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Regional News Archives for 2011-01


The Search for Kyron Continues


The grim reality of the Kyron Horman disappearance came out this weekend during a search that involved 50 people. Marty Neiman is a canine handler.  His dog specializes in finding cadavers. He says that the warmer weather allowed them to resume the search. His dog Justice" has been involved in several previous searches for Kyron. The groups searched 11 areas northwest of Skyline School where Kyron was last seen on June 4th. Nothing was found. They plan to search additional areas at a future date that' yet to be determined.

 

 

 
 
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Search for Durham Scaled Back


Life is starting to return to normal in Waldport as the search for shooting suspect David Durham is scaled back. Lincoln County Lieutenant Curtis Landers says they've searched every home either inside or out. He says every home has had some type of police contact. Landers says they don't know if Durham has left the area or not. Police patrols continue, but they no longer have swat teams actively searching.

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Food Study Backs Up Obesity Claims


Offering healthier foods at school isn't enough to take on the childhood obesity epidemic according to a new study at the University of Oregon. That's because kids acquire their tastes much earlier. Experts say it’s evident because in cafeterias, the pizza bar is emptied much soon her than the salad bar, and that’s because those tastes were learned earlier in life.   Bettina Cornwell says their study found many preschoolers prefer salt sugar and fat because that's what they're exposed to by their parents and TV advertising. 

 

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Use Caution When Applying for a Job


You’ve signed up for a new job, when you find out there are complaints against the company and you decide to back out. Kyle Kavas with the Better Business Bureau says contact the company. She says concerns over scams and I.D. theft have prompted the BBB to remind everyone to check out a potential employer before taking a job or handing over any personal information.

 

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Portland International Car Show a Bit Greener


The Portland International Auto Show is on now at the Oregon Convention Center. Slow sales kept some manufacturers from showing up last year. But this year, they're all here in all shapes and sizes. Greg Remensperger is the show's Executive Vice President ”We’ve got the new Fiat 500; that is first time it’s been on display in the Northwest.; all the way up to the big diesel powered huge pick up trucks.” The auto show's eco-friendly vehicle showcase has expanded to include the Nissan Leaf, the Chevy Volt and other battery-powered or hybrid cars.

 

 

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Oregon Cracks Down on Phony Charities


Phony charities may lose their tax-deductible status if Oregon Attorney General John Kroger gets his way. Kroger says it's time to clamp down: “We’ve seen an explosion of charities in Oregon that raise money, supposedly raise money for good causes like protecting veterans, protecting law enforcement and then stick most of the money in their own pockets.” Kroger is lobbying the Legislature for a law requiring a minimum of 30% of the proceeds to go to the actual cause, or else the charity would no longer be tax deductible. 

 

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Snow Survey Doesn't Look Good – Today


When Snow Surveyor Jon Lea goes up Mount Hood this time of year he expects deep snow and cold weather. But this week: “It felt very much like a nice spring day up on Mt. Hood where we did our survey. At our snow station up there we measured 74 inches of depth and there was 33.5 inches of water in the snowpack at 78% of average.” Lea reminds us that we still have more than a month of winter to get the water-heavy snow we need for summer.

 

 

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Officer Steven Dodds Daughter Speaks Out


The daughter of Lincoln City Police Officer Steven Dodds is finally starting to get some sleep, now that doctors have told her they're very optimistic about a full recovery. She says: “I honestly don’t know what’s gong to happen next, but I’m just taking it one day at a time.   It’s a lot of stress, but I’m trying to keep it together for everyone.”  He was shot twice during a traffic stop. Megan Dodds, 18, is in her first year at Oregon State University.  She says her dad has always been supportive of her growing up, encouraging her in softball, school and other activities. Doctors tell Megan they're very optimistic her dad will make a full recovery despite significant blood loss and damage to his abdomen, pelvis and leg.

 

 

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Thief Victimizes Hospital Patient


A thief took advantage of a hospital patient by breaking into a parked car and stealing the garage door opener after finding the victim's address; and then burglarizing their house. Using security cameras in the parking garage; they identified Randolph Baggett as a person of interest. He has a warrant for parole violation. Detective Jim Strovinck says they want to talk to Baggett to see whether he's connected to the break in. The thief stole credit cards and then used them to make several purchases.

 

 

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Nurseries Getting Ag Help


Oregon's greenhouse and nursery industry is serious about taking care of problems through research. That's why part of the license fees paid by growers to the Oregon Department of Agriculture fund a research grant program that helps in a variety of ways, according to ODA's Gary McAninch: “Typically, it's problems like pest and disease issues or plant nutrient issues or how to make the growing of nursery stock more efficient." This year's projects range from developing new plant varieties that meet consumer demand to testing a small unmanned aircraft equipped with a digital camera that collects inventory data on nursery property, reducing the need for a person to painstakingly collect data from the ground.

 

 

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Oregon Sues Countrywide


Oregon got half a million dollars in a class action settlement with Countrywide over misleading statements about the company's financial health. Now, Tony Green, in the Attorney General's Office, says they're filing a separate lawsuit to recover more of the $14-million that was lost. The State Accident Insurance fund and the Public Employee Retirement System invested the money in Countrywide between 2004 and 2008, before it was bought out by Bank of America.

 

 

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Police Will Wait Out Durham


Police looking for suspected cop shooter David Durham say they have more time than he does. Newport Police Chief Mark Miranda says they'll stay in the Waldport area until they catch Durham; or there's evidence that he's outside of the search area. Police have checked 250 residences and they've followed up on nearly 200 reports of suspicious circumstances. Investigators have confirmed Durham was wearing green camouflage, dark boots and a dark beret.

The Search for David Durham Saves A Life


While following up one of the leads in the search for David Durham, police were alerted to an overdue driver. They tracked her cell phone to Albany, but the phone was turned off; so Albany Police started looking for the car. They did checks in their area including parking lots and hotels and they found her vehicle in an area hotel. State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings says when they checked the woman's room; they found she was attempting to commit suicide. She was hospitalized in time to save her life. He says it's a positive end to one of the leads in the search for Durham.

