AAA promotes economy and environmental protection

“Beginning March 31, AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities Oregon are offering their customers free maintenance and safety inspections to be sure their cars are safe and ready for heavier warm weather use,” said AAR Coordinator Earl Baker. “Certified technicians will check more than 30 points of your vehicle, including fluids, wipers, tires, hoses and belts-everything except the brakes. And, with higher fuel costs, it’s important for motorists to be sure their vehicles are operating efficiently and cleanly, saving money and protecting air quality.”
The free inspections are in conjunction with the annual AAA Great Battery Round-Up, which usually runs the week prior to Earth Day, April 22. This year, AAR facilities are collecting old lead acid automotive or marine batteries all month for proper disposal.
“It’s important for people to take advantage of this free service,” said Baker. “Too often old batteries sit on a back shelf in the garage or out in the back yard. They can potentially leak and contaminate the soil and water, and they can also be a fire hazard. The extended collection period makes the disposal service more conveniently accessible to auto and boat owners.”
While conducting the safety and maintenance inspections, the technicians will also replace, at no cost, mercury light switches often used in lights in the trunk and under the hood. “The on-going Mercury Switch-OUT program is in its second year now.” Baker said. “It only takes technicians only a few minutes to replace the switches, so only makes sense for them to install safer switches during the maintenance and safety inspection.”
It’s estimated about 7,000 vehicles equipped with mercury switches are still on Oregon’s streets and highways. Each switch contains an ounce of mercury, enough to contaminate a 20-acre lake.
“Our Approved Auto Repair partners are offering valuable services,” Baker said. “In a single visit, you can be sure your vehicle is safe and reliable and you can do your part to prevent hazardous materials from contaminating our soil and water.”
For more information, call Earl Baker or Charles Glasser, AAA Automotive Services, (800) 452-1643, or visit our website, aaa.com, for a complete list of participating facilities.

AAA Oregon/Idaho provides more than 606,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services, and is an affiliate of AAA National, serving 45 million motorists in North America.

Community Development Block Grant public hearing postponed

The Community Development Block Grant draft consolidated plan public hearing originally scheduled for April 2nd has been postponed due to a delay of the process of how the federal government designates new direct entitlement communities. The hearing was to have taken place during the City Council’s 7 p.m. regularly scheduled meeting this Wednesday and does not appear as an agenda item on this week’s Council agenda.

Due to a federal government delay in designating new Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) direct entitlement communities, the start of the City of Bend’s CDBG Program will be postponed for 6 months.

The Public Hearing scheduled for April 2, 2003 will be rescheduled during October 2003. The new CDBG program start date will be January 1, 2004.

Notices were mailed out announcing the postponement along with flyers posted at all the same locations where original notices of the public hearing had been placed.

The purpose of this next public hearing in October will be to provide Bend citizens with an opportunity to comment on a draft Consolidated Plan, which will provide an overview of housing and community needs and funding priorities in Bend.

If you have any questions regarding the City’s upcoming CDBG Program, or if you would like to continue submitting comments to the City regarding priority housing and community development needs in Bend, please contact the City at:
Consolidated Plan
City of Bend, Attn: Rima Wilson
P.O. Box 431, Bend, Oregon 97709
(541)312-4915 (541)388-5519(fax)
rwilson@ci.bend.or.us

Deschutes Spring & Fall Chinook fisheries announced

PORTLAND – Chinook salmon angling will be allowed April 15 – Oct. 31, 2003, in the
Deschutes River because fish managers expect strong adult returns, the Oregon
Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today.

State fish managers expect 9,000 spring chinook to return to two hatcheries on the
Deschutes River and 10,000 wild fall chinook to return to Deschutes River spawning
grounds.

The spring chinook fishery is restricted to adipose fin-clipped chinook. During the
fall fishery, which begins Aug. 1, anglers may keep any chinook until the daily
catch limit of salmon is reached.

