)
Houses threatened in Tacoma-area landslide (Tacoma News Tribune)
Debate over Tesoro, local oil terminal (Vancouver Columbian)

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Mar 30 2014

Lessons from Oso

Published by under Washington column

oso

 

oregon
RANDY STAPILUS / Washington

The tiny community of Oso, which was until a week ago a collection of houses on State Route 530 between Arlington and Darrington in Snohomish County, is a place of tragedy today.

It is not a place, as some people have pointed out, over which fingers should be pointed and accusations launched. The March 22 mudslide was not someone’s fault: It was a natural phenomenon of the kind that from time to time kills and wounds.

Any attempts to bury people in legal, economic or political battles in the weeks and months ahead probably would prove fruitless.

However, tragedies sometimes do carry lessons for the future, and the Oso mudslide did that.
Known in some quarters as the Hazel landslide, the mountain-face collapse was not altogether unheralded. Rumblings and ground movement there go back at least to 1937, and geologists over the years warned that the area was unstable. Very recently, too, there was some specific cause for worry, since the area had seen consistent heavy rain over the last seven weeks, just the type of drenching needed to loosen the soil and rock. On top of that, a small earthquake was registered about two weeks before the mudslide occurred.

This is not by way of blaming anyone for not taking action. If you’ve lived in a place for decades, as many of the Oso people had, you had reason to think that thoughts of a wall of mud crashing through your house was just paranoiac. Should officials, after, say, the earthquake, have tried to move people out of the area? It would not have been a very easy argument to make, and it might have been resisted staunchly.

Here we get to the value of lessons, because we now see what the actual results are, and compare that to what might have been done earlier. The lesson isn’t, of course, worth the cost of life or property. But it did encourage reports around the region about places prone to slides (across both Oregon and Washington) and it might result in some people taking earlier action.

If the Oso mudslide was not necessarily worth this particular candle, maybe at least some good, somewhere else, might come of it.

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Mar 30 2014

Brakes on the train obession

Published by under Frazier

frazier DAVID
FRAZIER

 
Boise
Guardian

It used to be amusing to poke fun at Team Dave’s latest gimmick for a train, trolley, street car, etc. Now its time to derail this fantasy once and for all.

The current topic is yet another round of consulting, planning, etc. for what amounts to a “cargo transit center.” The idea is to create business for a Boise train hub linked to trucks. At every step of the way, thinking people — including officials and former executives of the Union Pacific — have concluded it is not cost effective to build a truck/train transfer station in or near Boise. The legacy media needs to talk to the big road train people in Omaha to get a handle on why Boise is nothing more than a siding which provides a needed access to Motive Power’s manufacturing facility off Federal Way.

The Boise City Council needs to pull the emergency STOP! These fantasy dreams have gone on far too long and too much taxpayer money has been spent for ideas which have simply outlived their day and are not logically conceived. We have documents from as far back as 2007 showing the city had funded studies promising hundreds of thousands in railroad revenue–these claims were never realized and in our opinion the city is merely “shopping” for a consultant to give them what they want to hear.

In the current shot at garnering some public support, Team Dave has turned to Sven Berg at the DAILY PAPER to tout the latest incarnation of “Dave’s Magic Train.”

The GUARDIAN has been on this for nearly a decade now. Six years ago we learned Boise City officials obtained a license to operate a city-owned railroad, following a PRESENTATION to the city council– and anyone else who would watch it. The Boise City Railroad never turned a wheel.

Nampa is the place for such a facility, on the mainline of the railroad. Boise simply doesn’t generate enough big bulk cargo like grain, lumber, coal, etc. Boise is a nice place, we are good people, we spend lots of money for products, but we simply don’t do it in carload or trainload amounts.
Message to the council: Politely tell Mayor Dave Bieter you won’t allow him anymore of OUR cash for something which would be built by the private sector if it was viable and needed.

