News

Medford Education Association

Medford teachers and the school district returned to contract talks Tuesday, but not before taking more public shots at each other.

Mediation sessions resumed a few hours after the union chief and the school superintendent published dueling guest columns in the Mail Tribune of Medford.

Concern Over Mercury In Oregon Rivers

Feb 4, 2014
BLM/Wikimedia

The Rogue River looks pristine in many places, but looks are deceiving. 

The Rogue, the McKenzie, and other Oregon rivers may be added to a list of streams bearing high levels of mercury.  In some of the native fish, though generally not the water.

Wikimedia

Two days before a planned strike date, the Medford School District and its teachers return to talks aimed at finding a contract both sides can live with.

Talks, plural.  The plan for the Tuesday sessions calls for negotiating teams from the district and the teachers' union to meet in separate rooms, with a mediator shuttling between them.

Arguing Timber And Terminology

Feb 3, 2014
Nicholas_T/Flickr

The Bureau of Land Management calls the plan for the White Castle timber sale "variable retention harvest."

Environmental groups prefer "clearcut."  Welcome back to the frequent battles over logging in Western Oregon. 

Ski Season Woes

Feb 3, 2014
Wikimedia

It's already February and some skiers still haven't been able to hit the slopes.

Winter storms have been rare visitors this winter, and winter recreation areas have little or no snow to work with.  Both Mt. Shasta Ski Park and Mt. Ashland Ski Area remain closed. 

Enoch Lai/Wikimedia

The Ashland  city council is poised to consider taking up a pair of ordinances proposed by a community group concerned about gun violence. Whether Ashland adopts the new laws or not, it raises questions about how far local gun restrictions can go, and what they can accomplish.

S.O. Jobs With Justice

The Medford School District and its teachers continue to march toward a possible teacher strike, despite pleas from the community to keep negotiating.

Medford Education Association members plan to strike on February 6th without progress toward a new contract.

Driving Toward An EV Future

Jan 31, 2014
Wikimedia

If you're not driving a hybrid or electric vehicle yet, chances are pretty good that you will soon. 

Especially in Oregon, where the trade association Drive Oregon puts in a lot of miles (and watts, we presume) boosting electric vehicles, or EVs. 

Amy Quinton/Capital Public Radio

California’s ranchers depend on fall and winter rains to keep grasses growing for their livestock. But the state’s drought is forcing them to make tough decisions. With rangelands dry statewide, moving herds isn’t an option. Many are resorting to buying feed, but its rising cost is making that choice difficult.

Reducing Child Abuse: 90 by 30

Jan 30, 2014
Wikimedia

Child abuse is more widely recognized than ever before, and the work of eliminating it continues.

Lane County is home to the 90 by 30 program, an effort to reduce child abuse by 90% by the year 2030.

A state of emergency has been declared by the Medford School Board. The move yesterday is part of preparations for a fast-approaching teachers' strike after negotiations using state mediators failed to produce an agreement with the union this week.

The Mail Tribune reports the board passed emergency resolutions that would give Superintendent Phil Long extra authority, prohibit picketing on school property, restrict signs and banners on district facilities and authorize spending to continue school operations in the event of a strike.

United States Fish and Wildlife Service

As marijuana has become more mainstream, the business of cultivating the plant has boomed. That’s true nowhere more than in coastal northern California. There, the so-called Emerald Triangle of Mendocino, Trinity and Humboldt counties is believed to be the largest cannabis-growing region in the US.

But as the hills have sprouted thousands of new grow operations, haphazard cultivation is threatening the recovery of endangered west coast salmon and steelhead populations.

Ashland Considers Gun Regulations

Jan 29, 2014
Megathon Charlie/Flickr

Last year provided a good demonstration of what often happens to gun-control legislation in Congress. 

The aftermath of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut included an increase in public sentiment for some kinds of gun legislation, including universal background checks for gun sales. 

Qamuuqin Maxwell

Comprised of frontman/guitarist Pete Bernhard, guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Cooper McBean, and upright bassist Lucia Turino, the drummerless acoustic trio is not your normal alt.country band. 

Medford Educators Meet

Jan 29, 2014

After more than eight hours yesterday, the Medford School District and the union representing its teachers ended a state-mediated negotiating session with no new agreements and no scheduled date as to when the sides would meet again.

The Mail Tribune reports that while the sides did not meet face-to-face during the day, they did exchange new proposals. That’s according to Alex Pulaski of the Oregon School Boards Association.

Smarter Freshmen At U. Of Oregon

Jan 28, 2014
University of Oregon

Students entering the University of Oregon as freshmen this year are more accomplished than their predecessors, at least by the numbers. 

This year's freshman class set records for grade point average and SAT scores. 

Oregon Traffic Fatalities Running Low

Jan 28, 2014
Ken Lund

Before the turn of the century, Oregon's annual number of traffic fatalities was generally worse than the national average. 

What a turnaround.  The preliminary numbers for last year show a number--316--that has been this low only once since World War II. 

Mediator To Meet Today With Medford Educators

Jan 28, 2014

Oregon State mediators will meet separately with bargaining teams from the Medford School District and its teachers union this afternoon in the hopes of settling contract disputes before a Feb. 6 strike.

The Medford Education Association notified the district yesterday of its intent to strike in 10 days as required by law. The union's bargaining team walked away from negotiations Friday, saying the district was unwilling to budge on its latest contract offer.

Wikimedia

More than 50 years after Rachel Carson published "Silent Spring," we're still debating the proper use of pesticides. 

And the debate often puts environmental groups and farmers at odds with each other. 

The Business Of Medical Marijuana

Jan 24, 2014

Marijuana is a business in Oregon, like it or not. 

And even though the regulatory environment is constantly shifting, there are people trying to make an honest dollar at it. 

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