Kulongoski commends Rep. Defazio for leadership

SALEM – “Growing Oregon’s economy is my top priority as Governor and one of the smartest investments we can make to continue creating family-wage jobs for both rural and urban Oregonians is in transportation infrastructure.

“Representative DeFazio has been a leading partner at the federal level in efforts to strengthen our transportation system and today he has delivered for Oregon again by securing more than $2.5 billion for highway projects throughout the state. I join Representative DeFazio in calling on the U.S. Senate to make the Transportation Equity Act a priority bill before they recess in August.

“I also urge the Oregon Legislature to step up and do its part at the state level by passing ConnectOregon before they recess this summer. I have worked hard for Connect Oregon for the past seven months because it will be a boon for Oregon’s economy. If we want to be competitive in a global market, create and retain jobs in Oregon and grow our state’s economy, we must invest not only in our highways, but also in non-highway projects so that we can create economic opportunities for communities that rely on airports, railroads and marine ports for transportation.

“We are in a unique position where critical investments can be made at the federal and state levels that will deliver a solid return for the citizens of Oregon. The next step is up to legislative leaders in Washington, D.C. and Salem where they have the opportunity to do the right thing and make investments in transportation – and our economy – a priority and pass the Transportation Equity Act and ConnectOregon.”

Walden-backed health care bill passes House

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Access to health care has become one of the most critical issues facing Oregon’s Second District, and U.S. Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) and his colleagues in the House of Representatives this week took action to help solve this problem by making common sense updates to the medical liability system that would help ensure doctors are available, especially in rural communities with already limited access to care.

HEALTH ACT: Help Efficient, Accessible, Low Cost, Timely Health Care

With a bipartisan vote of 230 to 194, the House passed the HEALTH ACT (HR 5), legislation making much-needed reforms that would help curb the spiraling costs of medical liability insurance, which currently hinder the ability of many doctors to provide care.

“As I visit often with residents and health care providers throughout central, southern and eastern Oregon, I hear time and again how skyrocketing insurance premiums are debilitating the nation’s health care delivery system, especially in rural areas,” said Walden, co-chair of the bipartisan House Rural Health Care Coalition. “Our region is already facing a crisis when it comes to access to care and this legislation will help more doctors keep their doors open to patients, especially in specialty care areas such as obstetrics, when not only the health of a mother is at risk, but so is that of her child.”

“This legislation will make some common sense changes to our liability system, helping prevent the frivolous lawsuits that drive up the cost of care and force doctors to cease providing services. Additionally, these lawsuits detract attention and resources from those suits that are truly needed to compensate patients for medical errors,” he added.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported that, under the HEALTH ACT, premiums for medical malpractice insurance ultimately would be an average of 25 to 30 percent below current rates. These savings would be passed onto patients, lowering the overall cost of care.

Specifically, the HEALTH ACT:

* limits the number of years a person has to file a health care liability action to three years after the date of injury to ensure that claims are brought before evidence is destroyed and while the memories of witnesses are fresher;
* weighs the degree of fault so that a person holding partial blame is not forced to pay damages beyond their share, eliminating the incentive for plaintiffs to look for “deep pockets,” making one party unfairly responsible for another’s negligence;
* maximizes patients’ awards by ensuring that an unjust portion is not misdirected to their attorney;
* allows patients to recover maximum economic damages such as medical expense and loss of future earnings;
* makes reasonable limits for punitive and non-economic damages to ensure the punishment fits the offense;
* and, respects the ability of individual states to enact and enforce their own damage caps should they choose to make them more stringent than federal standards.

Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act

The House also voted to enhance patient safety yesterday with the overwhelming passage of S 544, the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act. This legislation would encourage the reporting of medical errors, under protections of confidentiality, for analysis and educational purposes. The intent is to facilitate an environment in which care providers are able to discuss errors openly and learn from them in order to better determine the cause of delivery errors, identify what changes must be made to prevent those errors, and then implement such changes.

