Rogue Valley News, Friday 3/1 – The Medford Police Department is Updating its Criminal Investigation of Allegations of Drug Diversion at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center, Oregon Chocolate Festival Starts Today in Ashland & Other Local and Statewide News…

The latest news stories of interest in the Rogue Valley and the state of Oregon from the digital home of Southern Oregon, Wynne Broadcasting’s RogueValleyMagazine.com

Friday,  March 1, 2024

Rogue Valley Weather

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Active Weather Alerts

WINTER STORM WARNING ISSUED: 2:45 AM MAR. 1, 2024 – NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM PST
SATURDAY ABOVE 2500 FEET...
...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM PST
SATURDAY...

* WHAT...For the Winter Storm Warning above 2500 feet, heavy snow.
Additional snow accumulations of 5 to 13 inches. Winds gusting
as high as 40 mph. For the Winter Weather Advisory, snow.
Additional snow accumulations of 1 to 5 inches.

* WHERE...The Winter Storm Warning includes areas above 2500 feet,
including Ruch, Butte Falls, Prospect, portions of highways 238,
140, 66, 62, the Tiller-Trail Highway, Dead Indian Memorial
Road, and Jacksonville Hill. The Winter Weather Advisory
includes Ashland, Medford, Shady Cove, Jacksonville, Gold Hill,
and the Interstate 5 corridor.

* WHEN...Until 10 AM PST Saturday.

* IMPACTS...Travel could be very difficult to impossible. The
hazardous conditions could impact the evening commute.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Snow levels will lower to the valley
floors Friday night into Saturday morning.

* View the hazard area in detail at
https://www.wrh.noaa.gov/map/?wfo=mfr

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

* Travel is strongly discouraged because of dangerous
conditions. Do not detour during winter storms.

* If you must travel, keep tire chains, a flashlight, blankets,
food, water, medications, and a fully charged phone with you.

* The safest place during a winter storm is indoors.

* A Winter Storm Warning means that severe winter weather is imminent
and poses a threat to life and property. Take protective action
now. 
 WINTER WEATHER ADVISORYISSUED: 2:45 AM MAR. 1, 2024 – NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM PST
SATURDAY ABOVE 2500 FEET...
...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM PST
SATURDAY...

* WHAT...For the Winter Storm Warning above 2500 feet, heavy snow.
Additional snow accumulations of 5 to 13 inches. Winds gusting
as high as 40 mph. For the Winter Weather Advisory, snow.
Additional snow accumulations of 1 to 5 inches.

* WHERE...The Winter Storm Warning includes areas above 2500 feet,
including Ruch, Butte Falls, Prospect, portions of highways 238,
140, 66, 62, the Tiller-Trail Highway, Dead Indian Memorial
Road, and Jacksonville Hill. The Winter Weather Advisory
includes Ashland, Medford, Shady Cove, Jacksonville, Gold Hill,
and the Interstate 5 corridor.

* WHEN...Until 10 AM PST Saturday.

* IMPACTS...Travel could be very difficult to impossible. The
hazardous conditions could impact the evening commute.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Snow levels will lower to the valley
floors Friday night into Saturday morning.

* View the hazard area in detail at
https://www.wrh.noaa.gov/map/?wfo=mfr

The Medford Police Department is Updating its Criminal Investigation of Allegations of Drug Diversion at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center

The update follows a civil lawsuit filed this week by Idiart Law Group against the hospital and a former nurse. The lawsuit includes claims of personal injury and wrongful death of then 65-year-old Horace Wilson of Jacksonville in February 2022. It lists Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center (Asante) and its former nurse Dani Marie Schofield as co-defendants, claiming fentanyl intended for Wilson’s treatment was diverted from him and replaced with tap water, causing infection that led to his death.

OHA Investigations examine cases of in-hospital infections at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center for possible criminal and civil recourse, one investigation by the state has been completed, with Asante’s help.

Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Division (OSHA) said it investigated Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center (ARRMC) water-based illness last spring. It also said its investigation started with concern from Asante staff.

OSHA Complaint No. 209463526 documentation shared with NewsWatch 12 via an open records request shows the initial “Hazard Description” for Asante as reported by staff to involve, “Recent bacterial contamination to ICU/IMCU (intensive care unit/intermediate care unit) department tap water. Unknown if other department’s water has been tested.  An online water testing kit showed that the water is ‘highly likely that harmful bacteria are present’. Multiple staff in the department have reported new GI (gastro-intestinal/digestive) issues. Reports were made to the direct manager.”

