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Posts published in February 2015

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)

School broadband shutdown nears (Boise Statesman, TF Times News)
Portland loss of Hanjin shipping hits Lewiston (TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune)
Asotin County likely home to a wolf pack (Lewiston Tribune)
Multicultural center set at WSU (Moscow News)
Corrections seeks staff pay raise (Nampa Press Tribune)
Canyon sued by ambulance company (Nampa Press Tribune)
Bannock fair future returns for consideration (Pocatello Journal)
Superintendent at Gooding quits (TF Times News)

Kitzhaber: I won't resign; Brown returns early (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Salem Statesman Journal, Medford Tribune, KF Herald & News, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Big housing firm turned over to received (Eugene Register Guard)
Uber trying for Eugene entry again (Eugene Register Guard)
Weather makes wolf tracking hard (KF Herald & News)
Finally, new snow at reopening Mt Ashland (Medford Tribune)
New viticulture area at Milton-Freewater (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Portland Haijin loss hits inland too (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Brewers ask to use purified sewage water (Portland Oregonian)

Suquamish will work with state on pot regs (Bremerton Sun)
Inslee proposes property crime bill (Vancouver Columbian, Bremerton Sun)
Oso slide land placed for sale (Everett Herald)
Scant snow in Csacades (Everett Herald)
Weyerhauser ends Longview layoffs (Longview News)
Tons of smelt seized after illegal fishing (Longview News)
School bond failures prompt review (Port Angeles News)
Port Angeles plans for Navy ships (Port Angeles News)
Hepatitis C drugs get less expensive (Seattle Times)
Fagan won't quit health board (Spokane Spokesman)
Tacoma port near shut down (Tacoma News Tribune, Yakima Herald Republic)
Students fall ill from candy (Vancouver Columbian)
City redistricting plan still possible (Yakima Herald Republic)

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)

Firefighter foundation blasted for spending (Boise Statesman)
Grove Plaza may be available this summer (Boise Statesman)
Bill would allow car registration local hikes (Nampa Press Tribune, Lewiston Tribune)
Clarkston squabbles over pot (Lewiston Tribune)
More mumps cases around Northwest (Lewiston Tribune)
Examining lottery contribution to schools (Nampa Press Tribune)
9th Circuit rules St Luke's to divest Saltzer (Nampa Press Tribune)
Idaho firm making ag drones (Pocatello Journal)
Broadband fed fund at risk $245m (TF Times News)
Former prison inmate sues judge and others (TF Times News)
TF airport renovation in long-range plan (TF Times News)

Kitzhaber denies ethics authority on Hayes (Eugene Register Guard, KF Herald & News)
Vehicle fee increase heads to May election (Eugene Register Guard)
Irrigators in Klamath get a few more options (KF Herald & News)
Talent irrigation project gets $1m grant (Medford Tribune)
Umatilla port will sell large tract (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Milton-Freewater schools may consolidate (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Another look at Hayes' roles (Portland Oregonian)
New fish/wildlife director faces funding mess (Portland Oregonian)
AG inquiry first of an OR governor (Salem Statesman Journal)

Narrows tolls expected to rise (Bremerton Sun)
Bainbridge Island passes park, other bond (Bremerton Sun)
State sets new rule on logging (Everett Herald)
Plan released on protection from Hanford vapors (Kennewick Herald)
KapStone says mill will run, strike or no (Longview News)
Legislature looks at drone law (Olympian, Longview News)
Kalama and several others pass school bonds (Olympian, Longview News)
Peninsula school bonds on bubble (Port Angeles News)
Port Townsend Paper mill sold to Alatana firm (Port Angeles News)
State looking into First charter school (Seattle Times)
Health board member asks to quit over vaccine (Spokane Spokesman)
Most Spokane area school bonds passing (Spokane Spokesman)
Clark 'In god we trust' motion defeated (Vancouver Columbian)
Mixed responses on Yakima-area school bonds (Yakima Herald Republic)

A thank you to Huntsman the elder

carlson CHRIS


This is an “open letter” expressing my deep gratitude to Jon Huntsman, Sr., the Utah billionaire, who founded the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, and has contributed almost a billion dollars to the Institute.

