News Stories for Mon., Jul. 3, 2017

The Grass Pollen level in our area is predicted to be high to very high for the next several days. Many people suffer allergy symptoms caused by exposure to tree, grass and weed pollen. Pollen is a fine yellowish powder that is transported from plant to plant by the wind, by birds, by insects or by other animals. The spread of pollen helps to fertilize plants — but it can mean misery for seasonal allergy sufferers. Symptoms may include Sneezing, Nasal congestion, Runny nose, Watery eyes, Itchy throat and eyes, Wheezing and Pollen can also aggravate asthma symptoms. Wind carries pollen in the air, especially when it’s dry and sunny. So, you may want to close windows on days like today. And, Most types of grass release pollen only when they grow tall. The pollen comes from a feathery flower that grows at the top. If you keep your lawn mowed, it’s less likely to release pollen.

A bill has been introduced in Congress that seeks to prevent the breaching of four Snake River dams in eastern Washington state. The bill would keep in place the Federal Columbia River Biological Opinion until 2022. That’s a plan created by a collaboration of federal agencies, states and tribes to protect migrating salmon while continuing to operate the dams. The Tri-City Herald reports a federal judge has ruled that the biological opinion doesn’t do enough to rebuild endangered salmon and steelhead populations. Judge Michael Simon has ordered a new environmental review, which is required to consider breaching the four Snake River dams. The bill also would effectively overturn an April decision by Simon that would require the Army Corps of Engineers to spill more water for fish.

Wildlife managers in seven states in the western U.S. report this past winter was rough on wildlife. California, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming report above-normal losses of wildlife in the wake of one of the coldest and snowiest winters in decades. Record snowfall made it difficult for wildlife to find food, and spells of bitter cold made matters worse. Wildlife managers are assessing the damage using radio collars and surveys of herds. Biologists say the wildlife herds should eventually recover, with the help of reduced hunting, if normal conditions return next winter.

The largest budget in Oregon history for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs has been sent to Gov. Kate Brown for her signature. House Bill 5039 – which passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote Friday – establishes a $509.9 million budget for the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs. That’s a $69.5 million increase – 15.8 percent – over the agency’s current biennial budget. The bill also honors the voters’ will – as expressed through passage of Measure 96 last year – by allocating $18.7 million from the Lottery Fund to veterans’ services, Senate Democrats said.