$11.5 Million Suit Alleges Asante Hospital Nurse Replaced Fentanyl With Tap Water Killing Patient

The estate of a 65-year-old man who died while hospitalized at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center sued the hospital system and a nurse on Monday, alleging the nurse replaced his prescribed fentanyl with tap water.

The wrongful death suit is the first to be filed against the Medford hospital since the shocking disclosure by Medford police last month that they were investigating potential crimes against patients involving the theft of “controlled substances,” which may have led to “adverse” outcomes for some.

It’s not clear how many people were affected; Medford police and Asante representatives have declined to say. Medford Lt. Geoffrey Kirkpatrick on Monday declined to answer any questions. “We’re holding off on releasing anything because a lot of it is really unclear,” he said.

Justin Idiart, a southern Oregon lawyer representing the estate of Horace E. Wilson, said he has nine clients whose medication was swapped out. He said another five have reached out for possible representation. He said the clients include loved ones of those who died as well as people who survived.

The lawsuit was filed in Jackson County Circuit Court on behalf of the estate of Wilson, who was treated at the hospital after he fell off a ladder and died of an infection. Wilson, a founder of a cannabis company called Decibel Farms in Jacksonville, was known as “Buddy.”

Schofield lives in Medford and has not been charged. On Nov. 22, Schofield voluntarily agreed to refrain from practicing nursing “pending the completion of an investigation,” Oregon Board of Nursing records show.

Neither Schofield nor Asante could immediately be reached for comment.  State records show Schofield started working at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center on Dec. 31, 2015, after working at a rehabilitation center between Sept. 1 and Dec. 1, 2015.

The lawsuit seeks $11.5 million in damages.  Idiart said patients who were deprived of medication suffered as a result of the medication diversion. In Wilson’s case, his family believed “he was in pain” even though he was “supposed to be sedated,” Idiart said.

He said the cases involve patients who were treated for health concerns that were survivable. He accused the hospital system of failing to be transparent with patients and their loved ones.

The suit names the hospital and nurse Dani Marie Schofield as defendants. Idiart said Schofield helped care for each of his clients.

“Their frustration is the lack of communication,” he said. “They saw loved ones in the hospital for conditions that usually seem like they could have recovered from.”

On Feb. 3, Wilson’s condition deteriorated, prompting three operations to “treat a breakdown of his surgical repair, requiring him to be intubated again during the third procedure,” the suit states.

He remained in intensive care and showed signs of suffering from an infection, including sepsis, according to the suit. A blood culture tested positive for bacterial growth later identified as Staphylococcus epidermidis, the suit states.

While Wilson was treated in the intensive care unit, Schofield was directed to administer the opioid fentanyl through his central line. The medication was to be given through a “hang bag,” according to the suit.

Schofield noted in Wilson’s medical charts that she administered the potent drug to Wilson on several occasions beginning Jan. 29, the suit states.

The lawsuit alleges Schofield replaced the medication with tap water, “thus reintroducing new inoculums of the bacterium Staphylococcus epidermidis into Horace Wilson’s bloodstream via his central line each time she administered the solution.”  When their conditions deteriorated, the hospital and staff failed to communicate what had happened, he said.

The suit states that Asante last December contacted Medford police regarding a former employee “that they believe was involved in the theft of fentanyl prescribed to patients resulting in some adverse patient outcomes.”

That month, hospital representatives “began contacting patients and their relatives telling them a nurse had replaced fentanyl with tap water causing bacterial infections.” (SOURCE)

The 20th annual Oregon Chocolate Festival is this Friday, March 1st through Sunday at the Ashland Hills Hotel

May be an image of macrame and text that says '20THANNUAL OREGON CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL MARCH 1ST 2ND 3RD 2024 Celebrating 20th Anniversary One Day Ticket $25 Two Day Pass $40 2525 Ashland Street Ashland, OR Children and under enter FREE OREGONGHOCOLATEFESTIVAL.COM VENDORS MARKETPLACE March 2 & March 3 11AM 4PM Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites: Unique vendors including chocolatiers, winemakers, food artisans •Chocolate Product Competition •Expert speakers, demos •Family activities Additional Festival Happenings: •Chocolate Maker's Wine Dinner •Charlie's Chocolate Run •Chocolate Sunday Brunch •Chocolate Decadence Spa Specials CHOOSE FROM OVERNIGHT CHOCOLATE PACKAGES SAVE! @oregonchocolatefestival #ORChocoFest'

There’s something for everyone including a Chocolate Brunch at the Stardust Lounge where you get to enjoy a delicious buffet-style menu by Ashland’s award-winning Executive Chef, David Georgeson, and savor a variety of chocolate-infused delights, from savory to sweet.