He and the top-notch staff he assembled have enabled me to manage the rare and always fatal form of neuroendocrine cancer I was diagnosed with in November of 2005. It was already Stage IV. There was a large tumor mass over the stomach wrapped in and around the artery and blood vessels going to my intestines. There were numerous tumors on my liver and most were already large. The cancer had also attacked my heart’s tricuspid valve which in turn was deteriorating. I’d lost 80 pounds almost ovrnight.

When doctors cannot find the generating tumor in 80% of the cases that patient is dead within six months. Mine was a case where the generator could not be detected. Thus, I was given the proverbial six months and told to put my affairs in order, which I did.

My wife and I did what most couples do after receiving such news: we cried, we prayed, we talked about bucket lists, and we did our homework. We ferreted out who the best doctor was for treating this rare form of cancer. We also found which cancer treatment hospital was the best in the world for treating it. Supposedly it was M.D. Anderson in Houston, Texas.

The best doctor was affiliated with Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. This was serendipitous because it gave us an excuse to drop in on an old friend of mine, Jay Shelledy. He was teaching and advising in the Journalism School at LSU.

While visiting with Shelledy we also heard back from M.D. Anderson. We’d sent my complete file to them---the MRI’s, the CT’s, the blood work, x-rays, colonoscopies---the works. The doctors at M.D. Anderson examined it all and sent word back that they were not going to see me, there was nothing they could do.

I was stunned. I’d never heard of one being refused an appointment to obtain a second opinion. The Lord works in mysterious ways, however, because it gave Shelledy the opportunity to pitch the relatively brand new Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City adjacent to the University of Utah Hospital. (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)

Audit says state spends too much on outside lawyers (Boise Statesman, Lewiston Tribune)
ATK ammunition absorbed by Vista Outdoor (Lewiston Tribune)
Washington snowpack estimated at 39 percent (Moscow News)
Legislator proposes school civics test (Nampa Press Tribune)
Conservation plans move on Lake Lowell (Nampa Press Tribune)
Fort Hall weighs in on instant horse racing (Pocatello Journal)
Pocatello animal shelter moves into new home (Pocatello Journal)
Legislator pension increases limited by new bill (TF Times News)

Kitzhaber asks for AG inquiry (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Salem Statesman Journal, Medford Tribune, KF Herald & News, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Third UO student has bacterial infection (Eugene Register Guard)
UO football coach gets $17.5m deal (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath concerns over biofuel plant raised (KF Herald & News)
Medford got a huge storm last week (Medford Tribune)
New Jackon fair board and leaders try to revive it (Medford Tribune)
Hermiston charter goes to ballot (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Independent Party now a major party in Oregon (Portland Oregonian)
Salem considers urban renewal options (Salem Statesman Journal)

New Kitsap YWCA director (Bremerton Sun)
State seeks vapor improvement at Hanford (Kennewick Herald)
Washington snowpack at 39 percent (Kennewick Herald)
New school superintendent named at Longview (Longview News)
Iconic Mount Solo house sold (Longview News)
Initiative costs would have to be disclosed (Longview News)
Olympia port chemical spill linked to valve (Olympian)
Bill would toughen cell phone while driving law (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
What if Bertha can't be moved? (Seattle Times)
Higher Taxes college investment lured UW president (Seattle Times)
Toll on Narrows Bridge could rise by half (Tacoma News Tribune)
Shutdown at Christensen Shipyards (Vancouver Columbian)
Forum features prospects for judge (Vancouver Columbian)

No logic when it comes to guns

frazier DAVID


A bill currently before the Idaho legislature would make it legal for all citizens to carry concealed guns. Currently only folks with a permit and elected officials can carry concealed without a permit.
Smith and Wesson .38 caliber snub nose revolver.
When it comes to guns, Idaho laws and public policies make no sense and have little logic or consistency.