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Mar 30 2014

On the front pages

Published by under First Take

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

White Cloud monument would build on recreation (Boise Statesman)
Stillaguamish mudslide missing count drops (Lewiston Tribune)
Canyon waits on plan for use of Lake Lowell (Nampa Press Tribune)
Reviewing the Ed Task Force proposals (Nampa Press Tribune)
Pocatello events center closer to bidding (Pocatello Journal)
Might Eastern Idaho see floods? (Pocatello Journal)
Can Coeur d’Alene Casino offer poker? (Sandpoint Bee)
Filer city may see recall election (TF Times News)

Stillaguamish mudslide missing numbers drop (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard)
Background on Cascade Sierra Solutions biz collapse (Eugene Register Guard)
Low birth weight in Klamath, Lake counties (KF Herald & News)
New KF branch library opening (KF Herald & News)
Possible retrofits for oil carrier cars (Portland Oregonian)
Salem Courthouse Square reopens (Salem Statesman Journal)

Stillaguamish mudslide missing numbers drop (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune, Everett Herald, Yakima Herald Republic,Kennewick Herald, Longview News)
Animal detection on US 95 may spare accidents (Spokane Spokesman Review)
Analysis of local cable TV costs (Tacoma News Tribune)
South Fork Ahtanum Road closes over illegal activity (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Mar 29 2014

No simple moves

Published by under Idaho,Idaho column

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Idaho

The Obama Administration’s budget proposal will not be adopted as is by Congress; that much you can take to the bank. Many of the bits and pieces may survive though, and other parts may be adopted in some future year if not right away.

Given that, Idahoans have some reason to think about the possibility of moving its Air National Guard (ANG) from Boise to Mountain Home.

That’s separate from the proposal to eliminate A-10 warthog planes – the kind flown by the Idaho guard, a basic unit in the military’s air operations, but now the Department of Defense says should be superseded by more up to date models. (There’s a heated debate over this.) Apart from that, DOD suggests the Idaho air operations could be more usefully meshed with the substantial Air Force base at Mountain Home.

Long-time Guard spokesman Colonel Tim Marsano was quoted as saying, “We’re looking at the possibility of things happening where we would actually take some of our folks and move to Mountain Home and learn how to operate and maintain the F-15E Strike Eagle. And we know we would be welcomed there with open arms, should that happen.”

The idea may survive because there’s a logic to it. It also will not happen easily, because there are reasons for pushback.

Mountain Home, far from other communities in a large flat high Idaho desert, is a good spot for running military aircraft, one reason the base has survived since World War II. And there have been periodic complaints in Boise about military aircraft there, which are based on the south fringes of town near the municipal airport, and the noise they produce. A merging of aircraft training and other operations in one large site might have some efficiencies and lead to technical advances.

A lot of jobs – maybe 1,000 – could be involved in the transfer. But the Mountain Home AFB is only about 45 minutes in a straight shot on Interstate 84 from Boise, so commuting certainly is possible. (Many Mountain Home residents commute now.). And while the Boise economy might feel a ding, which in broad terms could amount to $100 million, Mountain Home’s might be greatly advantaged. Continue Reading »

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Mar 29 2014

The governor and gaming

Published by under Carlson

carlson CHRIS
CARLSON

 
Carlson
Chronicles

Governor C. L. “Butch” Otter may have to decide down the road one of these days whether to go with his libertarian free market instincts or pay the piper that has orchestrated so much gaming money for his re-election effort. Stick with his principles or go with the dough? Which will it be? A safe bet is he opts to dance to the tune played by the money interests.

The issue is Internet gaming, which is currently the subject of a raging, bitter debate within gaming circles. On the one side is billionaire Sheldon Adelson who chairs Las Vegas Sands, which owns the Venetian and the Palazzo on the Vegas strip. He believes allowing Internet gaming will doom the entire industry.

In particular he sees major Internet interests like Google and Facebook expanding into Internet gaming because of their huge customer bases. He believes such a move would doom current gambling set-ups and there are many who agree with him.