There are also vendors to explore, the First Friday Art Walk, or you can participate in the Charlie’s Chocolate Run taking place at Emigrant Lake. Race distances include a 1-mile fun run, a 5K and a 10K. All participants will receive a chocolate bar at the end of the race with the potential of finding that one and only golden ticket.

You can purchase tickets for the events and find out more information at the Oregon Chocolate Festival website. https://www.oregonchocolatefestival.com/schedule/

US and Oregon governments may sue PacifiCorp for $1B over 2020 wildfire costs

The US and Oregon Departments of Justice are considering legal action against PacifiCorp to recover losses from the 2020 wildfires in Southern Oregon.

The U.S. government is threatening to sue the owner of Portland-based Pacific Power to recover nearly $1 billion in costs related to the 2020 wildfires in Southern Oregon and northern California, though the company is trying to negotiate a settlement.

According to their parent company Berkshire Hathaway’s annual report the justice departments have already informed PacifiCorp that they are contemplating filing lawsuits. According to Berkshire Hathaway the company has already paid out nearly $700 million in settlements for the 2020 wildfires.

The fires were among the worst natural disasters in Oregon’s history. They killed nine people, burned more than 1,875 square miles (4,856 square kilometers) and destroyed upward of 5,000 homes and other structures.

The potential lawsuits were disclosed in an annual report filed by PacifiCorp’s Iowa-based parent company, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, on Monday. This new liability comes after the utility already agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in lawsuits related to the fires.

“Learn and Earn” mobile education units to open new pathways to electrical careers for high school students in five southern Oregon counties

Support from Pacific Power, Pacific Power Foundation and IBEW Local 659 will ensure rural students from diverse backgrounds can access well-paying careers

GlideOre. (Feb. 29, 2024) — Four new “Learn and Earn” mobile education units will soon hit the roads that wind through southern Oregon, delivering new opportunities for well-paying electrical careers to rural high school students in small and outlying communities.

Each unit is a trailer the length of a large school bus, with learning and lab space inside for up to 15 students. Starting this fall, the units will deliver the Rural Electrical Pre-Apprenticeship – a Career and Technical Education course currently offered on-site at only two high schools – to students throughout Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Lake and Klamath counties.

The pre-apprenticeship launched at Glide High School in Douglas County in 2022 through a partnership between Pacific Power, the Pacific Power Foundation, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 659 and Crater Lake  Electrical Training Center.

Recent contributions of $60,000 from Pacific Power, $40,000 from the Pacific Power Foundation and matching support from IBEW Local 659 helped unlock state and federal grants to fund the new mobile education units and expand the pre-apprenticeship to students who don’t typically have access to such opportunities during their school day.

Project partners shared the news about the “Learn and Earn” units at a student assembly Thursday at Glide High School, where 14 students completed the pre-apprenticeship last year.

“It’s common, especially in rural communities like Glide, for students to be unaware of higher-level job opportunities like electrical careers. We want to change that,” said Jeff Brown, a director at Pacific Power’s North Umpqua Hydroelectric Project, about 50 miles east of Glide. “By expanding this program to reach more students, we’re trying to remove barriers to opportunity for young people growing up in the rural areas that Pacific Power serves.”

Pre-apprenticeship removes barriers in rural communities  — The Rural Electrical Pre-Apprenticeship, which is run by Crater Lake Electrical Training Center instructors, combines academics with hands-on learning to prepare students for apprentice electrician positions offered by trade unions and utilities. The course is open to all students, with an emphasis on recruiting women, students from Tribal communities, students of color and those from low-income backgrounds – all of whom are underrepresented in the skilled trades.

“We are thrilled to support the Crater Lake Electrical Training Center and local high schools in their efforts to prepare students from diverse backgrounds for energy-related careers. The utility industry needs them, and this is an excellent partnership to share these opportunities right here in their own communities,” said Sam Carter, Pacific Power regional business manager and a member of the Pacific Power Foundation’s Grant Champions committee.

Glide students on Thursday heard from Coby Pope, a 2023 Glide graduate, who landed a job with Pacific Power right out of high school, earning $37.03 per hour. Pope had his eyes opened to electrical careers as a pre-apprenticeship student at Glide, and the skills he gained helped him stand out in interviews. Of 50 applicants, he was one of four hired.

