Corvalls,Oregon Community Pages
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CORVALLIS, OREGON                                           
 Local News 101
 A Report for Busy or
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Aug 30

Above: Corvallis landlord Ed Epley recalls the first rental he and his wife bought, a modest duplex they financed - "we did it on a shoestring".
   After showing the first side of the duplex to a young couple, both of whom worked at a local tavern, they set out to ready the other side of the duplex for renting. 
   Meantime, the new tenants had a serious argument and the husband locked his wife out of the home. She, in turn, had figured out a way to sneak into the empty duplex half and had set up temporary quarters there, unbeknownst to Epley.
   The first knowledge he had of the state of things was when the young wife showed up in the company of another woman, who in time proved to be a police officer. "I suppose", she said to Epley, "you've heard what happened last night". He hadn't.
   The woman had passed by her husband's side of the duplex and heard moans which drew her to the bedroom window of the side occupied by her husband. There, she saw him having sex with another woman.
    Livid, she later let herself into his half of the duplex, grabbed a kitchen knife and headed for the bedroom. Her husband and his lover started up as she walked in but not before she began slashing him with the knife. The two lovers were able to overcome the distressed wife, Epley says, and called the police.
   When Epley took her and the officer to the duplex to retrieve some documents, he found the slashing had flung blood across the walls and over the floor. He and his wife commiserated that the future might ALWAYS be like this was.

Aug 29

Alix Humphrey, Corvallis "Crime Fighter" Returns From Uganda

Corvallis resident Alex Humphrey has returned after a stint in Uganda working with the Refugee Law Project (RLP) before returning to school. The RLP, he say, has tried to place refugees from the violence which has plagued the country as well as neighboring regions in the Sudan, Congo and Rwanda.
  The RLP, he says, focuses upon Truth and Reconciliation hearings rather than upon international criminal courts. The hearings are found to be much more personal, meaningful and approachable than courts in the EU. The Ugandan government, for example, has extended amnesty to former soldiers of the Christian extremist Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) of Joseph Kony (which became a cause célèbre after the release of a youtube video which went viral) provided the former LRA soldiers declare the truth.
   The relationship between sexual and political violence is one of several focuses of the group. That work has become harder since the RLP discovered that 80% of the male refugees have been victims of sexual violence. In Uganda, US evangelical Christians have whipped up an intense homophobia with the public concluding that male sexual victims "become" gay.

   As a consequence, the RLP offices were raided and shuttered for a time because it was assumed they were "sheltering gays". The offices have now re-opened.

Aug 27

Oregon Health Care Ratings Issued for Area Physicians, Hospitals

If you're looking for a hospital within a 50 mile range, Corvallis's Good Sam is as safe a bet as any, with a 96% rating newly by the Oregon health care agencies. Salem has a 97% rating, McMinnville's Willamette Valley comes in at 99% and McKenzie-Willamette in the Eugene-Springfield area has a 100% rating.
   But if you're looking for physicians, you're better off in the Salem-Kaiser area for women and children (health care specifically for men or all patients is not rated). Corvallis physician groups ranked are at or below average.

Aug 26

The Great Corvallis Wage Increase in Store for Us  All

The Great Rise in Salaries
Great news! The gazette has printed a list of average salaries in Corvallis and there has been a huge wage increase since the end of the last full year reporting period. For example, the gazette says the average salary in "Food preparation and serving-related" is $21,811. The Labor Department's online source says the average salary for "Accommodations and Food Services" is $14,679.  That's a 50% increase. The gazette says the average salary for "Sales and Related" is $31,048 annually. The online stats are, for "Retail", $23,000. That's a 35% increase. Huge!
    In the Labor Department's statistics for Corvallis, there is some discrepancy in titles, in geographic areas, etc., which provides for some elasticity but not that much. There are small differences in dates. But other data provides some validation of the lower numbers. For example, the total payroll in Region 4 (Linn,  Lincoln Counties and the Corvallis Metropolitan area) shows a payroll for Leisure and Hospitality of $169,456,927.  The labor force is 10,773. That's an average annual salary of $15,729, slightly higher than the above figure.
   For Benton County, the payroll was $52,088,291 and the employee number was 3565, for an average of $14,611. That of course, doesn't take into account that workers in the field are working an average 26 hours, and scrambling for hours or second jobs - and not by choice. The gazette figures don't add up.
    It is probably not coincidental that the rosy-glass-eyed views appeared the same day that the downgrading of Corvallis's "livability" ranking in Oregon slid below that of Lebanon, in Linn County. LEBANON?! Lebanon is regarded as the armpit of Linn County, together with Sweet Home. And Linn County remains an armpit of the valley. To salvage our own pride, we may need to make numbers up.
    But let's not settle for such poverty in our myths. Our ancestors were better at improvising. Corvallis would have been a land of milk and honey. Let's pretend that. And servers make gazillions of dollars and presidents yearn to meet our most lowly of instructors, to press gifts of cash wads into their hands. Baristas bathe in golden tubs and mechanics have free supplies of figs and chocolates delivered from the hands of the gods and we never get fat. All that occurs between free massive buffets featuring the most famous rock stars of the day, all begging for a chance to perform on one of our stages. Now THAT'S a lie worthy of us. THAT'S one we could settle for. Let's pass those stories around, say, in Sunset Magazine. Or High Times. Not just myths of $21,000 annual salaries.