 

 

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More Help to Find Kyron Horman


More exposure for the Kyron Horman case. Gordon Trucking of Pacific, Washington has large pictures of the missing boy on five of their trucks. Truck driver Dave Candy says it generates interest and is another tool to help find the missing boy. The trucks travel all over the U.S.That number is 1-800-the-lost. Gordon Trucking is teaming with the Washington State Patrol for the project. Kyron vanished last June from Skyline Elementary School.

 

 

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Wyden Says Too Much Technology Invades Privacy


Oregon Senator Ron Wyden says the nation's privacy laws need to be updated. He's concerned about cell phones and GPS devices that know where you are at all times. Wyden says government agencies should have to show cause and get a warrant before they can get that information.

 

 

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Weekly Gas Price Check


A couple weeks ago, the price of crude was nearly $95 per barrel but the price has dropped to about $86 per barrel. Triple A's Marie Dodds says Oregon's average price at the gas pump is up almost a cent to $3.22 per gallon.  The national average is $3.11. Diesel costs are climbing, too.  Oregon's average up two cents to $3.49.  The national average up three cents to $3.42. Here in Bend, the average is around $3.17.

 

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Blumenauer Reaction to the State of the Union Address


Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer agrees with the President and Republicans that the federal deficit has to be cut. The question is what to cut. One example he cites: military costs. But, he says, Republicans want to leave that off limits.  The Congressman does think the mixed seating at the State of the Union led to a more positive feeling, even if it only lasts one night.

 

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More on the State of the Union Address


During his State of the Union Address, President Obama focused on a Portland businessman: Jim Hauser, a small businessman, who discovered he has to pay an additional $5000 a year for his employees’ healthcare. . Houser owns Hawthorne Auto and says, even though he's a small business owner, health care is a priority for his employees. Houser says it's been difficult, because costs have skyrocketed over the last 10 years. He says small business tax credits in the new health care law will save him more than $10,000.

 

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Stomps Sentencing Draws Emotion Filled Comments


Hazelynn Stomps was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of her husband Jerry at their Corbett home. She dismembered and burned his body after shooting him. Adams Stomps lashed out at his mother during the sentencing and Jerrys’ brother, Scott, addressed Hazelynn as she sat in a wheelchair saying” “you will never see or hear from us again. And thank God that this is almost over, so that we can bury Jerry, and we can get on with our lives, while you rot in jail.” Stomps first chance at parole will be after 25 years.

Search for Durham Continues


As the search continues for David Durham, the suspect in the shooting of a Lincoln City Police Officer, Oregon State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings says officer Steven Dodds continues to fight for survival in the intensive care unit at Legacy Emanuel Hospital. SWAT teams continue to go house-to-house in Waldport in an attempt to find Durham. They say they'll continue the search until they've checked all areas where he might be hiding. They believe he's still in the area. Durham is accused of shooting Officer Dodds several times during a traffic stop Sunday night in Lincoln City.

Medicaid Fraud Gets Springfield Woman in Hot Water


A Springfield woman has been sentenced to 19-months in prison for Medicaid fraud. Tony Green, in the Oregon Attorney General's Office, says health care fraud is a high priority. Michelle Russell stopped working for a disabled elderly woman three years ago, but kept receiving and cashing checks, worth nearly $39,000. She was caught when DHS workers became suspicious.

Job Test for Skills Very Useful


More than 4400 Oregonians have taken advantage of a national program that tests job seekers for essential work skills, such as math, reading and information comprehension. Camille Preus, Commissioner for the Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development says it gives workers a leg up in the applicant pool. “The assessment says whether an individual has those basic career-readiness skills in those three areas or not. And you can’t fake it.” Preus says the tests will also strengthen Oregon’s workforce; helping the State recruit new employers. The Employment Department is currently covering the costs of the national career readiness certificate testing for unemployed Oregonians.

Woodburn Bank Bombers Get Death Sentences


Bruce Turnidge says the State set him up; and his son, Joshua, maintains his innocence. Bruce Turnidge says investigators lied about evidence; that a syringe connecting him to the bombing was not full of the explosive Tovex, but sulfuric acid. "I think they felt that had to do that because they had no evidence against me, and they knew it. And they were getting desperate and they have to come up with something." Before Judge Tom Hart officially sentenced the men to death, he contradicted Turnidges' arguments the jury ignored the facts: "To say that the jury didn't look at the evidence would be disingenuous at best." Bruce's attorney says he will file for a new trial.

Lincoln City Policeman Still in Critical Condition


He was Lincoln City's Police Officer of the Year in 2010.  Today Steven Dodds, 45, is in critical condition after being shot multiple times during a traffic stop late Sunday night. Lincoln City Lieutenant Jerry Palmer says Dodds is a six-year veteran of the Department. Meantime the search continues in Waldport, Oregon where the suspect was last seen. The vehicle's registered owner is David Durham; but police are not calling him a suspect.

Legislator Wants to Improve Police and Public Relations


A Portland legislator is proposing a package of new laws on police shootings. Democrat Lew Frederick says he wants to improve the relationship between police and the public.  Fredrick says whenever there is a police shooting; the cop should be tested for drugs, including steroids.  Frederick says that changes should include better training for police on how to avoid shootings, and outside investigations when they do occur.

Officials Warn of Agriculture Threat


Global travelers are being cautioned against bringing back agricultural pests and diseases when returning home after traveling abroad.  International travelers may be a conveyance for pests and diseases that could threaten the States' agriculture and environment. There's been a recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease in South Korea and Vietnam. The animal disease is highly contagious to cattle and swine that affects meat and milk production. State Veterinarian Don Hansen with the Oregon Department of Agriculture has some simple advice: "If you are traveling to those countries, be aware coming back. If you are entertaining guests from those countries, be aware of their presence."Foot and mouth disease is not a food safety issue, and it does not affect human health, but people can be carriers.  Authorities warn you not to bring back vegetables, fruits or plants when traveling outside the country.

