Brexit Gets Real: Prime Minister May Has Triggered U.K.'s Exit From EU

Updated 5:15 p.m. ET "The Article 50 process is now underway, and in accordance with the wishes of the British people, the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union," British Prime Minister Theresa May said Wednesday, informing the House of Commons that she has begun the formal process of unraveling the U.K.'s membership in the European bloc. May spoke after signing a letter to the EU that affirms the Brexit that voters embraced last June. She said that letter has now been delivered to the...

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As Congress Repeals Internet Privacy Rules, Putting Your Options In Perspective

President Trump is expected to sign into law a decision by Congress to overturn new privacy rules for Internet service providers. Passed by the Federal Communications Commission in October, the rules never went into effect. If they had, it would have given consumers more control over how ISPs use the data they collect. Most notably, the rules would have required explicit consent from consumers if sensitive data — like financial or health information, or browsing history — were to be shared or...

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Wikimedia

How Oregon PERS Got Into Such A Deep Hole

One of the major issues with balancing the state budget in Oregon is the amount of money needed to make sure retired public workers get the pensions they were promised. PERS, the Public Employee Retiree System, needs more money to match what retirees expect with what has been saved for them. Tim Nesbitt knows PERS from both labor and management sides. He worked for a couple of Oregon governors and once led the AFL-CIO in the state.

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HPV Vaccine Could Protect More People With Fewer Doses, Doctors Insist

You'd think that a vaccine that protects people against more than a half dozen types of cancer would have patients lining up to get it. But the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which can prevent roughly 90 percent of all cervical cancers as well as other cancers and sexually transmitted infections caused by the virus, has faced an uphill climb since its introduction more than a decade ago. Now, with a dosing schedule that requires fewer shots of a more effective vaccine, a leading oncology...

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First Episode Of 'All Things Considered' Is Headed To Library Of Congress

Quick quiz: What do Judy Garland's rendition of "Over the Rainbow," N.W.A's seminal Straight Outta Compton and the inaugural episode of NPR's All Things Considered have in common? That little riddle just got a little easier to answer on Wednesday: The Library of Congress announced that all three "aural treasures" — along with roughly two dozen other recordings — have been inducted into its National Recording Registry. "These sounds of the past enrich our understanding of the nation's cultural...

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California's Unemployment Rate Fell In February

Mar 24, 2017
© Steven Pavlov / http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Senapa

California had another strong jobs report in February. New state numbers show the unemployment rate fell to its lowest point in ten years, down to 5 percent from 5.2 percent in January. 

The unemployment rate stands at 4.7 percent.

The Trump Administration has issued an executive order rolling back fuel economy standards for cars and trucks and is expected to do the same soon for the Clean Power Plan. Both were designed to put the United States on a path to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Riccardo Rossi, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15140983

Salmon runs into the region's rivers fluctuate quite a bit from year to year. 

But the forecast for the chinook salmon run returning to the Klamath River this year is just plain awful.  If the forecast proves true, it will be the smallest chinook run in recorded history. 

Which presents the Pacific Fishery Management Council with few options, none of them attractive for people who want to catch the fish. 

Wet Weather Delays Planting For Central Valley Farmers

Mar 24, 2017
UC Farm Cooperative

Flooded fields, muddy ground, and constant rain are keeping Central Valley farmers from planting their crops.

Hemhem20X6, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3466950

Sudden Oak Death is becoming a big enough concern that even Congress is paying attention. 

Oregon U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley recently joined with a state legislator, Rep. David Brock Smith, to create a task force on the tree disease. 

So far, it is contained to Curry County on Oregon's South Coast, but it has killed large numbers of oak trees in coastal California as well, and defoliated conifers, too. 

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to lobby against the Republican health care bill designed to replace the Affordable Care Act.

Young people in Oregon could soon need to be at least 21-years-old to buy tobacco products.

A bill approved in the Oregon Senate Thursday would focus the penalties on businesses that sell the products to people under age 21.

Some Republicans spoke against the measure during a floor debate. They said people who were old enough to vote or join the military should also be able to legally smoke cigarettes.

School districts across Oregon are warning of potentially deep budget cuts if legislators don’t find additional money for public schools.

But the anticipated gaps are largely a result of rising costs, rather than a decline in state revenue, leading to different opinions of the budget picture.

Gov. Kate Brown has characterized her recommended budget as flat spending, saying "the total state school fund supports current levels of service."

Tammy via Wikimedia Commons

The lower costs and smaller environmental footprint of tiny houses have drawn a growing movement of people seeking to dramatically downsize their living space. But standard building codes have made it difficult to legally build one.

Late last year, a group led by a tiny-house entrepreneur in southern Oregon got the main building code organization in the US to approve a code specifically for tiny houses. It’s a major milestone for a movement that’s struggled for legal recognition.

But it turns out it may be years before the changes take effect.

Scott Catron, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=849216

There are still plenty of people in Oregon who remember when state law made the ocean beaches public property. 

And there's a big anniversary coming up: the 50th birthday of the law. 

Brent Walth is on the journalism faculty at UO. He is the author of Fire at Eden's Gate: Tom McCall and the Oregon Story.

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