Aug 24

OSU Ballooning in Bend At Issue

'As OSU-Cascades battles a legal challenge to break ground on the first phase of its planned four-year campus, funding for later development may be in danger of being delayed. For every legislative session, the state’s public universities and the Higher Education Coordinating Committee work to put together a university capital request prioritization list. Because state money for capital projects is limited, the list offers the Legislature and governor an idea of what projects are most important. University leaders meet to present their “tier one” projects — those they hope to see funded with the greatest urgency — which the Higher Education Coordinating Committee then orders into a prioritized list. When Oregon State University — which oversees OSU-Cascades — submitted its list of projects, funds for the Bend branch ranked below three other projects. As a result, the $30 million OSU-Cascades request for state support didn’t even break the top 14, falling into an unordered second tier with eight other projects. In the second tier, funding is far from guaranteed.'

Aug 24

As the current city Manager transitions into a job more suited to his tastes and talents, there is one step he took while in office which we think would never have been taken without him.
   The previous city Manager had a policy of choosing department heads only from without the city's ranks. That made it seem certain, former city Councilman George Grosch said at the time, that Lt.. Jon Sassaman would leave as Lt. Ron Noble had done, to seek a chief job elsewhere. We would not have been sorry to see that occur, because a number of people had told us that he was instrumental in the coalescing of a group of thugs in the Police Department.
   Either that was never true or he matured into the job after his appointment. He has at times seemed like the reasoned voice of sanity in the city on issues. The "homeless problem" is such an issue.  Sassaman told the Advocate that "many of the people who use community services or might use the shelter aren’t causing problems, while acknowledging that community members may be eager to blame the shelter. For instance, Sassaman points to the issues of drunk college students engaging in inappropriate behavior downtown: 'We don’t say that’s a college student problem'."
Well said. And enough said.

"River comes Full Circle"

Above: The gazette rightly pointed out that the riverfront had always been the heart of the city, economically. They headlined it as "Riverfront renaissance brings Corvallis full circle."
    Unfortunately, they equated the current row of small service businesses, paying minimum wage for part time work and compared that to a time, shown in the 1879 photo above, when the planing, lumber and flour mills on the river provided good livelihoods to those who worked there. The riverfront could again, provided the city Council had the foresight of many cities and raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The day when hundreds in the city have to cobble together several jobs and crowd into small quarters together would come to an end in short order. It's time the city Council served them as loyally as they do developers. And it's time that the "Economic Development Director", Tom Nelson, hired by the current city manager, needs to come up to speed. The jobs being added to the city under his tenure are largely dead end, mind numbing, poorly paid work, to be regarded as failures, not a success.  It's been "time", for many years.

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Aug 30
The trustee for people who were defrauded in a multimillion Oregon Ponzi scheme has filed charges against Umpqua Bank, Century Bank and Fred "Jack" Holcomb, elected to the Oregon Bankers Hall of Fame, saying that the banks' role was critical to the Berjac of Oregon Ponzi scheme.

Aug 29
Corvallis: "Most Affluent City in the State" says Journal Study

A new study by the parent of the Portland Business Journal has listed Corvallis as "the most affluent" city in the state. Corvallis 'ranked 49th overall and 12th on the company's small cities list' in the US. Portland was '68th overall and 16th in the large cities category'. Bend was '21st in the "medium-small" cities category and 107th overall.' Eugene-Springfield 'ranked 39th in terms of medium cities and No. 287 overall'. Medford 'was 70th on the medium-small cities list and 290th overall.' There are thousands who would disagree but those are the Business Journal rankings.
   In related news, the Boston Globe analyzed income disparity as "choking" economic growth in the US. "There is a growing recognition in virtually every sector of our society, even among key Wall Street analysts, that this country is being badly hurt by galloping income disparity. When both the International Monetary Fund and Wall Street rating agency Standard & Poor’s release reports detailing how the widening gap between the top and the bottom is stifling growth, it is clear we have a serious problem."

Northwest farmers are giving a cross between wheat and rye called triticale, developed a hundred years ago in Scotland and Sweden, a try. "It’s an easier crop to grow than wheat" said one farmer, although no crop insurance is offered for the crop so it takes a certain amount of nerve to grow.

US bank incomes soared last quarter as losses from the speculation during the George Bush era leveled off.

Aug 28
'For the past three weeks and more than 1,800 miles, Arthur Tseona had a 69-ton turbine in the back of his semitrailer, only to see it tip over one block from its destination Wednesday, shutting down a Springfield street for hours.'

The poor Washington areas burned over by fire this summer may have finally breathed their last. The residents fled to the hinterlands as the fire approached. Now, their homes burned out, they see no alternative but to move in many cases. Beth Stipe, executive director of the Community Foundation of North Central Washington says “They are in many ways scattered to the wind. There’s no place to go in a place that already struggled with affordable rental housing.”

In a scenario which could be out of Corvallis Economic Director Tom Nelson's portfolio, an NJ woman was killed as she pulled into a convenience store to get a few minutes sleep between her 4 part-time jobs "after inhaling carbon monoxide and fumes from a spilled gas can. She kept the gasoline container in the car because she sometimes ran out of fuel while commuting between jobs. "

'With dry bean harvest under way in the southwestern part of the state, farmers and industry leaders say the 2014 crop looks great but there are some concerns about mold in southcentral Idaho.'

The US economy grew at an unexpectedly rapid rate last quarter of 4.2%. 'Exports growth was revised upward to 10.1 percent. Private domestic investment was revised upward to 17.5 percent.'

A small community for the rich in Chile set up to emulate Ayn Rand's utopian model in Atlas Shrugged has turned out to be as full of con artists and thieves - "the sort of plan you would expect from a a bunch of fans of a crotchety old millionairess who wrote a book called The Virtue of Selfishness".