Reporting Medical Errors in Oregon is Getting Better


A report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says 180,000 Medicare patients die each year as the result of medical errors. Statistics show the problem is increasing each year. In Oregon, reporting serious mishaps is still voluntary, 32 deaths were attributed to medical mistakes in 2009. Bethany Higgins with the Oregon Patient Safety Commission says her group is working to eliminate the causes: "The great thing about our reporting program is, it extends far beyond just hospitals, so it's across the continuum. We have nursing homes, ambulatory surgery centers. We're even adding pharmacies and renal dialysis. So we're far more reaching that just looking at hospitals." Higgins says most health providers do report incidents.  56 of the states 58 hospitals, 78 percent of nursing homes and more than half of the ambulatory or outpatient surgery centers are reporting serious adverse events to the Commission.

New Student Testing Program Proving to be Successful


The northwest evaluation association develops the tests taken by more than five million students in five thousand school and districts.  The new testing group is becoming very successful. NWEA is a non-profit group that recently opened new offices in Portland. It has become a very successful testing program because they focus on student learning rather than testing and tests should not be standardized, and measure the progress they have made rather than a compared to a grade level result. “For us, it's about growth, not grades. It’s about being in a position to predict the future academic growth of a child, and being in a position to find strengths and weaknesses and challenges that the child is going through. So that we can all work on those; including the child, him or herself." NWEA President Matt Chapman says testing has become much more important in schools, because cash-strapped districts need to decide if a curriculum is working - or not.

Insurance Rates Lowered for Thousands


A one-year-old credit scoring law has lowered insurance premiums for thousands of Oregonians. The law allows consumers to ask their insurance companies to re-price or "re-rate" their auto or homeowner policy once a year, if the insurer used the consumer's credit history to price the policy when it was originally issued. Insurers must lower the price if the consumer qualifies for a better rate based on their credit history.

OHSU Leading in Patient Information Technology


OHSU hospital is one of the first institutions in the country to launch an I-Phone/I-Pad application allowing patients secure access to health records from any place they can receive a signal. The service is free. Patients must sign up for the service when they check in to the hospital.  Patients can get test results, messages from doctors, and appointment information.

Merkley Has a Program to Solve Foreclosure Crisis


Oregon U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley has sent his six point plan to solve the foreclosure crisis to the President; and he hopes that it's one of the topics covered in Tuesday’s State of the Union Address. Merkley's plan calls for simplifying the loan modification program; giving bankruptcy judges the authority to fairly reset the terms of mortgages and to create a single point of contact where home owners in distress can go for help.

University Systems Chancellor Wants Budget Secured


Oregon University System Chancellor George Pernsteiner visited the City Club of Portland to outline a proposal to secure funding for the State's public colleges.  Right now, he says, the Legislature has line-item control over how the universities spend their money; and the University system budget is often gouged to pay for other state services. Senate Bill 242 would change that. Public hearings will be held on the proposal.   Dates have not been announced.

Aumsville Tornado Dissected


A meeting of weather minds at the Oregon museum of Science and Industry dissected the Aumsville tornado. Tyree Wilde with the National Weather Service says tornadoes in December in Oregon are uncommon but not impossible. He adds that tornadoes in Oregon are very different than the rest of the country. They're usually generated from smaller storms, are hard to determine on radar and don't last very long. 147 tornadoes have been recorded throughout the State's history.

Immigration Bill Could Be Controversial


Keizer Representative Kim Thatcher is tackling illegal immigration in the session this year. She’s introduced a number of bills. One would require jails to check immigration status when anybody’s booked into the system. Another one requires proof of citizenship before someone registers to vote for the first time. And another one denies State benefits and licenses to anyone who is not  here legally. Another bill would be similar to Arizona’s controversial immigration law.  Thatcher says her bills have little chance of passing but the discussion is worth having.

Should Oregon Eliminate the Kicker Refund?


Former House Speaker Dave Hunt of Gladstone says the “Kicker Refund” to Oregon taxpayers should be eliminated.  He says that does involve raising taxes and a sales tax.  He says it would make Oregon less vulnerable during recessions. Hunt says he would support the kicker surplus being diverted to a Rainy Day Fund.  A fund that could only be spent during tough times with a super majority vote.

Warning About Synthetic Speed


First it was synthetic marijuana, now it's synthetic speed.  The substance is related to ecstasy and the Oregon Board of Pharmacy is currently researching it for a possible ban. Executive Director, Gary Schnable, says after determining the effects and other properties, issuing a ban could take a week to several months.

Wyden Says Repealing the Health Care Bill is Not Wise


Oregon Senator Ron Wyden says repealing President Obama's federal healthcare program is not the best approach because people with pre-existing health conditions will no longer be protected. But the Senator does support a proposal to allow states to opt-out of the federal health program if they can create a more affordable system. Vermont Senator Peter Welch says his state is seeking a waiver to move toward their own single-payer system. But current law requires the State to wait until 2017.  The proposal by Wyden and Massachusetts Senator Scott Crown would move the date up to 2014.

Blumenaur Expects A Hard Fight Over Health Care


Portland Congressman Earl Blumenauer says Republicans who harp about the deficit are being hypocritical when it comes repealing the health care bill.  Blumenauer says there is little chance of a repeal. Blumenauer says more and more Americans are supporting the Bill as they see the benefits even if a public option wasn't part of it. He says with repeal not happening, Republicans will instead try to defund several aspects of the Bill. But in his words, he expects hand to hand combat over funding of the bill over the next two years.

Congressman David Wu Has Many Staff Changes


Political insiders are buzzing about the departures of Oregon Congressman David Wu's staff. Six members have recently quit, including his Chief of Staff and his top pollster. Oregonian political reporter Jeff Mapes says there are no clear answers. Mapes says there is typically turnover in Congressional offices, but it's uncommon to see so many departures. And the people involved aren’t talking. But Wu recently went through a hard fought political campaign and is going through a divorce.

