Local News: DeFazio Wants More Logging; Check your smoke detector; Native American Mascots; LIHEAP Expanded

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Fourth District Congressman says he’s had enough

Peter DeFazio is tired of Oregon Counties struggling to maintain a stream of revenue; he’s tired of having to justify to lawmakers in other states the need to provide that revenue in lieu of logging on federal lands; and he’s tired of the constant battle over logging.

DeFazio – “The whole fight and dispute over federal forests in Oregon started around old growth and I want to end it.  I want to end the forest wars.”

He wants to end it by splitting up the former Oregon and California Railroad lands.  The portions with old growth forests would be protected and managed by the Forest Service; while more than half of the O&C Lands would be taken over by the state.

DeFazio – “To be managed by an Oregon public trust appointed by the governor of the State of Oregon under guidelines of sustainability and following environmental laws.”

He says that would shift the burden of managing most of the land to the state… while Oregon and the counties that have a high proportion of those lands in them… like Lane, Lincoln, Douglas, Coos and Curry, would benefit from the logging revenue.

DeFazio – “It wouldn’t be everything the counties need.  They wouldn’t be in high clover, but they would be able to meet their basic mandate to provide law enforcement, jail, assessor services and other things as required by the state.”

DeFazio says it’s a bi-partisan approach that is co-sponsored by fellow Democrat Kurt Schrader and Republican Greg Walden.

Officials Exploring Native American Mascots

The Oregon Board of Education isn’t expected to make any immediate decisions, but they are taking up the discussion once again on whether or not it’s proper for Oregon schools to have Native American mascots and nicknames.   They began hearing testimony on the matter again this week after setting the issue aside six years ago.  The board could eventually vote to ban those names.

Officials say there are 15 high schools in the state that have them.  People opposed to the mascots and nicknames say they perpetuate degrading stereotypes.  Supporters say the names can pay tribute to Native Americans and it would be expensive to change them.

Low Income Energy Assistance Program

More funding has been found for a federal program that provides cash assistance for low income families to pay their energy bills.  Bob Teter with Siuslaw Outreach Services says anyone who meets the income requirements, but has not received the assistance in the past six months can reapply immediately.  The Low Income Heat & Energy Assistance Program… also known as LIHEAP will provide a one time payment to a utility company on the applicant’s behalf to offset energy costs.  Teter said they’ll accept applications Monday through Friday between nine and four as long as the funding lasts.

Check Your Batteries

Yes, it does seem early to be talking about it, but Daylight Savings Time begins this weekend.  Clocks will be set forward by one hour, overnight Saturday night.

But, says Oregon State Fire Marshall Mark Wallace, it’s also the time to test your smoke detectors.  In the past, fire officials have advocated changing the batteries in the detectors each spring, but Wallace says the technology has advanced and many now come equipped with long-life batteries.  So, he encourages residents to test their alarms first, before changing the battery.  Ensuring a working smoke alarm is in your home can be the single most important step you can take to increase your family’s safety from a home fire according to Wallace.