Aug 27
Oregon is edging close to having a "kicker" tax refund at the end of the year. "Oregon’s employment growth has accelerated sharply over the past year. The state is now adding jobs about 1 percentage point faster than the nation, a differential growth advantage Oregon typically enjoys during economic expansions."

Oregon is likely losing the sole remaining Japanese grocery in the state, as the 109 year old Anzen's in Portland is closing. The owner's health is shaky and "business is no good".

Aug 26
Bend residents are growing weary of a flood of "loud raucous parties" and a "conveyor belt of strangers next door" associated with rental vacation homes. The city Council will soon take up regulation.

 In a sign of the "job creation" which marks Republican policies, House Speaker Boehner's lawyer is charging the public $500 an hour to sue the President over affordable health care.

Republican plans to put public pensions into hedge funds have ended up as everyone predicted - the hedge funds got richer and the public lost over $3 billion.

China's Great Wall Motors has committed to build a giant plant in Tula, Russia.

Aug 25
The number of Farmers' Markets in the Oregon association of the markets has now grown to 160, selling $50 million worth of produce. The number of people shopping the Portland Famers' Market alone is estimated as 1 million annually, a huge carbon footprint which can only be addressed by decentralizing the market.

Oregon dairy farmers are not responding to higher dairy prices and lower feed costs by increasing production, but others across the nation are.

Nearly half of all the homes in the Newport-Lincoln City ("Central Coast area)" were paid for in cash, rather than mortgages during the latest reporting quarter. Gangsters, refugees from Arizonan politics and retiring Californians with no idea of what the weather at the Oregon Coast is like in winter, would account for those, suggests a Corvallis realty expert.

France's government resigned today, with the criticism that German austerity measures are crippling the EU region's economies.

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             CRIME BEAT
                    Breaking Crime News
Aug 31
Ross Nicholas Wilson

Mr. Wilson is 40 years old and still behaving like an infant. He was arrested again, this time for assault. He's been arrested 6 times in 3 years, for strangulation, assault, id theft, theft, etc. There's also an OSU report: "police learned that he had two Albany Municipal Court warrants for theft in the second and third degree. Also located was a stolen Kona bicycle in Wilson's apartment. Wilson was transported to Hyak Park and turned over to Albany Police. The bike was returned to its owner."
   Keagan Wamon Harbor was arrested for the 6th time in the last 15 months, usually related to a probation violation, for ecstasy or a theft. He also was arrested in Albany: "A caller reported that people broke into his pickup and stole money from inside. The caller added that the people were now hitting his truck. Jamaal Isiah McGinty, 19, Charles Malicai McGinty, 20, and Keagan Wamon Harber, 20, all of Corvallis, were each arrested on charges of third-degree robbery and second-degree theft."
   There might be a few twisted minds who take some satisfaction in Mr. Wilson and Mr. Harbor preying upon Albany residents for a change, since the reverse is so often true. But they are, indeed, twisted minds.
   Kimball Kevin Craig from Adair has been arrested again, for the fourth time in 2 years, usually on theft, trespassing and meth but this time for not showing up for a court date. Mr. Craig is one of those rarities - he appears to be a meth addict who made it to 55 years old. That's like a dog living to be 25. He is famous for a Christmas-time, 2003 arrest when "an anonymous caller reported someone was loading bike parts there. While the deputy was chatting with Craig, Craig said, 'You have got to see this one,' and pulled a pocketknife out of his pocket and handed it to the deputy. The deputy discovered the blade was spring-loaded, which made it illegal for a convicted felon to possess, so Craig was arrested"
   An 18 year old was arrested by campus police on an escape charge, which in Corvallis usually means he tried to run, and and interference which can mean anything here. Rory Christopher Holmes, from Newport, was arrested for not showing up on a DUII charge and a trespassing charge. It's his 3rd time to be arrested in Corvallis in the past 3 months.
   A 45 year old had his first arrest, for harrassment and assault, and Jacob Michael Covington was arrested for not showing up on a charge of loud music, but also for cocaine and "supplying contraband". The latter charge usually means someone is trying to smuggle something illegal into the jail. But, who knows?

Chandra Donohoe

Above: Salem police have identified the body found in the street on Nevada St. in Salem as Chandra Donohoe, on probation for heroin and theft. An autopsy is being conducted.

Police officials in Woodburn, Silverton, the Marion County Sheriff's Department, and the Oregon State Police are still not saying what drew the SWAT team to a Silverton home, followed by the exit of all vehicles, with sirens blaring.

'When a Mount Angel police officer went to the home of Toddi and Tim Bork on Aug. 15, he saw Tim Bork standing in the doorway. More than 15 percent of Tim Bork's body had been burned and his beard was burned off. His wife, the officer wrote in his report, said she set her husband on fire to get his attention.
...Police said Toddi Bork set her husband on fire because she didn’t like the way he was treating her lawn... She told the officer she had about six or seven beers Friday afternoon and got mad at Tim when he sprayed weed killer in the backyard. She was concerned, the report said, their dogs would get sick from the chemicals.'

Mattie Spino, who was sentenced to five years for a DUII wreck in which her 9 year old daughter was killed, has been released for a final visit with her son, who is dying at OHSU after being crushed by a boulder while hiking.

In another touching story of a mother's love, Carolyn Knudsen of Gresham was arrested for skyping with her boyfriend, James Hickerson while she sexually abused her child, a favor he returned for her, police are saying. The man's father, Neil Hickerson, previously convicted of "abusive sexual conduct relating to a minor" was arrested for possessing the kiddie porn.