The following regulations were approved recently by ODFW:

2003 Spring Chinook Fishing Regulations:

Area: Mouth at Interstate 84 bridge upstream to Sherars Falls.
Season: April 15 – July 31, 2003. Open for trout, adipose fin-clipped steelhead, and
adipose fin-clipped chinook salmon.
Catch limit: Two adult adipose fin-clipped salmon and five adipose fin-clipped jack
salmon per day. Jack salmon are chinook 15-24 inches long. Steelhead are included in
the daily two salmon catch limit, although one additional steelhead may retained per
day for a total of three fish. All non adipose fin-clipped salmon or steelhead must
be released unharmed.
Other: It is unlawful to angle for steelhead or trout between Sherars Falls and the
upper railroad trestle (about three miles) after taking a daily bag limit of adult
chinook salmon. It also is unlawful to angle for jack salmon after taking a limit of
adult salmon.

2003 Fall Chinook Fishing Regulations:

Area: Mouth at Interstate 84 bridge upstream to Sherars Falls.
Season: Aug. 1 – Oct. 31 for chinook salmon. The area already is open under
permanent regulations for trout and adipose fin-clipped steelhead angling.
Catch limit: Two adult salmon and five jack salmon per day. Jack salmon are chinook
15-24 inches long. Steelhead are included in the daily two salmon catch limit,
although one additional steelhead may retained per day for a total of three fish.
All non adipose fin-clipped steelhead must be released unharmed.
Other: It is unlawful to angle for jack salmon after taking a limit of adult salmon.

Commission denies request to investigate PGE tax issue

Salem, OR -The Oregon Public Utility Commission today denied a request by
the Utility Reform Project (URP) to begin an investigation to determine
whether ratepayers should receive a refund for income taxes Portland General
Electric (PGE) paid to its parent since 1997.

URP’s petition raised two main issues. First, did PGE make “false or
misleading representations” regarding the amount of income taxes that should
be included in customers’ rates? Second, did PGE collect funds from its
customers that were not used for that purpose?

On the first issue, Commission staff concluded there is no evidence in the
petition that PGE made false representations in calculating the amount of
income taxes that should be included in customer rates. As for the second
issue, the Commission concluded it does not have jurisdiction over whether
PGE’s parent (Enron) appropriately paid its income taxes.

Federal and state taxing authorities are responsible for ensuring
corporations pay income taxes they owe. Any underpayments would be owed to
those taxing authorities and their constituents, not to ratepayers.

The Commission can obtain the tax information; however, by law it cannot
divulge the tax information to the public.

When PEG was sold in 1997, the Commission made the decision to “wall off”
PGE from the new owner for the purpose of setting customer rates. The
Commission’s decision insulated PGE from its parent, so the parent’s
expenses would not be considered when setting customer rates.

“The reason we don’t look at income taxes of the parent company is because
if we did ratepayers would also be responsible for the parent’s expenses,”
Commission Chairman Roy Hemmingway said. “Fortunately, the Commission
previously had the foresight to erect firewalls around PGE. Otherwise PGE
could have been facing bankruptcy along with Enron and PGE customers could
be facing increased cost.”

Commissioner Joan Smith said, “Unfortunately, the Utility Reform Project
brought its issues to the wrong forum. The tax issues that URP wants to
explore are not within the PUC’s jurisdiction.”

Calculating PGE’s costs, including income taxes, for ratemaking on a
stand-alone basis protects PGE’s customers from the financial difficulties
experienced by Enron’s subsidiaries.

Money PGE paid in taxes flowed to its parent, which consolidated them for
tax purposes. Consolidation allows the parent corporation to offset tax
liabilities with expenses.

Commission staff further concluded that PGE’s income taxes were accurately
calculated in the company’s 1996 rate case using PGE’s expected revenues,
expenses, and rate base. The company’s actual tax liability is based on its
actual financial results and may be different from what was forecast and
included in customer rates. In fact, the Commission staff found that PGE
paid more income tax in 1997-2001 than was included in customers’ rates.

Update: Immigration lawyer wins hearing, heads off Redmond teen’s quick ouster

Jacob Johnston was a track star at Redmond High School, among numerous top-flight achievements, and won a track scholarship to Salem’s Chemeketa Community College. But for the past week, the 19-year-old freshman has been behind bars in San Diego, unable to outrun a three-country paperwork snafu that turned a carefree Spring Break jaunt to Mexico into a “man without a country” wartime nightmare.

The trouble that landed Jake in an immigration detention center began when he told the truth about his birthplace – Abbotsford, B.C., just across the Canadian border – as the teen and his college track buddies were questioned while returning to the United States at the Mexican border, after a brief trip to Tijuana.