Kent Ballantyne, president of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (OAHHS) said, “Our association greatly appreciates the time and effort that Congressman Walden spent on the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act. OAHHS endorses these efforts to improve patient safety by encouraging the voluntary reporting of errors with legal and confidentiality protections in place. As charter members of the Oregon Patient Safety Commission, we believe that evidence-based prevention practices improve patient outcomes and reduce system errors, and we welcome Congressman Walden’s efforts to support federal recognition of this effort as well.”

“The Oregon Medical Association (OMA) is pleased that Congress has taken a major step toward improving patient safety by adopting S 544. We thank Congressman Walden for his support and efforts in getting this bill passed, and we welcome this federal legislation as a way to improve patient care for all Oregonians,” said Robert Dannenhoffer, OMA president.

Both the OAHHS and OMA endorsed the medical liability reform legislation as well.

Burley and Whisnant applaud budget agreement

SALEM – State Representatives Burley (R-Bend) and Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver) today applauded the no new taxes budget agreement between House and Senate leaders that was announced this week. After three weeks of day-to-day negotiations, a bi-partisan agreement was reached that paves the way for the Legislature to adjourn soon.

“This is a responsible and sustainable budget that holds true to the principles House Republicans put forth at the beginning of this session,” said Rep. Whisnant. Rep. Burley added, “It balances the state’s budget without raising taxes, while providing good schools, a safety net of services for seniors while ensuring our neighborhoods are kept safe from criminals.”

The budget increases funding for K-12 education by as much as $318 million above the Governor’s Recommended Budget, meeting the funding target of $5.318 billion set by the non-partisan School Revenue Forecast Committee as the amount needed to keep schools whole through the next two years. Because a majority of school districts budgeted to a figure much lower, many will be able to restore programs and staff cut over the past few years.

In addition, the budget agreement will:

• Fund Oregon Pre-Kindergarten and Head Start programs;

• Substantially increase funding for Community Colleges and Higher education above the levels in the Governor’s Recommended Budget;

• Protect important programs for our seniors by fully funding Oregon Project Independence, Adult Foster Care and Assisted Living Care for seniors;

• Provide $11.1 million to reduce meth-related crime, to treat meth addicts and to protect children and other victims of meth use;

• Fund construction of the Madras prison and funding for Community Corrections designed to keep counties involved in this program;

•Fund a $5.4 million veterans’ assistance package

• Provide funding for research in nanotechnology and other research areas designed to create jobs of the future in Oregon

Central Oregon Employment Situation for June

Four of the five counties in Central and South Central Oregon saw a small up-tick in their unemployment rates between May and June – as abundant summer job prospects caused the labor force to swell. All five counties had lower rates in June compared with the previous year. Lake had the highest at 8.0 percent. The Bend Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) had the lowest rate at 5.5 percent.

Region 10:

Crook County: The county’s unemployment rate moved upward by 0.3 percentage point to 6.6 percent in June from its revised May level. This is the first increase in the county’s rate since February, when the rate increased a tenth of a point. June’s rate is 1.4 percentage points lower than the year-ago figure. Crook County gained 280 jobs in June, and 620 since January. The gains in June were stronger than normal, after weaker than normal gains in May. During June, gains were robust in the private and public sectors. The private sector added 220 jobs distributed throughout many of the county’s industries. The largest growth occurred in manufacturing which added 90 jobs, and 80 of those were in wood products manufacturing. Elsewhere gains were evenly spread between wholesale trade (+30), natural resources and mining (+20), construction (+20), retail trade (+20), and leisure and hospitality (+20). No industries lost jobs. The public sector experienced seasonal gains in federal (+50) and state (+10) government. The county recorded year-over-year employment growth for the 18th straight month. Employment was 3.3 percent above last June’s level. Leisure and hospitality’s expansion (+6.3%) led the county’s advances, along with strong growth in local government (+6.2%), construction (+6.1%), and financial activities (+5.9%). Professional and business services ( 5.9%) was the only industry that experienced weaker employment.