"Java Juggs", in Everett

Elsewhere, a chain of "bikini bistros" in the Seattle region was actually a brothel, police say, and one of their own sergeants was serving as a lookout for them in the department, in exchange for sex. When the home of the owner, former stripper Carmela Panica, was searched by police, they found $250,000.00 in cash. "Longtime Snohomish County Sheriff’s Sgt. Darrell O’Neill, 58, were arrested for conspiring to promote prostitution. Everett Police claim O’Neill tipped off Panico and a manager/dancer about police investigations in return for sex with the women. Investigators say O’Neill allegedly had sex inside the coffee stands while in uniform".

The San Francisco Forty Niners' Ray McDonald was in jail for felony domestic abuse after being arrested early this morning. He is the frst to be carged after the NFL introduced an automatic 6-game suspension for domestic abusers.

In political news, the cost of New Jersey governor Christie's lawyers, over the investigation of his illegally shutting the bridge to a major city in retaliation for criticism, will be borne by taxpayers, he's decided - at $7.3 million. A real cost cutter.

In Ohio, a driver with 2 occupants out on a "joy ride" in a golf cart after drinking, was charged with the Ohio equivalent of DUII and may be charged for the death of one of his passengers when the cart went over an embankment, killing the passenger.

Aug 30

Randy Edward Drake

Mr. Drake's probation/parole officer ordered him picked up and he was placed on the County's most wanted list.  He has a long history with law enforcement and is another of Linn County's gifts. He was famous for being arrested, police said, in a car prowl on Christmas Eve which resulted in a police chase of the stolen Corvallis car used, with tire strips and 100+ mph speeds. He has been arrested 8 times in 4 years in Benton County.
   Jordan Lee Hellman was arrested on a DUII charge, violating a stalking order, trespass, etc. Mr. Hellman was arrested in March after, police said, he " scaled the wall of his ex-girlfriend’s apartment building while drunk in an effort to get to her apartment through her balcony. The woman was awakened by the noise and ran to her neighbor’s apartment for help."
   David John Morse, who has been arrested 11 times in the past 3 years, was arrested for weapons use, a probation/parole violation.
   Victoria Lynn Brewer has been arrested on a Linn County warrant as well as criminal mistreatment and fraudulent credit card use. She was arrested in June in Albany when "a caller told deputies a pickup truck had gone through a stop sign and crashed in a neighbor’s yard. The caller said he tried to stop the driver from leaving the scene but the driver sideswiped him and kept going. According to the sheriff’s office, deputies caught up with the woman believed to be the driver at a residence on Leslie Lane. Victoria Lynn Brewer, 45, of Scio was charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants/controlled substance, reckless driving, failure to obey a traffic control device and failure to perform the duties of a driver in an injury accident. The passenger in the vehicle appeared to be injured in the crash."
   A 21 year old woman, who has been arrested, it looks, for the first time, was picked up for interfering with a police officer - which can be anything - and a domestic violence
assault - which is a pretty explicit charge. A man was arrested on a harrassment domestic violence charge and it was his first - and hopefully - last arrest. Rory Christopher Holmes, whose previous charges include a DUII and failing to show up for court, has been picked up on a bench warrant for not showing. Christopher Robert Byers has been arrested for meth and pot. It is his 4th encounter with law enforcement in Benton County in 3 years, but twice those events were related to not showing up in Lincoln County on a theft charge. There was also another pot related charge, and this one. He's a musician and musicians are supposed to have a sketchy past, and hopefully this one completes his pedigree, so he's not arrested again in future.
   Charles Cole Screeton was arrested for contempt on another charge. He has a long history with law enforcement, including a Marion County assault charge, a parole violation. Last year, in Albany, 'a deputy responded to a report of a possible chop shop business. A man who looked suspicious was seen walking around a vehicle that could have been stolen and various vehicle parts were spread around on the ground. Two men were arrested in connection with the operation. Charles Cole Screeton, 27, of Stayton was charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle'.

Elsewhere in Oregon, the corrupting effects of George Bush's Iraq invasion continue. A former US Army captain has been arrested in Portland for selling military parts to buyers in 34 countries illegally. He also had classified military documents on his computer which he took abroad with him. "Justin Jangraw repeatedly showed a disregard for our national security" said the US Attorney but the fact that he has been treated much differently from Chesea Manning has raised eyebrows.

In law enforcement news, a federal judge in Portland signed off on an agreement designed to end the brutalization of the mentally ill by Portland police officers. There will be special training for a group of officers who work with mental health experts and new disciplinary processes have been put in place.
   In other law enforcement news, Rapper the Game organized a melee of rap artists across the country to do a song about St. Louis (Ferguson) police.

Participating were Game's own kids and from New York (Diddy, Fabolous, Swizz Beatz), Los Angeles (the Game, Problem), Atlanta (2 Chainz), D.C. (Wale), Miami (Rick Ross, DJ Khaled), New Orleans (Curren$y), and Memphis (Yo Gotti).
   In Walnut Creek, California, police were called to investigate a report of a masked man with a baseball bat savagely attacking a woman in a residence by neighbors who heard the woman screaming, in between thumps of the bat. Police discovered the suspect in a car sitting, but with a mask on the back floor and a baseball bat in the trunk. He identified himself as a police officer.
   Abroad, in Lesotho, Africa, where the police belong to a different political party than the military, a coalition fell through and the military took over the country, the Prime Minister there said.

The weekend shootings which have become regular Portland occurrences broke out again last night at 2 large house parties, police said. One man was wounded.

In Salem, where police said Antonio Ramos-Perez struck bicyclist Ricardo Soto as he ran a red light, paused for a few moments and then fled the scene. He told police, they say, that he "was scared and fled the scene, returned home, reported the car stolen, and drove it out to rural Polk County and left it there." A red light camera identified the auto and the driver.