The others got back into the United States without a problem, but Jake didn’t – and now, the young man is said to be scared and angry, while his family and friends grow increasingly frustrated and are turning to anyone they can to help, from lawyers to Capitol Hill.

The young man’s parents, Margrethe Johnston of Salem and Robert Johnston of Redmond, freely admit they neglected to follow up and file the proper paperwork almost 20 years ago, when the resident aliens and former Canadians lived in the tiny border town of Sumas, Wash. They figured it made much more sense to have their baby born at the big Abbotsford hospital, five miles away, then the smaller one in Bellingham, Wash., about 40 miles away.

“Because Margrethe and I were Canadians (by birth), it was nothing to cross the border,” Jake’s father, a salesman at Bend’s Big Country RV, said Monday. “We didn’t think anything of it.”

He recalled how a friend from their church was manning the border checkpoint that day – “everybody knew everybody” – and the official filled out a small form, based on the “record of birth” notice the new mom showed him. “He said, `Hold on a second,’ and got us a packet. He told us, `You’ll need this for later.’ Frankly, we never gave it another thought.”

Robert Johnston said he and his wife are resident aliens and remain Canadian citizens. “We’re on a green card,” he said. “I’ve lived here since 1967. She emigrated in 1981,” and Jacob was born two years later. The subject never comes up, with only two limitations Johnston is aware of: “We can’t vote, and we can’t own a firearm.”

“Jake has been across the border to Canada a couple, three times,” his father said. “He has a driver’s license, his student ID card, a Social Security card – that was all he needed.” He also traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico, a couple of years ago, to visit his older brother, Peter, a professor there.

But that was before Sept. 11, 2001, and the newly created Department of Homeland Security, which took in a number of agencies, including the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Now, without the proper papers, the teen is being held at the border, told he has “no status” as a citizen – and in fact, his parents had been told he could be deported to Canada in coming days, even though he’s never lived there and has no real ties to that country.

His father said, “Once out of the country, they told him he can’t come into the U.S. for five years!”

“He is, by all standards, a legal resident of the United States,” Robert Johnston said. “The only time he ever spent in Canada was the two days after he was born. He never lived there. Apparently, the document the immigration guy filled out back then was a `Record of Foreign Birth.’”

“Subsequently, we’ve found out, he should have had a `green card,’” indicating his naturalized U.S. citizenship, the teen’s father said, having hired a Bend immigration attorney in hopes of sorting out the mess.

Bend lawyer heads off ‘expedited removal,’ wins hearing

Until Tuesday, the parents feared that their son would get booted to Canada – where he’s never lived – without so much as a hearing, possibly as soon as Thursday. But their newly hired immigration attorney, Dan Larsson of Bend, said he’d managed to head that off, at least for now.

It’s not clear sailing, but Larsson said he was able to get assurance Tuesday of a hearing by officials of the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, successor to the Immigration and Natural Naturalization Service under the Department of Homeland Security.

“Basically, what we’ve managed to do is get the (agency) to obviously agree there may be some credence to his claim, and he’s not going to be summarily removed” from the country, Larsson said.

“We’re also trying to go a step beyond that, and we’re trying to get him paroled into the United States – basically, released from jail,” Larsson said. “It’s not an admission (into the country). It’s basically an admission with safeguards,” to be sure the proper steps are taken and documentation completed.

The immigration hearing is likely to be held next week in San Diego, and Larsson said he and the teen’s parents probably will need to be there, to make their case, “unless we can get the INS to take some type of reasonableness, so we can parole him” into this country first.

“Actually, the (agency) graciously offered today that if he would withdraw his request for admission, he could voluntarily leave, and then he would be free to pursue getting back from Canada,” the lawyer said. “The problem with that is, under the law, he’s a permanent resident. He left for four hours. … We’re right, and they’re wrong.”

“Like many cases, they are offering something sweet so he can get out of jail and work on being here legally,” Larsson said. “Well, he was here legally. The INS didn’t do what they should have done 19 years ago, when (the family) came in. There should have been a notation made. The record should have been created at the time of entry. The forms should have been processed.”

