Friday, March 31, 2017

FEELING THE HEAT: Knopp & Whisnant Get Grilled at Town Hall in Bend

Posted By on Fri, Mar 31, 2017 at 6:47 PM


Accusations of stalling, supporting corporate interest and yielding to big tobacco ended today's town hall hosted by republicans, Sen. Tim Knopp and State Rep. Gene Whisnant. The hour-long Bend session, started off rather uneventfully as Sen. Knopp illustrated his involvement in attempting to solve the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) crisis. "We need to do something," he said as pointed to three large graphs that illustrated the $22 billion PERS deficit. “I'm trying."

Whisnant and Knopp touched on the Oregon state legislature's 1.8 billion dollar budget deficit with Whisnant stating "Most of that was from one-time mismanagement of your funds." Both Senators came short of saying they were completely against raising taxes to cover the deficit or instilling any new long-term solutions since they deemed the shortfall to be caused by one-off situations — not by a shortage of revenue stream.

Knopp said, "If you're going to raise revenue, you gotta have a sustainable spending plan to make sure you're not going to keep raising taxes, raising taxes, raising taxes. There are also those that want to raise corporate taxes, but we need to address the structural issues that are getting out of control. Solving structural problems."

He also warned "Raises in taxes, will cause people to leave the area."

The state of our roads were a hot button topic, with constituents pressing for movement on the matter after a particularly long and hard winter. Whisnant said "We're ready to negotiate," acknowledging the need for bipartisan support to support Oregon's ailing infrastructure. Knopp agreed, touting the economy as a reason to better our roads.

Both republicans said they had tried working on a transportation package but had faced obstacles. Knopp commented that the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) needed a significant boost to their gas tax in order to pave and maintain roads. He mentioned Bend voting against a gas tax last year. He said "Without adding any new projects, they [ODOT] need a 41 cents a gallon [increase]. For all the projects people want it's $1 a gallon. And what they are trying to get the package to is 11 cents a gallon. So my question to you is: would you vote for any of those for a transportation package?" A murmur of quiet agreement came from the crowd.

Previously, Whisnant had commentated on the inefficiency of the gas-tax model citing the increase of electric and hybrid vehicles. "They pay less for gas taxes because they are more efficient," he said — noting that these newer vehicles still use the same infrastructure but are paying less into the system due to their efficiency. Members of the crowd were visibly confused as he explained his thought process which he acknowledged could get him in trouble if not explained correctly. "They are putting the same weight [on the system]," he said. "So the systems all screwed up now because it's reliant on a gas tax model."

The crowd went back on forth, touching again on PERS, the minimum wage and the bonding package for OSU-Cascades. Things then became heated when Penny, a Bend resident asked what both men would do regarding tobacco in Deschutes county being still the leading cause of death. She asked if both men supported the the proposed Tobacco 21 law — which would raise the minimum age of selling Tobacco to 21.

She commented: "In 2016, 50 percent of 11th graders in Deschutes County report getting tobacco from a friend 18 or over... What's your plan to address these issues, to restrict tobacco use, especially E-cigarettes?”

Knopp refuted the claim stating that it was his belief that kids mostly smoked because their parents smoked. He noted the ease of accessibility to cigarettes if a parent smoked in the house. Penny however countered by stating that his beliefs went against proven data. “In fact,” she said, “in the past five years, Oregon has the highest rate of retailers selling to minors...Deschutes County is spending approximately 50 million per year to counter tobacco related health issues."

When Knopp said that he didn't really have any "particular plans or thoughts" regarding the matter, Penny asked,

"Is this because you take money from big tobacco?"

The conversation quickly sidelined with Knopp, visibly taken aback, stating “Really?” and then “no.”

An unidentified man summed up the agitated crowd and stated that the two men were hesitant towards committing to any real movement on any bill in the legislature. He observed that although there had been a lot of questions on different issues “all the crowd had heard were excuses ranging from “Well, I'm not on that committee' or “That's the Oregon Land Board that needs to make that decision,” to “the courts have sort of boxed us in so we can't do anything about that.”