A Eugene, Oregon man was taken into custody after he shot a neighbor, witnesses said, with the arrested man claiming he was just defending himself. A witness said "I heard a lot of gunshots and screaming. They were like boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. A good and nice neighborhood. It’s just crazy in the middle of the day."

Police in Hillsboro are saying they don't believe the stabbing death of another woman is related to the first killing.

Justin Alan Link, the teen (now 31) who\was one of those behind the killing of a Redmond woman, Barbara Thomas, is scheduled for re-sentencing after winning an appeal. The teens, including her son, planned to steal her car. Another teen "Another teen "pulled the trigger on the gun, while Adam Thomas had hit Barbara Thomas over the head with wine bottles. Link stood outside the Thomas home, encouraging the teens inside by cellphone. The group also considered electrocution and injecting Thomas with bleach before resorting to brute force. They abandoned her body in the house and stole her car with the intent of escaping to Canada. "They were stopped at the Canadian border and returned to Oregon for trial.

The ongoing religious crime wave has been brought home to US students as the family of Hope's university scholarship recipient Abu Aitah, as the bombs of Jewish extremists in charge in Israel tossed into a refugee camp by planes wiped out both of Abu Aitah's parents, "along with her two eldest brothers and a 4-year-old nephew. Suddenly, she was an orphan."
   Moslem extremists in Iraq have sold Yazidi women into sexual slavery as "wives" in Syria.
   Christian extremists erupted as the  head of their home "school" movement labeled "truly dangerous" the "Quiverful" male patriarchs accused of molesting and abusing girls.

A 10 year old kid in China is accused of getting pissed that his cartoon show was being drowned out by construction noise next door, and cut one of the two cables of the construction worker making the noise. Said the worker "'I was using an electric drill to fit security lights to the outside of the building when I felt my safety rope shaking. I looked up to see what was wrong.
Then I saw the boy cutting the rope with a knife. I shouted at him to stop but he didn't listen and soon after, the rope was broken. I was petrified.'' The worker was left hanging by a single rope for 40 minutes  until coworkers were able to pull him in using the remaining rope. The child's father found out and said he "gave the boy a good talking to and that he has apologized, telling Metro, "He has promised he will not do something similar again"

In political news, the head of a right wing think tank has been ousted amid reports he rewarded a sexual assault victim with a high paying position to avoid charges, Raw Story is reporting.

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Note: there are several sleazy websites across the country posting mugshots, utilizing photos owned by the public, in the public domain, all run by Portlander Kyle Ritter, which will remove your mugshot for $39 or such from their sites. This is not one of them. Do not send in cash trying to have a mugshot removed. It would just be a waste of your time and your money. Instead, put your time into turning your life around. And your money into your kids.

Site Dedicated to the Memory of Eric McKinley, d. Iraq, 2002
Eric McKinley was our local connoisseur of ska music and cafe denizen whose unit was activated and sent to Iraq to patrol with inadequately armored vehicles. When Congressional funds for armoring the vehicles were diverted by the notorious Republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska (later convicted on corruption charges), Eric's unit was reduced to using plywood to give their vehicles some additional protection. When an insurgent's IED hit Eric's vehicle, his horrified teammates were forced to watch as the heat of the burning plywood began exploding the grenades strapped to Eric's body. Eric, you are not forgotten and will live forever in our hearts.
 Photo Credit: Lucy Fisher, US Navy, Rob Speed Paul Bausch "Cougar" "Felix Nine" Michael Huang

Above: A dangerous prank prompted a SWAT raid on a Colorado gamer .. An anonymous caller told police he had shot multiple people at an office building. Heavily armed police burst through the door of an office in Littleton, where gamer Jordan Mathewson was playing Counter-Strike. Mathewson — who calls himself “Koostra” online — is part of a gamers group called The Creatures, who livestream video of themselves playing against one another online, and he recorded the entire incident.

Aug 31
After watching the developers of Fez and Depression Quest hacked, a bomb threat to a plane carrying Sony Online Entertainment's president, and death threats to Feminist Frequency creator Anita Sarkeesian, the International Game Developers Association has issued a statement: 
'Over the last several weeks, game developers and affiliates have been the subject of harassment and 'doxxing' attacks, including threats and posting of home addresses. While we support diverse viewpoints and healthy debate on the issues within our industry, we condemn personal attacks such as these which are not only morally reprehensible, but also illegal in many countries. We call on the entire game community to stand together against this abhorrent behavior.' They might have some trouble stirring up sympathy for Sony but the mention of the others will move most.

DNA analysis shows that the first Eskimo group (Paleo Eskimos) cae to North America about 6,000 years ago and died out about 700 years ago. The existent Inuit and 2 groups of Native Americans arrived about 1000 years ago.

Aug 30

MIT has published the results of a massive study of 50,000 people and the results are indisputable: social networks like Facebook and Twitter are destructive in people's lives and negatively affect well-being of the people involved.

Microsoft will lay off over 1,000 Finnish engineers in the wake of the firm's purchase of Nokia, a figure the engineers' trade union called "shocking".

Nintendo is already ensuring the faster CPU is put to use for more than just speeding up system navigation and downloads. Acclaimed Wii RPG Xenoblade Chronicles will be ported to 3DS, but only to these new systems.

'A new project is printing Braille picture books for visually impaired children. Each page turns the pictures from the original book into raised 3D shapes alongside traditional Braille text.'

Aug 29
A bitter lesson in Republican politics is being learned across red states, where telecom corporations are using control of Republican controlled state legislatures to cripple municipal utilities providing faster internet access for citizens.

