Month: September 2017

Ask legislators to help opioid crisis

To the Editor: According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the leading cause of accidental death in 2015 was drug overdose. The life toll from the drug epidemic has been consistently growing over the past couple of years with opiate addiction and overdose being one of the lead causes.  Each year, more people use drugs for the first time and wind up addicted. Right now, the highest number of opiate overdoses are in the Northeast. The problem originally started with heroin as the main contributor however newer drugs have begun to escalate the problem. Fentanyl has begun to be mixed into heroin with devastating consequences. This combination is so potent there have been fatal overdoses of non-users who merely got the substance on their skin.  Now more than ever, those in our country who are struggling with substance abuse need help getting into a heroin addiction rehab. According to the Center for Disease Control or CDC, drug overdose deaths have increased more than 2.5 times compared to what they were in 1999. In fact, according to a study by experts at 10 universities, the problem can get much worse. At this point, the best-case scenario would be overdose deaths peaking in 2020 before going down and that would require government support.  Please write your local officials and senators to begin taking action to combat the opiate epidemic and steer us away from...

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Crossing the Columbia River

To the Editor: Presently, there isn’t enough money available to replace the aging Interstate 5 bridge in the manner currently envisioned. But there still might be a way to build the badly needed replacement by constructing a new crossing in stages. Phase one:  Build a northbound span.  Include an emergency access lane. Phase two:  Open the new northbound span and convert the existing steel bridge to southbound only traffic. This change will immediately cut the traffic flow over the old bridge by one half which will greatly extend the life of the bridge. Provide for emergency access. Phase three:  Construct a new southbound span when future funding becomes available.  Include an emergency access lane. Phase four:  In time, dismantle and remove the existing and worn steel bridge.  Or adapt it to accommodate light rail to create an experimental light rail link between Portland and Vancouver. By building the new crossing in stages it may be easier to align existing and new roadways and lanes which will minimize the need for right-of-way purchases. Designers and planners will argue that there is no project engineering economy by having to mobilize for construction more than once and in an ideal situation this would be correct. But realistically, there may be no alternative to constructing the project in phases. There simply isn’t enough money available to build a complete replacement all in one step....

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Divisons in our united state

By GENE H. McINTYRE What is most challenging is to keep our country united when we are so divided. Nevertheless, it’s not at all like this is a modern day phenomenon. Really, our divisions go back to American beginnings as any study of those times past does not reveal an integrated, interdependent and unified America. To believe the contrary is to ignore and misread our history. What is referenced is the polarization and philosophical and political differences among those various states and regions of this country as there are the red states and blue states, the coastal states and the heartland states, the big states and little ones. Pondering life in our time means to ask the most salient question: Is the American democracy at risk because of the deep divisions and separations throughout the country? Our nation’s founding had what would become the United States by way of the Articles of Confederation which created a weak form of central government with no power to Congress.  This loose condition of togetherness with all its difficulties got our forebearers to the 1787 Continental Convention “to devise such further provisions as shall appear to render the constitution of the Federal Government adequate to the exigencies of the union.” Those fits and starts were no piece of cake as the convention of 55 delegates from 12 states (opposing it without debate, Rhode Island, sent no one) was convened in Philadelphia in May, 1787 where, after...

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Dog shelter seeks volunteers

The Marion County Dog Shelter is calling for volunteers for its annual Fall Frenzy event on Saturday, Sept. 30, at the Woodburn Premium Outlets. Fall Frenzy is a day of fashion, savings, giveaways and fun. Proceeds will benefit Marion County Dog Services, Family Building Blocks and the Oregon Volunteer Firefighters Association among six others. Three to four volunteers are need for 3-4 hour shifts during the event which runs from 9 am. to 4 p.m. Duties can include: check-in, including raffle ticket sales, staffing the charity table, talking with attendees, helping with garbage, among others. If you are available...

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The dangerous triumph of tribalism

By MICHAEL GERSON In his prescient science-fiction novel The Diamond Age, Neal Stephenson describes a post-national world in which people organize themselves into affinity groups called “phyles.” Some choose to be Victorians, emulating the beliefs and aesthetic of 19th-century Britain. Others identify with the values and dress of the Boers. The Celestial Kingdom is a Chinese culture phyle. In The Diamond Age, globalization has erased the nation-state and left people—always hungry for belonging—to identify themselves entirely by culture. A provocative new essay by Andrew Sullivan, America Wasn’t Built for Humans, describes the emergence of two American phyles. One is more racially diverse, urban, secular and globalist. The other is largely white, rural and exurban, religious and nationalist. Their conflict is the context of American politics. At stake is the idea that “American” describes a single people. In Sullivan’s description, the “myths” that used to help unify the country—the ideal of assimilation, the idea of America’s founders as exemplars of constitutional values—have been weakened. “We dismantled many of our myths,” he argues, “but have not yet formed new ones to replace them.” The result is the dangerous triumph of cultural identification over unifying political ideals. Who is at fault for the depth of this mental divide? It is the nature of political polarization that both American tribes blame each other. Sullivan blames them both, but not quite equally. According to...

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