He then asked, “So before we leave today, I want to give you to give the opportunity to tell us, what is it....that you're doing? Why should we be sending you back each time?” The crowd erupted in loud applause.

Knopp calmly explained that the two could of spent “the whole hour telling you about all the bills we've introduced and supported — that we're trying to get passed but we decided we wanted to hear from you guys.”

Whisnant visibly upset, countered, “Did you know you can go online and see every vote I've ever made? You can go online and look at every bill I've introduced? Have you taken the time and effort to do that?”

The man said he had, but Whisnant continued, “And you ask me that question? Go online and do your homework before you ask a question like that! I could spend the rest of the day sitting here and telling you what I've done, for going on 14 years, but you come here and throw a question like that without knowing the background, and just want to make the TV!”

After taking several more (calmer) questions from the crowd, the town hall adjourned with most of the crowd thanking the two men for their work. It remains to be seen what they will accomplish in the next 100 days in legislature.

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Wyden, Blumenauer announce "Path to Marijuana Reform" legislation

Posted By on Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 12:30 PM

click image The Oregon legislators supporting the cannabis industry—long vilified—say legalization and regulation of marijuana is an issue of state's rights. Still, they say the federal government needs revenue—and this is one way to get it. - JULIE MAC
  • Julie Mac
  • The Oregon legislators supporting the cannabis industry—long vilified—say legalization and regulation of marijuana is an issue of state's rights. Still, they say the federal government needs revenue—and this is one way to get it.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and Representative Earl Blumenauer announced three new pieces of legislation this morning, intended to be a "path for responsible federal legalization and regulation of the marijuana industry." The Path to Marijuana Reform legislation includes three bills, including: 

- The Small Business Tax Equity Act, intended to repeal the tax penalties on marijuana businesses that prevent them from claiming tax credits and deductions. According to Wyden's office, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is a cosponsor of Wyden's Senate bill. Meanwhile, Rep. Carlos Curbelo, (R-FL), is sponsoring a companion bill in the U.S. House.

- The Responsibly Addressing the Marijuana Policy Gap Act, intended to remove criminal penalties and asset forfeiture for businesses and individuals who are complying with state laws. The Act would also pave the way for cannabis businesses to gain access to banking, bankruptcy protection and other benefits. The Act would also include an expungement process for certain marijuana violations, and would allow veterans access to state-legal medical marijuana, and protect Native tribes from federal punishment.

- The Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act, meant to de-schedule, tax and regulate marijuana. The Act would impose a federal excise tax on marijuana products, much like what is currently done for alcohol and tobacco. In a conference call today,  Blumenauer explained that the tax would be increased "gradually and thoughtfully," finding a "sweet spot" that would add a revenue stream for the federal government.

"The federal government is looking for revenue," Wyden said, and the bills would be an "opportunity to generate revenue from businesses that are legal."

It's not yet clear how much in federal taxes would be added to state and local taxes imposed on cannabis, which—along with strict and changing regulations—local cannabis activists say unfairly target the cannabis industry. But Wyden noted today that the federal rate would be calibrated based on the sales price, and adjust to price changes.
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Show Preview: Survivorman Live

Posted By on Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 11:20 AM

Throughout his storied career, Les Stroud has established himself as a multitalented Renaissance man. The Canadian survival expert starred in, filmed and scored every episode of the standout TV series "Survivorman," his style bringing unparalleled authenticity to the screen. When he wasn't hiking, fishing or educating his audience, Stroud was inseparable from his iconic harmonica. His musical talent quickly became a major part of his persona, and Stroud has since become a major stage artist.

  • Discovery

In his songs, Stroud takes inspiration from his adventures in the outdoors. With his latest track, Arctic Mistress, Les wrote his own lyrics and mixed in Inuit-inspired vocals. He has traveled everywhere form the Amazon to the Himalayas, so he has plenty of material for inspiration. To date, he has released four CDs. Stroud's career as a musician is just as impressive as his many feats of survival; he has performed alongside Lynyrd Skynyrd, Journey, and Slash. His own tunes range from art rock to folk, but all will please music lovers and fans of his show.

