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Current location: Red Hell Texas
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About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

State's psychiatric hospitals still without chief

After almost two years of active recruitment, the Oregon Health Authority still hasn’t found a new superintendent for the state’s psychiatric hospitals, triggering growing concerns among advocates for people who are mentally ill.

The superintendent is a top state government post leading Oregon’s two psychiatric hospitals, the 610-bed facility in Salem and the 174-bed one in Junction City. Those hospitals employ 1,900 people and have a combined annual budget of $275 million — almost all of it state funds.

But that key post has been unfilled since April 1, when then-Superintendent Greg Roberts retired. Roberts previously delayed his retirement by three months after the initial recruitment process sputtered in 2016.

After months of more searching and interviews, the state found itself back at square one this fall, after its most recently chosen candidate leveraged the interest from Oregon into a pay raise to stay in their current job.

Read more: http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/36183762-75/two-year-search-yields-no-one-to-oversee-oregons-two-state-psychiatric-hospitals.html.csp

Declining workforce leaves Smith Frozen Foods short-shifted

Finding enough workers is getting to be more of a challenge for Michael Lesko at Smith Frozen Foods.

The company, which processes and packages frozen vegetables near Weston, is capable of storing more than 130 million pounds of product on site, including corn, lima beans, onions and carrots. Harvest season typically begins around June 1 and runs through the end of November, when the demand for seasonal labor is at its strongest.

Lesko, director of human resources for Smith Frozen Foods, said the plant has roughly 100 regular employees and typically hires another 200 seasonal workers through harvest. Those positions, however, are becoming more difficult to fill, he said, which has left the plant short up to 10 workers on any given shift over the past year.

“It’s been difficult keeping people, by all means,” Lesko said. “We were looking for people to start in June and work through November, but that’s becoming more and more rare.”

Read more: http://www.eastoregonian.com/eo/local-news/20171124/declining-workforce-leaves-smith-frozen-foods-short-shifted

Nuclear sludge at Washington state site put in safer storage

SPOKANE — After 19 years of work to safeguard nuclear waste dating from the Cold War, workers at a sprawling Washington state site have managed to remove virtually all of the radioactive waste from 16 aging underground steel tanks at risk of leaking.

The sludge left over from the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons was transferred from the old single walled tanks into modern double wall tanks that are considered much safer, the U.S. Department of Energy said in a statement provided to The Associated Press Monday.

While the event is regarded as a major milestone for the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the waste removed came from only one of the facility’s 12 tank farms containing radioactive waste.

A government contractor is in the final stages of removing waste from one of the tanks, which has a capacity of 530,000 gallons (2 million liters), the energy department said. It has stored waste since 1947 and officials suspect it has been leaking.

Read more: http://www.heraldnet.com/northwest/nuclear-sludge-at-washington-state-site-put-in-safer-storage/

Mayor of Kennewick faces ethics, theft complaints

KENNEWICK — Ethics and theft complaints were filed against the mayor of Kennewick over testimony he gave in a discrimination lawsuit involving his other job.

The Tri-City Herald reported that Pasco resident Roger Lenk on Monday filed complaints with the city and the Benton County prosecutor, claiming Steve Young violated the state code of ethics for municipal officers.

Young is also a vice president for Mission Support Alliance, which holds a U.S. Department of Energy contract to provide support services at the Hanford nuclear reservation.

Lenk claims that Young’s testimony shows he violated ethics rules on using an elected position to secure special privileges. It also claims Young committed theft for conducting city business while at work for the alliance.

Read more: http://www.columbian.com/news/2017/nov/28/mayor-of-kennewick-faces-ethics-theft-complaints/

Special Montana court to oversee hundreds of deadly asbestos claims

HELENA – The Montana Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the creation of a special court to oversee hundreds of claims filed on behalf of people who became ill or died following exposure to asbestos from the now-closed W.R. Grace Inc. vermiculite mine in northwestern Montana.

With at least 540 lawsuits pending and Grace’s bankruptcy proceedings complete, justices said there was sufficient need to create the Asbestos Claims Court under an act passed by lawmakers in 2001.

The court appointed District Judge Amy Eddy of Kalispell to oversee pretrial proceedings. She said she will set trial management plans for the scientifically and medically complicated cases, many of which date to the early 2000s.

“It’s an enormous responsibility and we need to bring resolution for all these claimants and the defendants,” Eddy said.