The offices of Sens. Gordon Smith and Ron Wyden and Rep. Greg Walden have gotten involved in the case, but Larsson said he’s not sure if that pressure has made a difference, at this point. “We directed the Canadian consul to say, `No, he’s not going to have any type of facilitation (out of the country).’ He doesn’t want to leave.”

As a returning, permanent resident, “he should not have even been put in these proceedings,” Larsson said. “I don’t know what point they are trying to make, but it happens all the time.”

’I’m just not showing he exists in the system’

Jake’s mother said she didn’t learn of her son’s plight from him, as “he wasn’t allowed to call me” at first. Instead, the troubling news came in a call from an officer at the border, who she said told her, “We’ve got your son detained. We need to have some way of tracking the kid, to let him back into the United States.’”

“’I’m just not showing he exists in the system,”’ Margrethe Johnston recalled Monday. “At that point, I was forced to tell him, `You’re right.’”

She has taken some vacation time, finding the uncertainty would make it too tough to concentrate on her job as an Oregon State Police dispatcher. She had to move from Redmond to Salem for her job six weeks ago when the OSP, in the wake of Measure 28, shut the regional dispatch center at the Bend patrol office.

Robert Johnston said she understands his son’s alleged “no status” status doesn’t apply to Canadians, anyway, as they are allowed to come and go between the two countries every six months.

“My impression is, the INS is trying to export, get rid of a problem back to Canada,” the teen’s father said. “Margrethe and I are conservative folks. We believe in the system. We believe in this country. Slowly, this thing has snowballed out of all proportion.”

“I think what’s happened is, the INS – a terribly inefficient bureaucracy to start with – has now merged with Homeland Security. So now you have a terribly inefficient agency with cojones. They are power hungry, and they are desperate to catch all these Mexican and Canadian `terrorists.’ Meanwhile, they gave visas to two of the men who flew into the World Trade Center, two months after the fact.”

Jake’s mother agrees with that take on things: “I think until this whole Homeland Security thing … probably before that, we probably would have been slapped on the wrist: `Hey, fill out the right paperwork.’ Now, it’s a completely different flavor to things.”

Best friend pleads for officials to help

Jake’s best friend from Redmond High, University of Oregon freshman Jay Rowan, wrote e-mail to every official he could think of, laying out what has happened and his pal’s background. In his note, he points out that Jake has worked over the years for firms such as Safeway and Nike “and has paid substantial state and federal taxes without complaint.”

At Redmond High, he competed in the state track championships and won many academic honors, Rowan said, as well as serving as a student body officer and “thousands of hours of community service, giving his own free time to the Senior Center, Children’s Center, Habitat for Humanity and others. Jake helped start a new high school sport, water polo, which now has over 40 members and is growing.”

“At the age of 19, Jake Johnston has done more for his community than most United States citizens have ever done,” Rowan wrote. “If you do not do everything in your power to bring Jacob Johnston home, you are doing a disservice to him, you are doing a disservice to America, and you are doing a disservice to justice.”

Redmond High Principal Dan Purple was puzzled and more than a bit incredulous about the news.

“He’s a great kid – one of my all-time favorites, just a joy to be around, a great sense of humor,” Purple said. “This doesn’t make sense. It sounds a little bit ridiculous. I always thought that as a child of U.S. citizens, isn’t he an American citizen?”

“It would be funny, if the reality wasn’t that a good kid, an innocent person was in detention,” the principal said.

Lawyer has dim view of immigration service

Larsson said, “Normally, how things work is that if you are born outside the United States and you come back in within two years, along with your permanent resident mother, he’s exempt – you come in as a permanent resident.”

But now, he said, “anybody can be subject to this thing called `expedited removal.’ … You can be barred from coming back. There’s no right to representation. There’s no right to a hearing. People who are permanent residents should not be subjected to this thing.”

“Then there’s the whole other issue, too,” Larsson said. “Someone Canadian – they don’t even need a visa, they can come in for up to six months.”

“What we’re doing right now is to put the stops on things,” the lawyer said. “Simply to say, it appears there has been an error made at some point. We have sufficient proof to prove this individual came in under this particular status, and it appears he is a permanent resident. For whatever reason, he doesn’t have proof of that.”