New units will deliver skills, exposure to electrical careers — The new “Learn and Earn” units will deliver the horizon-broadening experience that Pope had at Glide to potentially thousands more students throughout the region. Each unit will include mock framing inside so that students can practice bending conduit and running wire through walls. At least two of the units will have solar panels and handrails on the roof so that students can learn about renewable energy generation.

The job outlook for electricians overall is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations over the next decade, according to federal labor statistics. Some southern Oregon students have already been exposed to electrical careers because their parents or other relatives work in the skilled trades, including at Pacific Power projects in the region. It’s important to ensure that students without those connections have access to the same opportunities to build a stable, well-paying career, according to Lance Corley, training director at Crater Lake Electrical Training Center in Medford.

The four “Learn and Earn” units are being assembled by Transport Custom Designs, a Pennsylvania company. The first unit is expected to be on the road in southern Oregon by September 2024.

 

.BODYCAM VIDEO: Sheriff’s Deputies Rescue Infant and Toddler Abandoned in Woods by Suspect On-the-Run; Grand Jury Indicts Today on All Charges

BODYCAM Available for Download Here: https://vimeo.com/915796109?share=copy

JCSO Case 24-0935  —-   MEDFORD, Ore. – A Jackson County Grand Jury indicted a man today wanted on charges stemming from multiple incidents involving domestic violence and child endangerment. The suspect, Justin Ryan Trompeter, 24, of Trail is wanted for two counts of second-degree child neglect, felony fourth-degree domestic violence assault, third-degree robbery, first-degree theft, harassment, and two counts of reckless endangerment.

The suspect remains on-the-run with Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies continuing their investigation. If you know of the suspect’s whereabouts, call ECSO Dispatch at (541) 776-7206. Trompeter is known to frequent Jacksonville, Shady Cove, Eagle Point, and Trail.

JCSO deputies were originally searching for Trompeter in connection with a February 7 domestic violence assault call where he fled the scene at a high rate of speed with the children. On Friday, February 16, JCSO deputies received information that Trompeter was hiding with the children, ages 6 months and 1.5 years, deep in the surrounding Jacksonville woods.

Deputies quickly located a vehicle at the top of Wagon Trail Drive around 1:30 p.m on Friday, February 16. JCSO deputies approached the car with caution, but Trompeter had fled the scene before deputies’ arrival. Deputies found the two young children abandoned and alone in the car. Deputies believe the children may have been left alone in the vehicle for up to two hours. Further investigations revealed suspected fentanyl and meth in the car with the children.

Mercy Flights medics checked the children on scene then turned them over to Department of Human Services (DHS) personnel. After the incident, the children were treated at a local hospital and remain in DHS care. This case is open and ongoing with deputies following additional leads. If you know of the suspect’s whereabouts, call ECSO Dispatch at (541) 776-7206.

 

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Hearts with a Mission, a program to help local seniors who need assistance, is seeking volunteers.

The volunteer-based program — which started in January 2023 — has 90 volunteers ready to help, but more than 100 seniors who need assistance.

Stephanie Miller, the Hearts For Seniors Program Manager, said that it’s a heartwarming job and fulfilling volunteer work.  Residents can apply here.

David Grubbs’ Murder Investigation Remains Active

Community still looking for answers in violent 2011 murder of David Grubbs on Ashland, Oregon bike path

The Ashland Police Department’s investigation into the murder of David Grubbs on November 19, 2011 remains open and active. Recently two new detectives have been assigned to look into new leads that have come in.

This case remains important to David’s family, the community, and the Ashland Police Department. As detectives continue to pursue these new leads, anyone with additional information is encouraged to reach out to the Ashland Police Department at 541-488-2211.

The reward for information leading to an arrest on this case remains at over $21,000.

Fauna Frey, 45, disappeared in Oregon on a road trip, June 29, 2020, following her brother’s death  —

https://original.newsbreak.com/@ada-e-1668135/3304227455096-fauna-frey-45-disappeared-in-oregon-on-a-road-trip-june-29-2020-following-her-brother-s-death

PART 2 – Newsweek Podcast Focusing on The Disappearance of Fauna Frey From Lane County

Here One Minute, Gone the Next —– PART 2 – Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel joins investigative journalist Alex Rogue to speak with Here One Minute, Gone the Next about the disappearance of Fauna Frey, the growing friction between citizen investigators and law enforcement, and the lack of resources in missing persons cases. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-disappearance-of-fauna-frey-pt2-feat-sheriff/id1707094441?i=1000630100040

PART 1 – John Frey joins Newsweek to discuss exclusive details about the case of his missing daughter that until now have been unavailable to the general public.

