News from around the State of Oregon, from RogueValleyMagazine.com
THURSDAY, AUGUST 22, 2019
Today’s Oregon Headlines…
Fire-use restrictions will go into effect for the Modoc National Forest on Friday. Fire restrictions help minimize the chances of human-caused wildland fires.
Modoc firefighters have contained three human-caused fires already this year. Due to fire-danger and increased use this time of year at Cedar Pass Campground, the Warner Mountain Ranger District will block vehicle access to the campground while these fire restrictions are in place. Access is walk in only during these times. Crews will soon begin work on addressing fuels along entrance roads and within the campground. While lightning is the No. 1 cause of fires on the forest, human-caused fires are a major concern.
Fire-use restrictions include: No Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire, except in designated recreation sites. No Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or a building within designated recreation sites, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material. No Welding, or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame. No Operating an internal combustion engine, except on National Forest System roads or trails, or within the designated recreation sites.
With the signing of House Bill 2817 by Oregon Governor Kate Brown, members of the Oregon National Guard will be able to receive Tuition Assistance at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) and private institutions in addition to community colleges and public higher education institutions.
This law will expand higher education grants to qualified members of the Oregon National Guard by permitting grant(s) to be used for undergraduate degree program at OHSU or qualifying private post- secondary institutions or for program or curriculum designed to lead to certificate of completion at community college, public university, OHSU or qualifying private post-secondary institution.
The law states that “Grants provided under this section shall be awarded to a qualified student for up t 90 credit hours at a community college; or 180 credit hours at a public university and now 180 credit hours at a qualifying private institution; or 180 credit hours at Oregon Health and Science University.” This benefit will be available for the 2020-21 academic year and require student to be in “Good standing” with a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher at OHSU or qualifying private and public intuitions at which they are enrolled.
Health Advisory at Seal Rock State Park Beach.
The Oregon Health Authority issued a public health advisory today for higher-than-normal levels of bacteria in ocean waters at Seal Rock State Park Beach in Lincoln County.
People should avoid direct contact with the water in this area until the advisory is lifted. Higher-than-normal levels of fecal bacteria can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses. This applies especially to children and the elderly, who may be more vulnerable to illness from waterborne bacteria.
Increased pathogen and fecal bacteria levels in ocean waters can come from both shore and inland sources such as stormwater runoff, sewer overflows, failing septic systems, and animal waste from livestock, pets and wildlife.
While this advisory is in effect at Seal Rock State Park Beach, visitors should avoid wading in nearby creeks, pools of water on the beach or discolored water, and stay clear of water runoff flowing into the ocean. Even if there is no advisory in effect, officials recommend avoiding swimming in the ocean within 48 hours after a rainstorm. The status of water contact advisories at beaches is subject to change. For the most recent information on advisories, visit the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program website at http://www.healthoregon.org/beach or call 971-673-0482, or 877-290-6767 (toll-free).
The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today announced the final phase of the John Day Wild and Scenic River land acquisition, which consists of transferring 11,149 acres from the Western Rivers Conservancy.
Adding these lands to public ownership creates another access point for boaters on the John Day River and offers augmented road access for hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The acquisition also opens up an additional 2,000 acres of public lands previously surrounded by private land and inaccessible to the public.
“I applaud the BLM for the years of work and collaboration that went into completing this multiphase significant acquisition along Oregon’s John Day River,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. “This area provides a rich variety of recreation opportunities throughout the year including hunting, fishing, horseback riding, hiking, skiing, camping, and whitewater rafting – pursuits that are also vital to the state’s economy.”
(Salem) – The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation has released the lists of Oregon’s most expensive and most prescribed drugs, as well as the prescription drugs that cause the greatest increase to health insurance plan spending.
Brand-name drugs such as Humira and Enbrel, prescriptions commonly prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis, topped the lists of most expensive and greatest increase to plan spending. Hydrocodone-Acetaminophen, a pain reliever, was the most prescribed, along with several generic drugs treating conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.
“These lists highlight the goal of the drug price transparency program,” said Andrew Stolfi, insurance commissioner. “They provide a first step to transparency for Oregonians, and help all of us better understand which prescription drugs affect health care costs.”
Each of Oregon’s nine insurance companies submitted the drug lists to the division, which reviewed and aggregated them to provide consumers a look at the common prescription drugs that have the biggest effect on health insurance costs.
The Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act (House Bill 4005), from the 2018 Legislative Session, established Oregon’s drug price transparency program. The new law requires prescription drug manufacturers and health insurance companies to report specific drug price information to the division.
The Oregon Health Authority and local public health departments are urging clinicians to be on alert for signs of severe respiratory illness among individuals who report vaping or e-cigarette use.
OHA is aware of a cluster of respiratory illness primarily among teenagers and young adults in 16 states. These people have been hospitalized after experiencing worsening symptoms, including shortness of breath, cough, and chest pain. No deaths have been reported. CDC and the affected states have not identified a cause, but all cases have reported e-cigarette use or vaping. OHA knows of no cases in Oregon.
“These serious new illnesses are another reason to encourage people to avoid vaping or to quit if they’re ready,” said Tom Jeanne, deputy health officer at OHA’s Public Health Division.
Before the new illness reports, OHA was already concerned about the health risks of vaping products. A recent report by the agency details the health risks for the products including nicotine addiction, exposure to toxic chemicals known to cause cancer, and increases in blood pressure.
Individuals who have recently vaped and are having difficulty breathing should seek medical attention immediately.
If you or someone that you know is ready to quit smoking or vaping, free help is available from the following resources:
- 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669), http://www.quitnow.net/Oregon.
- Español: 855-DEJELO-YA (855-335356-92), https://www.quitnow.net/oregonsp/.
- http://www.thisisquitting.com/ (youth quit resource for vaping).
Bitcoin Fraud. U. S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that Karanjit Singh Khatkar, 23, and Jagroop Singh Khatkar, 24, of Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, have been charged with wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft for a scheme to steal bitcoin from an Oregon resident.
Together, Karanjit and Jagroop Khatkar face one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, five counts of wire fraud, three counts of aggravated identity theft and multiple counts of money laundering.
According to the indictment, beginning in October 2017 and continuing until August 2018, the defendants used a Twitter account with the name @HitBTCAssist to trick victims into thinking they were communicating with a customer service representative from HitBTC, a Hong Kong-based online platform used to exchange virtual currency. HitBTC provides its customers with web-based “wallets” to store virtual currency and make transactions.
A taste of farm life from a century ago will be offered during the Farm Country Festival, planned for Friday and Saturday, Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, at the Chimney Rock Ranch in the Hildebrand area east of Klamath Falls.
The free family-oriented event features antique tractor demonstrations and grain harvest operations, with draft horses and other farm animals on display. To reach the festival site, drive east on Highway 140 to mile post 22, and turn north on Bliss Road. Signs will provide directions from there.
Other activities planned include a making wood shingles, corn shelling, cider pressing and a tractor pull. The festival runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. Demonstrations each day will include a tractor balancing contest at 10 a.m., threshing at 11:30, an antique tractor parade at 12:45 p.m., and a tractor pull at 2 p.m.
Breakfast and lunch will be available for purchase both days on the grounds. A silent auction of various items will be offered to raise funds for the tractor club. The silent action will be concluded at 2 p.m. Sunday.