After Guv Butch signed the “enhanced carry law” last year, allowing gun toters with a special permit to carry concealed weapons on college campuses, the institutions of higher learning claimed it cost them $3.7 million for additional security. Huh?

At least at BSU they upped their security checks, installing magnetometers at the entrance to whatever they call Bronco Stadium these days. Do they now catch people with enhanced permits? What prompted the security searches at football games, but left the entrances to the basketball arena (currently called Taco Bell) unguarded? We would sure like to know if football fans are more prone to packing heat than basketball fans.

If the legislature rescinded the enhanced carry law and banned ALL concealed weapons on campus, would BSU and the other schools reduce their security staffs and do away with the intrusive searches? We find it absurd to blame the legislature for the $3.7 million “extra security” expense.

The public search process at the Ada Courthouse is just as difficult to understand. Employees use a side entrance and are not subjected to the same personal intrusion as couples seeking marriage licenses or lawyers attending hearings. All those elected judges, commishes, the treasurer, clerk, and assessor can pack heat. They also park in the basement and can bring in their friends and relatives without being searched. “Lock the front door, but leave the back open for the kids.”

Boise City Hall and the Idaho Capitol have no such search requirements for admission.

It isn’t much more logical at the airport where TSA will SELL you some sort of pre-check pass that allows you to keep your belt cinched up and not risk athletes foot padding around shoeless in the footprints of god-only-knows who walked before you. You can also be “randomly selected” for the same TSA courtesy bypass of the body scanner and strip line.

Here is the final irony. If you want a gun for “protection,” think about a bullet proof vest instead. Chances are it will be easier to obtain a gun than a vest.

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)

Old Ada courthouse to become new law school building (Boise Statesman)
Costs of building a community college system (Lewiston Tribune)
Progress claimed on 'add the words' (Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News)
Profiling Representative Ryan Kerby (Nampa Press Tribune)
Funds for heating assistance mostly gone (TF Times News)

Blachly charter schools pull more students (Eugene Register Guard)
Portland parking enforcement stepping up (Portland Oregonian)
Looking for streetlight funding (Salem Statesman Journal)

Two microbreweries head to Bremerton (Bremerton Sun)
Snohomish considers two for ombudsman job (Everett Herald)
Snohomish water center fiscal sound again (Everett Herald)
Issues with now-defunct car repair company (Longview News)
Independent Party seeks major party status in Oregon (Longview News)
Olympia considers downtown loos (Olympian)
Washington budget writers crunched, need funds (Tacoma News tribune, Olympian)
Public will weight in on peninsula cable (Port Angeles News)
Owen wants change to state ethics process (Seattle Times)
Snowpack at historically low levels (Seattle Times)
Spokane Co commission seeking to add more members (Spokane Spokesman)
Downtown streets will run to waterfront (Vancouver Columbian)
Health insurance deadline nears (Vancouver Columbian)
Plan bumps some drug cases felony to misdemeanor (Yakima Herald Republic)

This week in the Briefings


Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) on February 4 introduced The AWARE Act to ensure that farm animals used in agricultural research at federal research facilities be included in the definition of “animal” under the Animal Welfare Act. The Animal Welfare Act ensures that certain minimum standards of humane care are adhered to in federal and private research facilities. However, the Act defines “animal” in a way that egregiously excludes farm animals used in agricultural research. Blumenauer and Fitzpatrick spoke with leaders from the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) at a press conference. (photo/Representative Blumenauer)

The Seahawks’ Super Bowl loss was duly reported around the state Sunday evening and Monday morning, and then quickly dropped. (What Seahawks?) Some advocates, however, pointed put that overall the team had played two spectacularly sucessful seasons in a row, and a Super Bowl return in 2016 does not seem an unreasonable prospect.