Bend MSA (Deschutes County): The MSA’s unemployment rate experienced a slight increase in June by 0.3 percentage point from its revised May level to 5.5 percent. This is the lowest June rate since 2001. The rate is 1 full percentage point lower than last June. The Bend MSA gained 1,350 jobs after adding a revised 850 jobs in May, and gaining 4,710 jobs since January. The June expansion was smaller than typical, but the gains since January are greater than normal. Employment gains were widespread among the area’s industries going into the summer months, with a hot housing market and approaching tourist season. Advances were strong in leisure and hospitality (+620), professional and business services (+290), natural resources, mining and construction (+240), and retail trade (+210). Small gains were seen in federal (+40) and state government (+20), and wood products manufacturing (+20). Declines during June were experienced in durable goods manufacturing ( 70), local education ( 50), and educational and health services ( 30). The area’s year-over-year employment remained strong in June, up 3.7 percent from the prior year. Expansion continued in the private sector, fueled by professional and business services (+11.6%), natural resources, mining and construction (+9.9%), retail trade (+6.5%), and accommodations and food services (+5.7%). Government employment ( 5.1%) and financial activities ( 1.2%) showed weakness.

Jefferson County: The county’s unemployment rate saw a small increase in June, up 0.2 percentage point from its revised May level to 5.7 percent. This is the lowest the rate has been in June since 2001, when it was 5.4 percent. Jefferson County gained 220 jobs in June. This is the largest monthly job gain so far this year, and 570 jobs have been added since January. The increase was above normal for June, and the gains since January are slightly above normal heading into summer. The gains in June were strongest in Indian tribal (+130) and leisure and hospitality (+40). There was a gain of 20 jobs in wood products manufacturing. A number of industries added 10 jobs including natural resources and mining, construction, professional and business services, and other services. Wholesale trade ( 10) was the only industry to lose jobs in June. The county’s year-over-year employment growth remained in positive territory during June, up 1.9 percent – 120 more jobs than last June. Strength was seen in professional and business services (+18.8%), educational and health services (+13.0%), and Indian Tribal (+4.8%). Federal government ( 5.9%) and wood product manufacturing ( 2.7%) were weak.

Region 11:

Klamath County: The county’s unemployment rate moved upward slightly by 0.2 percentage point in June from its revised May level to 7.5 percent. This is the lowest June rate since 2000, and it’s 1.7 percentage points lower than last June. Klamath County added 400 nonfarm jobs, building on a revised gain of 400 jobs in May. June advances were weaker than normal, but the county added 1,180 jobs since January. The private sector had healthy job gains in June, with several industries contributing to the growth. Leisure and hospitality (+250) gained the most jobs, as the summer season began, construction (+60), and durable goods manufacturing (+40) also saw growth. A few industries lost jobs in June including: educational and health services ( 50) and wholesale trade ( 20). The public sector added jobs at the federal level (+140) and lost jobs at the local level ( 40). Klamath County’s year-over-year employment comparison showed continued growth with a gain of 2.9 percent. Industries reporting strong job growth include general merchandise stores (+19.4%), financial activities (15.0%), and construction (+13.2%). Weakness continued in natural resources and mining ( 20.8%), food and beverage stores ( 6.2%), and nondurable goods manufacturing ( 4.9%).

Lake County: The county’s unemployment rate dropped for the fourth straight month in June to 8.0 percent. This is also the lowest June rate since 2002, and it’s 0.6 percentage point lower than last June. Lake County’s nonfarm payrolls added 160 jobs, building on the gains since February. June’s growth was above typical for the month, and the county’s year-to-date gains are in line with past years. The addition of 160 jobs was the result of growth in the private and public sectors. Over the month, the federal government saw seasonal gains of 70 jobs and state government added 40 jobs. The private sector’s largest gains occurred in leisure and hospitality (+20), while natural resources, construction, manufacturing, retail trade, and other services each added 10. June’s year-over-year employment change rebounded to positive territory with 50 more jobs than last year. Numerous industries experienced small over-the-year gains. The largest were in state government, construction, and financial activities. Educational and health services, leisure and hospitality, and manufacturing had the largest employment declines.

