KWSO News for Tue., Nov. 23, 2021

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COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are now available to all adults in Oregon. The weekend announcement came after weeks of a steady decline in cases. But as Oregon Public Broadcasting’s April Ehrlich [ER-lick] reports, there’s still a long road of recovery ahead. “Case numbers are about half what they were during the Delta surge in September. And hospitalizations have been cut by MORE than half. There are now about 400 COVID patients in Oregon — but state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger says that’s still straining the hospital system. [[[DEAN SIDELINGER:]]] “While we can feel really good about the numbers having come down, they’re not kind of where any of us would like to be in terms of the level of severe disease, and even the level of folks who are getting sick.” Sidelinger says the state mask mandate will likely last through early next year, if not longer. He suggests people still take precautions — like wearing masks and social distancing — especially with indoor gatherings over the holidays. I’m April Ehrlich reporting” In Warm Springs it was reported that there were 9 new cases of COVID-19 from 67 tests conducted on Friday Nov. 19th at the Health and Wellness Center.  There are currently 27 people with active COVID-19 in Warm Springs and 22 close contacts receiving daily monitoring. Anyone who wants a COVID-19 test can go to the front gate at the clinic and get tested.  It’s a good idea to go get tested if you have any symptoms or if you are just feeling ill.  Don’t wait until you are really sick.  That way you reduce the potential exposure others have to your illness whether it’s COVID-19 or not. You can call to schedule a vaccination anytime at the Warm Springs Health & Wellness Center which can be for your initial dose, for your Booster Dose or for your 5-11 year old to get vaccinated.

For the first time since 2014, the commercial Dungeness Crab season is opening as scheduled across the Oregon coast. As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, this pleases seafood vendors. “In past years, high levels of domoic acid or insufficient meat fill in sampled crab were cited as reasons for delaying the opener, which is December 1st. But the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife – along with the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission and commercial crabbers – say tested crustaceans from harvest areas were meaty and low in domoic acid this year. Ryan Rogers: “It’s a big relief for us.” Ryan Rogers owns Fisherman’s Market in Eugene. He’s delighted that the season is opening on schedule for the first time in seven years. Ryan Rogers: “We have to travel great distances otherwise. I’ve gone from Bodega Bay in California to Blaine, Washington. Whatever distance we gotta go to make sure our customers have crab for the holidays.” Last season, more than 12 million pounds of Dungeness Crab were harvested, valued at over 60 million dollars. [I’m Brian Bull reporting in Eugene.”

Federal energy regulators want to take another look at the authorization they issued for the Jordan Cove Energy Project in southwest Oregon. As Jefferson Public Radio’s Liam Moriarty explains, it could be a pivotal moment for the controversial project. “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, authorized the Pembina company in March 20-20 to begin building the liquified natural gas export terminal and pipeline known as the Jordan Cove Energy Project. The order was contingent on Jordan Cove getting key permits from the state. After failing to get those permits — and losing subsequent legal challenges — Jordan Cove officials last May said they were “pausing” the project to consider their options. Affected landowners, tribes, environmentalists and Oregon officials asked FERC to reverse — or at least put on hold — Jordan Cove’s authorization. Now, FERC wants the all parties to submit updated information while it reconsiders. Given the project’s lack of essential state permits, FERC specifically asks Pembina to “clarify” how it intends to move forward. Parties have till Dec. 15th to submit briefs. I’m Liam Moriarty reporting”

The Oregon Supreme Court has dismissed two challenges filed by Republicans to new state legislative districts approved by the Legislature in September. The lawmakers passed new legislative and congressional boundaries that included a new, sixth U.S. House seat. The ruling Monday was specifically about the 90 state legislative districts that will likely enable Democrats to continue to hold majorities in the House and Senate. Republicans throughout the process accused Democrats of gerrymandering, the manipulation of electoral district boundaries to win an unfair political advantage. In its ruling the Supreme Court said the GOP failed to show that the new districts violated state law.