Read more: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2017/nov/28/montana-asbestos-court-to-oversee-hundreds-of-clai/#/0

Cantwell joins Sanders in sparring with GOP over tax plan

With the Senate expected to vote in the next week or so on a major overhaul of the tax system, Maria Cantwell tag teamed with Bernie Sanders in a verbal wrestling match Tuesday against two Republicans defending the GOP plan.

Answering questions from a studio audience and reporters from CNN, which broadcast the debate live, Cantwell was sharply critical of a provision in the Senate GOP plan that would eliminate the deduction for state and local taxes for taxpayers who itemize.

Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas, told an audience member who opposes that change it is his single biggest concern, and one he’s “working hard to improve.”

“He’s not working hard enough,” countered Cantwell, who fought for years to make sales tax deductible for taxpayers in states like Washington that don’t have a state income tax. People have a right to that deduction and anything less is “double taxation,” she added.

Read more: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2017/nov/28/cantwell-joins-sanders-in-sparring-with-gop-over-t/

Same-sex parental rights case reaches top Mississippi court

PEARL, Miss. -- A lesbian couple who had a son through in-vitro fertilization and later divorced will argue over whether the woman who didn't give birth should have status as a legal parent.

The Mississippi Supreme Court will hear the case Wednesday on whether 44-year-old Chris Strickland should be listed as the legal parent of now-6-year-old Zayden Strickland.

A lower court judge ruled during the divorce that Strickland wasn't a parent. He said the anonymous sperm donor had paternal rights, and awarded full custody rights to Kimberly Day, who carried a child who bears Strickland's last name.

"Can Zayden have three parents? Both these ladies who are married to each other and the father? The court is of the opinion the answer is 'No,'" wrote Rankin County Chancery Court Judge John Grant . "The court finds two women cannot conceive a child together. The court does not find its opinion to be a discriminatory statement but a biological fact."

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/nation-world/article186927153.html

San Francisco approves rules on recreational pot stores

SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco supervisors approved regulations for the sale of recreational marijuana following weeks of emotional debate over where to allow new stores.

Rules approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Tuesday call for a 600-foot (180-meter) buffer zone between stores and schools, comparable to the distance required for places that sell alcohol or tobacco.

Recreational sales become legal in California on Jan. 1, although cities and counties are still struggling to devise rules for local permits that growers or retailers need for state permits.

Older Chinese immigrants opposed to marijuana use packed Tuesday's meeting to urge a barrier greater than 600 feet between stores and schools and other places children might gather.

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/business/article187004843.html

Conservative speaker arrested at UConn after altercation during 'It's OK to be White' speech

Lucian Wintrich

Lucian Wintrich, White House correspondent for the far-right, pro-Trump website Gateway Pundit, was arrested by UConn police Tuesday evening after a walk-out of his event, “It is OK to be white,” gave way to an altercation.

“I can confirm that the speaker has been arrested and he is in police custody,” said UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz. “There are no other arrests and no injuries.’’

Reitz said Wintrich was held by UConn police and will be charged Tuesday evening. For one hour, about 100 students waited outside the Andre Schenker Lecture Hall to see Wintrich brought out by police. When he was eventually brought out a back entrance and placed into a police cruiser, many of the students chased after it.

Wintrich was subdued after he allegedly pursued a woman and grabbed her after she took papers off the podium. The incident occurred shortly after Wintrich spoke before a boisterous and hostile crowd.

Read more: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-uconn-conservative-speaker-lucian-wintrich-arrested-20171128-story.html


Tacoma's KC Boutiette made history entering 1994 Olympics. Now 47, he wants to do it again

A Tacoma sports legend is attempting to make Winter Olympic history.

KC Boutiette, seen as a trailblazer in speedskating, is on a quest to make the U.S. team for the Winter Olympics, Feb. 9-25, in Pyeongchang, South Korea. If he’s successful, he will be the oldest Olympic speedskater since 1924. He is 47.

So far, the Mount Tahoma High graduate and veteran of four Olympics is making a strong case. In 2016, Boutiette became the oldest speedskater ever to win a World Cup medal when he earned a silver in the mass start at a race in Nagano, Japan.

“That was awesome,” Boutiette said to USA Today. “When I got on the podium, I was like, should I call it? Should this be it?’ Then me and the wife talk and she’s like, ‘We’re so close, it’s only a year away.’ ”

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/sports/article186725173.html
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