Central and South Central Oregon Employment Situation for July 2005 is scheduled to be released on Friday, August 19, 2005.

Tri A Tri Triathlon back for 8th running

The Athletic Club of Bend will be hosting its 8th Annual Tri A Tri Triathlon on Saturday August 20, 2005, presented by Lowes Commercial Properties. Registration for the race starts at 6:00 am and the first heat of racers will start at 7:30 am. Racers can pick up their race packets on Friday, August 19th at the Athletic Club of Bend. The event will consist of a 500-yard swim, 14-mile bike ride and 5k run. The Tri a Tri is designed for athletes of all skill levels. No prior triathlon experience is required.

Racers can register for the race at the Athletic Club of Bend, www.signmeupsports.com, or by mailing a registration form to 61615 Mt. Bachelor Drive, Bend, Oregon 97702. Registration forms must be post marked by August 12th. The race fee is $40. Day of race registration fee is $60.

Awards will be given to the top 3 male and female finishers in each age category for the Tri a Tri. Participants will be eligible for many great raffle prizes at the finish. Age groups are as follows: under19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60 and over.

All proceeds from the Tri a Tri benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Oregon and Sparrow Clubs USA. Volunteers and sponsors are greatly appreciated. For additional information, please contact Tammy Hall at the Athletic Club of Bend, 541-322-5845 or email tammy@athleticclubofbend.com.

Lava Lands Visitor Center Celebrates 30th

BEND-The public is invited to attend the opening of a new Lava Lands Visitor Center exhibit August 5-6 that celebrates its 30th anniversary, and the Forest Service and City of Bend centennials through a collection of historic photographs.

The exhibit is called “Celebrating the Future by Honoring the Past” and will be held in conjunction with a traveling exhibit from The Museum at Warm Springs called, “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” that commemorates the 150th anniversary of the treaty between the United States and the Tribes of Middle Oregon.

August 5 Lava Lands Visitor Center activities include:
• Smokey Bear appearing at 10 a.m.

• Historical re-enactment actor Tony Farque portraying Gifford Pinchot, the first chief of the Forest Service, at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

• Native American flutist K’ona Foster J. Kalama from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs performing at noon.

• Internationally-known Nepalese dancer Bali Ram performing at 12:30 p.m.

• Cake cutting and refreshments at 1 p.m.

• Riders in the Dirt Band performing from 1-2 p.m.

August 6 activities include Farque hosting a display and re-enactment of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery Expedition at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Flint knapping and pine needle basket making exhibits will also be held throughout the day.

Lava Lands Visitor Center is 11 miles south of Bend on Highway 97 at the base of Lava Butte. It was built in 1975 to replace an interpretive facility housed in the Lava Butte fire lookout.

The road to the lookout is being reconstructed and is closed. The visitor center will be remodeled this winter and a new exhibit installed for the 2006 summer season.

The daily entrance fee is $5 per car load or $30 for an annual pass. Telephone the visitor center at 541/593-2421 for more information about the 30th anniversary celebration and exhibit.

AAA Offers Tips to Avoid Road Rage

Washington State Police suspect road rage as the cause of a 5-car crash on Interstate 5 north of Vancouver on Sunday, July 24. According to police reports, two northbound vehicles were constantly passing each other. One driver lost control of his car and crossed into the southbound lanes, hitting four vehicles; one person was seriously injured. Police say the two drivers are being investigated for road rage and could face charges of reckless driving or vehicular assault.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety researched more than 10,000 incidents of violent aggressive driving committed between 1990 and 1996. According to the study, 218 people were killed and 12,610 were injured. Many drivers involved in those incidents were men between the ages of 18 and 26, but anyone can become aggressive if they let anger take precedence over safe driving. The study also found that violence was sparked by minor reasons.