Oregon’s political picture was upended last week with the continuing difficulties of Governor John Kitzhaber – a press conference that went awry, a subsequent call for his resignation from the Portland Oregonian and later a couple of recall proposals. The pressure is not likely to let up in the week ahead.

In Idaho, school broadband concerns – and the growing probability of a shutdown of school broadband in the state – took front stage last week. Elsewhere, the legislature began moving toward budget-setting, which may be a closely related topic.

One big port hit

idaho RANDY

The biggest story of the week in the Northwest, and one not getting especially strong news coverage, is the now-arrived massive Pacific Coast port shutdowns, extending across a vast distance north to Alaska and south through California.

And not just a regional story, but national. The members of Congress beginning to scurry about calling for help – from the White House among other places – are not misplacing their concerns.

Here’s one comment, one of many like it around the net as last week ended, from the Retail Industry Leaders Association: “A breakdown in contract negotiations between labor and management at America's west coast ports is threatening to turn a slowdown into a full-scale strike, and an economic headache into a full-blown crisis that impacts the entire American economy.”

Ports on the west coast carry an estimated 43.5% of all container cargo in the United States – something like a trillion dollars in trade. You have to assume that in the Pacific Northwest, the percentage is much higher. Businesses will not be able to get supplies or get to market; consumers will not get goods. The economy could screech to a halt.

The battle between the Pacific Maritime Association (which represents the 29 big pacific ports, including Seattle, Portland and Tacoma) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Workers has turned poisonous. Each essentially is accusing the other of bad faith, and making essentially personal shots at the other. And each seems to have grievances with the other that seem to reach beyond the merely emotional.

Getting past this won’t be easy.

Time has come for the national government to weigh in. All these cheerful economic numbers – like the excellent employment news released last week – could come to an end if this loggerheads on the Pacific Coast doesn’t.

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)

Pilot error killed guard chopper pilots (Boise Statesman)
Locals move to North Dakota for high paying oil work (Lewiston Tribune)
Deseret Industries building anew in Nampa (Nampa Press Tribune)
Pine Ridge Mall tries to revive itself (Pocatello Journal)
E Idaho horse race backers try to save industry (Pocatello Journal)
Notably warm winter in eastern Idaho (Pocatello Journal)
More building permits in Twin Falls (TF Times News)

Burley Designs baby carrier profitable again (Eugene Register Guard)
Pub may be coming to UO student union (Eugene Register Guard)
Democrats not rushing to Kitzhaber's defense (Eugene Register Guard)
Jackson Co finances faring well (Medford Tribune)
Kitzhaber's private life emerges (Portland Oregonian)
School buses aging, creating hazards (Portland Oregonian)
$135m sought for pre-kindergarten (Salem Statesman Journal)

Options considered for new Marysville I-5 interchange (Everett Herald)
Former United Way director contests firing (Longview News)
Reviewing local food inspections (Olympian)
Local channels went dark on Tacoma cable (Tacoma News Tribune)
Gun rights advocates rally ay statehouse (Vancouver Columbian)
Farm piece-work rates at Supreme Court (Yakima Herald Republic)

Sourcing those industry regs

idaho RANDY

The headline on the Idaho Reporter story said, “Idaho lawmakers mandate car dealership hours,” but that’s only one piece of the tale. The remainder is the portion few Idahoans see but accounts for a lot of the much-despised regulation of industry.

This particular instance arrived February 3 before the House Transportation and Defense Committee, which was reviewing new Idaho Transportation Department rules. One of them required a certain number of hours per week car dealerships must keep their doors open to the public, and report their business hours to state regulators. By a thin margin, the committee approved the rule.

Several committee members argued that this was governmental regulatory overreach – a government agency seeking more power than it ought to have.