Lolo Pass Road to be Rebuilt – Soon


Hundreds of residents in Zig Zag Oregon still have to hoof it out or take shuttle buses to get to town. That's about to change. Tim Heider with Clackamas County says that will require rerouting the Sandy River which washed out a section of Lolo Pass Road.  Work could start on Friday.  Power is also expected to be restored by this weekend.

The Pill Could Be Used for Weight Loss


A study by OHSU researchers may contradict what you thought you knew about "the pill." It indicates birth control pills no not lead to weight gain. Instead, it may help overweight women drop a few pounds. Doctor Allison Edelman says her team studied Rhesus Macaque monkeys; keeping their diets and activity levels the same while they were on "the pill." the normal weight monkeys stayed the same. Edelman says weight gain is one of the top reasons women decide to stop taking medications; but the study suggests it's more likely women are gaining weight because of changes in age or lifestyle. The doctor says the study was performed on monkeys because they're bodies are similar to humans, and it is extremely difficult to study weight changes in humans who have differing diet and exercise patterns.

Voter Fraud Case Expands to a Larger Investigation


A case of voter fraud in Oregon leads to an even bigger federal investigation.  Lafayette Fredrick Keaton, 81, of Portland was sentenced to prison for voting under the name of his dead brother and deceased son. Secretary of State spokesperson Andrea Cantu Schomus says they first suspected Keaton of the voter fraud in 2009. During that investigation they found other layers of deception. "We've actually turned our allegations over to the Department of Justice. It started with voter fraud, but the investigation uncovered some other illegal activity. In addition officials discovered he was also fraudulently receiving federal benefits." Last September Keaton pleaded guilty to federal charges for collecting social security, food stamps and Medicare benefits in the name of his deceased brother.

 

Oregon Unemployment Numbers Generally Unchanged


Oregon’s unemployment rate has been stuck around 10.5% for more than a year. But State Economist David Cooke says December marked the fourth consecutive month of private sector job gains in the State though. “Between December 2009 and December 2010, the seasonally adjusted payroll was up 11,900 jobs. That’s a gain of 0.7%.” Oregon's unemployment rate was 10.6 % in December.

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Convicted Murderer


The U. S. Supreme Court has ruled unanimously against an Oregon murder convict who tried to get his plea bargain tossed on appeal. Tony Green, in the Attorney General's Office, says Randy Moore argued that his attorney did a lousy job. Green says there was overwhelming evidence that Moore was responsible for a kidnapping in southern Oregon that ended with the shooting death of the victim. Had the high court ruled in favor of Moore, it would have opened the door for other convicts to appeal their plea bargains.

Sandy River Log Jam


The flooding Sandy River is sending a lot of trees downstream, and they're collecting in a log jam near the I-84 bridge in Troutdale. ODOT's Brad Wurfel says a logging company has a "yarder" pulling the thousands of trees from the water. At one point the log jam spanned the entire river. There was a concern the river would back up and posed a flood threat. The logging equipment will remain in place to pull more logs from the river until water levels decrease.

Gas Prices Jumping Higher


Gas prices are on the rise. The national average for regular unleaded adds a penny to $3.10; here in Oregon, our average jumps up to 4¢ to $3.21. Triple-A's Marie Dodds says that as long as crude oil remains above $92.00 a barrel, gas prices will remain high. Diesel increased a nickel a gallon to $3.47 in Oregon.  The average cost for a gallon of gas in Bend this week is $3.17.

Emergency Responders Helping Stranded Residents


200 residents remain stranded on the other side of a washout on Lolo Pass Road near Mt. Hood. Mick Eby is the Hoodland Fire Chief and says residents can walk to the area of the washout. “People can hike down along the riverside there. And then we’re going to set up with a shuttle so we can get them to a shopping center where they can get fuel and get back.” About a third of the isolated houses are rentals; the rest are permanent residences.   Many of the volunteer fire fighters also live in the area. They're providing medical care and communications. All of the utilities in the area have been knocked out.

Paper Phone Books Could Be A Thing of the Past


Oregon State Senator Chip Shields is trying to keep a pile of unwanted paper off your front porch with Senate Bill 525.  The Bill would create an "opt in" process for Oregonians to receive a phonebook or yellow pages. He says for most people, phone books and yellow pages are a nuisance because they go to the Internet for information. Shields says that it may be tough for the Bill to get passed with the focus this session on jobs and the State economy.  A similar bill did not go through last session.

Red Cross Assisting Families Affected by Flooding


The Red Cross is helping families struggling due to weather related problems around Oregon.  The Oregon Trail Chapter of the Red Cross is assisting families forced away from home as the waters of the Sandy River have destroyed property, homes and roads in the Zig Zag area at the base of Mount Hood.  Lodging is being provided at the resort at the mountain, the Welches Lions Club providing food for seven displaced families.  The Red Cross is also working with families in the Neskowin area, in Tillamook and Rockaway Beach where families are dealing with landslides and sink holes.

MLK Day of Service Projects Happening All Around Oregon


Over 500 volunteers are helping pack food at the Oregon Food Bank as part of the MLK Day of Service. David Sydel with United Way says they have over 2000 volunteers involved in dozens of projects around the city. The Food Bank says volunteers are getting done in one day what would otherwise take weeks.

"Portlandia" Drawing the Curious


The dream of the 90’s is alive in Portland. That’s according to Satruday Night Lives’s Fred Armisen and former Sleater-Kinney singer Carrie Brownstein. They’re the creative force behind “Portlandia”; it’s the new comedy series on IFC. The series is full of characters created and played by the two and it’s a tongue in cheek look at life in the Rose City. Actors like Kyle McGlocklin, Steve Buscemi and Jason Sudeikis have cameos, along with Portland’s own Mayor, Sam Adams. The first episode is already up on Hulu, but it officially debuts Friday at 10:30pm on IFC.