Others of course just see more players, a bigger market and more money to be made. Plus, they believe present law allows individuals states to decide the matter. Adelson and his allies are pushing federal legislation that would ban Internet gaming by closing a three-year-old loophole in the law.

Adelson is reportedly worth $38 billion and during the last election cycle without batting an eye poured $100 million into various Republican campaigns. He is fully prepared to battle the issue out state-by-state, but closing the loophole in Federal law is the easier path to pursue and Adelson has recruited not only top talent like former New York Governor George Pataki, he also has canny South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham on his side.

Adelson also successfully neutralized the industry’s powerful trade group, the American Gaming Association, by threatening to withdraw and bank-roll a rival organization if the group weighed in for Internet gaming as it appeared inclined to do.

Opposing casinos and online poker companies have formed their own lobbying group, which calls itself the Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection. Two of their chief lobbyists are former Republican members of Congress Michael Oxley of Ohio, and Mary Bono of California. The group also has reportedly retained Boise-raised, Capital High graduate and Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, as well as former Mississippi Governor and uber-Republican lobbyist Haley Barbour. Politics does make for strange bedfellows at times. Continue Reading »

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Mar 29 2014

On the front pages

Published by under First Take

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Transload industrial park maybe near I-84/Boise (Boise Statesman)
BSU aggressively defends blue turf trademark (Boise Statesman)
Stillaguamish mudslide community impacts (Boise Statesman, Lewiston Tribune)
Wheat prices increasing (Lewiston Tribune)
Obamacare enrollment climbing (Moscow News)
Idaho’s rural-urban shift (Nampa Press Tribune)
Pocatello Skyfest celebration returns (Pocatello Journal)
Bannock population fell in 2013 (Pocatello Journal)
Debate over mental health rules on gun buys (Pocatello Journal)
ID may allow megaload in Bonner County (Sandpoint Bee)
CdA casino might add poker games (Sandpoint Bee)
Delta/Skywest changing Twin Falls flights (TF Times News)
Simpson campaign Blaine chair resigns (TF Times News)
Health insurance enrollment deadline (TF Times News)

Corvallis pot dispensary approved (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Return of Lake of the Woods retreat (Ashland Tidings)
Cops relying on public for dui reports (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Pendleton hunger group Helping Hand seeks prize (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Diversion dam on Umatilla may go (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Stillaguamish aftermath begins (Portland Oregonian)
Jason Conger searches for traction (Portland Oregonian)
Cover Oregon looking for options (Portland Oregonian)
Salem bus ads going away (Salem Statesman Journal)

Stillaguamish searching continues (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune, Everett Herald, Yakima Herald Republic)
Bankruptcy rejected for Green Power (Kennewick Herald)
Army Corps bird kill for salmon (Kennewick Herald)
Deadline ahead for health plan (Kennewick Herald)
Seattle Zoo growing its elephant efforts (Seattle Times)
Violence-prone gun limits signed into law (Spokane Spokesman)
Tacoma city wades into battle on hotel project (Tacoma News Tribune)
State reviews school senior project requirement (Yakima Herald Republic)
Yakima area campaign against graffiti (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Mar 28 2014

Nuts and nullification

Published by under Rainey

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

A professional friend of long-standing over in Idaho got himself in an embarrassing position the other day. The guy spent more than 40 years covering state politics for an international news service and, thus, could be expected to know more about that state’s irrational political activities and how they operate than the average citizen. He does. But he still got tripped up publically and, in so doing, presented a text book example why Idaho – and so many other states – have fallen victim to the right-wing crazies.

A moderate Republican friend of his – an oxymoron in Idaho – was facing a real nutcase in his primary. So, our mutual retired media friend filed for the primary race, too. His idea? He’d go right up to just before the election – then pull out – attempting to split the nutcase vote, thus assuring his moderate friend a victory. He’d be a “Trojan horse” – tilting the voting percentages. Except he got found out and had to withdraw.