But the underlying story emerged when Representative Patrick McDonald, R-Boise, said that “We need to support this because people in the industry support it.”

What? The industry supports this added piece of government regulation?

You bet.

The motivations may be several. One car dealer warned of shady operators who might be hard to find if things go wrong during a purchase or later. There could also be some motivation to set the bar to entry in the business a little higher, excluding people who might try to start a small dealership working on weekends. Without trying to read minds here, there may be in all a mix of rationales, both public-serving and self-serving. But these motivations come chiefly from the industry. In the case of the car dealer hours rule, you would not have seen such general support from the industry if that industry wasn’t the basic source of the proposal.

The testimony indicated that the department wrote the rule, but it’s a very safe bet that the push for it came from the auto dealers themselves. Remember the governmental rules regulating banking hours? Recall who was pressing for that? Here’s a hint: It wasn’t either bureaucrats or consumer groups.

Anyone who draws a bright line between government and business poorly understands either. Business lobbyists visit the legislature every year for more laws and rules, but that’s only the proverbial iceberg tip. Many of them, or representatives for them, are a regular presence at agencies too. The savvier associations lobby agencies all year long to alter or adopt rules they see as in their benefit (and maybe the public’s as well). Revolving doors between the regulators and the regulated are commonplace at the federal level but show up in the states too.

Regulation of most of the business and professional organizations that are today regulated, from doctors and lawyers to surveyors and truckers, got started in most cases with requests from those industries that they be regulated. When the doctors first sought regulation, they wanted to weed out the quacks and improve professional quality, and raise the bar to entry to limit the number of doctors. It’s an old story.

Not that this is all bad. Government should be responsive, and it should listen to the regulated as well as the rest of the public. It’s called the right of redress.

And there are sometimes public interests to be considered too; in the auto hours case, several legislators argued that steady hours would be clearly a consumer benefit. Maybe so. (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)

Schools plan for loss of broadband service (Boise Statesman)
Tentative agreement between Boise and Uber (Boise Statesman)
Idaho may keep REAL ID in place (Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Trbune)
Port workers plan no work on weekend (Lewiston Tribune)
Measles shots mandated for WSU staff (Moscow News)
Material for roads would get sales tax exemption (Nampa Press Tribune)
Melba schools want $9.5 million bond (Nampa Press Tribune)
'Constitutional carry' draws police criticism (Pocatello Journal)
Mumps showing up in Idaho (Pocstello Journal)
Unclear what will happen to area Radio Shack stores (Pocatello Journal)
Rangen starts getting its water delivery (TF Times News)
Bill would set March for presidential primary (TF Times News)

Recall effort launches against Kitzhaber (Eugene Register Guard, KF Herald & News)
Pot often appears in Washburne Park (Eugene Register Guard)
Bats multiply at Tulelake Basin (KF Herald & News)
Ashland ski area re-opens (Medford Tribune)
Heavy storms hit SW Oregon (Medford Tribune, KF Herald & News)
AG Rosemblum may consider Kitzhaber inquiry (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Former legislator Joe Burns dies at 90 (Pendleton E Oregonian)
New emails show Hayes ties between public, private (Portland Oregonian)
Many Asians coming to Portland (Portland Oregonian)
New road rules proposed in legisature (Salem Statesman Journal)

WA tax breaks for aerospace may be tightened (Everett Herald)
Inslee supports limting vaccine exemptions (Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Longview News)
Fed planw would oil eggs of salmon bird predators (Longview News)
Vaccinations missed by 4.6% of kindergartners (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Boeing machinists pay declined last year (Seattle Times)
Kitzhaber stuck in 'soap opera' ethics scandal (Seattle Times)
Foster parents criticize vaccination rule (Spokane Spokesman)
Dirt in rain puzzles scientists (Spokane Spokesman)
Burlington Northern plans $189m in WA rail effort (Vancouver Columbian)
Port shutdowns may continue (Yakima Herald Republic)