Educators Looks for Ways to Stretch Their Dollars


Oregon’s $3.5 billion dollar shortfall has hit classrooms as hard as anywhere else in the state. Last Saturday, teachers, administrators and PTA leaders from all over the state got together for a symposium to discuss how they can better work together to compensate for fewer education dollars. Governor Kitzhaber spoke to the gathering as well as his new Chief Education Advisor, Nancy Golden. She says there are many groups around the state doing good work and it's time to coordinate efforts. "That's why collaboration's so key. It's looking at what all these separate groups do and saying 'let's make a smooth pathway from cradle to career.' And I think using collaboration, there's a lot more we can do." The Governor gave some hints about his upcoming budget and told educators to expect cuts.  The Oregon Education Association sponsored the symposium as part of an ongoing series of event for improving student success.

IRS Free File Ready for You


IRS Free File opened Friday. It’s the ninth year for "Free File"; a program from the Internal Revenue Service that helps you prepare and file your income tax on line.  A spokesperson for the IRS says, on a You Tube video, that the service is designed for people who make less than $58,000 a year. "If you make more than $58,000 and you're comfortable doing your own tax return, our online fill able forms may work for you. Free-File fill able forms is the electronic version of IRS paper forms; plus you can E-file." The IRS has issued a written statement saying that the IRS E-file is approaching the milestone on one billion returns processed.  In 2010, nearly 100 million people; 70% of the taxpayer used IRS E-file.  They claim not only is it a very safe and secure way to file your income tax, and files tend to get a speedier refund.

Synthetic Speed Causes Side Effects


A synthetic form of speed that's sold as a bath salt is causing disturbing side effects. Users experience hallucinations, agitation, chest pain and paranoia. Tom Parker, with the Oregon Partnership, says it couldn't be used as a bath salt.  It's also sold as stain cleaner, plant food fertilizer, and insect repellant. Louisiana is the first state to ban it. The Oregon Pharmacy Board plans to take action in April. Washington currently does not have plans to ban the substance.

Oregon Agriculture Will Impact Economic Recovery


The 2011 Oregon Legislature will no doubt play a pivotal role in the future of the state's natural resource industries, including agriculture. There will certainly be Legislative proposals this session that have a significant impact on farmers and ranchers. Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba says having a balanced makeup of the Legislature bodes well: "Moderation in political views, how we find the middle ground in the incredible challenges we are facing, how we can move the economy forward, show we minimize impacts to state agency budgets, how we find new ways of doing business, it's all going to require bipartisanship." Coba cautions that the State budget will be the overriding focus in the session, and advises the Ag industry to be aware and active in the State Capitol this session.

NOAA Expanding Weather Forecasting Ability


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has sent a plane to Japan to improve the weather forecasting for the northwest. Captain Barry Choy with the National Center for Environmental Prediction says that's where our weather originates. “Better storm track, better location for where the precipitation is gunna be; coverage and what types of precipitation. The intensity of the storms.”  Choy says the new data will help weather models do a better job of predicting what's going to happen in the northwest. The plane will be there through February.

'No Labels' Movement Gaining Interest


Sue Castner wants to see a change in politics. As part of "No Labels," she wants a "new normal" for our state and federal governments; steering away from the "hyper-partisanship" and political rhetoric.  “What do we agree upon and where do we go from there to build on it.  But there has to be some common ground where we can get together and have civil conversations and discourse and agreements and make that the ‘new normal’.  Castner says the movement is growing across the country, and she's beginning to see hints of it in our representatives both statewide and nationwide. For more go to: www.nolabels.org.

Kinkel Case Will Be Appealed to Supreme Court


The Oregon Court of Appeals has refused to throw out Kip Kinkel's convictions in the Thurston High School shootings in 1998. His current attorney, Dennis Balske, says Kinkel was taken off medicine for schizophrenia and was not able to understand the plea bargain. His assigned guardian was also not present. Balske says he'll take the appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court.

Honoring Rainier Police Chief Painter


A public viewing to honor fallen Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter is this afternoon (Thur) at Rainier City Hall. A grand public memorial and celebration of life are also planned. The closed casket visitation at City Hall runs from noon to six. But the large public memorial, full of tradition and special honors for Chief Painter, begins at 1 p.m. Friday afternoon at the University of Portland Chiles Center in north Portland. A memorial procession will advance the memorial, moving from the Port of Longview into Portland starting at ten Friday morning. Tributes to the Chief continue Saturday; a celebration of life to be held at 10 am at Rainier's Junior-Senior High School. Chief Painter shot and killed last week when responding to a disturbance call at a car stereo shop.

Expect Slow Growth in the Economy


Oregon’s economy is showing more signs of growth. Tim Duy, a professor of Economics at the University of Oregon, says his latest economic index for the state shows improvement, but he has concerns. Duy says there was more hiring of temporary workers in November and manufacturing is starting to grow. He says the economy would really need to heat up for inflation to be a worry. He expects growth will be slow in 2011 and it should start making significant gains in 2012.

Defective Pain Reliever Subject of Lawsuit


Oregon’s Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and two subsidiaries over a defective supply of the pain reliever: Motrin. Tony Green in the AG's Office says the company should have issued a recall, but didn't. That "phantom recall" is a violation of the State's Unlawful Trade Practices Act. Green says the goal of the suit is to make sure the company acts in a way that protects consumers.   In mid-2009, Johnson & Johnson and 2 subsidiaries discovered.  

Kitzhaber Will Focus on Jobs Creation


New Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is using ideas from his transition to create new jobs in the state.  Some will be in school weatherization retrofits; other jobs will come from more traditional resources: “Combined or current on the job training program with a career readiness certificate program. We believe that we can create about 1200 jobs or connect out of work Oregonians with the training necessary to fill 1200 high demand jobs over the course this year.” The Governor wants it understood he is anxious to work with business in a way that will benefit job seekers, businesses and the state's tax coffers.