You couldn’t find a more textbook example of how the foil hats have taken over so many political offices nationally. Divide and conquer. Statistically across the country, the nuts are a statistical minority. But they hold a disproportionate number of legislative and congressional seats because they learned long ago to “divide and conquer.”

The about-to-be-gone Michelle Bachman is a good example. Did you know her maiden name was Amble? Kinda fits, doesn’t it? Well, she’s never faced a primary election with a single opponent so she’s never had to get at least half the vote. The Minnesota GOP always made sure she had a weak second or third party in the race. Divide and conquer. All she needed was 25-30-percent or so. A minority win. My friend was trying to do the same for his friend. But – despite long experience – he screwed up.

Our political system is filled with this crap. My friend knew he wasn’t a real candidate. But voters didn’t. Idahoans honestly drawn to him and his faux campaign were being hustled. He was perverting our system though he probably felt justified. But innocent voters were being screwed.

Idaho’s legislature, for example, has a lot of these minority “winners” in the ranks. Most with a far right tilt. Like the current bunch who overwhelmingly passed a bill this year – now a law – to “void” any new federal gun laws. Further, they believe they can now cancel all previous federal gun laws in upcoming sessions. Same for some federal lands issues and federal health care laws, too. They can’t do any of that. So Idahoans will keep paying millions of tax dollars in what is now a long line of more utterly useless and lost court cases.

Fact is, Idaho put a new law on the books this year that’s so far out in right field the legislature decided to appropriate an extra $1-million up front just for the court battle legislators were sure would come. Prescient? No. Learned from history? Maybe. Just deciding to pay up front this time rather than paying later as has so often been the case.

North Carolina, Louisiana, Kansas, Utah, Arkansas and Florida are among some other locales going the same phony “nullification” route. “We don’t like your damned federal laws and we ain’t gonna follow ‘em.” Some of the local ignorance deals with obviously illegal new voter limitations, efforts to avoid requirements of the Affordable Care Act, resistance to gun laws that haven’t even been written and other nonsense. Continue Reading »

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Mar 28 2014

A health request

Published by under Malloy

malloy CHUCK
MALLOY

 
In Idaho

Earlier this week, I did something that I never thought I would do: Ask Sen. Jim Risch for more than $2 billion to fund two federal programs – without choking on my words.

Normally, that would be a tough sell because Risch is one of the leading deficit hawks on Capitol Hill. I was halfway expecting him to lecture me about bulging deficits and how run-away government spending is driving this nation to the brink of disaster.

That was not the case. I was in the nation’s capital as a guest of the American Diabetes Association’s lobbying day on Capitol Hill and I soon found out that he’s a member of the Senate Diabetes Caucus – which is a home run in my view. The senator was engaging, friendly and supportive of the cause.

He listened to the complications I have experienced from the disease, including an amputated toe, blindness and loss of my career, heart bypass surgery and – most recently – kidney disease. Risch has heard those kinds of stories and worse; at least I’m alive to talk about my problems. It is projected that by 2050, one in three people living in the United States will have diabetes. He is well aware of the threat diabetes poses to the nation’s overall health and is equally aware of what Congress can do to prevent this train wreck.

“The National Institute of Health does amazing things,” Risch said at one point. He’s on board with the NIH’s goal of finding a cure for diabetes, and $2 billion is a small price tag for that effort. He also is receptive to the proposals for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ($137 million) and the National Diabetes Prevention Program ($20 million). The millions spent on those worthwhile programs will save billions of dollars in the long run.

Risch clearly gets it on this issue. As one who has struggled with diabetes for the last 14 years, I am thankful that he’s in the U.S. Senate and appreciate there is such a thing as a Senate Diabetes Caucus. That sends a nice signal to the 25 million people in the United States who have this awful disease and the nearly 80 million who have pre-diabetes.

