Spanning the State: Light My Fire, edition

Carla Axtman

Oregon is no stranger to wild fires. We've watched them burn significant parts of our forest land over the years. This year, the nation of Russia is struggling mightily with their own series of wild fires. The 500+ fires were apparently provoked by an intense heat wave, the worst the country has seen in 140 years. Smoke from the blazes has enveloped Moscow in thick clouds of acrid smog.

Smoke from those fires can be seen via weather satellites and has caught the prevailing east to west winds, bringing it to the Willamette Valley. That's more than 5400 miles.

Maybe this is payback for Mt. St. Helens.

And now, let's Span the State!


Speaking of fires, Oregon isn't home free when it comes to the summer fire season. The Rooster Rock fire near Sisters has been burning since Monday. Cooperative weather has aided crews in containing the blaze, however local officials are keeping an eye on the forecast, as lightning storms are possibly on tap for next week.

A good deal of national attention was focused this week on efforts to build a mosque near Ground Zero in New York. A Friday op-ed in the Oregonian by SE Portland journalist and writer Mark Ellis decries the mosque, declaring that "We must take care not to allow the cognitive deconstruction of 9/11's ultimate hours of darkness with constructs built by the ideological offspring of those responsible for the largest attack on American soil in our history." Oh? It seems to me that the idea behind the 9/11 terrorism was to destroy what we're about--our very basic values. To not allow this mosque is to deny among the most first and fundamental of those values: freedom of religion. Ellis has also either ignored or forgotten that many innocent Muslims lost their lives on 9/11 as well. This op-ed is shameful and ugly. But I'm grateful for it. It's a solid reminder of how much work there is yet to do.

Teachers in the North Santiam School District (Stayton, Sublimity, Mehama and Lyons) have agreed to give up six days' pay to save 8 1/2 jobs. Veteran teachers have also agreed to forego their step increases, while those with fewer than 15 years of experience in their total career in education will retain their increase. This is the third year in a row that N Santiam SD has undergone heavy budget cuts.

The Neo-Nazi leader who has stirred up the John Day community with chatter about relocating to the region has hauled himself and his group to Ohio. Paul Mullet says he is temporarily moving to Ohio due to a death in the family. Mullet also says that he and his clan haven't ruled out Grant County for their permanent new residence, and he believes that the County has discriminated against his group, but has had trouble finding an attorney who would agree to take their case.

Another urban coyote sighting, this time in Gresham.

Metro is hiring....a reporter to cover what Metro is doing. Metro communications director Jim Middaugh told Willamette Week that the hire is an attempt to get some independent reporting about what Metro's activities. Salary is $24 an hour. One wonders if the salary will go up or down if the hired reporter actually watchdogs the agency.

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    Why aren't they complaining about the mosque in the Pentagon. Have they forgotten that that was part of "Ground Zero" as well.

    And what do they care about what happens in NYC. NY is not a part of "real America" anyway.

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    ...if we elect bob stacey, this reporter's job will be welcome, as well as safe...

    ...if we elect tom hughes...welllll...

    not so much...

    tonkin fookin torp(edoes)...l.l. we...seeee...

    oops...tom will probably dis my friend status*tsky...

    in it to win it!!!


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