Les Stroud, the survivor, producer, cinematographer, author and musician, will come out of the woods to show off his musical prowess on April 8 at the Tower Theatre.

Les Stroud Live
Saturday, Apr 8, 7:30pm
Tower Theatre
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Friday, March 24, 2017

TGIF Cartoon: The Affordable Care Act

Posted By on Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 3:49 PM

Bill Friday is a local cartoonist who has recently found great inspiration from this new administration. He has penned 62 cartoon in the last 60 days. Retired from the Forest Service, he spent over 40 years at the lookout towers in several national forests throughout Oregon. Look for his TGIF cartoons every week.
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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Oregon's unemployment rate drops to 4 percent

Oregon's jobless rate the lowest it's been since comparable records were kept

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 10:25 AM

  • Image courtesy Mike Licht
New figures from the Oregon Employment Department signal a different story than the one you may be hearing nationally: That people are out of work and that the economy is suffering. Here in Oregon, it appears to be the opposite.

According to data released today, Oregon's unemployment rate dropped to 4.0 percent for the month of February 2017—down from 4.3 percent in January. That marks the lowest unemployment rate since "comparable records" began being kept in 1976, according to the employment department.

Oregon's growth rate continues to increase at about three percent—far faster than the U.S. growth rate of 1.6 percent.

According to the Employment Department, just three industries cut jobs over the past year: Mining and logging, wholesale trade and manufacturing. At the same time, the jobs growth has been largest in government, health care and social assistance, manufacturing and construction since January.
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Monday, March 20, 2017

Scenes from Sen. Merkley's Redmond town hall

Posted By on Mon, Mar 20, 2017 at 9:42 AM

Senator Jeff Merkley's staffers say he holds a town hall in every county in Oregon every year—and that included one in Deschutes County on Saturday March 18.

Attendees filled the gym at Redmond's Ridgeview High School to ask questions and hear Merkley speak.


Ridgeview student Jordan Schmidt asked the first question, asking Merkley about his views on teachers stating partisan views in the classroom.

"I've never been asked that," Merkley said, answering that a discussion of both sides of political arguments would be a healthy way to talk about politics in the classroom. 

Other questions from the audience included concerns about the defunding of the Environmental Protection Agency, the funding of Medicare and Social Security, the sale of public lands and support for undocumented people in the U.S. 

Senator Merkley also opened the town hall by introducing Alison Perry from the Central Oregon Veterans Ranch. 
click image Senator Jeff Merkeley introduces Alison Perry, a licensed professional counselor who opened the Central Oregon Veterans Ranch.
  • Senator Jeff Merkeley introduces Alison Perry, a licensed professional counselor who opened the Central Oregon Veterans Ranch.

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Sign of Spring: Bend's Whitewater Park opening again

Channel opens March 18

Posted By on Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 3:06 PM

  • Erik Ellingsen
It's a sure sign of warm weather in Bend: The sight of floaters, kayakers and other boaters passing through Bend Park and Recreation's Whitewater Park. 

According to the Park district, the Whitewater Park is back open as of March 18, after a winter of work intended to improve performance in the channels.

“The winter modifications were completed with only minimal disruptions due to the winter weather conditions,” said Brian Hudspeth, development manager for the District in a Friday statement. “The feedback about the wave features and the passageway channel is favorable and we look forward to the upcoming river recreation season.”

“The work completed this winter accomplished the goals we intended, including a refinement of some features in the passageway channel that were enjoyed by more than 100,000 river users last summer,” said Director of Planning and Park Services Michelle Healy. “Even with the work done, river users need to recognize the dynamic conditions in a natural river and should prepare for the experience.”
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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Greg Walden Makes It Into Stephen Colbert's Monologue... For the Wrong Reasons

Posted By on Wed, Mar 15, 2017 at 3:15 PM


Last night's Late Show with Stephen Colbert featured Colbert reading a passage from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson or, should we say, Wayne Tracker's "secret" journal.