Gas Prices Are Again On the Rise


Gas prices are up again this week. According to Marie Dodds at Triple A, the price of crude oil continues to be the driving force behind the rise. Dodds says there is hope that officials won’t let crude get to 2008 prices of about $4.00 a gallon, because they remember what that high price did to the economy in 2008.  Right now, the State average translates to about $3.17 a gallon up and down the I-5 corridor in Oregon. Diesel prices are higher too, with an average of $3.42 a gallon. In Bend, you'll pay about $3.10 for a gallon of gas.

Stomps Trial Begins in Portland


Jurors see disturbing photos as the trial of Hazelynn Stomps begins in Multnomah County Court.  The woman is accused of killing and burning the body of her husband of 39 years. Prosecutor Kirsten Snowden says Hazelynn Stomps couldn't get her story straight, telling investigators about a contact her husband, Jerry made through Craigslist, meeting him on a Friday, and about the stranger that forced her off a bridge: “She explained again that Jerry may have met Dave, more specifically now, on Monday or Tuesday of that week." Detectives later discovered the gun Jerry carried with him at all times was splattered with his blood.  She points to a photo of evidence that his body had been burned on his property: “This is most of what is left of Jerry Stomps." The trial is expected to take just under two weeks.

Oregon Man Killed in Tucson Tragedy


A former Sweet Home, Oregon woman is recovering in a Tucson hospital from wounds suffered in Saturday’s shooting. Mavy Stoddard has several gunshot wounds in the leg, but her husband was killed when he threw himself over her to protect her. Her daughter Angela Robinson says her stepfather, Darwan Stoddard, was loving and generous. Darwan and Mavy Stoddard met in the sixth grade, married other people, but then were widowed, and met each other, and got married fifteen years ago in Tucson.

Winter Driving in the Forest Can Be Sketchy


If you're travelling through the Cascades; stay on the main roads, even if your GPS device tells you a short cut is the faster route.  Forestry officials say many of the roads are not plowed during the winter.  Jeree Mills, with the Mt. Hood National Forest says they're seeing an increasing number of vehicles get stuck on roads that aren't plowed this time of year.  You can check their website or a ranger station to find out whether a road is open during the winter.

Haiti One Year Later


Mercy Corps workers are still on the ground in force in Haiti - one year after the devastating earthquake. John Oldham is lead on the Haiti Relief Project for the Portland-based international aid organization. Right now, Mercy Corps is proving water purification pills and educating the population about cholera, which is treatable but can be deadly if not treated quickly.   They are also operating cash-for-work programs and providing mobile phones that act as vouchers for food and supplies.

"A House Tied; A House Together"


With an Oregon House split evenly, 30 Democrats and 30 Republicans, the Legislature has no choice but to get started with a theme of bipartisanship. Returning Governor John Kitzhaber: “We are a House tied. We are a House together. We have an opportunity to remain together through this session.” The House elected co-speakers: Bruce Hanna who has been serving as house Republican leaders, and Arnie Roblan, a Democrat from Coos Bay known for his ability to reach across the aisle.

A Year of Firsts for the State of Oregon


John Kitzhaber is sworn-in at the State Capitol.  He is the first person elected to three terms as Oregon Governor. It's a big day of firsts in Salem: the first time Oregon has had a 30-30 split in the House of Representatives and the first official annual session after voters approved a move away from biennial meetings of the Legislature. House members agreed to split leadership of the House; so now there are Co-Chairs in the chamber.

Minimum Wage Increase Does Help Many


Minimum wage earners in Oregon are bringing home paychecks that are a tiny big larger than in 2010.  The State's minimum wage increased by 10¢ an hour to $8.50.  The increase affects about 87,000 Oregonians. Recent college graduate Laura Baker makes just above minimum wage. She says the extra $20 or so a month really helps: “For a salaried person, that may sound a little bit trivial, but for people who are just struggling to make sure they can go buy groceries, twenty bucks is a lot. That can help you buy a bus pass. It can help you buy school supplies for your kids." Baker says she works two lower paid, part-time jobs and has been unable to find work in her chosen profession. The national employment law project reports so that about 67% of minimum wage earners are women

BBB Warning About ATM's


The Better Business Bureau has some basic tips for ATM users to protect their money. ATM skimming is a growing problem. Crooks hide small camera and card readers on the bank machines that open up ATM users to fraudulent activity. And most don’t find out about it until they look at their bank statement.  Kyle Kavas with the Better Business Bureau says are some easy ways to protect your account: use the same machine as often as possible, so you're more like to notice the skimming equipment. And, as always, keep a watchful eye on your accounts.

Oregon Dairy Farmers Struggling With Higher Costs


Dairy farmers around Oregon are watching the closure of Mallorie's Dairy in Silverton. It's a farm that's been in business over half a century. Pete Kent, Executive Director of the Oregon Dairy Products Commission says, it's difficult to make a profit in the dairy industry. The cost of feed has increased more than 50%. Kent says some dairy farmers are doing better selling organic milk, which brings a higher price; but it also costs more to make. He says milk prices are rising, but it's going to be another difficult year.

Kitzaber Takes Oath


John Kitzhaber took the oath of office for his third term as Oregon Governor. He was upbeat in his speech, as he was during his victory speech November 4th saying Oregonians need to move forward.  He admits the State faces some big challenges, including a big budget deficit, high unemployment and a divided state, but says people shouldn't be pessimistic about Oregon’s future.

Oregon Legislators Pause to Reflect on Shooting


The Oregon 76th Legislative Session is now underway, and many lawmakers and staffers are pausing to reflect on this weekend's Arizona shooting that critically injured a Congresswoman and killed six people. Angie Dilkes a lobbyist with the Oregon Business Association says the shooter's actions could be a result of heated political differences and mental instability. The House took a moment of silence to honor victims of the shooting and Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter, shot and killed last week in the line of duty.

 

"Gold Rush" Features Oregon Men


The Discovery Channel's 'Gold Rush' Alaska is back from its holiday break with new episodes featuring six unemployed Oregon men who head north to try and strike it rich. Their boss is Todd Hoffman of Sandy. He says it's the most ambitious undertaking of his life. Three million Americans a week are watching the show, which airs at 10 pm Fridays and repeats throughout the week.

