Local News Digest – Health Care Reform; Redistricting squabble; Gas prices

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Lane County Redistricting Proposals draw fire…

Proposed revisions to the boundary lines dividing the five districts represented by Lane County Commissioners have drawn accusations of partisanship.  Eugene Commissioners Rob Handy and Peter Sorenson claim some of the revisions proposed by West Lane Commissioner Jay Bozievich would increase the number of registered Republicans in the North Eugene district represented by Handy.  Handy, a Democrat, has already said he will be seeking reelection next spring for the non-partisan post.

Bozievich has defended his proposals saying they combine communities that have been previously divided by boundary lines.  He also said he didn’t have access to information regarding voter registration information, nor did he want that information while he was developing his proposal.

In all there are seven different scenarios that Commissioners are considering.  More detailed information on the differences between them are available on Lane County’s website.

A 1:30 hearing this afternoon at Harris Hall in Eugene will give residents a chance to comment.


Peace Harbor named top 100

Peace Harbor Hospital was named last month as one of the top 100 “critical access hospitals” in the nation.  The National Rural Health Association released the list during their annual conference September 28th in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Hospital Strength Index uses 56 different measurements in three categories… Market strength, value and financial strength.  According to the association the listing is based on patient quality and outcome, income statements and competitive strength among others.

Six other Oregon hospitals made the list:  Cottage Grove, Hermiston, La Grande, Hood River, Tillamook and Enterprise.


Gas prices dip

Bad financial news has turned into decent news for drivers as gas prices continue to drift lower.  The national average price for regular unleaded, as measured by Triple-A fell by seven cents this past week and is at $3.41 a gallon.  Oregon’s statewide average dropped by three cents to $3.78; while the local average… hovering at $3.75 a gallon since September First has come down four cents to $3.71 a gallon.

Even with the good news for drivers, fuel prices are still considerably higher than last year at this time when the national, state and local averages were about a dollar a gallon lower.


Our Town talking science, hunger and health care

Implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act and health care reform will be the major topic during this afternoon’s KCST Our Town.  But that won’t be the only thing talked about.  The program opens at 4:05 with a conversation with Laura Smith, the “science lady” at Siuslaw Elementary School.

There’ll be talk of feeding the hungry as representatives from Florence Food Share tell of their challenges.  Oregon House Co-Speaker Arnie Roblan will be in the studio to talk about the loss of his son… as well as health care and legislative issues.

Then, in the five o’clock hour PeaceHealth CEO Rick Yecny, in the studio, will by joined by Oregon Health Authority Medical Director Bruce Goldberg and the administrator of Medicare, Don Berwick.

The program airs on KCST, 106.9 from four to six pm, Wednesday, October 5th.