Before he dived in however, Colbert touched on the Congressional Budget Office's report on the new Republican healthcare bill, unveiled by none other than Congressmen Greg Walden last week. "24 million people would lose coverage,"the report estimated, "but it would save $337 billion."

Colbert poked fun of none other than Congressmen Greg Walden's attempts at refuting the criticisms of the CBO. "The CBO's score was incomplete because it does not include parts of the GOP plan not included in the current repeal bill," Walden had said.

"Yeah, that's not fair!" Colbert exclaimed in a sarcastic tone. "When they analyze the bill they didn't consider stuff that wasn't in there. Could be anything, health savings account, uh, nougat, a unicorn that gives prostate exams...."

What do you think of Greg Walden making into Colbert?

Full Monologue below

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Anti-Walden, pro-Walden and pro-Trump rallies in Bend this week

Posted By on Wed, Mar 8, 2017 at 4:31 PM

It's been a week of numerous demonstrations in Bend and Redmond.

On Saturday, around 30 people gathered at the Riverhouse on the Deschutes in support of the 45th president and his policies.

One of the supporters was Ginger, who introduced herself as the president of Central Oregon Federated Republican Women.

Ginger, seen in the black cowboy hat. - MAGDALENA BOKOWA
  • Magdalena Bokowa
  • Ginger, seen in the black cowboy hat.

“Well Trump is doing a lot in seven weeks. He surpassed every president in the time he has had," Ginger said. "He’s not so much political but a man of action. He doesn’t get dragged down by bureaucracy or politics as much as getting things done. Because he’s a business man and he knows what’s good for our country, and I voted for him because all politicians I am disappointed in, they sit on their hands, they talk more than they get things done and I always felt he was a business man and a business man has to get things done for their share holders.

I think for this reason I was always for him and I felt despite what some people might think our reputation around the world has diminished, I always said we need a bully in the White House, I’ve been overseas... I know how leaders in other countries view leaders and they say 'if I feel that person is weak I know that person is weak and I can take advantage of them.' With a strong leader like Trump I think the rest of the world will respect us more and then we will become again leaders of the free world.”
Demonstrators in front of Rep. Greg Walden's Bend office Tuesday. Ongoing demonstrations are scheduled for Tuesdays at 11:30 am. - NICOLE VULCAN
  • Nicole Vulcan
  • Demonstrators in front of Rep. Greg Walden's Bend office Tuesday. Ongoing demonstrations are scheduled for Tuesdays at 11:30 am.

Meanwhile, dozens of people gathered in front of Rep. Greg Walden's office Tuesday, both in support of the Oregon Congressman, and against. Tuesdays have become demonstration day at Walden's Bend office, where some constituents continue to press Walden to hold a town hall in Bend. 
  • Nicole Vulcan

“I would say I am very disappointed he refused to have a town hall here in Bend," said local activist Melissa Adams, who attended Tuesday's rally."He cherry-picks his constituency and I’m very disappointed in the guidance of the (replacement of the) Affordable Care Act. As a mental health therapist I know that many of my clients are heavily affected by this... either their mental heath coverage or physical health coverage. A lot of clients that I see have debilitating chronic illnesses and losing their health care will make their mental and emotional health worse.

I love this country and I love the values were founded on, and I’m worried these values are being eroded by the current admininstration. Values of separation of church and state and freedom of religion, and representation by the people for the people... and right now we have a profit president who won't release his tax returns. I see this as a real conflict for our patriotic values,” Adams said. 

Meanwhile, Patty Adair, who says she was Trump's eastern Oregon director for the campaign, said the current health care debate really comes down to one thing: "People really need jobs. One in five workers are part time now. We just had our house appraised. Our assistant was working three jobs. I used to work three jobs, you never know where you’re going, you’re always just going to a job.” When we asked her how to solve this problem locally, Adair said: "“We need to take care of the forest, they’re a mess. They burn up and release all the carbon dioxide. We need to get rural Oregon back to work again."

