Push for Passage of Food Assistance; Merkley Votes Against Debt Ceiling Bill; Professor With Florence Ties Retires; Cougar Sighting

Push for Passage of Food Assistance

A rally was held in Salem on Thursday to urge passage of a bill that would provide food assistance to Oregonians regardless of their immigration status. Senate Bill 610, known as Food for All Oregonians, would ensure people who are undocumented and excluded from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program receive food aid in the state. Morgan Dewey is with Oregon Food Bank.

“The Capitol was a beautiful backdrop for a series of speakers who shared their personal stories and organizations that are part of the 125+ organization-led coalition supporting Food for All Oregonians.”

Senate Bill 610 would extend aid to lawful permanent residents, U-S Compacts of Free Association citizens and other Oregonians who arrived as immigrants or refugees. Dewey says more than a million people are expected to access food assistance this year. To help counteract that, S-B 610 would help get aid to about 62-thousand Oregonians.

“With food on the table, families can thrive, kids can do better in school, access to education and health care and housing becomes a little less of a worry.”

The biggest roadblock for the bill’s passage is the Senate Republicans’ walkout. Dewey says anti-hunger advocates are urging them to return to Salem.

Merkley Votes Against Debt Ceiling Bill

One member of Oregon’s Congressional Delegation voted against the debt ceiling deal last night in the U.S. Senate.  Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley, in a press release Wednesday, said he would not endorse the deal worked out by the President and House Republicans and held true to his promise by voting against it last night.  The Douglas County native says the bill sets – quote – “truly horrific” precedents related to the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline in West Virginia and Virginia.  A proposal that critics say will only further the country’s dependence on fossil fuels.    Merkley also says the bill breaks with established bi-partisan practices related to debt limits that stay away from negatively impacting funding for health care, housing and education while also increasing military spending.

Professor With Florence Ties Retires

A former Florence resident is being honored this week at Bushnell University in Eugene.  Dr. Mick Bollenbaugh, a 1971 graduate of Siuslaw High School, is retiring after more than 29-years of service.  Bollenbaugh is the longest tenured member of the staff.  His most recent role has been as Professor of Philosophy and Biblical Studies.  Dr. Reed Mueller, the Vice President of Academic Affairs at Bushnell said Bollenbaugh “has served students, colleagues, and the university well across countless duties” during his time at the school.  Bushnell University is the largest private university in Eugene.  It offers bachelor’s and master’s programs for a variety of disciplines.

Cougar Sighting

A cougar sighting near 27th street Thursday afternoon limited outdoor activities at Siuslaw schools for a time.  In a message to school staff Superintendent Andy Grzeskowiak said there was “no large cause for concern” and that the sighting was not on campus.  He alerted Florence Police for them to check out.  No further sightings were reported.