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Posts published in November 2014

On the front pages


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)

Otter still beseiged by broadband contract trouble (Boise Statesman)
Notus tries to find cheap repairs for school (Boise Statesman)
Columbia River tribe seeks riverside housing (Boise Statesman)
The politics of semi-Democratic Teton County (IF Post Register)
Glitch in WA health exchange website (Lewiston Tribune)
Legal battles over Idaho Co private forest tracts (Lewiston Tribune)
Federal funding short for road projects (Nampa Press Tribune)
Statewide school officials seek bonding help (Nampa Press Tribune)
Pocatello and ISU police developing issues (Pocatello Journal)
Schools dealing with broadband uncertainty (TF Times News)

Tree-like Eugene cell tower concerns neighbors (Eugene Register Guard)
Legislator Hoyle said to interfere in lawsuit (Eugene Register Guard)
Reviewing crime stats in Klamath area (KF Herald & News)
Klamath commission votes against water agreement (KF Herald & News)
White City operations sending out bogus bills (Medford Tribune)
The cost of state workers suing the state (Salem Statesman Journal)

Violent crime rates fall sharply in Kitsap (Bremerton Sun)
Low voter turnout in 2014 (Bremerton Sun)
Cowlitz County faces budget cut next year (Longview News)
Glitches in health exchange on first day (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Vancouver Columbian, Longview News)
Dorn proposes cutting high school graduation test (Olympian)
Port Angeles port hit with audit complaints (Port Angeles News)
Kenmore Air ends service at Port Angeles (Port Angeles News)
Spokane presses for 'green bonds' for sewer system (Spokane Spokesman)
Police tracking phones must disclose intent (Tacoma News Tribune)
New wing of Tacoma Art Museum opens (Tacoma News Tribune)
Clark Co home prices not yet fully recovered (Vancouver Columbian)
First pot auction in state held at Prosser (Yakima Herald Republic)
Nitrate pollution found at Yakama Nation (Yakima Herald Republic)

There are multitudes

idaho RANDY

When market analysts such as politicians need insight into how people really view something, they often convene a focus group.

Last week I sought out something like that, consisting of party-line Republican Idaho voters. The 19 responses were enough (together with a collection of comments from a range of other sources) to tell me this much: The 220,000 or more (more in a presidential year) who vote down-the-line Republican in Idaho arrive at that result not by any one, but in variety of ways.

First, thanks to all who responded. I'll honor the requests for anonymity from a number of respondents; I will say that none of them were familiar to me or are well-known public figures. Eight of the 19 didn't specifically meet the terms of the request: They broke from the Republican ticket once or twice, mostly in the superintendent of public instruction race, but also for governor and secretary of state. The explanations for the vote were usually specific, several about as lengthy as this column.

Detail wasn't absent from all down-the-line respondents. One said of GOP superintendent candidate Sherri Ybarra: “much more complete in the debates and showed her concern about educating the WHOLE child. She understands the use of money and how best to use in to get the most out of what she is given. She will not just have her hand out. She will fit in with the Republican Legislators and the land board.” Of Lawerence Denny for secretary of state: “This was a tough one for me. Reason, experience and land board.” Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter: “I've been disappointed at times. Idaho taking on the Federal mandated Insurance exchange for one. Balukoff ran a one issue race on more money for education without answers.”

Some respondents clearly had followed the campaigns, but there seemed a gap: Was it just coincidence that all their choices went to one party?

Most of the all-R voters, however, focused on the nature of the parties.

One seemed to focus on President Obama: “Considering the Republican tide that swept the country on Nov 4, with Obama stating he wasn’t on the ballot but his policies were; a vote for any Democrat was a vote for Obama’s policies. Idaho voters priorities were in step with the country and were clearly shown. Stop Obama’s policies!!!” (more…)

On the front pages


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)

Heavy snow falls on Treasure Valley (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News)
Eagle former energy firm execs accused of stock scan (Boise Statesman)
Idaho health insurance exchange re-gears up (IF Post Register)
Board of Ed passes revised tiered teacher licensing (IF Post Register)
Lewiston school board may try local sales tax (Lewiston Tribune)
Stretch of earth between Moscow-Pullman moving (Moscow News)
Ethanol plant may be built in Canyon (Nampa Press Tribune)
Post workers protest Pocatello closure (Pocatello Journal)