There are no sure techniques to avoid being a victim of aggressive violence, but AAA Oregon says that following three basic principles will help:

Don’t Offend:
1. Cutting Off: Don’t cut off other drivers; make sure you have plenty of room and use your turn signals. If someone cuts you off, slow down and give them room to merge.

2. Driving Slowly in the Left Lane: If you’re in the left lane and someone wants to pass, move over even if you’re traveling at the speed limit.

3. Tailgating: Allow at least a 2-second space between you and the car ahead. If you think the car ahead is going too slowly and you’re unable to pass, slow down to allow more following distance.

4. Gestures: Almost nothing angers drivers more than obscene gestures. Keep your hands on the wheel; avoid making gestures that may anger the other driver. Even “harmless” expressions of irritation, such as shaking your head, can incite aggressive behavior.

Don’t Engage:
1. Steer Clear: Give angry drivers lots of room. If he/she tries to pick a fight, put as much distance as you can between you and the other car. Don’t pull off the road to try to settle things “man-to-man.”

2. Avoid Eye Contact: If another driver is acting angry with you, don’t make eye contact. Looking or staring at the other driver can escalate into a personal dual.

3. Get Help: If you believe the other driver is trying to start a fight, get help. If you have a cell phone, call the police. Otherwise, drive to a place where people are around, such as a police station, shopping center or a convenience store. Using your horn to get someone’s attention will discourage the aggressor. Don ‘t get out of your car; don’t go home.

Adjust Your Attitude:
1.Forget Winning: Don’t race the clock; give yourself extra time to travel and to relax.

2. Put Yourself in the Other Driver’s Shoes: Don’t judge the other driver; try to understand why he or she is driving aggressively. Stay calm; don’t take the other driver’s actions personally.

3. If You Think You Have a Problem, Seek Help: A course or self-help book on anger management or stress reduction can help you change your attitude and behavior.

200 days to Torino: U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Snowboarding on track to ‘Best In The World’

PARK CITY, UTAH – The 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, open 200 days from Monday and U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Vice President of Athletics Alan Ashley said “everything’s on track” for U.S. skiers and riders to achieve their goal of Best in the World next Feb. 10-26.

“We’ve had a solid summer of training to this point,” Ashley said, “and while you never know what’s around the next bend, I think that everyone is doing a good job of preparing for the season. I was in Torino a month ago and our venues are coming together nicely. Everyone – our athletes, our coaches, the USSA staff – is fired-up to get over there and compete. There’s a lot of enthusiasm and optimism.”

He drew parallels between the unprecedented success Lance Armstrong achieved with the Tour de France, winning the fabled cycling race seven straight years and then retiring, as promised, on Sunday.

“Lance showed us again that preparation and team work are critical ingredients in success. Regardless of how talented you may be, you just don’t show up and win. Lance and the Discovery Channel cycling team are doing it better than anyone else – putting together guts, teamwork, sport science and technology. You build on your strengths, you modify and make-up for shortcomings…and, all the while, you pay attention to the details,” Ashley said.

“Every single day, you take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves. Lance Armstrong sets a good example for all of us when it comes to setting a goal and applying yourself day-in and day-out to this goal. I see a lot of parallels between his preparations and the dedication our skiers and snowboarders are applying to being Best in the World in Torino.”

A quick rundown of preseason training by sport:

ALPINE SKIING – “There was good snow at Mammoth Mountain [CA] for our men’s and women’s camps in May and June,” Ashley said, “and as they get set to go into the Southern Hemisphere [to New Zealand and Chile in August and September], the snow reports are indicating they’ll have good snow for training down there, too.”

FREESTYLE SKIING – The aerials team, fine-tuning jumps in the splash pool at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City, is in the midst of its third preseason training camp. The aerialists also had a second-annual conditioning camp with U.S. Navy SEALs near San Diego, CA, and an intense trampoline camp in Toronto. Moguls skiers also had a splash pool camp at UOP and leave shortly for several weeks of on-snow training in Chile.

