It was partly a reaction to the revelation of Penn State Assistant Football Coach Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse of children. The Oregon Legislature voting to expand the list of workers who are obligated by state law to report suspected child abuse. That expanded list, which now includes higher education workers, takes effect on the first. Stacey Ayers, Oregon Child Protective Services Program Manager says the expanded list now includes a broad class of workers: employees of clubs, camps, religious and community organizations that serve children.
With holiday parties in full swing, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission urges party-goers and hosts to promote responsible drinking. OLCC spokeswoman Christie Scott says guests should monitor their own alcohol intake and designate a sober driver. Also, Scott suggests collecting guests' car keys at the door, and having them contribute to a taxicab fare fund. Another idea is to stop serving alcohol an hour before the party ends.
The group "Wild Oregon" has been fighting to win federal wild and scenic status for the Molalla River. Tommy Hough says one goal is to limit the amount of run-off getting into the river from foresting and farming activities. The bill has strong bipartisan support in the House and the Senate. The Molalla river is located southeast of Portland.
On January first an executive order from Oregon’s Governor will begin to expand no smoking areas in and around state buildings. Dave Thompson with the Department of Transportation says that agency will be one of the first to ban smoking on property adjacent to its buildings - including parking lots, state controlled sidewalks and greenways. Other agencies will have until July first to implement the new rule; others will have two years to comply.
It won't take long for cars damaged by the flood waters of Hurricane Sandy to make their way to the west coast where many will be sold to unknowing used-car shoppers. The Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles urges you to be on the look-out for these cars which can have damage to electronics that allow the car to operate properly. David House with the DMV says it's best to have a mechanic examine a used car before a purchase. Also, look for signs of water damage on upholstery and run the “VIN” through Carfax or Experian or have your insurance agent check it out.
An amazing recovery for a Vancouver man who nearly died after being attacked in Redding, California. Tyler Burton, 21, was out with friends over Halloween when a stranger punched him in the face. His head hit the concrete and he suffered a severe brain injury. His mother, Kimberly Burton, says doctors thought he would be in a vegetative state the rest of his life; but he's surprised them by waking up. Tyler returned to Vancouver last week. He's able to talk and recognize people. He faces 5 to 6 hours of physical therapy a day as he continues to recover.
Both Russians and Americans are angry that President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill banning Americans from adopting Russian children. Dan and Kim LaPoint, of Portland, adopted a baby girl six years ago. Kim says that it's wrong to make a political statement with children. The law also blocks dozens of Russian children now in the process of being adopted by American families from leaving the country. The U.S. is the biggest destination for adopted Russian children. More than 60,000 of them have been taken in by Americans over the past two decades. There are 740,000 children without parents in Russia.
A bread company run by a former convict has plans to expand nationwide. Dave Dahl owns Dave’s Killer Bread. He says that a new equity partner will help his company grow. He was sent to prison four times over 15 years and eight years ago, he was released from prison. The bread developed a cult following in farmers markets. It's currently being sold in 11 states.
Oregon crab fishermen have been getting nervous. The start to the crabbing season has been delayed by a month. Gary Roth with the Department of Agriculture says when it finally starts Monday crabbers will be playing catch up with customers. Last season's crab harvest was 14-million pounds, the third lowest in eight years.
A man was arrested in Salem for crawling into the back seat of a deputy's patrol car and refusing to leave. Don Thomson, with the Marion County Sheriff's Office, says a deputy saw the man try to get into the back seat of another car that was stopped at an intersection. When that driver pulled away, the man crawled into the patrol car. Corban Scheckler, 26, had tried several times to get a ride-along with the sheriff's office, but was denied because he couldn't pass the background check. This time, he got his ride as they drove him to jail and booked him for trespassing.
Federal unemployment benefits are set to run out for about 25,000 Oregonians by the end of the year, and it’s not clear whether congress plans to continue the program in 2013. If lawmakers do nothing, residents who have exhausted their 26 weeks of state benefits and were getting federal supplementary assistance will receive their last checks the first week of January. Those who lose their jobs in 2013 will be eligible only for 26 weeks of state unemployment help unless congress decides to renew the more generous federal program next year.
State Police are still trying to identify the person who threw a rock at a car on I-5 injuring two University of Oregon students who were driving home to California last month. Lieutenant Gregg Hastings says the families of Molly Grabill, 20, and Chris Brewer, 19, have added money to the reward. The rock hit Grabill in the face causing serious injuries. She was driving and lost control of the car. Brewer tried to grab the wheel, but the car rolled over. They have both been released from the hospital. Hastings says they got a few tips from the original reward. They’re hoping to larger reward will generate more leads.
Your relationship with your mother-in-law is already a little rough, avoid making it worse by making sure the food you serve during holiday gatherings isn't a hot pot of tummy-turning bacteria. If hot or cold food sits out for more than a couple of hours – throw it away. Susan Hendrick, a Food Safety specialist with the Oregon Department of Agriculture, says it's important to keep food really cold or hot and avoid the danger zone where bacteria grows fastest: 40 degrees to 135 degrees. Consider using crock-pots or hot pots and putting cold dishes over ice.