But he isn’t the only friend on Capitol Hill, or even in the Idaho delegation. Senator Mike Crapo also is a member of the diabetes caucus. I didn’t meet with him, but I was greeted by a legislative assistant, Kellie McConnell, who knew the issues and facts before I could present them. For instance, she’s aware that funding for a Special Diabetes Program will run out on Sept. 30 unless Congress takes action.

Her knowledge about the issues tells me that diabetes is high on Crapo’s priority list.
On the House side, Congressmen Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador are not part of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus, but they are well aware of the issues.
“Like you, diabetes issues are personal to Congressman Simpson, as he has experienced it with a close family member,” said Nathan Greene, a legislative assistant with the office. “It is an issue that he continues to look to engage in whenever possible.”

Labrador has spoken with me several times about diabetes, and how the numbers are of epidemic proportions among Hispanics. His legislative assistant, Bekah DeMordant, was taken aback by the thought of one in three people having diabetes by 2050. I won’t be part of that world, but she most likely will unless a cure is found.

Ultimately, we cannot count on Congress to wave a magic wand and make this problem go away. The best way to keep type 2 diabetes from spreading like wildfire is for people to take responsibility for their personal choices and their children’s.

But as I learned from my one-day lobbying experience, Congress can support the dynamic research efforts that will lead to a cure and promote prevention. From my standpoint, it’s good to know that Washington is aware and listening.

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Mar 28 2014

On the front pages

Published by under First Take

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Idaho trade with Russia on hold (Boise Statesman)
Army Corps targets birds that target fish (Lewiston Tribune)
Stillaguamish mudslide follow (Lewiston Tribune, Moscow)
UI gets ready for campus guns (Moscow News)
New law dean at UI (Moscow News)
Latah’s good with wheeled trash cans (Moscow News)
Canyon fair gets offer from Ford Idaho (Nampa Press Tribune)
Idaho adds mental data to gun database (Nampa Press Tribune)
Resotration at Clark Fork area may begin (Sandpoint Bee)
Wolf control board bill signed (TF Times News, Sandpoint Bee)
Smith declines Idaho Falls debate (TF Times News)

Legislative Cover Oregon meetings secret (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Stillaguamish mudslide followup (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Regiater Guard, Corvallis Gazette Times, Pendleton East Oregonian, Ashland Tidings)
Benton ranks best in state health (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Nanotech firm buys into Eugene (Eugene Register Guard)
KF schools plan bond campaign (KF Herald & News)
Polk County halves sheriff patrols (Salem Statesman Journal)

Stillaguamish mudslide followup (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune, Everett Herald, Yakima Herald Republic, Kennewick Herald, Longview News, Port Angeles News)
More Hanford land may be open to public (Kennewick Herald)
Small landside destroying homes near Longview (Longview News)
Sequim museum may close (Port Angeles News)
Microsoft releases Office for Apple iPad (Seattle Times)
Boeing will cut jobs, but whose? (Seattle Times)
Health system changes collection company (Tacoma News Tribune)

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Mar 27 2014

On the front pages

Published by under First Take

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Boise downtown traffic pattern may change (Boise Statesman)
ACLU lawsuit stops Medicaid cuts for now (Boise Statesman)
Pullman considers plan for College Hill (Moscow News)
Pullman schools to require more credits to graduate (Moscow News)
Lewiston high school renovation has problems (Lewiston Tribune)
Spring chinokk fishing in Clarkston area (Lewiston Tribune)
Stillagaumish mudslide search continues (Lewiston Tribune)
9th circuit judge rules for bighorn sheep plan (Lewiston Tribune)
Lawsuit over wrong-house police raid (Nampa Press Tribune)
Sayer says new incentives law a ‘game changer’ (Pocatello Journal)
Negative ads hitting in 2nd district race (TF Times News)