'There was a moment in recent history when Angry Birds, a smartphone game people play on the toilet, was poised to sweep all of pop culture. There would be Angry Bird theme parks, museums, stuffed animals, and tampons. Now, that dream is dead. Business Insider reports the departure of CEO Mikael Hed. Alas, 'Rovio's profits fell 52%'.

Amazon's drone-delivery is likely child's play compared to Google's secret Project Wing.

"Schroedinger's Cat"

Above: Physics just keeps getting weirder. Now, they 'have devised a way to take pictures using light that has not interacted with the object being photographed. This form of imaging uses pairs of photons, twins that are ‘entangled’ in such a way that the quantum state of one is inextricably linked to the other. While one photon has the potential to travel through the subject of a photo and then be lost, the other goes to a detector but nonetheless 'knows' about its twin’s life and can be used to build up an image.'

A US 'based online ad network company AppNexus, that provides a platform specializing in real-time online advertising, has again been spotted as the origin of a recent "malvertising" campaign that makes use of the Angler Exploit Kit to redirect visitors to malicious websites hosting the Asprox malware... As part of this campaign, users of several high-profile websites including,,,,,, and, last week were redirected to websites serving malicious advertisements that infected visitors by installing botnet malware on their computer, said security company Fox-IT. Angler exploit kits are available on the underground black forums and are used in various malicious campaigns to own websites and redirect users off to websites hosting banking malware and other types of malicious code in order to victimize them'

Aug 28

Aug 29 Dragon Con, Atlanta: Operation Secret Identity

Above: Galla and Kirk from Star Trek at Dragon Con. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), sci-fi blog io9, and a coalition of fan communities are launching "Project Secret Identity," a cosplay photo campaign to raise awareness of the importance of anonymity and privacy during the annual pop culture convention Dragon Con in Atlanta, Georgia, Aug. 29 - Sept. 1. Southeastern Browncoats, a Firefly-inspired non-profit; the Harry Potter Alliance, an activism organization; the Baker Street Babes, a Sherlock Holmes fan group and podcast; Wattpad, a community of readers and writers; and the Organization for Transformative Works, a fan-culture advocacy organization.are all supporting the project which will include posters advocating privacy with every photo.  
   '"In J.K. Rowling's novels, Voldemort came to power not only through coercion, but by monitoring, controlling, and censoring the Wizarding World's lines of communication," Harry Potter Alliance Executive Director Paul DeGeorge said. "In the real world, there is no charm-protected room where we can meet and organize in secret. What we have is the Internet and we need to fight to keep it free and secure."

Anita Sarkeesian

Anita Sarkeesian earlier this week wrote a blog entry on "devoted to aggregating and analyzing games that portray women as damsels in distress, ornamental eye candy, incidental victims, and other archetypes that tend to be written in service of and subordinate to male players and characters." The result has been a torrent of emails from male gamers, some very threatening. "I want to rape your c*nt with a pole", reads one while another lists her home address and says he's coming to her apartment to "rape you to death. After I'm done, I'll ram a tire iron up your c*nt".

The original home of the Spruce Goose of WWII, a huge hanger is now being renovated by Google for office space. "It hasn't been easy, in part because of its design. It is rather atypical—to say the least—for office space. The hangar has two bays that are 750-feet long—more than twice the length of a football field—and its ceiling is more than seven stories high."

Corvallis residents attending the Burning Man Festival say that today's death of a woman who fell under a bus hauling attendees was just another capstone in what has been a mess. The dead woman, Alicia Louise Cipicchio, worked at an art boutique in Jackson, Wyoming where she was a manager. It's not been a great year for those attending the event. The New York Times bashed the billionaires who have turned things into a contest of trying to outspend one another. After Monday's rainstorms had turned the dry lake bed into mud, enthusiasts had spent the night in the parking lot of Walmart. In Reno.

Tolerance of opinions has never been a Christian strongpoint. A Christian preschool in Florida expelled a 4-year-old student after his mom complained about school administration in a Facebook post. The school sent her a letter: "Your relationship with Sonshine did not get off to a very good start the first day of school. … You utilized social media to call into question not only the integrity but the intelligence of our staff. ... These actions are also consistent with sowing discord, which is spoken of in the handbook you signed."

The California Senate has moved to radically curb use of drones by local police agencies. "The potential for abuse of drones is high,” Sen. Ted Lieu (D–Redondo Beach),said. ‟We need to be vigilant to ensure our Constitutional rights are protected.

Microsoft is dumping 1500 apps from the Store after complaints of bogus and malware apps became widely aired.

Google is now pressing a famous patent troll who lost a case to the search giant after a judge awarded Google over a million dollars in attorney fees in the case.

It captures the essence of the Facebook "selfie": 'After their friend apparently died of a drug overdose, two Missouri residents posed for a “selfie” with the corpse, an image that one of them later uploaded to Facebook after dumping the body on a rural road, according to police.' The friend had injected dilaudid. The pair were doing Xanax and meth.

Aug 27

Korea's "Divine Souls" Game

Above: 'Three quarters of South Korea's population have been compromised in a massive data breach affecting 27 million people.'

A Forest Grove mother has her panties in a wad because the controlling-parent routine didn't exactly work with her daughter's computer access, especially the ipad used for school. She had a policy for her 12 year old daughter of  "no phone, no social media, no personal computer. The family computer is connected to the TV in the middle of the living room and - no surprise - is locked down with parental controls". The mother "was quick to confiscate the iPad the moment her daughter was done with her homework at the end of the day. The only time she had her iPad was at school or on the bus".
   First result: the teen was using the ipad to access Wattpad, the online writers' community, and specifically the adults-only section. The mom complained to the school, who promised to block the site. Great. That worked - the daughter then opened "an email account and was sending pictures of herself and having relations online"....her daughter used the iPad to set up a personal Gmail account and send the racy pictures to another student." With a mother like that, "online relations" might mean a boyfriend or even less, and racy pictures could be anything. The mother complained to the school about that too. It doesn't work, madame. Conversations do.
   In related news, the retailer Zara has yanked children's pajamas that looked like WWII concentration camp uniforms.