Troutdale sculptor Rip Caswell has been commission by the Naval Order of the U.S. to make a bronze statue of Admiral Chester Nimitz. The statue will be located at the entrance to the Battleship Missouri Memorial at Pearl Harbor. Caswell is currently finishing the statue in clay. A wax mold will be made from the clay and the bronze will be poured into the wax mold. You can watch the process at Caswell's studio in Troutdale.
Washington State Police is warning about a scam where people are being called to give donations to fund the Amber Alert Program. Lt. Ron Mead says Amber Alert doesn't raise money through telephone solicitations. Websites for both Washington and Oregon list registered charities. The WSP has confirmed the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Amberalert.com are not doing any fundraising or telephone solicitations
Hate those long security lines at the airport? If you're flying out for the holidays, there are some things you can do to breeze through the TSA checkpoints. Portland TSA Director Mike Irwin says start by packing the contents of your pockets in your carry-on bag, and do not wrap gifts. Leave your one-quart baggie of liquids and gels out of your luggage - you will need to put it in the bin for inspection. Between now and January second, the TSA estimates as many as 48-thousand passengers a day will pass through Portland International Airport.
Criminals are using the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut to scam people out of their money. They're setting up fake charities with stories from fake victims and made-up news stories. Kyle Kavas, with the Better Business Bureau, says check out a charity before giving money, and never give cash. You can check out whether a charity is registered to operate in Oregon by going to the State Department of Justice website.
Oregon gained 600 jobs in November, as the state unemployment rate edged down to 8.4%, from October’s rate of 8.6%. State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks says that's more than 12,000 fewer than November of last year, as Oregon's rough economic recovery continues. The Oregon Employment Division says the number of people claiming benefits has dropped 32% in the last year, and workers are using fewer of their 26 weeks of benefits. However, the state's U-6 measure of labor under-utilization remains at 16%.
When Congress deals with the issue of gun violence, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley says it needs to include several subjects; including a discussion on gun control, mental health funding and violence in the media. Merkley says the first step will be to learn about the issues and then develop a plan to reach a solution that will prevent some of the attacks.
The snow is piling up fast on Mount Hood. They could get five feet by the end of the week. Dave Tragethon at Mt. Hood Meadows, says it's excellent snow. The base is more than 75-inches and could hit a hundred inches by the end of the month.
Oregon’s governor has created a panel of experts to look at federal legislation that will determine how the state's public forestlands will be managed and how counties will benefit from future timber harvests. One conservation group, Forest Web of Cottage Grove, is asking the governor to open the door of the panel's meetings. The panel is comprised of representatives of the timber industry, conservation groups, the state and counties. Public hearings will be held on the proposal before it's approved by Congress.
Friday was the first chance to meet Lily, the Oregon Zoo's baby elephant. But zoo volunteers got a sneak peak last Thursday. The zoo warns visitors to expect long lines and arrive early for a chance to see Rose-Tu's daughter. Viewings are scheduled from 10 to 2 but could be called off any time the elephants show signs of fatigue or distress. Visitors will be escorted into the Asian elephant viewing area in groups for five minute visits.
The school shooting in Connecticut can leave children feeling scared. Dr. Kathryn Flagel, a Child Psychologist at Providence Hospital, says you need to reassure your kids. She says it's ok to tell kids you feel sad about the shootings; even scared and that the feelings will go away with time.
Oregon State Senator Ginny Burdick says that in light of the mall shooting and now the elementary school shooting in Connecticut, it's time for Oregon lawmakers to ban large capacity gun magazines in Oregon. Seven states and Washington D.C. have bans against assault rifles. Oregon is not one of those states.
A Newberg pet store was damaged by fire Thursday morning. Frank Douglas, Division Chief for Newberg fire, says the building housing "Critter Cabana" was filled with smoke when the first crews arrived, and they made an aggressive attack to knock down the flames. Veterinarians and animal control officials rescued as many animals as possible. Some of the animals died in the fire. Crews are working through the building to remove animals. The building does not have a sprinkler system. No firefighters were injured. Investigators are trying to learn how the fire started.
Brace yourself for the busiest year-end holiday travel season in recent memory. Triple-A projects 93.3 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles from home to enjoy time with friends and family. Spokeswoman Marie Dodds says it’s a bigger increase - 1.8% here in the Pacific Northwest where nearly 16 million of us will travel. Nationwide, air travel is up, but the vast majority, 90% still plan to go by car.
The U.S. Department of Energy gives a wind power project on the Oregon coast a boost.