READ MORE HERE: https://www.newsweek.com/exclusive-what-happened-fauna-frey-new-clues-uncovered-1827197?fbclid=IwAR3Z3Glru5lIgqiYXbs_nA1Fj8JuCIzM11OHSVHfwIucfq2f_G5y9y5bnmQ

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Fauna Frey, call the anonymous tip line at 541-539-5638 or email FindFaunaFrey@gmail.com.

Help Find Fauna Frey #FindFaunaFrey FACEBOOK GROUP

Oregon Department of Human Services’ Office of Resilience and Emergency Management is announcing the opening of the Resilience Hubs and Networks grant

Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) Office of Resilience and Emergency Management (OREM) is announcing the opening of the Resilience Hubs and Networks grant. This funding is intended to support communities and individuals as they work to prepare for disasters and emergencies.

“I’m excited that OREM, through the Oregon Legislature, can offer this funding. I know that communities across the state work every day to prepare for emergencies. This funding is intended to support and enhance that work,” said Ed Flick, OREM director.

A resilience hub is a location where people come together daily to share resources, support one another and find resources during emergencies. A resilience network is an association of facilities, organizations, resource providers or service providers outside of a physical resilience hub facility that collectively serve the purposes of a resilience hub.

Anyone who supports a resilience hub or network can apply for this grant funding. Communities who are traditionally underserved and/or are disproportionately impacted by emergencies are encouraged to apply. Applicants are encouraged to provide the exact address of their hub or network. Socioeconomic and demographic information about the community surrounding that address will be used to score applications. A total of $10,000,000 is available.

The application closes April 30, 2024.

OREM will host two information sessions to answer questions about the grant and the application process. These sessions are open to the public and all prospective grant applicants. These sessions will take place on:

  • February 29, 2024 11:00 A.M. – 12:30 P.M.
  • March 12, 2024 9:30 – 11:00 A.M.

More information about these information sessions and a link to the application can be found at https://www.oregon.gov/odhs/emergency-management/Pages/resilience-grants.aspx

Questions about this grant opportunity can be sent to emgrants@odhs.oregon.gov“>oremgrants@odhs.oregon.gov.

The Oregon Employment Department’s website will be going offline for several days. The Employment Department says starting at 5:00 Wednesday night (2/28/24) the website will go offline until 8 a.m. on Monday, March 4.

OED says this is in preparation for the new system for unemployment benefits, which includes claims and questions for Paid Leave Oregon.

The new system, Frances Online, is scheduled to go live on March 4. People will not be able to file, restart, check, or make changes to claim information until next Monday. Customer service, along with making payments or ID verification will also be unavailable. https://www.oregon.gov/employ/pages/default.aspx

Oregon Main Street Adds Two New Affiliated Main Street Communities to the Network

SALEM, Oregon – Oregon Main Street (OMS) has accepted the City Club of Forest Grove and Main Street Cascade Locks at the Affiliated Main Street level of the OMS Network.

Communities participating at this level have a high degree of commitment to using the nationally recognized place-based Main Street Approach™ methodology to create lasting impact in enhancing their historic downtowns.

Affiliated Main Street level communities must have a cohesive core of historic or older commercial and mixed-use buildings that represent the community’s architectural heritage and may include compatible in-fill. They must also have a sufficient mass of businesses, buildings, and density to be effective, as well as be a compact and pedestrian-oriented district.

The primary emphasis of the Affiliated Main Street level is to provide technical assistance to program’s in their formative years.  Acceptance into this level allows communities to participate in training, community assessments, technical assistance, and receive local capacity building support. There isn’t a fee to participate in the Oregon Main Street Network.

The selection process included submitting an application that describes their district, previous efforts to improve downtown, readiness to implement the Main Street Approach™, board development efforts, in addition to other criteria.

Currently, there are 100 communities in Oregon participating in one of the four levels of the Oregon Main Street Network: Accredited Main Street, Designated Main Street, Affiliated Main Street, and Connected Communities. Both communities were represented by their cities at the Connected Communities level prior to being accepted at the Affiliated Main Street level. In Cascade Locks, a local Main Street group is just forming so the timing is good to benefit the assistance Oregon Main Street can provide. In Forest Grove, they have been exploring the right structure for the main street effort and found a willing partner in the City Club of Forest Grove.

Oregon Main Street is part of Oregon Heritage in Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. For questions, contact Oregon Main Street Coordinator Sheri Stuart, sheri.stuart@oprd.oregon.gov.

