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Southern Oregon University

Many a college started up a women's resource center as the feminist movement of the 60s and 70s gained momentum.

Southern Oregon University was among them, setting up its WRC in 1976.  And it is still around, marking its 40th birthday on campus. 

From comfort to advocacy to household supplies, the center offers a wide range of services. 

Calvero/Wikimedia

By the latest figures, Oregon has the second highest rate of opioid drug addiction of any state.  People who would never think of taking heroin by needle have no problem taking its cousin in pill form. 

Doctors in the state joined forces years ago in what's now called Oregon Pain Guidance, which offers a public forum on pain management Thursday (May 19th) in Medford. 

Sam Quiñones is featured, for his profile of addiction in the heartland in Dreamland

Republican Dennis Richardson, loser of the last race for Oregon Governor, easily won nomination to run for Secretary of State.  His likely opponent will be Democrat Brad Avakian, currently Oregon's labor commissioner.

Richardson walked away with the nomination, rolling up more than 75% of the vote against Lane County Commissioner and former Springfield Mayor Sid Leiken.

Avakian had a closer time of it on the Democratic side, grabbing rough 40% of the vote.  State Senator Val Hoyle trailed with 33%, with fellow State Senator Richard Devlin further back.  Appointed incumbent Jeanne Atkins did not run for her job.

Avakian has served as commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries since his election to that post in 2008.  Richardson served several terms in the legislature representing a Rogue Valley district before leaving to run for governor in 2014.  He lost the race to John Kitzhaber, only to see Kitzhaber resign in scandal a month into his term.

Oregon's emergency governor made a major step toward election by winning the Democratic Primary Tuesday night.  Kate Brown will face Republican Bud Pierce in the November general election.

Brown faced a field of political unknowns among Democrats, while Pierce, a Salem oncologist, had a tougher fight against former state GOP chair Allen Alley and some lesser-known names.

In the end, both cruised to their respective nominations.

Brown became governor upon the resignation of John Kitzhaber in February 2015.  She had been Secretary of State.  Since Kitzhaber departed before the middle of a four-year term, Oregon law required this year's vote for a two-year term.

Pierce will now turn his attention to breaking a long losing streak for the Republican party.  The last time Oregon voters put a member of the GOP in the governor's office was with the election of Vic Atiyeh in 1982.

Nicholas Blah/Flickr

Voters gave increased bus operations in Jackson County the green light in Tuesday's primary. Measure 15-141, for the Rogue Valley Transportation District, led with 62 percent of votes as of 8pm. 

A bond measure to pay for $20 million in facilities improvements at Rogue Community College also won approval from Jackson and Josephine County voters. Initial counts had Measure 17-69 passing with 36,587 yes votes and 30,944 no votes between the two counties. The contribution of property owners in both counties will be 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. 

oregon.4h.oregonstate.edu

A levy to support 4-H and Oregon State University Extension Programs in Lane County has passed. 

Some 69 percent of primary voters said yes to renewing support for OSU Extension programs, which have implemented deep cuts since the county withdrew funding in 2008. A similar measure failed back in 2010. 

Lucy Vinis is poised to succeed Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy. She received 53 percent of the vote. Mike Clark came in second with 38 percent. If Vinis's majority holds up, she'll be the only candidate on the November ballot. 

Rogue Community College

Jackson and Josephine County voters have agreed to foot the bill for $20 million in facilities improvements at Rogue Community College.

 Initial counts had Measure 17-69 passing with 36,587 yes votes and 30,944 no votes between the two counties. The contribution of property owners in both counties will be 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. 

A crowded primary race for two non-partisan seats on the Josephine County Board of Commissioners narrowed considerably, with the top two finishers from each district advancing to the November general election. 

A ban on medical and retail marijuana facilities in Klamath County stands.

Primary voters shot down a measure that would have reversed it. Measure 18-105, allowing state licensed medical marijuana and retail marijuana facilities, failed by 16 points. 

A crowded primary race for two non-partisan seats on the Klamath County Board of Commissioners narrowed considerably, with upsets for both incumbents.  

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune via KUT.org

When someone is raped, a sexual assault forensic examiner can be an invaluable help. 

The examiner, a trained medical professional, can provide care for the victim and help gathering evidence to make a case in court. 

But a recent federal report shows that such examiners are few and far between in many states, particularly in rural areas.  The GAO--Government Accountability Office--compiled the report. 

