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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

Portland mayor now pushing for 1-year extension to 'housing emergency'

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales on Wednesday will propose extending the city's declared "housing emergency" for another year -- and this time he may have political support to move forward.

The City Council first declared a housing emergency last October, making it easier for officials to site homeless shelters and camps by waiving certain regulations.

That year-long emergency is set to expire Oct. 7 without action. Under rules approved last year, the emergency can be extended in six-month increments.

But last week, Hales proposed extending it by three years. All four city council offices panned the idea.

Read more: http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2016/08/portland_mayor_now_pushing_for.html

Oregon standoff: David Fry suffers from schizotypal personality disorder, mental health expert to...

Oregon standoff: David Fry suffers from schizotypal personality disorder, mental health expert to testify

A mental health expert will testify at trial next month that Oregon standoff defendant David Fry suffers from schizotypal personality disorder characterized by paranoia, anxiety and heightened suspicions that are exacerbated by stressful events, his attorney said Tuesday.

Fry's attorney Per C. Olson intends to argue at trial that his client mostly kept to himself, observing quails and other wildlife at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, until the Jan. 26 police fatal shooting of occupation spokesman Robert "LaVoy'' Finicum on a rural road between the refuge and John Day.

It was the shooting and the resulting "echo chamber'' that Finicum was "unjustly murdered'' at the hands of law enforcement that triggered Fry's fear that federal agents were going to come after him, his attorney argued. The shooting of Finicum shooting led Fry to hunker down in a campground at the far western edge of the refuge parking lot until his surrender Feb. 11, Olson argued.

Fry, the last holdout at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in the 41-day occupation, is one of eight defendants set for trial Sept. 7. He has pleaded not guilty to conspiring to impede federal employees at the federal wildlife sanctuary in Harney County.

Read more: http://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/08/oregon_standoff_david_fry_suff.html

Despite misgivings, judge allows two Oregon standoff defendants to represent themselves

Despite Ryan Bundy's repeated "contempt for the court process'' and failure to grant a blanket assurance that he'll follow the court's orders during trial, U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown said she'd give him "the benefit of the doubt'' and allow him to continue to represent himself.

The judge also said co-defendant Kenneth Medenbach could continue to act as his own lawyer, but Medenbach promised to adhere to the judge's rulings.

"I will abide by whatever you want me to do now,'' Medenbach told Brown on Tuesday.

The judge indicated she found both had repeatedly defied her rulings and showed "persistent and willful violations of court orders'' in preparation for trial.

Read more: http://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/08/despite_misgivings_federal_jud.html

Roads closed for construction of $82 million state office building

Several Olympia streets will be closed over the next month to accommodate construction of the state office building on the block bordered by Capitol Way, 11th Avenue, Union Avenue and Columbia Street.

Both eastbound lanes and one westbound lane of Union Avenue between Capitol Way and Columbia Street will be closed Tuesday through Friday (Aug. 30 through Sept. 2) as well as Sept. 27-28 for underground utility work, according to a news release from the state Department of Enterprise Services.

The other westbound lane of Union Avenue, nearest to the sidewalk, will remain open, as will the entrances to the Columbia Street parking garage and the sandwich shop at Capitol Way and Union Avenue. Parking stalls along the westbound lane of Union Avenue also will remain open.

The utility work will require closing the southbound lane of Columbia Street between 10th Avenue and Union Avenue during those same dates. Columbia Street between Union Avenue and 11th Avenue is already closed and will likely remain so for the duration of the project, which is scheduled for completion in about a year.

Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/news/local/article98698232.html

CH2M Hill adds 300 employees, takes on more Hanford work

About 300 Hanford workers become employees of CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. or its subcontractors Aug. 29.

After 11 years, Hanford Washington Closure is wrapping up its contract at the Hanford nuclear reservation at the end of September and has done its last work in the field.

At its peak in 2012, with the help of economic stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Washington Closure employed about 1,200 workers. On Aug. 29, its work force drops to just fewer than 100.

The number of employees is expected to decline through September to about 30 people, who will remain for several months in a contract closeout office working on audits, documenting completed projects and finishing up other paperwork.

Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/hanford/article98516357.html

Former head of Richland home for juvenile felons pleads guilty

The former acting administrator at a home for juvenile felony offenders in Richland pleaded guilty Monday to a felony and a gross misdemeanor after having sexual contact with an 18-year-old felon housed there.

Mindi M. Stoker, 39, of Pasco, will not have to register as a sex offender because the felony is not a sex crime.

Stoker pleaded guilty to the felony of attempted second-degree assault. She initially was charged with first-degree custodial sexual misconduct with the 18-year-old in custody at the Twin Rivers Community Facility. It’s consider an assault if a prison official has sex with an inmate.

She also pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor, second-degree custodial sexual misconduct, for having sexual contact with the teen.

Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/crime/article98732282.html

Seattle weighs new rules for businesses with hourly workers

SEATTLE (AP) - Seattle leaders have proposed new rules for retail and food-service businesses with hourly employees, including requiring them to schedule shifts two weeks in advance and compensate workers for some last-minute changes - the latest push by a city that has led the nation in mandating worker benefits.

Seattle was among the first to phase in a $15 hourly minimum wage, mandate sick leave for many companies and offer paid parental leave for city workers.

Now, the mayor, city officials and labor-backed groups are targeting erratic schedules and fluctuating hours they say make it difficult for people to juggle child care, school or other jobs, to count on stable income or to plan for the future.

Seattle's "secure scheduling" proposal also would require retail and fast-food companies with 500 employees globally to compensate workers with "predictability pay" when they're scheduled but don't get called into work or are sent home early; provide a minimum 10 hours rest between open and closing shifts; and offer hours to existing employees before hiring new staff.

Read more: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/391702641.xhtml

Vets picket VA hospital in Spokane over cuts to physical therapy program

Veterans in Spokane picketed the Mann-Grandstaff Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Monday over changes to a physical therapy program.

A group of aging vets gathered at Wellesley Avenue and Assembly Street asking motorists to sign a petition against the cuts.

At issue is a physical therapy program used by about 65 veterans. The “minimally supervised group” could use the VA’s physical therapy equipment without direct supervision from a therapist.

But up to 30 of those vets were using the program after their doctor’s referral to physical therapy had expired. A letter sent to the vets on Aug. 19 said all 65 would need a current medical referral to continue physical therapy at the VA.

Read more: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2016/aug/29/vets-picket-va-hospital-in-spokane-over-cuts-to-ph/

Bill to increase farm overtime moves to California governor

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Jerry Brown will again consider a historic proposal calling for farmworkers to receive the same overtime pay as other hourly workers, after the Assembly approved legislation to phase in the change.

California employers are already mandated to pay time-and-a half to farmworkers after 10 hours in a day or 60 hours in a week. That’s longer than the overtime pay for all other workers, who get it after eight hours in a day or 40 hours a week.

The Assembly passed the proposal with a 44-32 vote after two hours of debate over whether the increase in wages would cause managers to cut hours or jobs.

“There may be situations where people may believe that they will lose something in terms of economics, but my father taught me that it was more than about the money, it was about who he was as a man and it was about him being respected by everyone else like everyone else,” said Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, whose father was a sharecropper. “Sometimes, for that reason, you make that economic sacrifice.”

Read more: http://www.seattletimes.com/business/bill-to-increase-farm-overtime-moves-to-california-governor/

Psychiatric hospital Western State no longer part of national accreditation program

OLYMPIA — The state’s largest psychiatric hospital quietly withdrew from a national accreditation program three months ago.

Western State Hospital voluntarily withdrew from accreditation by The Joint Commission, a nonprofit organization, on May 24, according to a Joint Commission spokeswoman.

But the state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), which oversees the facility, didn’t announce the decision publicly. The silence stands in contrast to other recent developments, like a hospital improvement plan that was finalized and announced in June with federal regulators.

In early August, the hospital’s website still described it as accredited through The Joint Commission. By Monday afternoon, that language had been removed.

Read more: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/western-state-no-longer-part-of-national-accreditation-program/
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