New business workshop starts in KF (KF Herald & News)
Backers of KF research district collect signatures (KF Herald & News)
Measure 92 opponents lead, but by only 5k (Medford Tribune)
Britt Music Festival drops art director job (Medford Tribune)
Heavy snowfall in eastern Oregon (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Pendleton will try again on $10m bond plan (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Umatilla Co plans vote on pot tax (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Wehby sought out state Health Authority job (Portland Oregonian)
No-firearms orders often not followed (Portland Oregonian)
Oregon health insurance enrollment starts (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesman Journal)

Marysville shooting recorded on audio (Everett Herald)
Weyerhauser invests heavily in Longview operations (Longview News)
Washington health insurance season begins (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Building company owes $1.8 in Thurston property tax (Olympian)
Clark jail plans better mental health services (Vancouver Columbian)
Hazel Dell activist Van Cleve dies (Vancouver Columbian)
Many vacant spaces in downtown Yakima (Yakima Herald Republic)

Careful what you wish for

rainey BARRETT


If you think national government has been unresponsive to our national needs for the last several years, get used to it. ‘Cause you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet! Unresponsiveness is about to hit a new, record low.

“Whoa, there Rainey,” you say. “Yeah, that was pretty much a Republican sweep of Congress. And things have moved to the right of center quite a bit. I’ll give you that. But a ‘new low’ in conducting the affairs of the nation? C’mon, now. It’s not that bad.”

“It is,” sez I. And here’s the big reason why. The Cruz ‘missile.”

Yes, Sir. Theodore Cruz - late of Canada by way of Texas. See, Teddy has already loudly voiced his opposition to Mitch McConnell being named majority leader. (Note how the vote to do so was by voice only?) Yes, Sir. And he’s not going to stop running across the Capitol building to work his crazy mischief in the House of Representatives ‘cause now he’s got new help over there. Yes, Sir. And Ol’ Teddy says he’s going to hold up just about anything that comes to the Senate that doesn’t meet his “high standards” for American freedom and democracy! We’re talking legislation, appointments, debt ceiling, budgets - anything that runs counter to his “thinking.” Anything! And, under the rules, he can do that.

Though I’ve never cared much for Mitch - along, it seems, with just about everyone with whom he’s ever come in contact - I’ll give him this. He’s among the best in the politics of the Senate, winning many a battle with deep knowledge of not just the rules of the place but also reading people and knowing how to move them like so many chess pieces. You don’t survive in leadership as long as he has without such tools.

But Mitch is about to face something that’s going to test his legendary skills. To say nothing of his Kentucky patience. Cruz and a rump Republican caucus of crazies. ‘Cause “the Missile” has been talking to some of the old - and all the new - kindred spirits about his plans. And some of that talk has leaked, as it always does in Washington.

For all its high-flown reputation as “the world’s greatest deliberative body,” the Senate no longer represents the true meaning of those words. In the face of the new confrontational style politics - and the “you’re-with-me-or-against-me” philosophy that’s become so commonplace - senatorial decorum on the floor or in committee has become as theatrical as the World Wrestling Federation. Fits and spats - name calling - back stabbing - undercutting one another just for spite.

There’s no more perfect breeding laboratory for the kind of divisive, in-your-face politics that typifies Ted Cruz. You add to him (current or incoming members of his political void) Mike Lee, Cory Gardner, Thom Tillis, Dan Sullivan, Tim Scott. Tom Cotton, Joni Ernst, and likely Ron Johnson among others, and you’ve got a little rump caucus that can tie knots in the best laid legislative procedural plans. Each of them -without reason or question - can deep-six nominations for the cabinet or courts, keep any bill off the floor with a single anonymous whisper or stop movement of any critical legislation such as debt ceilings. (more…)

On the front pages


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)