Oregon Senate Passes Anti-Book-Ban Bill Over Republican Objections

The measure would prohibit banning books because the author or subjects are part of a protected class

Oregon school districts would be unable to ban books simply because authors or characters are immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ+, disabled or from other protected classes under a bill passed by Senate Democrats on Tuesday.

Sen. Lew Frederick, D-Portland, describes Senate Bill 1583 as a “simple” defense of free speech and a way to guarantee that all children in Oregon have the ability to see themselves represented in books they find in school libraries and classrooms. But it quickly became one of the most controversial issues of the five-week legislative session, with more than 1,600 Oregonians submitting written testimony about it.

“I want to see kids reading and getting books out of their libraries, and I lament that this bill has been politicized,” Frederick said. “This bill is not about politics for me. It’s about kids reading.”

The bill passed the Senate on a 17-12 party line vote on Tuesday after a heated hour-long debate that included one Republican accusing his Democratic colleagues of wanting to encourage pedophilia and another saying racism is “insignificant.” The bill now heads to the House, where Frederick said he expects it will soon pass out of the House Rules Committee and the full House.

It comes amid a sharp increase in school book bans in Oregon and nationwide. The Oregon Intellectual Freedom Clearinghouse, run by the Oregon State Library, tracked attempts to remove 93 separate titles from schools and libraries between July 2022 and June 2023. Nationally, the free speech advocacy group PEN America reported nearly 3,400 instances of book bans in the 2022-23 school year, up from 2,500 in the 2021-22 school year.

In Oregon, more than 70% of the challenged titles were about or written by people of color, LGBTQ+ people, women, people with disabilities and other underrepresented groups, according to the state library.

It’s a personal issue for Frederick: His sharecropper grandparents left Mississippi almost exactly 100 years ago because they were threatened with arrest if they continued trying to teach Black children to read. They moved to the boot heel of Missouri, where they taught his father and other children with free books thrown out by white schools and established an expectation in Frederick’s family that children should learn more than their parents.

“I tell that story because in some places in this country, that story would not be allowed in a school,” Frederick said. “That story would not be allowed in a book in a school, and that story and stories like it are banned from books in schools across the country.”

Sen. Kayse Jama, a Portland Democrat who came to the U.S. as a refugee from the Somali civil war, said passing the bill sends a message to people like him and his children that they’re Oregonians and their culture and history matter.

“There is such a limited selection of books talking about my culture, my religion and my background,” Jama said. “And I want my children to have access to see their culture and their religion reflected through the materials that are in our libraries and our schools.”

Attempt at amendment — Sen. Art Robinson, R-Cave Junction, rejected the premise that books are excluded for discriminatory reasons, saying no Oregon community would remove books because of the author’s race.

“Despite claims made for political reasons, actual racism in America is insignificant,” Robinson said. “There is no community in Oregon that is going to accept removing books just because they were written by minority authors. It is an insult to tell our communities that a law is needed to protect this.”

Republicans tried to introduce their own amendment to replace the bill with a new measure creating a task force that would recommend legislation to “better establish standards for age-appropriate curriculum” and limit books that “contain graphic violence, are sexually explicit, contain vulgar language or lack literary merit or educational value.”

Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp, R-Bend, said the Republican amendment was necessary because Frederick’s bill would eliminate parental rights and local control.

“I think we all know that across the nation there have been different states that have handled this in different ways, but we think Oregon should take a little more time and make sure that the values or our communities are being respected,” Knopp said.

The Republican proposal also included a number of statements indicating the Legislature’s intent, including declarations that the Legislature believes that some unnamed books should not be in schools and that Canby “exhibited the best of Oregon” when it temporarily removed 36 books from school libraries.

Sen. Daniel Bonham, R-The Dalles, questioned whether lawmakers consider pedophilia a sexual orientation. He described how the Canby School District ultimately removed just one book from its library: Vladimir Nabokov’s polarizing 1955 novel “Lolita,” narrated by a middle-aged professor who kidnaps and sexually abuses a 12-year-old girl.

“This book paints this man as somebody that is empathetic,” Bonham said. “Is that something we want to teach to our children, that we should empathize with someone who has sexual attraction to a minor?”

Pedephilia is not a sexual orientation, which is defined in Oregon law as “an  individual’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality.”

Sen. Elizabeth Steiner, D-Portland, recalled how one of her sixth grade classmates left the classroom every time the class read from a book about the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert in Africa because the book included references to menstruation that her classmate’s parents didn’t want her to know about. Parents still would be able to keep their own children from reading certain books.