Stillaguamish mudslide search ongoing (Portland Oregonian, Corvallis Gazette Times)
Extension okayed for Cover Oregon deadline (Portland Oregonian, KF Herald & News, Corvallis Gazette Times, Pendleton East Oregonian)
New OSU-crafted wristbands measure pollution (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Eugene debates site for Whoville homeless (Eugene Register Guard)
KF PUD still ldebating leadership (KF Herald & News)
Pot dispensary rules under review in Jackson (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Signal nears end of wolf OR-7 (Medford Tribune)
Salem Health, OSHA connection reviewed (Salem Statesman Journal)
Cover Oregon kept meetings secret (Salem Statesman Journal)

Stillaguamish mudslide search ongoing (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune, Everett Herald, Yakima Herald Republic, Kennewick Herald, Port Angeles News)
Dispute over PUD recall, attorney (Longview News)
Port Angeles may get new school leader today (Port Angeles News)
World Vision reverses again on gay married hires (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune)
Grandview reviews cost of lawsuit over deaf student (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Mar 26 2014

On the front pages

Published by under First Take

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Idaho Air National Guard might move to Mtn Home (Boise Statesman)
Wolf pups watched by biologist (Boise Statesman)
Stillaguamish mudslide: more victims (Nampa Press Tribune, Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Nez Perce assessor argues with URS estimates (Lewiston Tribune)
Syringa may face judicial injunctions (Moscow News)
Pullman develops priority list for year (Moscow News)
Balukoff campaigning in Palouse (Moscow News)
Sheriff lists problems with enhance carry (Nampa Press Tribune)
Price of sugar down, costs up (Nampa Press Tribune)
Fired women’s b-ball coach returns to work (Pocatello Journal)
Sandpoint looks at timing for widening bridge (Sandpoint Bee)
State plans for road work in Magic Valley (TF Times News)

Stillaguamish mudslide: more victims (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Medford Mail Tribune, KF Herald & News, Corvallis Gazette Times)
Pot dispensaries opening (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Lane sheriff’s deputies at issue on contract (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath moratorium on pot dispensaries (KF Herald & News)
Jackson dog rabies policy increases licenses (Ashland Tidings)
Pot dispensary shut in Medford (Ashland Tidings)
Federal bill allowing Hermiston ag station move (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Evaluating economic effects of seniors (Portland Oregonian)
Boarding house draws complaints at Salem (Salem Statesman Journal)

Stillaguamish mudslide: more victims (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune, Everett Herald, Yakima Herald Republic, Kennewick Herald, Port Angeles News, Longview News)
Employment growth at Tri-Cities (Kennewick Herald)
PUD sets executive pay rules (Longview News)
Many applicants for new marina panel (Port Angeles News)
Pot still banned for soldiers (Tacoma News Tribune)
Grandview suit over deaf student continues (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Mar 25 2014

Transparency and the ACA

Published by under Trahant

trahant MARK
TRAHANT

 
Austerity

The Affordable Care Act is a grand promise. Basically it’s a complicated insurance mechanism that’s designed to reduce the number of uninsured Americans, including those who rely on the Indian health system.

But one thing the ACA is not: Transparent.

This is a critical flaw because we are near another major deadline — March 31 — and some six months into the Act’s implementation and there is not one official scrap of information reporting how well Indian Country is being served. We don’t know how many folks across the country have signed up for Medicaid or how many have purchased insurance or how many individuals have policies that were purchased by tribes as sponsors.

Why does this matter? Because policy is being implemented on assumptions, not data. We don’t know what we don’t know.

This we do know: March 31 is an odd deadline. It’s the day when open enrollment ends for most Americans, including Native Americans who are not tribal members. But that deadline does not apply to American Indians and Alaska Natives who are tribal members. Then a monthly enrollment is possible. (I know, confusing, right?)

Native Americans still can receive a life-time exemption from the insurance mandate. Fill out a simple form and mail to get a certificate that could be included in your next tax return.

But we also know that the individual exemption is not enough. The Indian health system is underfunded and third-party billing — money from private insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, and other programs — is the only way funding will improve. Like it or not, Treaty or not, the Congress is not going to pay for Indian health through appropriations. The $6 billion budget for the Indian Health Service shows the agency collecting more than a billion dollars from Medicaid and only $90,307,000 from private insurance. So there is a lot of room for growth. Again, if folks sign up, the Affordable Care Act is a different course from appropriations; it’s a money stream that’s automatic.