Southern Idaho hit by snow storm (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News)
Reviewing next round on Idaho health exchange (Boise Statesman)
BSU student debt averaging nearly $28k (Boise Statesman)
IF council holds off on dog ordinance change (IF Post Register)
BLM approves predator derby near Salmon (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, TF Times News)
Asotin aquatic center management in turmoil (Lewiston Tribune)
Asbestos work done at Moscow High School (Moscow News)
New teacher certification rules okd by state board (Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Moscow News)
What next for school broadband? (Moscow News)
Deal will retire as state insurance director (Nampa Press Tribune)
ISU gets ok for $6.3 million in one-time spending (Pocatello Journal)

Eugene apartment building proposed (Eugene Register Guard)
Oregon may see another tax kicker net year (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath water bills clear Senate committee (Medford Tribune, KF Herald & News)
Commander at Kingsley Field will retire (KF Herald & News)
Medford fire marshal urges sprinklers in all new homes (Medford Tribune)
Snow storm hits much of Oregon (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Pendleton airport may lease land for solar farm (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Library district may sue city of Irrigon (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Portland didn't see big predicted storm (Portland Oregonian)
Oregon's job picture sees general improvement (Salem Statesman Journal)

New taxi rules for Bremerton (Bremerton Sun)
Poulsbo considers expanding its budget (Bremerton Sun)
Washington health exchange opens soon (Everett Herald)
Hunters blast at $150 Weyerhaeuser permit (Longview News)
Legislature will be under close split control (Longview News)
Thurston First Bank opens (Olympian)
Griffey declared win over Haigh in 35 (Olympian)
Clallam gets its first retail pot shop (Port Angeles News)
Amazon, Hachette end their battle (Seattle Times)
Schools don't have enough substitute teachers (Seattle Times)
Hotel developer will build 2 in Tacoma (Tacoma News Tribune)
Murray moves to minority position (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima sees mix of air quality (Yakima Herald Republic)
Pot auction, first in WA, planned at Prosser (Yakima Herald Republic)

An Idahoan in Israel

peterson MARTIN

On election day, while many Idahoans visited their polling places, I was 7000 miles away on Temple Mount in Jerusalem. For Jews, Temple Mount, the former location of their two historic temples, is their holiest site. For Muslims, the mount contains the Dome of the Rock and al- Aksa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. The commonality for both Jews and Muslims is that the mount is the site where Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac. Both religions are descended from Abraham.

Temple Mount has been the focal point of differences between Muslims and Jews that have set off the current round of violence in Israel and Palestine. The day after we visited the mount, an Arab with ties to Hamas drove his car into a crowd of people at the base of the mount, killing two people.

I had two things I wanted to accomplish in Israel. The first was to visit a number of historic sites, including many that form the foundation for Christianity. There may be more historic sites and ruins in Israel than any other country. The second was to spend time in the Palestinian areas to try to get a better handle on things that are driving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I began my visit as a fairly staunch supporter of the Israeli government.

The Jews have a sad history of suffering from discrimination, oppression, apartheid, confiscation of property and worse. Unfortunately, the more time I spent in Israel, the more it became obvious to me that the Israeli government has adopted a modified Golden Rule that goes something like “Do unto others as others have done unto you.”

There is no doubt that Hamas and other such groups provide a major threat to Israel. However, Israel doesn’t seem to understand that for a growing number of Palestinians, especially the young, things appear so hopeless that revolution is the only possible way out. Apartheid isn’t working any better in Israel than it worked in South Africa. In the United States, we launched a revolution against the British for much less cause.

Looking down on a Palestinian neighborhood in Jerusalem, I saw a group of teenagers throwing rocks at Israeli police cars, with the police firing tear gas at them. Watching this unfold I was told that such acts have become a recreational activity for Palestinian young people, since they have no parks, no recreation programs and little else to occupy their time. The Israeli government has responded with a law that provides up to twenty years in prison for throwing rocks at vehicles with the intent of damaging them.

Most Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land aspire to visit Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. Bethlehem happens to be a West Bank town controlled by the Palestinians. Israel is now in the process of constructing a 26 foot high wall around Bethlehem and other Palestinian controlled areas. When completed, the wall will be 500 miles long. By way of comparison, the Berlin Wall was 12 feet high and 96 miles long.