Netcore and Netis routers made in China have been discovered to have a backdoor which allows anyone with the password to access the machine's data, run malware and change settings.

"Sailing Stones of Death Valley"

Above: For the first time scientists have seen in action the "Sailing Stones" of Death Valley. 'hundreds of rocks – some weighing as much as 320 kilograms (700 pounds) – that seem to have been dragged across the ground, leaving synchronized trails that can stretch for hundreds of meters.' It turns out that thin sheets of ice form and the stones "move across them" when conditions are just right.

Researchers have unexpectedly stumbled upon a simple, incredibly effective HIV vaccine. 'A novel and relatively simple vaccine that can be administered orally has managed to completely block rectal infection with SIV, the monkey equivalent of HIV, in rhesus macaques and produced rapid re-suppression of viral load in monkeys who were previously infected with SIV.' Wait. Let's sort this out. They're doing WHAT to monkeys?

Sheepdogs are soon to be out of work after scientists discovered that a simple 2 step algorithm is involved: close up the sheep then drive them forward once gaps are sufficiently closed. Robots can do that. The researchers think it would work on people too. There is a simple counter-mechanism. Always disperse.

Seagate is shipping the world's first 8TB hard drive.

'One of the hairier unintended consequences of cheap 3-D printing is that any troublemaker can duplicate a key without setting foot in a hardware store. But clever lockpickers like Jos Weyers and Christian Holler already are taking that DIY key-making trick a step further: They can 3-D print a slice of plastic or metal that opens even high-security locks in seconds, without even seeing the original key.'

Ohio thinks this science stuff has gone too far, overturning ancient myths about dragons eating the sun to cause eclipses and so forth, and wants to start prohibiting the teaching of scientific processes.

Space shuttle astronauts are facing permanent eye issues after days in space.

The incredibly useful, even vital, field of statistics is being supplanted by CS studies, with CS specialists doing incredibly shoddy statistical work, says one of the nation's leading scientists on both fields.

The Department of Transportation is considering requiring vehicle-to-vehicle communications on all new cars and trucks, expecting to prevent nearly 600,000 crashes.

Aug 26
ebay has doubled down in Portland, where 200 employees focusing on the mobile apps, which drive a third of the flea market's business, are expected to become 400.

A new poll shows Oregonians believe that GPS directions are less distracting to drivers than taking directions from a spouse or friend in the back seat. The pollis also "amusingly" supportive of gender stereotypes. Men simply don't ask for directions, generally. and rate themselves as "exceptionally good" at finding directions.

That favorite of every Corvallis resident, Comcast, says their data caps aren't really data caps. Like in the Pirates of the Caribbean, where the Pirate Code is not really a "code" if lucre is involved. It's more of a "guideline".

Uber is being outed again as a ruthless unethical wannabee-monopolist trying to suppress competitors.

The notorious Koch brothers are funding ads telling people that the idea that they should be allowed to use the airwaves as freely as any other, and have download speeds as good, is a "Marxist" evil thought. Where can we get some more of this Marxism? Does it cover faster connections too? It does? Cool!

Both Apple and HP announced recalls of batteries. HP's recall is for fire safety reasons and Apple's for performance issues.

California has passed a law requiring a kill switch on all stolen phones.

Aug 25
A gazette summary on OSU's idea of assisting "start ups" featured a pair marketing wooden sunglasses made in Asia. Critics are asking "Public money went to this?" but the article also featured a firm making irrigation management software and another making the building blocks for pharmaceuticals.

A group of inane, boring hackers calling themselves the Lizard Squad has once again taken Sony's Playstation network down with DDoS attacks.

Aug 24
Sorters at Allied Waste in Corvallis may soon have a new tool for differentiating recyclable plastics. German researchers say "Plastics emit fluorescent light when exposed to a brief flash of light, and the emission decays with time in a distinctive pattern. Thus, their fluorescence lifetimes are highly characteristic for the different types of polymers, and can serve as an identifying fingerprint".

China will release a new operating system designed to compete with Microsoft, Apple and and Android by October.

The latest report of the Entertainment Software Association states that 36% of all gamers are now adult women and young women are another 12%. Teen boys now represent a mere 17% of gamers.

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Aug 31
Charlie Sheen's Boat Seized in Disruption of Dolphin Slaughter

14 people were arrested 'as the mammals [bottlenose dolphins] were driven to shore to be killed by waiting hunting parties, according to environmental group Sea Shepherd.' One of the boats seized from the Sea Shepherds was BS Sheen, Charlie Sheen's personal boat, he said he was proud it had served in such a cause.

A new eruption at Iceland's Bardarbnga volcano has resulted in a red alert and a banning of flights under 6000 feet. That's the 3rd time in a week.

A puppy who narrowly escaped being put down at a shelter but was instead adopted by an NGO is now a trained rescue dog and has been working in Hiroshima, where 50 have been killed in landsides.

With new wealth, China is adding resources to children's psychological development, with the one-child policy having created spoiled "little emperors" and "little empresses', but the concept of filial relationships remains strong and the two tendencies are often at war with one another.

Aug 30
California passed a ban on single use plastic grocery bags.