“At the minimum, he should have the right to a hearing, to be represented and to get this fixed,” Larsson said. “What happens all the time when dealing with immigration is that someone is barred for five years. Then it’s going to take a long time, cost a lot of money to get it reversed.”

“These guys don’t follow the rules – they don’t give a s-it,” the lawyer said. “It’s a horrible, horrible thing. Now we have submitted all these different documentations to the people that have the power to review this.”

Larsson said he understands that border authorities “are treating him very poorly. He’s basically put in a cell with a bunch of criminals. The lights are on 24 hours a day. In the bulk of these cases, the immigration service knows very few people want to sit in jail under these situations. So they tell them inaccurate information. What they’ll tell the guy is, `If you go back (to Canada), you can work on getting back home.’”

“I’m instructing him, do not sign anything, do not say anything. Ask for a hearing before a judge,” the lawyer said. “I’ve asked the consulate not to facilitate any travel.”

“This is not how we should be spending our government’s tax dollars,” Larsson said.

Classes at Chemeketa resumed this week, but that’s not what’s worrying Jake’s mom.

“I started off with a glitchy feeling Monday, thinking, `We’ll get this all sorted out.’ Now, it’s taking on a little scarier proportions,” she said. “I don’t know when he’s going to get home. Since Wednesday, he’s been able to call me, collect. He told me this detention facility is privately contracted. They are in lockdown situations,” with visitation allowed only on the weekends.

“He’s getting very worried,” she said of her son. “Canada is starting to look good. … He’s pretty freaked.”

If it was just an oral interview at the border, couldn’t their son have fibbed about where he was born? Perhaps, if he’d known it would bring such grief and trouble. “If he’d answered, `By Sumas, Wash., he’d be in,” said his mother, who also acknowledged that these days, there are mothers with much heavier burdens to bear. “At least I know where he is. I know he’s alive.”

Jake’s father said Monday his son is angry, but also “scared spitless. This is a good kid, who’s never had a scrape with the law. It’s just scary.”

COCC presents ‘Dealing with Difficult People’ class

COCC’s Business Development Center is presenting a “Dealing with Difficult People” class from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm on Wednesday April 16 at the COCC Bend campus. This clas will provide participants with tools they can use to improve their ability to work effectively with difficult people in a variety of settings. Cost is $59. Call 383-7290 to register.

Bend foster mom takes plea deal in abuse of 13-year-old boy

A 36-year-old Bend woman and former foster parent entered conditional guilty pleas Monday to four counts of attempted rape and attempted sodomy in connection with the sexual abuse of a 13-year-old boy who lived in her southwest Bend neighborhood.

Deschutes County Circuit Judge Michael Sullivan set an April 28 sentencing date for Cindy Lea Boehmke, who was arrested last Dec. 18 after the Oregon Department of Human Services notified Bend police that she might be abusing a boy who lived nearby.

Boehmke, a resident of the Cascade View Estates manufactured home park on Blakely Road, was lodged in the county jail, initially on a charge of first-degree sex abuse. Further investigation led to two added charges of second-degree rape. She was released from jail two days after her arrest, having posted 10 percent bond on her $50,000 bail.

A grand jury indicted Boehmke a few days later on six counts: two each of second-degree rape, first-degree sex abuse and second-degree sodomy. Conviction on any of those charges could have carried a mandatory 6 ½-year prison term, under the Measure 11 mandatory sentencing law.

On Monday, Boehmke entered “Alford pleas” of guilty to four lesser charges: two second-degree counts each of attempted rape and attempted sodomy. Under the plea agreement reached between Jagger and prosecutors, she faces a recommended 75-month prison term, though Sullivan has final discretion on the sentence to be imposed.

Deputy District Attorney Brandi Shroyer said after the hearing that, because the Class C felonies don’t come under Measure 11 guidelines, Boehmke will be eligible to earn “good time credits,” and could be out of prison in five years. But the prosecutor noted that the victim would turn 18 in that period of time.

Boehmke appeared fairly composed as she stood before the judge Monday, beside her defense lawyer, James Jagger of Eugene. Nearly 20 years ago, Jagger defended Diane Downs of Springfield at a trial where a jury convicted her of shooting and killing two of her children and wounding a third – a notorious case that became the basis of true-crime writer Ann Rule’s best-selling book, “Small Sacrifices.”