The eastern border of the West Bank consists of two heavy duty barbed wire fences roughly ten yards apart, with the central area planted with land mines. (more…)

On the front pages


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)

ACHD supports new Collister connection (Boise Statesman)
Wolf reintroduction debate continues (IF Post Register)
16 INL wrks exposed to radiation in 2011 (IF Post Register)
Idaho Youth Ranch to move from Rupert to Middleton (Nampa Press Tribune)
State health exchange opens on Saturday (Nanpa Press Tribune)
Melba schools will try $9.5 million bond (Nampa Press Tribune)
Amy's Kitchen preparing for Pocatello opening (Pocatello Journal)
Idaho temperatures plunge (Pocatello Journal)
Jerome prepares for new jail in 2015 (TF Times News)
CSI looking for $1m for student attraction effort (TF Times News)

Ballmers continue $50m to UO (Eugene Register Guard)
Springfield still ponders future of burned mill (Eugene Register Guard)
Big winter storm coming (Portland Oregonian, KF Herald & News)
Gold City official accused of harassment (Medford Tribune)
Looking at marijuana retail (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Monsanto will pay $2.4m on GMO case (Pendleton E Oregonian)
ODOT presses for more road repair money (Portland Oregonian)
Salem might ease rules on residential chickens (Salem Statesman Journal)

Ferry abruptly powerless, explained (Bremerton Sun)
Port Orchard street budget questioned (Bremerton Sun)
Big winter storm about to arrive (Vancouver Columbian, Longview News)
Kenmore Air, only scheduled service at PA, leaves (Port Angeles News)
Tacoma ferry out till next summer (Seattle Times)
Idaho may have to rebid for school broadband (Spokane Spokesman)
Long snow waits possible at Snoqualmie (Yakima Herald Republic)

To be or not to be

carlson CHRIS


Dear CH---

You commented recently on your Facebook page how courageous you thought the young 29-year-old California woman was that moved to Oregon and availed herself of Oregon’s Doctor assisted suicide law on November 1st.

With all due respect to your right to hold a differing view, you could not be more wrong. It does not take courage to opt out of life prematurely. It is an an act motivated by fear, a desire to control the end of one’s life, and when glamorized by the former Hemlock Society, now rebranded as Compassion and Choices, a publicity stunt that sends the wrong signal to our youth.

Always it is by definition a selfish act that passes one’s pain onto their loved ones. It is an act of cowardness and the furthest thing away from courage.

What is the true act of courage is to look death in the eye and fight valiantly to one’s natural end

As you know, nine years ago I was diagnosed with a rare and always fatal form of a carcinoid neuroendocrine cancer. I was in stage IV and given the proverbial six months. I sent all my tests, my CT’s, my MRI’s, my blood work, x-rays and body scans to M.D. Anderson, the world renowned Cancer Care center in Houston, Texas.

They refused to see me. It was hopeless, they said and they did not want to waste their time or resources. If Washington’s Initiative 1000 had been passed into law at that time, I would have easily qualified.

Instead, I worked with my team of doctors, developed an attack strategy and I’m still here. I fought like hell, and I still fight. There isn’t a day that has gone by in the last nine years that I haven’t felt pain. Initially, I lost 75 pounds, looked like death warmed over and most were sure I was gone. Gradually, though, between the experimental radioactive particles placed on my liver and the monthly “golden “rear”” shot I take of a sandostatin that is my chemotherapy, the tide started to turn.

Here I am nine years later. In that time I’ve seen the births and watched with joy the growth of our grandchildren. I had built my wife’s dream retirement home in north Idaho and was able to watch with tears in my eyes as our Marine Corps captain, our son, was wed to a wonderful daughter-in-law at the Botanical Gardens outside San Diego.

Such events have made the pain and suffering truly manageable. There are thousands like me who fight on against all odds and while most of us are never cured we can and do reach a period of stasis in which we manage the disease for a number of years and move on.

To think that I might have missed such events because I’d opt out of life early out of fear is just unthinkable.

I don’t argue with the notion that one can take their life if they wish to do so. The ability to purchase sleeping pills and turn on a car in an enclosed garage is virtually pain free and doesn’t need the assistance of a doctor nor does it bring the state into the matter.