Aug 29
The Sierra Club has listed the top 5 ecologically sound breweries in the country. Deschutes Brewery is at the #2 spot and Ninkasi in Eugene is #5.

The people happiest with the decision to begin blocking the export of coal through Oregon are the tribes and the Northwest Steelheaders  who depend on the Columbia for their livelihood as well as recreation. Recreational fishing feeds $2.7 billion into the Oregon economy and coal dust, deadly to salmon fry, is beginning to show up along the river.

The Oregon Spotted Frog is about to be listed as an endangered species. "This unique and highly aquatic frog was once common in the Pacific Northwest and its decline signals degradation in the health of natural areas that provide for people as well as fish and wildlife," Tom McDowell, acting supervisor for the Washington Fish and Wildlife Office said'. Changes in water temperature as trees along riverbanks are cut (Hint! Hint!), development of wetlands (Hint! HInt!), and the introduction of invasive frog species, especially the bullfrog, in a state with lax controls on exotic pets are all being held accountable.
   In related news, officials with the USDA seized 1,000 giant African snails across the country, all traced to a man in Georgia selling the snails, which grow to the size of a fist and devour buildings for calcium, to build their shells, and raze gardens.

Ebola has jumped to Senegal, opening up a new front in the deadly epidemic, WHO says.

Tuesday, September 9, 7:00 - 8:30 pm,
Admission is free
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis, 2945 NW Circle Blvd.,

Above: Dr. Martin Donohoe will describe how genetically-modified crops are produced, their role in agriculture in the United States and worldwide, the health and environmental consequences of their use, and the benefits of labeling GM foods. It will also address food justice and security, and briefly touch on biopharming, the genetic modification of animals,and relevant ethical issues. There will be time for comments and questions. Dr. Donohoe is a senior physician at Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center in Portland specializing in internal medicine. He is also an adjunct associate professor in the School of Community Health at Portland State University. He is a member of the Social Justice Committee of
Physicians for Social Responsibility and is on the Board of Advisors for its Oregon chapter.
   In addition to the so-called "academic whores" of OSU and Big Pharma pushing GMO, the other heavyweights in the GMO industry have started funding campaigns to deny the public knowledge when GMO foods are included in their groceries. Monsanto, the grocery chains ("Grocery Manufacturers Association") and DuPont have all kicked in a total of $300,000 against labeling. The 2 chemical companies have self evident interests and the Grocery Manufacturers Association last year applied to the FDA to allow them to label the artificially created GMO as "natural" on labels. On the other side of the ballot, Oregon's Right to Know has raised cash from 2,500 Oregon citizens. "I'm pretty excited to see at this relatively early stage that we've already got more than 2,500 people that have written a check," said a Right to Know spokesperson.

Aug 28

A fire near Oakridge has jumped its containment lines and some residents are now being warned to prepare to evacuate.

'Bill Gow stands on a wooden platform perched high above a lush valley south of Roseburg, his Stetson tipped back as he surveys the 1,400-acre ranch where his family runs cows for a living. "This is why I worked 24-7 my whole life, so I could wake up and have this" he says. "This is all I ever wanted." It's not hard, then, to understand Gow's sense of violation, his creeping feeling of helplessness, with a Canadian energy company's plan to carve a swath the width of freeway through his land and bury a 36-inch-diameter, high-pressure gas pipeline.' A Canadian firm is using "eminent domain" to seize the land of Oregon ranchers and farmers for their LNG pipeline.

Portland Harbor's Superfund site is launching the first habitat restoration site, with Portlanders wanting to "restore habitat that was once abundant but is now rare in this stretch of the highly industrialized Willamette River."

WHO said today that the number of Ebola victims, now at 1569, could easily reach 20,000 shortly as the epidemic accelerates.

Aug 27

Portland's business forum, the City Club, has endorsed both GMO labeling and pot legalization measures on the ballot, as well as the ERA, drivers licenses for undocumented workers, and education bonds.

Oregon "law requires railroads to annually submit detailed reports saying what dangerous substances they've moved, where and in what volume. They're due to emergency responders across the state by March 1 of each year. But that hasn't been happening, leaving firefighters across the state in the dark." At a meeting today meant to address the issue - legally, an "open meeting", Burlington officials asked "Wouldn't it be easier if the press wasn't here?" The reporters refused to budge.

A University of Arizona study predicts a "megadrought" due to global warming. Arizona is as responsible as anyone for the refusal of the US to address global warming and we need a fence there - but not a fence to keep people out of Arizona. We need to isolate Arizonans IN Arizona, so they don't migrate elsewhere with their antiscience infection.

Aug 26

Bitner Vineyards this year became the first Idaho vineyard to be Low Input Viticulture & Enology certified, and industry leaders expect more of the state’s vineyards and wineries to follow suit.

'A new day has dawned, and with it, a new draft of a new United Nations report on climate change has leaked unto the world. Like the turning pages of a calendar as one draws closer to death, the report brings tidings that grow worse, and worse, and worse. If you had to characterize for a mass audience what technical stage of global warming we find ourselves in now, it would be "The final stage where we decide if we will even attempt to try to do anything to make the looming disaster marginally less disastrous for our grandchildren, or whether we will simply f*ck around and allow doom to sweep over them, because we will be dead by then."'

Aug 25
The denial of a coal exporting permit in Oregon
may be a sign of "things to come", coal industry corporations fear.

Hundreds of mysterious methane vents have been discovered along the floor of the eastern US coast.

Flooding in Bangladesh has created half a million newly homeless citizens.

Aug 24
A 6.0 earthquake struck Napa Valley in California, with the worst damage in a mobile home park there. 3 are dead and 90 victims sought aid at one hospital. No tsunami warning was issued.

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