“Parents still, under this bill, will have the right to make decisions about their own children and promote their own personal values about what they want their children to read or not read,” she said. “But what they won’t have is the right for a very small number of people to make decisions for any other group about how they parent their children and what values they convey to their children.”  (SOURCE)

Nearly 300,000 Oregon Kids Await Approval Of Summer Food Benefits

A program that would provide food benefits to kids during the summer still needs funding approval from the Oregon Legislature.

Oregon lawmakers have two weeks left in the session to approve funding for the Summer EBT program that helps feed children when school’s out. (Lindsay Trapnell/Oregon Food Bank)

The state has already approved the Summer EBT program, but needs to agree to pay for half the administrative costs in order to get access to federal funds.

It would help the families of nearly 300,000 kids receive about $40 for food each month over the summer.

Charlie Krouse, a community organizer with Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, said child hunger spikes during the summer months.

“When they’re fed throughout the school year and they have access to meals throughout the school year, it’s only fair that they have access to food throughout the summer,” said Krouse. “Their income level doesn’t drastically change in the summer – they still need access to support, and access to food.”

Krouse said there have been bipartisan calls to fund the program. The state would get access to about $35 million a year from the federal government for benefits.

The legislative session is scheduled to adjourn on March 10.

Matt Newell-Ching, senior policy manager with Oregon Food Bank, said Summer EBT benefits would be especially helpful for families in rural areas.

“While we love and are big proponents of summer meal sites, we also know that a lot of them are inaccessible,” said Newell-Ching. “And so, this new program was meant specifically to address gaps like that.”

Newell-Ching said everything else is in place – they just need the final piece from lawmakers.

“Ensuring that Oregon contributes its share of the administrative funding makes this all happen and builds on that groundwork,” said Newell-Ching. “And so, basically we’re asking legislators to do the right thing for 294,000 kids, make sure that that funding is there, so we can get this across the finish line and kids can get the support during the summer.” (SOURCE)

Oregon State Parks recruiting about 250 seasonal park rangers and assistants for 2024

Ranger at Sitka Sedge State Natural Area
Ranger at Sitka Sedge State Natural Area

SALEM, Oregon— Oregon State Parks is not just a beautiful place to visit – it’s also a spectacular place to work.

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is recruiting 250 seasonal park rangers and assistants for positions across the state that range anywhere from four to nine months. The peak season is from April to September, but some of the positions start as early as March and run as late as December.

Seasonal staff help visitors access world-class experiences and ensure clean and safe park areas for everyone to enjoy. Duties include janitorial work, landscape maintenance, visitor education and visitor services.

Salaries start at $17.34 per hour for seasonal assistants and $20.06 for seasonal rangers. Both positions include comprehensive medical, vision and dental plans for employees and qualified family members. The positions also include paid sick leave, vacation, personal leave and 11 paid holidays per year. Student workers, ages 16 and older, start at $17.32 or more per hour depending on experience (no benefits).

OPRD promotes from within and several of our top leaders started as seasonal employees.

“We love what we do at Oregon Parks and Recreation Department,” said Director Lisa Sumption. “We get to preserve and share some of Oregon’s most treasured landscapes and resources. Whether you’re here for a season or your entire career, you’re part of that OPRD family.”

For more information about current openings, visit stateparks.oregon.gov. If you have any questions or need additional assistance in accessibility or alternative formats, please email Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Recruiting D.Recruiting@oprd.oregon.gov“>OPRD.Recruiting@oprd.oregon.gov.

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, committed to diversity and pay equity.

FBI-Portland Offers Sextortion Prevention Tips

FBI-Portland is ramping up efforts to prevent child sextortion, after seeing  a massive increase in sextortion in recent years. “From out to Prineville, to Bend, to Medford to Eugene and here in Portland, to the coast. It is happening everywhere,” Supervisory Special Agent Travis Ostrem told parents during a Wednesday webinar.

The crime involving explicit images of children boils down to blackmail and there are two forms: Financial and Traditional. “Financial sextortion, where the predators are looking for monetary gain from the children, to stop them from sending images. We’ve also sextortion, which is the typical child exploitation of sexual images, where they’re asking for additional images.”

He urges parents to start talking with kids early about the dangers of sending any photos online. Predators target victims as young as 11. He also suggested parents monitor the apps children are using, set parental controls and know who kids are talking to online, “Technology is growing faster than we can control it. But you all can get ahead of it. Look out for your children.”