Patty Adair, at left of the large sign, campaigned for Trump during the 2016 election season. - NICOLE VULCAN
  • Nicole Vulcan
  • Patty Adair, at left of the large sign, campaigned for Trump during the 2016 election season.
Alexandra Sweet, who works with homeless people in Central Oregon, had this to say at Tuesday's rally: “Well I believe the health are systems now are going to hurt the elderly with the tax credits, the poor people will be hurt more and the CEOs are making more money off that $500 million tax credit to the CEOs on health care. We all lost, the rich people won.” When we asked Sweet what she would like to say to Greg Walden, were he at the rally, she said: “To support everyone, the majority support ACA so he can’t look away. He has to address the majority.”

The Source Weekly spoke with Walden's deputy chief of staff Andrew Malcolm Tuesday regarding the Congressman's town hall schedule. As we've reported in the past, Malcolm said Walden plans to hold at least one town hall in Bend this year.
  • Nicole Vulcan

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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Show Preview: Louie Anderson 4/1

Posted By on Thu, Mar 2, 2017 at 2:09 PM

For more then 30 years and counting, Louie Anderson's unique sense of humor has earned him not only the title of a two-time Emmy award winner, but a best selling author, desired actor and "One of the 100 Greatest Stand-Up-Comedians of All Time," by Comedy Central.

Being one of 11 children, Louie used and channeled his experiences into creating hilarious routines that left his audience rolling. Starting as a children's counselor, his hilarious, prize-winning personality won him first place at the 1981 Midwest Comedy Competition, where he was hired as a writer and gained enough experience to soon tour with his own show.
  • Tower Theatre

In 1995, Louie was also one of only three people to receive the Humanitas Prize for his animation series based off his childhood. Now over 20 years later, Louie is still touring the country charming audiences.

Most commonly, Louie is recognized from his time hosting Family Feud, a popular game show. This led to him to guest starring in many sitcoms and landing a role in the classic film, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." Louie also starred in ABC's series "Splash" and his individual stand up show "Big Baby Boomer" aired on CMT.

Louie will be performing at the Tower Theatre on Saturday April 1st. Don't miss this incredible opportunity to laugh at the hands of a life long comedian genius.

Louie Anderson
Saturday, April 1, 7pm
Tower Theater
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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Show Preview: Marco Benevento Brings Pop to New Heights, 4/11

Posted By on Wed, Mar 1, 2017 at 12:01 PM

For nearly 20 years, Marco Benevento has been a key figure in the shaping of the New York music scene. His diligence has let him amass an arsenal of fantastic music that can only come from self-made artists.

Last year, Benevento released the concept album "The Story of Fred Short" under his own label. His work was chosen to be featured in the Woodstock Sessions, a series of live recordings by standout artists. In front of a sold-out crowd, Benevento performed and recorded the entire Fred Short suite in one take. Recently, he has also been performing various Bowie covers.

  • Calabro Music Media

Stylistically, Marco’s music is eclectic and distinct. His tracks don’t clearly fit into the confines of any established genre, but he clearly takes inspiration from psychedelic, rock, and pop tunes. He has a tendency to electronically alter the raw sounds of his instruments, resulting in a sound that is hard to believe comes from a three-man band. The Story of Fred Short is easy to listen to without feeling ordinary, a combo that makes for some great live performances.

You can listen to one of his 2016 tracks, “In The Afternoon Tomorrow" here.

Marco and company will be at The Capitol on Tuesday, April 11. The show will consist of tracks from the recent Woodstock album and several other of Benevento’s best songs. He will be accompanied by Andy Borger on drums and Karina Rykman on bass. Borger has worked alongside Benevento since 2012.

Benevento’s reputation as a top-notch live performer makes this one of spring’s most exciting shows.

Marco Benevento
Tuesday, Apr 11, 9pm
The Capitol, 190 NW Oregon Ave., Bend

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