I believe there are issues at the beginning of life and at the end of life that should be left to the person, their family, their doctor, and their spiritual counselors. I firmly believe that we will never be able to legislate fair , equitable and balanced laws respectful of everone’s rights on all life issues. (more…)

On the front pages


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)

Dubois scrambles with possible sheep station closure (Boise Statesman)
State broadband contract killed in court (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Idaho's will be the only new state-run exchange (Boise Statesman)
Nampa bus route may settle by lottery (Nampa Press Tribune)
Much colder weather coming Thursday (Nampa Press Tribune)
Reviewing Idaho Falls kannel ordinance (Pocatello Journal)

Lane County might send car fee to ballot (Eugene Register Guard)
Student enrollment at OIT dips 3% (KF Herald & News)
Enrollment at SOU in Ashland raises about 1% (Medford Tribune)
Good year for wine, board says (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Legislature may lock in low-carbon fuel rules (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Heavy storm moving into area (Portland Oregonian)
Uber car sharing expands to PDX suburbs (Portland Oregonian)
English teaching hits more benchmarks (Salem Atatesman Journal)

Challenges rebuilding highway 530 post-mudslide (Everett Herald)
Washington pot prices fall, compete with black market (Longview News)
New Cowlitz prosecutor prepares (Longview News)
Another cold storm may be on its way (Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Longview News)
Guns selling hotter at shows in WA since election (Olympian)
Port Angeles bond faces school board (Port Angeles News)
Amazon prepares to build yet again in Seattle (Seattle Times)
Money disputes enbroils bishop, law firm (Spokane Spokesman)
Idaho broadband contract killed in court (Spokane Spokesman)
Apple crop still growing in WA (Yakima Herald Republic)

Not in a single month

malloy CHUCK

In Idaho

Ten years ago this month, a cardiologist told me I was a prime candidate for dropping dead at any moment because my heart was clogging up, as if Elmer’s glue was flowing through my veins. I checked into the hospital the next day, and doctors were cracking open my chest for a five-way heart bypass that saved my life.

I’m telling this story because November happens to be American Diabetes Awareness Month – a time to focus attention on a growing disease that hits 30 million people in America and more than 80 million people who are diagnosed with a ticking time bomb called “pre-diabetes.” If we do nothing, it is projected that one in three people will have diabetes by 2050 and I can only imagine what that will do in terms of health care costs.

As I celebrate my 10-year anniversary of my new lease on life, this also is a good time to reflect on what I have been through, what could have happened and maybe offer some hope for those who are battling this disease. A clogged up heart was only one of the complications I have experienced since being diagnosed with diabetes 15 years ago. I lost a toe in 2001, essentially lost my vision two years later and left my job as an editorial writer with the Idaho Statesman.

Nobody dies directly from diabetes; it’s the complications from this silent killer that can make death a welcome relief in the later stages. Heart disease, kidney failure, stroke, amputations and nerve damage are among those complications. If I didn’t have the bypass surgery 10 years ago, I wouldn’t be around to tell this story. Instead … I’m 64 years old and feeling great. My heart is strong and healthy, my eyesight has fully recovered. I don’t know if my recovery was the result of the grace of God, or dumb luck, but I’ll take the result.

Diabetes is a horrible disease, but it is not a death sentence. It can be managed and some of the effects can be reversed (I’m living proof). There’s plenty of help for those with the disease, including the American Diabetes Association. The ADA also provides expertise in management and offers tips for a healthier lifestyle – such as more walking and smarter cooking. So, it’s isn’t all gloom and doom – although there’s enough information that can scare the daylights out of people. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and two of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke. The rate for amputations for people with diabetes is 10 times higher than for people without diabetes. The national cost for treating the disease is estimated at $245 billion.

The National Institute of Health and the Centers for Disease Control are entities that are working to find a cure. Aside from that, there are no grand government solutions. Individuals have responsibility to help themselves. It starts with the home and parents promoting a healthier lifestyle for their kids, who will be part of this world in 2050.

November is a good time to talk about all of this. But healthier living cannot be confined to a single month.