Laws Are Changing Regarding Child Porn


The Oregon Supreme Court has overturned two cases of child pornography; because the prosecution was not able prove the suspects intentionally downloaded the pictures.   Tony Green, in the Attorney General's Office, says it's the different between downloading a file and looking at a picture on a website. The Attorney General will ask lawmakers to craft legislation to fix the law, so that if your computer contains pictures with child pornography you can be prosecuted for encouraging child sex abuse.

Future for Oregon Agriculture Looks Good


Challenges remain on the horizon for Oregon agriculture in 2011, but the Director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture has some optimism.  Katy Coba says because of some very interesting developments on the national and international market scene, things look good: “Commodity demand is up.  We are seeing wheat prices, as an example, up.  We are starting to see beef prices move up.  So I think all of these things are going to certainly help the bottom line for Oregon agriculture."   Some commodity sectors are rebounding from economic problems faster than others in Oregon, but Coba says many farmers and ranchers can begin to see light at the end of the tunnel. 

Oregon Turf in Arizona


Could the Ducks have a slight advantage in Monday nights game? The game is being played in Arizona, but the turf they'll play on comes from Oregon seed.  Duane Ditchen, co-owner of Golden Valley Farms says when they found out where the BCS game was going to be played, they did a little research and realized it was their seed that was used for the field.  He says he thought is was a very cool surprise.  The grass seed was chosen because it is known for it's ability to grow during the winter. Ironically though, Ditchen is a tried and true Beaver Believer; but he's cheering on the Ducks this one time.

Mega Millions Winner Says He'll Keep His Head


Mega Millions winner Jim McCullar of Washington State says he and his wife played their birthday numbers and won $18,000 with Oregon Keno years ago. He played those same numbers and won $380-million in this week's Mega Millions jackpot.  He'll share the money with an unknown Idaho winner.  Jim told reporters the whole experience has been surreal. McCullar is a retired Boeing worker and says his kids, grandkids and great grand kids won't have to worry because he's not going to blow the money.

Travel Trends Include Oregon Spots


Triple A Oregon is monitoring the travel trends for 2011 and it looks like there are several U.S. hot spots in the west.  Travel expert, Doreen Loofburrow: “All national parks in the west. Whether you’re talking about Crater Lake, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone. The National Parks have really seen an uptick in the number of travelers.” Loofburrow says Hawaii is back on vacation lists, too. Especially with more frequent flights from the Pacific Northwest to the islands. She also says people are planning big international trips, with destinations like Africa and Dubai on their lists.

Wyden Has Bipartisan Support on Health Care Bill


It’s an unusual pairing on Capitol Hill. Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden and Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown are joining forces on a Health Care Bill.  The Senators want states to be able to opt out of the federal health law.  Wyden: “What I want is a system that looks much like members of Congress have; with a lot of choice where you can fire your insurance company; where you can hold health care providers accountable.” The Wyden-Brown Bill would give conservative states a chance to prove that market solutions can work, while more liberal states could try out a public option.

Oregon Sled Dog Races Mark 50 Years


2011 marks the 50th year of sled dog racing in Oregon. There’s an annual event that will be celebrating this milestone. It's a combination of excited dogs and excited mushers.  The 17th Annual Chemult Sled Dog Races is slated for January 15th and 16th. "Well, it's an event that we have mushers come from several states around to compete against each other with teams of sled dogs. And that could be anywhere from four dogs to eight. And they could run a course starting at only a couple miles up to 16 miles." Spokesperson Erin Sutton says it's quite a festive atmosphere, with a variety of races for all ages including skijoring. "That’s a fun one. That’s usually a skier on skis with wither one or two dogs pulling them on a course." Sutton says races begin at 8:30 each morning and conclude around mid-afternoon at the Walt Haring Sno-park.  She says a couple hundred people come just to watch and many ski along side the competitors or snowshoe around the area. You can get more information by clicking on “Chemult Sled Dog Race” on our “Links” page.

Ducks Defense Preparing for Newton


The Oregon Ducks play Auburn for the national title Monday night. While much of the attention has been on the high scoring Duck offense, Defensive Coordinator Nick Aliotti may have the toughest job: stopping Auburn's Heisman winning quarterback Cam Newton: “Cam Newton’s a special cat. You’ve got a big guy that not only’s a good runner, but a good passer. It would be nice if he was a one-headed monster, but he’s a two headed monster. That makes him harder to defend. “ Aliotti says the Duck defense knows what to do.  The question is; can they do it. The game starts at 5:30 p.m. this coming Monday.

Horse Rescue in Marion County


Marion County Sheriffs have rescued nine horses from starvation and neglect in a Woodburn field. Don Thomson with the Sheriff's Department says they had not been properly fed for months. The animals are now in the care of the United States SPCA in Yamhill, and are being fed and getting much needed veterinary care. The three owners were arrested and charged with nine counts of animal neglect.

Solar Systems Can Be Leased


You can now get a solar power system on your house without buying it. Rob Lavine, with Solar City, says the Oregon Department of Energy changed its rules so that rebates can cover leased systems.  A leased solar system costs about $25 a month and most of that cost is offset by the power generated by the solar cells. The leases are offered to customers of PGE and Pacific Power and Light.

Gas Taxes Don't Pay for Much Road Improvements


As Oregon and Washington look to the feds for help paying for a new interstate bridge, they need to keep in mind the federal gas tax does not generate a lot of money. Jenn Lavelle with OSPRIG says the appropriations bill the new Congress will debate this year will be funded by earmarks. She says federal gas taxes pay less than half the cost of such bills. The rest of the money comes in the form of earmarks.

Castillo Chooses Improved School for Ceremony


Oregon Public Schools Chief Susan Castillo was sworn in for another term Tuesday and she chose Reynolds High School as the venue for the ceremony, hoping to highlight the positive changes there.  Test scores and the graduation rate have been climbing.  School leadership is putting a huge emphasis on students taking pride in the school and taking responsibility for their progress. Principal Jeff Gilbert constantly reminding them that graduating isn't enough: they must set their sites on college or trades work to ensure a lifetime of contentment.