We also know that Indian Country has some of the highest uninsured rates in the nation, roughly one in three people. So every new insured American Indian and Alaska Native adds resources to the Indian health system (and especially medical care that is purchased outside of Indian health facilities).

This week there is a last minute push to get people in Indian Country to sign up. On Monday there was a national Tribal Day of Action sponsored by the White House. And in Montana, the state’s Insurance Commissioner, Monica J. Lindeen, has been traveling to the state’s reservations and urban Indian centers to sell the plan.

But it’s hard to know how well those efforts are working. There are too many questions: How many people signed up early? What’s the goal? Where is the transparency?

Early Affordable Care Act numbers are found in Washington state. Ed Fox, who directs health services for Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe of Washington, said the Washington Health Care Authority released preliminary figures to tribes for consultation. These are early numbers and will change, but they are an open important look in a state where the Affordable Care Act is working.

Some key findings: Washington probably ranks first in the nation in Medicaid “take-up” for the newly eligible. Some 6,000 or so of the newly insured Native Americans were enrolled by urban programs or tribes, and one-third with state worker assistance, and one-third a bit uncertain (possibly by someone with assistance or on their own). Washington also shows some 7,000 Medicaid re-certifications. Continue Reading »

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Mar 25 2014

On the front pages

Published by under First Take

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Treefort Music nearing profotability (Boise Statesman)
Parking garages move toward auto-pay (Boise Stastesman)
Stillaguamish mudslide toll hits 14 (Boise Statesman, Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Lewiston High plan released (Lewiston Tribune)
More building activity in Pullman (Moscow News)
Supercomputer arriving at UI (Moscow News)
Nampa district, common core tests (Nampa Press Tribune)
New apartment group planned (Nampa Press Tribune)
Idaho Youth Ranch plans second Nampa store (Nampa Press Tribune)
Big game hunting rules changed a bit (Pocatello Journal)
Otter signs bill to nullify federal gun laws (Pocatello Journal)
Sandpoint Arts Alliance shuts down (Sandpoint Bee)
Library bond ahead for Boundary County (Sandpoint Bee)
Rancher at Hailey kills wolf (TF Times News)

Cities deciding whether to hold off on pot (Eugene Register Guard)
Stillaguamish mudslide toll hits 14 (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Salem Statesman Journal, Medford Tribune, Pendleton East Oregonian, KF Herald & News)
PUD at Klamath may dissolve (KF Herald & News)
Liquid gas terminal okayed for Coos Bay (KF Herald & News)
Mt Ashland Ski borrows to stay afloat (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Pot store at Medford closes (Medford Tribune)
Loren Parks contributes big to Barreto, H58 (Pendleton East Oregonian)
New critics of Salem Civic Center plans (Salem Statesman Journal)

Stillaguamish mudslide toll hits 14 (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune, Everett Herald, Yakima Herald Republic, Kennewick Herald, Port Angeles News, Longview News)
Hanford Reach expansion concerns (Kennewick Herald)
Pot options other than smoking (Longview News)
Troubled Seqium museum seeking help (Port Angeles News)
Group Health ending employment plans (Spokane Spokesman)
McMorris Rodgers on campaign finance issues (Spokane Spokesman)
World Vision will hire same-sex marrieds (Tacoma News Tribune)
Possible replacement high school at East Valley (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Oregon State Highway film from 1966. A few changes since then.

 

JOURNEY WEST

by Stephen Hartgen
The personal story of the well-known editor, publisher and state legislator's travel west from Maine to Idaho. A well-written account for anyone interested in Idaho, journalism or politics.
JOURNEY WEST: A memoir of journalism and politics, by Stephen Hartgen; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, here or at Amazon.com (softcover)

 

 

NEW EDITIONS is the story of the Northwest's 226 general-circulation newspapers and where your newspaper is headed.
New Editions: The Northwest's Newspapers as They Were, Are and Will Be. Steve Bagwell and Randy Stapilus; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 324 pages. Softcover. (e-book ahead). $16.95.
See the NEW EDITIONS page.