The Department of Energy is providing a $4-million boost for a wind power project being conducted about 10 miles off the coast of Coos Bay, and most of Oregon's Congressional Delegation is celebrating the news. The funds were awarded to a Washington company; Principle Power, to aid their plans to install five semi-submersible floating foundations with six megawatt wind turbines. Oregon and Washington Senators and Representatives in May signed a letter promoting the work, citing state efforts to reduce carbon emissions and increase use of renewable energy.
The Oregon Department of Revenue wants to improve their efforts to get your tax money, but, a computer system upgrade probably won't happen anytime soon. The Oregon Department of Revenue received some unwanted attention when a worker accidentally approved a fraudulent $2-million refund. A review of the Revenue Department's work highlighted the state agency's need for a new computer system; but the Statesman Journal reports that upgrade isn't likely to happen until 2015. The Department has asked the Governor for the $4-million in direct funds needed for the upgrade. That would require approval by the Legislature and, in recent years and the upcoming session, money is more than tight, with very little available for technology upgrades.
The Oregon Zoo has announced the name of the baby elephant: Lily. The name received nearly 60-percent of the 50-thousand votes made by the public. Zoo Director Kim Smith says elephant herds are matriarchal; a female leading the group. And Lily, with her go-getter personality might be just like her mom, Rose-Tu. Zoo staff suggested five names. Voting took place on-line over the last week. We have video of the baby elephant's first trip outside at: www.oregonzoo.org.
The U. S. Supreme court will consider challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition Eight. Sasha Bucher with Basic Rights Oregon says it's one more step in the right direction for gay and lesbian couples, following a bunch of other big steps. Basic Rights Oregon will champion an effort to put same-sex marriage back on the Oregon ballot in 2014 - a vote of the people required to change the constitution.
A committee has been appointed to determine the best training standards for non-traditional health workers. That is, Community Health Workers, Patient Health Navigators and Doulas. Carol Cheney with the Oregon Health Authority says studies show patients guided by these workers tend to have better outcomes with their treatment plans. Cheney says it's a perfect time to review the standards as the state goes through significant healthcare program overhauls.
The Clark County Auditor's Office expects a rush of same sex couples applying for marriage licenses now that it’s legal. Paul Harris is the License Manager. For years...he's handed out licenses, but hasn't been allowed to get one for himself and his partner. Now he can...and he says it means a lot. Brooks Barrent, Pastor of Vancouver's First Congregational Church, says he expects to perform several marriages this Sunday. Sunday is the first day there can be marriages, because of the three day waiting period.
75% of drivers surveyed by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission think they're likely to get a ticket for going 68 in a 60 mile-per-hour zone. Erica Holmes, with the Commission, says more than 1100 drivers were asked what they think and what they know about traffic safety. The results were promising, indicating most drivers know the laws. But Holmes says the state still has work to do to convince drivers to abide by the traffic safety laws, pointing to one finding that shows a third of 18- to 24-year-old drivers are text messaging while driving.
The Census Bureau has released the American Community Survey. It compiles data from all of the individual surveys taken in the last census. Scott Boggess, with the Census Bureau, says public officials will find it useful; but so will businesses. And you can use it to learn more about the people living in your area. You’ll find a link to the survey on the census bureau's website.
Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer says the work to prevent the country from going over the fiscal cliff of budget cuts and tax increases is a chance to fix things. He says there will have to be cuts and tax increases. The final outcome will bring deficit reduction. He thinks they'll work out part of the solution before the end of the year and the rest in 2013.
Construction workers in Oregon have had a hard time finding work the last four years, but the industry is finally making a comeback. Carey Valdez, with Parr Lumber, says that during their annual housing forecast they heard from economists who all say the supply of homes is less than the demand. That means the number of building permits should continue to increase and that will drive more construction hiring. They expect the industry to show steady growth for the next three years.
Medical marijuana patients will soon be able to join collective gardens in Vancouver. The gardens can have up to 10 patients, as many as 45 plants and have to be located in light or heavy industrial areas. Mayor Tim Leavitt says law enforcement officials he's talked with say it's the right direction to go. The collective gardens have to register with the state and keep records of medical marijuana patients. They can't have outside signs and they can't sell marijuana or items used to smoke marijuana.
The Oregon Zoo doesn't own the baby elephant that was born last week, but it will stay at the zoo. According to a contract with the company that owns the father, "Have Trunk Will Travel," gets rights to the second, fourth and sixth calves that are sired by "Tusko." Zoo Director Kim Smith says that doesn't mean the baby will leave the zoo. The questions arose, because it's not written in the contract that the elephant stays in Portland. Smith says they're in negotiations with the company to keep the elephant here.
The newly released "Giving in Oregon" report shows that despite a still weak economy and high jobless rate, Oregonians are generous in their giving. Sonia Worcel with the Oregon Community Foundation says that ranks Oregon as one of the top 20 most generous states in the country. Most of the money goes to education groups. She says another reports Oregonians also rank in high in the number of hours donated through volunteerism.