Bob Tiernan Bows Out As State GOP Chair


Parting shots from the outgoing head of the Oregon GOP. Bob Tiernan says he hopes Governor-Elect John Kitzhaber will cooperate with Republicans to get the State's financial house in order; but says he has his doubts about that because they will have to cut some pet programs. Tiernan announced that he wouldn't seek a second term, and endorsed businessman Allen Alley as his replacement as party chairman.

Flu Season Arrives With A Whimper


It seems a lot of people took their doctor's advice and got flu shots. Carlos Quintanilla, with the Oregon Immunization Program, says if you didn't get a vaccination, it's not too late. The shot takes about two weeks to take effect.   Washing your hands several times a day is one way to avoid getting the flu. And he says, if you're sick, stay home. If you have a cough, cover your mouth with you arm or a tissue to avoid spreading the flu.

Multnomah Falls Drawing Large Crowds


It may be below freezing but visitors are flocking to Multnomah Falls to take in the frozen ice on the hillside. Multnomah Falls is an impressive sight this time of year.  Some of the smaller falls have turned to gorgeous ice on the landscape while the larger falls are still flowing. Visitors are impressed. Multnomah Falls are near Troutdale.

Promising New Blood test for Cancer


A new blood test touted as so sensitive it can spot one cancer cell among billions of healthy ones has the medical community buzzing. Oregon Health Science University Pathology Professor, Dr. George Thomas, is excited by the future possibilities of the test that might be able to look at those cancer cells and tell if there are specific mutations And in terms of treatment, if there are specific drugs that target these mutations, then you can perhaps add them into the mix. Four big cancer centers will begin studies on the new test this year. Dr. Thomas says he doesn't know if OHSU will be part of that, but he is excited to see the results.

Goodbye MAC; Hello MATT


It was January first and the final buzzer at "The Pit"; Ducks fans say goodbye to Mac Court.  On January 13th, they'll say hello to the new home of University of Oregon basketball and other athletic events and concerts:  the Matthew Knight Arena.  Robert Thompson, a University of Oregon grad and lead architect on the arena hopes fans will learn to love the new building. He says the $225-million dollar project created hundreds of jobs. The building is designed to be Leed Gold certified, an industry term for being very environmentally friendly. The Ducks Mens' basketball play USC for the arena opener January 13th.

Woman and Daughter Fine After Abduction


A truck driver on I-84 called Oregon State Police Sunday morning when he saw a man in a Jeep Cherokee chasing a woman on foot. Sergeant Pat Shortt says troopers found them just outside the Dalles. “What we found was a 2002 black Jeep Cherokee that had rolled over near the west end of the Dalles. The male, Mr. Reed had been ejected from the vehicle and there was a two year old girl in the vehicle.” It is alleged that Benjamin Franklin Reed, 31, had kidnapped a mother and daughter from the Portland home they shared and forced her to drive east on I-84, stopping once to rape her. At a second stop the woman got of the car and ran. Mother and daughter are okay. Reed is being held on a million dollars bail.

Expert Say The Flu Season Peaks Now


A flu shot should be on your list of New Year's resolutions, according to the Oregon Health Authority. Flu season typically peaks at this time of year, and the H1N1 virus is still floating around.  There is a new vaccine and recommendations for those who should get the new vaccine.  Carlos Quintanilla with the State Immunization Program says even those who are squeamish about getting the shot should consider the statistics. "In the 2009-2010 season, which was the H1N1 season, in Oregon from September through April, there were 1,314 patients hospitalized with laboratory confirmed influenza.  And there were 67 deaths; 63 adults and four children." Nationwide, almost 42,000 people were hospitalized and more than 2100 deaths were attributed to the H1N1 virus last season.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends annual flu shots for everyone over six months of age.

Portland Shooting Involved Homeless Man


A standoff in Portland resulted in the death of a homeless man. Portland Police say the man approached officers with a large knife yesterday afternoon.  There was a standoff as the man was allegedly threatening to kill a female security guard at a nearby business. The standoff ended with police shooting the 60 year old man.  The man had been living in the area in an abandoned carwash lot.  The security guard says yesterday's stand-off was the second time in two days that he had threatened to kill her.

Gas Prices Jump Quick, Thanks to New Tax


The increase in Oregon’s Gas Tax caused the State's average to increase 6¢ a gallon this week to an average of $3.13; while the national average increased only 3¢ to $3.07 a gallon. Marie Dodds at the Triple-A says this sets the stage for higher prices throughout the year. Diesel increased 3¢ a gallon in Oregon to an average of $3.40. As long as crude oil remains above $90 a barrel, gas prices will remain high. Locally, we’re finding an average in Bend being about $3.10 a gallon for the first week of 2011.

Oregon Legislative Leaders Gearing Up for 2011 Session


Oregon legislative leaders are preparing for the 2011 session set to begin in February. House Republican Leader Bruce Hanna thinks Governor-elect Kitzhaber's "Cool Schools" plan is a good idea; hiring local contractors to perform energy saving retrofits on public school buildings and using the cost savings to pay for it. But he would rather see his party's "Main Street Program" get movement. “That had to do more with improving people's home and their businesses and the upside to that is that is creates jobs, and it builds property values which in turn create revenue.” Both Republican and Democratic leaders agree on the top priorities: job creation and an overhaul of government to reduce spending.

Snowpack Higher Than Average


Oregon’s latest snowpack numbers are reflective of a typical La Nina weather pattern, currently settling at about 126% of average; 106% of average on Mount Hood. Jon Lea with the U.S. Department of Agriculture just completed the survey on Mount Hood where there is 91 inches of snow and 30 inches of water. “This is a good start for the water year again. Lots can still happen, it's early in the season. Typically about 40% of the snow water is on the ground by January first.” Lea says farmers hope for a gradual melt this spring. In Washington, the snowpack measurement is at 106% of average.

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