Results from the Oregon Primary will be up for discussion on this week's VENTSday.  We'll also talk about a past election: Josephine County voters adopted a GMO crop ban, and a court just nixed it. 

So WHO should regulate GMO crops? 

Listeners take stage on our weekly VENTSday segment, a chance to vent on a couple of topics in the news--by phone, by email, or through our online survey. We provide the topics, you provide the opinions.

No expertise necessary; just opinions and the ability to express them in a radio-friendly way. We post our weekly survey on one or both of the topics in advance.

Oregon State University Press

Drive down a coastal highway in our region, and you're sure to see a sign advertising myrtlewood for sale. 

But the tree has value beyond its wood: Native Americans in the region ate parts of it.  That's one of many stories to emerge from the book Ethnobotany of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians

Patricia Whereat Phillips, herself Miluk Coos, is the book's author. 

Miguel V./Wikimedia

Trees make hot days a little cooler.  Well duh, you might say, everyone knows that shade from trees is good. 

But a newly-published study from Oregon State University shows that the quality of the cooling depends on the kind of forest. 

Specifically, old-growth forests with tight canopies and dense undergrowth appear to offer more cooling than single-species tree plantations, a distinction that could matter more as the Earth warms. 

Luke Ruediger

You COULD walk from Ashland to Jacksonville now, but either on the shoulder of a busy road, or by bushwhacking through the wild (or both). 

But an alternative is in the works: the Jack-Ash Trail is planned for the ridgetops between the two communities.  Work could start later this year. 

The trail has the backing of Luke Ruediger, devotee of all things related to the Siskiyou Crest, and a blogger about his efforts and interests. 

PGHolbrook/Wikimedia Commons

The Smith River, California's only un-dammed river, is a jewel in the redwoods. 

It is also not exclusive to California; some of the Smith's headwaters lie in Oregon.  Which is why retired BLM resource specialist Gordon Lyford is asking the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to protect the headwaters of the river. 

The designation sought by Lyford and supported by the Smith River Alliance is "outstanding resource waters."  By law, DEQ is supposed to respond to the petition this week (May 22 deadline). 

Wikimedia

If you want to start a fight in the West, announce plans to open a water bottling plant. 

Crystal Geyser's plan to start operations in Mount Shasta touched off a storm of protest.  And it appears to have created an ongoing political force in the  Siskiyou Forward Movement

The group is drawing up plans for a Siskiyou County ballot measure that would make it harder for future water bottlers to sell groundwater outside the county.  The group also opposes a measure on the June 7 ballot that would raise more money for a bigger jail. 

Brown campaign

Kate Brown became Oregon's governor by accident. 

John Kitzhaber's resignation in February 2015 plucked her from the Secretary of State's office and put her on the hot seat.  AND required an election for a two-year term for governor, which she is running for now. 

And Brown has plenty of company, with multiple Democrats and Republicans and even a pair of Independent Party of Oregon candidates seeking the job in the primary. 

Katy Warner via Wikimedia Commons

Tylenol is one of the most widely used painkillers across the United States. Its main ingredient, acetaminophen, is present in more than 600 over-the-counter and prescription medications. But several recent studies are bringing up new concerns about this familiar drug.

C4 Facebook page

A Medford school--St. Mary's--recently sent not one, but TWO teams of students to a world championship in robotics. 

A word of explanation first: clever students come up with clever team names. 

So Trial N Terror and C4 (for Computional Center for Competitive Circuitry) packed up bags and robots and headed for St. Louis to compete. 

U.S. Marines/Public Domain

Maybe you were one of those people who struggled through higher math in school, wondering how it would ever help you in life. 

Keith Devlin will be happy to tell you.  Devlin is the co-founder and Executive Director of Stanford University's Human Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research Institute (just call it H-STAR). 

He also appears on NPR as "The Math Guy," exploring the usefulness of math in the world. 

He visits Southern Oregon University for a couple of lectures this week. 

Some Oregonians Face Big Health Insurance Hikes

May 12, 2016
National Institute of Health

Oregonians who buy their own health insurance face a second straight year of hefty premium hikes that could boost coverage costs by nearly a third.

Insurers want to boost premiums by 15 percent to 32 percent next year, according to a summary of rate requests submitted recently to the Department of Consumer and Business Services.

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