Oregon’s health officials claim on a state Web site that complying with
the new law banning smoking in bars is, and here we quote: “easy.”
After perusing the Web site we weren’t convinced this is so.
Adhering to certain parts of the law, we’ll concede, shouldn’t severely tax tavern owners.
Putting up some “no smoking” signs and hiding the ash trays, for instance, is pretty light work.
But there’s one “easy” task listed on the Department of Human
Services’s Smokefree Workplace Law Web site which, it seems to us,
could cause quite a hassle for pub owners.
Under the heading “complying with the law is easy” is this: “encourage employees who smoke to quit smoking.”
The state suggests one way by which business owners can accomplish
this: “Encourage (employees who smoke) to call Oregon's toll-free QUIT
LINE at 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669).
The (La Grande) Observer:
It’s a funny thing about environmental groups. The more they claim to
do for forest health, the unhealthier the forests become. Lawsuits and
appeals of timber projects and sales go on and on, while trees die and
go unharvested, while combustibles continue to pile up on the forest
Legal wrestling matches drag on (and on), and conflagrations break out
every year. The result? Blighted land, squandered taxpayer dollars and
a wasted resource.
The controversy touched a new height in absurdity recently, when a
federal district court judge effectively slapped down a U.S. Forest
Service policy designed to promote work that reduces the risk of
wildfires. Two local sales already evaluated for positive and negative
environmental impacts were stopped dead in their tracks.
The Forest Service policy, adopted in 2003, exempts from appeal certain
logging projects on 1,000 acres or fewer, and also prescribed burning
on 4,500 or fewer acres. The policy is designed to allow some
constructive, productive work to proceed in a timely manner.
Baker Valley battled the invaders with rare courage, stubbornly
resisting even as its allies fell, one after another, before the mild
But the juggernaut of slush was irresistible.
Surrounded and vanquished, its situation hopeless, the valley at last
laid down its thermometers and surrendered to the meteorological
Which is to say it warmed up around here Wednesday morning.
Warm fronts bluster into our mountain valley pretty regularly during
winter, and predicting their snow-softening progress requires little in
the way of scientific prowess.
This I appreciate, as my knowledge of science is, well, limited. (Which
is akin to saying that Baker County is limited in its allotment of tide
Except sometimes the jet stream plays a prank.
The trick the atmosphere pulled off earlier this week was clever
indeed, making fools not only of amateur prognosticators like me, but
also the professionals from the National Weather Service.
If the Senate’s action this week foreshadows the future of public land
legislation under Democratic control, that future could be interesting
And potentially disappointing for advocates — and we included ourselves among them — of an equitable federal policy.
Senators had hardly arrived at the Capitol when Majority Leader Harry
Reid, D-Nev., introduced the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009
(S.22). The act would, among many other things, designate as wilderness
five areas in Oregon, totaling about 203,000 acres of public land (none
of those areas is in Northeastern Oregon).
We don’t oppose creating any of those wilderness areas.
The government’s getting ready to tax cow flatulence and burps.
Sure it sounds ludicrous.
But the government’s involved, a fact which makes plausible even the most hare-brained of schemes.
We certainly won’t try to convince anyone that the government’s incapable of imposing nonsensical and economically ruinous laws.
But neither do we want Baker County ranchers to worry unduly that
they’ll lose their operation if they can’t teach their herds some
Here’s what the government has actually done:
Last July the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced what it
calls an “advanced notice of proposed rulemaking” regarding “potential
regulatory approaches” to dealing with greenhouse gases.
The great thing about snow is that it melts.
Glaciers are rather more persistent, of course, but there aren’t any of those in Baker County.
Yet the temporary nature of snow is small consolation to anyone whose
car is marooned behind a chest-high wall of congealed slush.
Or to someone who lives along a street where the blacktop hasn’t been visible for a couple of weeks.
Both situations have happened this winter in Baker City.
Both have happened in plenty of winters past and, barring a radical shift in climate, both will continue to happen.
On balance, though, the snow that accumulates on our streets is more an
annoyance than the near-disaster that some critics of the city’s
snow-control strategy seem to believe it is.
In general the city deals with snow and ice in an appropriate and competent way.