SNOWBOARDING – Alpine riders focused on equipment testing, and more testing, at Mammoth Mountain in May, then attended a tactics and technique camp at Copper Mountain, CO, in June… Halfpipe riders enjoyed a warm but great camp in Mammoth in May with newcomer Danny Davis (Highland, MI). Next up for freestyle riders: New Zealand camp in August… Snowboardcross riders found softening snow, but more than enough for competitive training runs in June at Mammoth Mountain. “It was intense because riders were earning spots for the World Cups in Chile in September,” said U.S. Snowboarding Program Director Jeremy Forster.

NORDIC – The cross country team trains daily in Park City, roller-skiing, running and doing strength training. It heads to New Zealand shortly for its annual on-snow camp during most of August… Nordic combined skiers are training in Norway after a successful conditioning camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA, and near-daily jump training, dryland workouts and rollerskiing in Park City. They’ll compete in central Europe in August during the annual Summer Grand Prix… Jumpers are training at UOP and will participate in jumping’s annual Summer Grand Prix, too…

“I like what I’ve been watching this summer,” Ashley said. “Two-hundred days will go by quickly as everyone gets ready for Torino.”

OSU Klamath Field Day to feature current, potential crops

KLAMATH FALLS – Oregon State University’s Klamath Experiment Station will hold its annual field day on Thursday, Aug. 4, giving the public an opportunity to tour, and hear presentations on, the station’s research projects with current and promising Klamath Basin crops.

Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. and a tour of research projects will begin at 9 a.m. The projects include studies of:

Forages

• Variety and yield trials for orchardgrass, alfalfa and grassy-alfalfa.

• A study of teff, a warm-season forage that shows comparatively high yields.

• Peppermint research that focuses on program initiation and new planting of the crop.

Potatoes

• Variety development trials.

• A study of the effectiveness of Vydate, a chemical used to control nematodes in potatoes.

Cereals

• Spring and winter variety trials, on and off the station, for barley, oats and wheat.

• Western Regional and OSU cereal variety trials.

A noon luncheon provided by the station will be prepared by Norm and Virginia Small, who operate Yummies restaurant in Merrill.

After lunch Thayne Dutson, dean of OSU’s College of Agricultural Science and director of the Oregon Agriculture Experiment Station, will discuss state budgets and the staff plan for the OSU college.

Russ Karow, head of OSU Department of Crop and Soil Science, will provide a staffing update for that department.

The Klamath Experiment Station is at 6941 Washburn Way in Klamath Falls. For more information about the field day contact Ron Hathaway at 541-883-7131 (ext. 210), or Jewel Haskins at 541-883-4590.

Stakeholder group to discuss coho recovery in Corvallis

SALEM – Oregon’s Coastal Coho Stakeholder group will meet July 29 in Corvallis to continue working to help state and federal agencies shape a conservation plan for coastal coho salmon.

The meeting is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the OSU Forest Services Lab, 3200 SW Jefferson Way, Room #200. A public comment period scheduled at 3:15 p.m.

The stakeholder team advises both the State of Oregon and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) on the Coastal Coho Project. Members of the team represent fish conservation, fishing, private land, timber, agricultural, tribal and other interests.

The group of stakeholders will discuss Oregon’s current fish-management strategy and offer input as officials work to craft future coho conservation efforts. Once completed, the draft plan will be available for comment at a series of public meetings along the coast.

More information of the Coastal Coho Project and the stakeholder team can be found at www.oregon-plan.org.

The state of Oregon and the National Marine Fisheries Service began a collaborative project last year to address the conservation of coastal coho. The objectives of the project are to:

* Assess the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds effort to conserve and rebuild coastal coho populations.

* Use the assessment to assist NOAA Fisheries with a status review.

* Use the assessment as a basis to seek legal assurances for local participants.

* Use the assessment as a foundation for developing a conservation plan for coho.

Reasonable accommodations are provided as needed for individuals requesting assistive hearing devices, sign language interpreters or large-print materials. Individuals needing these types of accommodations may call the ODFW Director’s Office at 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044 at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.