News

California State Senator Tony Mendoza Takes Leave Of Absence Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations

Jan 4, 2018
Ben Adler/Capital Public Radio

Embattled state Senator Tony Mendoza, under investigation after being accused of inappropriate sexual harassment against a female student Fellow and a former staffer, announced Wednesday evening that he’ll temporarily vacate his office.

Flu Outbreak Grows Serious In Pacific Northwest

Jan 3, 2018
Huntlh via Pixabay

More than 120 Oregonians were hospitalized for flu-related ailments the week ending Dec. 23.

That’s up from 85 cases the week prior.

Investigators: Former Oregon First Lady Violated Ethics Laws

Jan 3, 2018
Pamplin file photo

Former Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes violated several state ethics laws when she used her public position and state staff and resources to win a paid fellowship and contracts for her environmental consulting firm between 2011 and 2013, state investigators have concluded.

Stewardship Council

There's an old line directed to gullible people: "if you believe that, I have some swamp land I'd like to sell you."  Is it better if the swamp is just given away? 

The McArthur Swamp in Shasta County is under new ownership as of a few months ago, when Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) finished conveying the nearly 7,700 acres of land to several entities in several ways. 

It's part of larger effort by the utility to protect some of its land. 

It has become nearly impossible to avoid noticing homeless people in just about any community of any size in our region. 

High rents, low vacancy rates, low wages... they are among a long list of contributing factors to homelessness in all corners of the "state of Jefferson." 

We explore the situation in many of the counties we serve, with a series of interviews under the banner "Out in the Cold."  We begin with Mendocino County, very rural but also very close to the San Francisco metropolitan area. 

hillstomp.com

The Christmas carols may be behind us, but the music never stops. 

Certainly not for Josh Gross, the music editor at the Rogue Valley Messenger

Once a month, the day BEFORE First Friday, Josh visits with news of bands coming to play at venues in the region, with a particular emphasis on the Rogue Valley. 

We call it "Rogue Sounds."

Our Wild And Scenic Rivers

Jan 3, 2018

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, a good round-number that begs for a retrospective view of what has been accomplished in the past half century, and also for an eye to the future with its prospects and challenges.

In southwestern Oregon and northern California we have Crater Lake National Park and Mount Shasta, seashores and redwoods, bugling elk and barking sea lions. All these natural highlights astonish, but every bit as extraordinary, we have rivers as ribbons of life connecting all our remarkable landscapes. 

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The California Senate’s human resources office knew about Sen. Tony Mendoza’s alleged sexual misconduct with a female student Fellow in late September. But instead of immediately placing the lawmaker on leave, or finding a safer place for the young woman — as experts say a properly trained, experienced HR professional might have done — Senate leaders left the Fellow in Mendoza’s office for another six weeks.

Douglas County Commissioners will consider a plan Wednesday to open up 35,000 acres of rural land to 20-acre home plots. The land is currently zoned for farm and forest use. 

The rezoning effort sets up a potentially major shift in how Oregon — known for its conservative land use laws — manages a growing population.

soairacademy.com

"Up in the air, junior birdmen..."  Older listeners might recognize the song, but we'll apply it to today's crop of young people interested in learning about aviation. 

Southern Oregon Air Academy responds to that interest by teaching students as young as elementary school about flying. 

SOAA just got a big chunk of money from the State of Oregon to expand its programs, based at the Grants Pass airport. 

Wikimedia

Few people can deny the housing crunch felt all over our region.  Low vacancy rates and high rents demonstrate the problem. 

But just HOW can any community spur the construction of new housing for people at all income levels?  That's a question asked out loud by the Housing Advisory Committee in Grants Pass. 

The committee plans a series of public meetings and forums meant to encourage the development of more housing. 

Ladislav Mecir, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39061107

Do you still write checks at the grocery store?  Or has the debit card long since become your medium of exchange? 

Most of us still work with dollars... but there's certainly an intriguing allure to the talk of Bitcoin and other digital currency, especially since Bitcoin's value has zoomed of late. 

You are not alone if you are having some trouble understanding how digital currencies work.  Scientific American has been all over the story.  Senior Editor Jen Schwartz got an education herself. 

Wikimedia

This week marks a seismic shift for California: It’s now legal for adults 21-and-older to buy marijuana for recreational use.

Voters set this change in motion when they approved Proposition 64 in November 2016. And a state-sanctioned marketplace for recreational cannabis is a big deal.

European Parliament

Those trips to recycle bottles in Oregon could get heavier and more lucrative in the New Year.  Oregon's half-century-old bottle law is changing once again.

University of California-Davis

The Northern spotted owl takes the blame for the decline in logging in much of the Northwest.  Yet the numbers of owls continue to drop. 

This is true of the owl's close relative, the California spotted owl, which is not listed under the Endangered Species Act. 

Researchers from the Universities of Wisconsin and Minnesota are keeping an eye on California owl populations.  They theorize that the kind of habitat the owls favor takes a long time to grow. 

Wikimedia

Public schools are struggling in California by several measures.  One of them is just in teaching children to read. 

The pro bono legal firm Public Counsel filed suit against the state in early December, on the grounds that students are denied access to literacy, which is required in the California Constitution. 

Is there a "right to read?" 

Tuality Healthcare/Jeff Schilling

Ballots arrive in a little more than a week for Oregon's January 23rd election.  It features exactly one item: Ballot Measure 101, a vote on a tax on some healthcare providers and insurance premiums, to fully fund the Oregon Health Plan, Oregon's version of Medicaid. 

Featured Works for January – First Concert
(*Indicates January birthday)

Jan 1 M New Year’s Day Live from Vienna
Jan 2 T Mily Balakirev*: Russia
Jan 3 W Johann Sebastian Bach: Cello Suite in C major
Jan 4 T Giovanni Battista Pergolesi*: Violin Concerto
Jan 5 F Henri Herz*: Piano Concerto No. 7

Nicolas Vigier/Wikimedia

Racism has flared anew in our country in recent years. 

Parts of our region were hospitable to racists, including Klan members, nearly a century ago.  But white supremacist recruiting posters have shown up in recent months in Grants Pass and other communities. 

Yes, there is free speech, but police also have some tools, in particular if it is hate speech. 

Heart and Hope Music

It's not generally considered a medical device, but the guitar does have some healing properties.  At least that's how it's used by Rogue Valley musician Donny Roze. 

As the founder and executive director of Heart and Hope Music, he and his guitar go where they are needed to bring a little cheer... to adult foster care homes and assisted living facilities and other places where aging people congregate. 

And they don't just listen; they sing and play instruments, too.  More such sessions will be possible with recent grants from the Oregon Community Foundation and other organizations.

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