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Regional News Archives for 2012-05


Health Official Worry About Whooping Cough


Oregon has seen cases of whooping cough nearly triple this year to 300.  Dr. Ann Thomas, in the Oregon Health Department, says it's because kids aren't getting vaccinated.  Oregon has one of the highest rates of kids not getting vaccinations in the country.  Washington State is dealing with a severe outbreak with 1700 cases.  They’re advising parents to make sure their kids are vaccinated.

Some Portlanders Get a Deal on "Think Cars"


It was a deal Joe and Ruth Mayer of southwest Portland couldn't pass up.  With state and federal tax credits and an amazing deal from a manufacturer in financial distress, Ruth says they purchased a new electric vehicle: a “Think Car” for about $8000.

That’s about $24,000 under the list price.  Portland General Electric is celebrating the arrival of about 20 “Think Cars” to Portland today,  saying the EV network is growing, good for PGE's bottom line and good for the environment.

Bus Driver Attacked by Student


A bus driver from the North Clackamas School District was injured in an attack by a student this morning.  Jeff Blaser, from Damascus, saw the bus stopped and that the driver, Alice Scohhon, 68, was being attacked.  He entered the bus and saw that Scoggin had been bitten on her face and arms.  Sheriff's Sergeant Adam Phillips says the student also tried to bite a deputy who tried to take him into custody.  They later learned the middle school student suffers from autism.  There were 2 students on the bus.  They weren't hurt.  The driver was treated and released from the hospital.  There have been no previous problems with the student.  He’ll remain off the bus until services are in place to make sure the other students are safe.

Several Oregon Counties in Financial Danger


An audit by the Secretary of State's Office is warning eight counties that they're in danger financial problems. 

 

Secretary of State Kate Brown says the Governor has a special task force to help the counties facing the most critical problems.  The eight counties are: Coos, Curry, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lane and Polk.  They are timber based counties, and with the Federal Timber Payment money drying up, those counties are at greater risk of losing services. 

Beward of Text Scammers!


Scammers are sending fake text messages to cell phones with embedded links that can lead to spyware being downloaded on your phone.  Tony Green, in the Oregon Attorney General’s Office, says delete the message without clicking on the link.  And...don't reply to the message, because that tells the scammer they have a real phone number and they'll send even more scam text messages.

College Tuition Going Up


It looks like college tuition costs are going up in Oregon.  The State Board of Higher Education is expected to approve on average a 3% increase in tuition for Oregon's seven universities.  The Board will meet Friday to approve the hike.  Rates vary by university, but at the University of Oregon it would be a 6% hike, which would increase tuition $500 a year for undergrads.  Tuition and fees would be around $9300 a year.  Four years ago,  it was $6500.

 

 

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Oregon Chief Education Officer Named


Once approved by the Oregon Education Investment Board, Doctor Rudy Crew will be the state's first Chief Education Officer.  During a visit to Portland's Boyles Elementary, he said his job will be to build a system that gives students the best chance at success.  In the past, Crew has been the Chancellor of New York City Schools but says he left that position when he felt they'd lost the political will to do what he thinks is necessary to succeed.

 

 

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Missing Childen Website


Talking to children about safety is the purpose behind the "Take25.org" website.  Julie Willard runs the Oregon Missing Children Clearinghouse and says it reminds parents to be sure their children have the most basic information; such as their address and their parent’s full names, and she encourages you to report if you suspect you’ve seen a missing child.  Currently there are more than 460 missing children in Oregon.

 

 

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Postal Dog Bites Rising


Portland ranks 14th nationwide for the number of letter carriers bitten by dogs. Ron Anderson, with the Portland Post Office, says there were 27 dog bite incidents last year and they're asking you to help by keeping your pets restrained during the hours that mail is delivered.  Nationwide, 5600 postal workers were bitten by dogs.

 

 

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New Aquarium Feature- Walk Through the Ocean


"The Sea and Me" exhibit now open at the Oregon Coast Aquarium puts visitors in the ocean.  You can walk through a 200-foot tunnel surrounded by sharks and rays. The Aquariums’ Cindy Hanson says another highlight of the exhibit is a simulated submarine experience aboard what is called the "Sea Lemon.”  The aquarium is open nine to six daily through the summer.

 

 

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Study Says Budget Food Costs Lower


The cost of food as a part of income is at its lowest level ever in the U.S.; 9%.   It’s also the lowest level in the world. Brent Searle, with the Oregon Department of Agriculture, says retailers that sell on high volume are one reason.  The efficiency of growers and food producers has also helped keep prices down.  When baby boomers were kids, the cost of food was 17% percent of income.

 

 

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Dog Dragged Behind Car


Police arrested four people Monday night on animal abuse charges after witnesses saw them dragging a large dog at a truck stop in Troutdale. Steve Bevens of Troudale Police says the four claimed they'd stopped for gas and gave the dog a bowl of water but forgot that he was tied to the car. The 85-pound pit bull mix was treated for severe injuries to his paws and is expected to make a full recovery.

 

 

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Schools Miss Out on Savings


An audit finds school districts missed out on $40-million in energy savings, because of choices made in upgrading facilities. Secretary of State Kate Brown says they tracked money spent on energy upgrades.  “The audit covers 8 years and all of the state's 111 school districts.”  It shows the state should have done a better job setting guidelines for how the money was spent and prioritizing it among districts that would have gained the most from energy savings.

 

 

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Oregon's Grass Seed Shines


Oregon’s grass seed industry was hit by the recession just like everyone else, but the Oregon Department of Agriculture reports things are looking up. ODA spokesman Jim Cramer says he just returned from a trip to South Korea, and during the trip continues to hear the same comments. "Everywhere we went, the same message was heard. The product from Oregon is such high quality, we don't have any problems with it. That didn't go unnoticed by our seed industry. They should be bloody proud." ODA inspectors take samples of the grass seed and tests them for pests and diseases, and they get an phytosanitary certificate before they are exported. Cramer says exports to Asia being about 35% of the total market; and China is the biggest exporter of Oregon grass seed.

 

 

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White Powder Problem Curbed


The FBI has taken action to prevent threatening letters containing white powder from being mailed in Portland. The FBI's Beth Anne Steele wasn't able to say what they did to stop the letters. Steele says that's it's possible that letters still in process could be delivered. She says no arrests have been made and no one is in custody. Six letters have been received at various offices around Portland. None of them contained toxic material. The state health lab is trying to determine the content of the powder.

 

 

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AAA to Expand Bike Service


 

AAA Oregon / Idaho is expanding its bike service to all club members. AAA’s Marie Dodds says it works the same way as their service does for cars: if you have a flat or a break-down, just call to be picked up. AAA Oregon / Idaho was the first club in the country to offer the service. It was initially offered only to members with a higher level of service;now it's being expanded to all members.
 
 
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