How many copies?

 
THE OREGON POLITICAL
FIELD GUIDE 2014

The Field Guide is the reference for the year on Oregon politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Compiled by a long-time Northwest political writer and a Salem Statesman-Journal political reporter.
OREGON POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Hannah Hoffman; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through Amazon.com (softcover)

 
 
THE IDAHO POLITICAL
FIELD GUIDE 2014

by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase is the reference for the year on Idaho Politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Written by two of Idaho's most veteran politcal observers.
IDAHO POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through Amazon.com (softcover)

 
 
without compromise
WITHOUT COMPROMISE is the story of the Idaho State Police, from barely-functioning motor vehicles and hardly-there roads to computer and biotechnology. Kelly Kast has spent years researching the history and interviewing scores of current and former state police, and has emerged with a detailed and engrossing story of Idaho.
WITHOUT COMPROMISE page.

 

Diamondfield
How many copies?
The Old West saw few murder trials more spectacular or misunderstood than of "Diamondfield" Jack Davis. After years of brushes with the noose, Davis was pardoned - though many continued to believe him guilty. Max Black has spent years researching the Diamondfield saga and found startling new evidence never before uncovered - including the weapon and one of the bullets involved in the crime, and important documents - and now sets out the definitive story. Here too is Black's story - how he found key elements, presumed lost forever, of a fabulous Old West story.
See the DIAMONDFIELD page for more.
 

Medimont Reflections Chris Carlson's Medimont Reflections is a followup on his biography of former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus. This one expands the view, bringing in Carlson's take on Idaho politics, the Northwest energy planning council, environmental issues and much more. The Idaho Statesman: "a pull-back-the-curtain account of his 40 years as a player in public life in Idaho." Available here: $15.95 plus shipping.
See the Medimont Reflections page  
 
Idaho 100 NOW IN KINDLE
 
Idaho 100, about the 100 most influential people ever in Idaho, by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson is now available. This is the book about to become the talk of the state - who really made Idaho the way it is? NOW AN E-BOOK AVAILABLE THROUGH KINDLE for just $2.99. Or, only $15.95 plus shipping.
 

Idaho 100 by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson. Order the Kindle at Amazon.com. For the print edition, order here or at Amazon.


 

    Top-Story-graphic-300x200_topstory8
    Monday mornings on KLIX-AM

    watergates

    ORDER IT HERE or on Amazon.com

    More about this book by Randy Stapilus

    Water rights and water wars: They’re not just a western movie any more. The Water Gates reviews water supplies, uses and rights to use water in all 50 states.242 pages, available from Ridenbaugh Press, $15.95

    intermediary

    ORDER IT HERE or on Amazon.com

    More about this book by Lin Tull Cannell

    At a time when Americans were only exploring what are now western states, William Craig tried to broker peace between native Nez Perces and newcomers from the East. 15 years in the making, this is one of the most dramatic stories of early Northwest history. 242 pages, available from Ridenbaugh Press, $15.95

    Upstream

    ORDER HERE or Amazon.com

    The Snake River Basin Adjudication is one of the largest water adjudications the United States has ever seen, and it may be the most successful. Here's how it happened, from the pages of the SRBA Digest, for 16 years the independent source.

    Paradox Politics

    ORDER HERE or Amazon.com

    After 21 years, a 2nd edition. If you're interested in Idaho politics and never read the original, now's the time. If you've read the original, here's view from now.


    Governing Idaho:
    Politics, People and Power

    by James Weatherby
    and Randy Stapilus
    Caxton Press
    order here

    Outlaw Tales
    of Idaho

    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here

    It Happened in Idaho
    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here

    Camping Idaho
    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here