“I still take cases over here once in a while,” Jagger said before the brief proceedings on a crowded court docket.

The state pulled Boehmke’s foster care certification and removed two foster children from the home after the crimes came to light. She and her husband had become certified foster parents in 2001, after training on parenting and behavioral issues.

Judge asks questions of defendant about plea deal

Boehmke entered “Alford pleas” – not admitting guilt, but acknowledging that the state had evidence that likely would bring convictions, had the case gone to trial. Jagger asked for the April 28 sentencing date, so his client would have time to “get her affairs in order.”

As with others entering pleas, Sullivan asked Boehmke a list of questions, to be sure she had read the plea petition and was entering the pleas voluntarily and without threat or promises from her lawyer. He noted that the four guilty pleas could have resulted in a 20-year prison term and a $400,000 fine – and that she still could face more jail time after her release, if she violates conditions of her probation.

“Do you understand you will be designated a sex offender for the rest of your life?” the judge asked.

“Yes,” Boehmke replied, also acknowledging that she was giving up the presumption of innocence, and her right to a jury trial.

Sullivan described the Alford plea as coming from an East Coast case by that name, in which the defendant basically says: “Judge, I don’t want to admit to the underlying facts. I just want to take advantage of the deal.”

Boehmke then voiced her pleas of “guilty by Alford plea” for allegedly attempting to engage in sexual intercourse and deviant sexual intercourse with the boy.

Jagger said he was “prepared to stipulate the state could have presented witnesses to testify to each and every element” of the allegations.

As the hearing ended, Sullivan reminded Boehmke to be prepared at the time of her sentencing to be placed in state custody.

“It’s a very, very sad situation,” Jagger said as he left the courtroom, adding that Boehmke and her husband “are still together” at this time.

Shroyer, the prosecutor, agreed: “It is a sad situation.”

Annual economic luncheon will feature top speakers

BEND, OR- Central Oregonians can get a better understanding of leading indicators and using economic trends to maximize profitability by setting effective budget and sales forecasts, making informed capital decisions and identifying growth markets at Economic Development for Central Oregon’s (EDCO) annual luncheon on Friday, April 11th. The luncheon will be held from 11:30-1:30 at the new conference facilities at St. Charles Medical Center. Brian L. Beauleiu, Executive Director of the Institute for Trend Research based in New Hampshire, will be the keynote speaker.
Mr. Beaulieu has been consulting and advising companies throughout the US, Europe and Japan on how to plan for, and prosper through, the business cycle with all of its ramifications on capital resource needs, labor, pricing, interest rates, competitive pressures and gross margins. His views have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Barron’s, USA Today, Reuters and The Washington Times. He serves as chief economist for the TEC Index survey and is the recipient of the 2003 National Republican Congressional Committee Leadership Award.
EDCO is a private non-profit, membership organization dedicated to business recruitment, expansion and retention in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties.
The luncheon, which is open to the public, has limited seating so pre-registration is required by April 4th. Price is $30 per person for EDCO members and $40 per person for non-members. For reservation information, contact Economic Development for Central Oregon at (541) 388-3236.

New classes being offered at the Senior Center

Come to the Bend Senior Center and pre-register today for the new Bend Metro Park and Recreation
Classes. We are excited to announce new craft classes this April that will be held at the Bend Senior
Center through Michael’s the art and craft store. Some of the classes you may want to join are:

• P.A.C.E. Exercise Class-People with Arthritis can Exercise! This class happens every Monday and Wednesday from 2:00-2:45 p.m. The new class session will begin April 7th.

•Restorative Yoga-This class happens every Tuesday and Thursday from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. This class will begin April 8th. THERE WILL BE A FREE CLASS ON APRIL 3RD.

• Craft Classes with Michael’s the arts and craft store will be happening at the Bend Senior Center! The first class takes place April 11 from 1-3 p.m. In this class you can create a Spring Chick Candy Dish! On April 25 from 1-3 p.m. Create a Spring Fence Napkin Holder! These are too cute and just in time for Easter! Come sign up at the Bend Senior Center today.
The Bend Senior Center is located at 1600 S.E. Reed Market Rd., Bend, Oregon 97702.
For more information call 388-1133.