News Stories Jun. 19, 2018

U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley joined 28 of their Senate colleagues in sending a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in response to the Department of the Interior’s notice it will begin an Environmental Impact Statement for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The letter, sent in response to Interior’s plan to move forward with drilling, demands that any actions taken in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge be in full compliance with environmental laws in order to preserve wildlife and local habitats.

The annual Todd Beamer Memorial Run will be held on the 4th of July. Registration will begin at 6:15 that morning at Sahalee Park in Madras. Discounted registration is available through July 3rd on All proceeds go to the Todd Beamer Memorial Scholarship. The events include a six-mile walk, 5K run, 10K run and two-mile fun run. Following the race, there will be food, a parade and celebration in the park.

Backers of a gun control proposal aimed for November’s ballot got some unexpected help from the Oregon Supreme Court on Monday. The proposal, Initiative Petition 44, has less than three weeks to collect and submit more than 88,000 valid signatures. The petition had been tied up after opponents with the National Rifle Association, Oregon Firearms Federation and other groups challenged its ballot language. OPB reports that in a surprise move, the Supreme Court announced it wouldn’t entertain those challenges, which it said were “not well taken.” The court instead certified ballot language drafted by the Oregon Department of Justice. That means supporters can begin collecting signatures immediately.

Suicide rates are climbing across the country. The Pacific Northwest is no exception. According to a Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oregon saw an increase of 28.2 percent. In fact, only Nevada saw decrease. North Dakota has the highest overall percent change at 57.6 percent. Researchers found that more than half of people who died by suicide did not have a known diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death. Relationship problems, substance misuse; physical health problems; and job, money, legal or housing stress often contributed to risk for suicide it says. The report’s recommendation is for states to take a comprehensive public health approach to suicide prevention. This would require coordination and cooperation from every sector of society: government, public health, healthcare, employers, education, media and community organizations.