A similar webinar was offered last week to school administrators. “We’re trying to be proactive because we don’t want any more of these cases. If we can eliminate it, just like getting drugs out of the schools from our kids, eliminate sextortion,” said Ostrem. “Sextortion is on a massive rise. We’re seeing it throughout, not just the country but in Oregon too. In every portion of the state, if there is some type of wifi or cellular connection to the internet, children can be sextorted.” He notes Oregon cases have increased by 20%, and at least 20 resulted in the victim taking their own life. “One suicide is too many. One child being sextorted is too many. The damage that can do to mental health is horrible. What we see normally is one predator will target up to a hundred victims.”

FBI-Portland hosted a chat on X – formerly Twitter – Thursday at noon to answer more questions about protecting kids from sextortion. (SOURCE)

Oregon Blue Book Cover Photo Contest Underway

The front cover of the 2023-2024 Oregon Blue Book showcases a hillside covered in beautiful balsam root and lupine flowers at Rowena Crest, captured by Oregon photographer Micah Lundsted of Eugene. The book’s back cover shows an image of three rockfish made at the Oregon Coast Aquarium by Dale George of Grants Pass.

A hillside covered in flowers of purple and yellow. In the sky is a scattering of clouds reflecting sunlight in blue and purple.

Which images will cover the 2025-2026 Oregon Blue Book? The Oregon Blue Book cover photo contest kicks off today, giving amateur photographers the chance to submit their photos to answer that question. Photo contest winners will be selected in October 2024 by Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade.

“Choosing the cover photos for the Oregon Blue Book is an honor,” said Secretary Griffin-Valade. “The images are a chance to see our beautiful state through the lens of the many talented amateur photographers who live in Oregon.”

The contest is open to Oregon residents of any age who earn less than half their income from photography. Images must be Oregon related and should be submitted in the portrait, rather than landscape, orientation. Two images will be selected for the cover: one for the front and one for the back. Visit the Oregon Blue Book Photo Contest guidelines for more information: https://sos.oregon.gov/blue-book/Pages/about-conte…

Images can be submitted through the Oregon Blue Book website portal or via U.S. mail. The deadline to submit photos for consideration is October 27, 2024. Contact the Oregon Blue Book Managing Editor at Oregon.Bluebook@sos.oregon.gov with questions or for additional information.

DETAILS

What: 2025-2026 Oregon Blue Book Cover Photo Contest
Who: Amateur photographers who live in Oregon
When: February 7, 2024-October 27, 2024
Where: Submit online or through U.S. Mail
Why: Photo on the cover of the 2025-2026 Oregon Blue Book

ODFW Announces Stamp Art Competitions

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is making a call to area artists to compete in one, or all three, of ODFW’s 2025 stamp art competitions.

The winning artist in each contest receives a $2,000 award and their winning artwork is used to produce collector’s stamps and other promotional items, sales of which benefit Oregon’s fish, wildlife, and their habitats.

For more information on contest rules and to order stamps and art prints, visit: https://www.dfw.state.or.us/stamp_contest/index.asp.

Entries will be accepted beginning Aug. 30 through Sept. 27 by 5 p.m., at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife headquarters, 4034 Fairview Industrial Dr., SE, Salem, OR 97302.

Entries can be mailed or hand delivered. If you hand-deliver your entry, call ahead to make arrangements at 503-947-6314.

Here’s a look at the three categories:

Habitat Conservation Stamp

Art entries must feature a “Strategy Species” identified in the Oregon Conservation Strategy in its appropriate habitat. Not all species in the strategy are eligible, so use the qualifying list of species.

See contest rules and entry form for more information and a list of eligible species at

https://www.dfw.state.or.us/conservationstrategy/habitat_conservation_stamp.asp.

Waterfowl Stamp Contest

Art entries must feature one of the following species in its natural habitat setting: Ring-necked Duck, White-winged Scoter, or Barrow’s Goldeneye.

See contest rules and entry form for more information at

https://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/hunting/waterfowl/contest/index.asp.

Upland Game Bird Stamp Contest

Art entries must feature California Quail in its natural habitat setting.

See contest rules and entry form for more information at https://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/hunting/upland_bird/contest/index.asp

Artists should not the highlighted new for 2025 information in the contest rules and the final page for packaging tips.

A panel will judge artwork based on artistic composition, anatomical accuracy of the species and general appeal.

Collector’s stamps, art prints and other promotional materials are produced from first-place artwork. Proceeds from product sales are used for habitat improvement, research surveys and conservation projects.

Interested artists are encouraged to visit ODFW’s stamp art competition website for more information on the contests and to view entries from previous years. https://www.dfw.state.or.us/stamp_contest/index.asp

 

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