Special Session Wraps Up; Honor Flights Head to DC; Wine and Chocolate

Coast Radio News
Local News

3 October 2013

One Day Turns into Three…

An additional $213-million dollars… most of that for education… will flow into the state’s coffers over the next two years after approval yesterday of a series of five interrelated bills were approved by lawmakers.

Legislators wrapped up what was supposed to be a one day special session after three-days late yesterday afternoon.  They ultimately approved cuts in cost of living increases for public retirees and tax increases on some Oregon businesses.

Other small businesses also got tax credits as part of the deal; and local governments will be barred from regulating genetically modified foods.

Legislative leaders and Governor John Kitzhaber all expressed confidence that the approvals would withstand legal challenges that have already been promised by opponents.

Local Vets On Honor Flights

The recent federal government shutdown has raised some questions about whether or not veterans making the trip to the National World War II Memorial would actually be able to complete their journey.  Another South Willamette Valley Honor Flight, with three local residents on board, is set to leave later this week.  That’s according to one of those veterans; Steve Olienyk.

Steve Olienyk – “The flight is on Friday.  We would visit the memorials on Saturday and then fly back on Sunday.”

The 86 year old Olienyk, along with Ben Groesbeck and Shirley Heermans, will be on that flight.  He expects they will be able to complete that trip.

Steve Olienyk – “One of the congressmen said that we need to do whatever needs to be done to protect the national memorial parks for visitation rights especially to veterans.”

The Director of the National Park Service, Jonathon Jarvis, said in an interview yesterday that despite the shutdowns, he had directed park staff to not interfere with “free speech activities” at memorials.  He said he considered the Honor Flights to be just that.  He also said he regretted that some members of congress have chosen to make the World War II memorial a – quote – “political football”.

Honor Flight Donations Sought

When that Honor Flight carrying World War II Veterans to the national memorial in Washington DC lifts off this Friday morning from Portland, it will be the third such flight this year.  Mike Pungercar, the Hub Director for South Willamette Valley Honor Flight says it will also bring the total to 11 local vets that have made the trip.  At least one other is on the waiting list for the first flight in 2014.

Pungercar says the trips are provided free to all World War II vets.  He said some of the costs are covered by corporate donations and grants… but most of the money comes from public donations.  Information on how to donate to the local flights can be found at kcst.com

Mike Pungercar
Hub Director
South Willamette Valley Honor Flight
37833 Shenandoah Loop
Springfield, OR 97478

Humane Society Gala

Neither wine, nor chocolate should be shared with pets.  But, a group of animal lovers are hoping by sharing those two items amongst themselves they’ll be able to benefit cats, dogs and many other types of animals in the Florence area.

The annual Florence Area Humane Society Wine and Chocolate Gala is set for Saturday evening at Three Rivers Casino.

Gala coordinator Jackie Allen says they expect to raise somewhere between ten and 15-thousand dollars on the evening that will feature samples of both namesake items.  Allen says they’ve also collected more than 300 silent auction items that will be up for sale; along with about two-dozen live auction items that will be sole to the highest bidders.

Doors open at six PM Saturday; the cost is $20 per person.