Spanning the State: Knock me over with a feather, Edition

Carla Axtman

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines: the clown car of GOP candidates for Governor is on the road. But wait, what's this? A Republican with a progressive surprise in his pocket:

After his speech, Justesen said that one way to reduce inequality would be to raise the minimum wage, which he said would also encourage more Oregonians to take work they now leave to illegal immigrants.

"You want this economy to boom in the state of Oregon – raise the minimum wage," he said, adding that it should be "at least $15 an hour." The state currently has the nation's second highest minimum wage, at $9.10 an hour.

Jon Justesen is a Sherman County rancher who has had some success raising money but has also seems to have the personal resources to loan his campaign significant amounts as well.

For my money, the state would be better off for having two gubernatorial candidates (Kitzhaber and Justesen) who are willing to have a substantive and progressive conversation about minimum wage for Oregon.

And now, let's Span the State!

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Jackson County is in need of The Dog Whisperer. Cesar Millan is known for specializing in training Pit Bulls to be calm, submissive dogs. Jackson County has a problem with Pit Bulls (and Labrador Retrievers) when it comes to cases of dogs biting humans. An upcoming public hearing will address possible solutions, with many in the county appearing reticent to support an outright ban.

State economist Mike McMullen told the board of directors of the EO Media Group last week that rural areas in the state are stuck in a “negative, perpetuating cycle”. Young people are leaving because they can’t find jobs and companies don’t move in because the workforce is leaving. He also noted a number of rural Oregon counties in the northeast part of the state came out of the recession with a more robust economy than expected. Millions in federal spending to destroy chemical weapons at the Umatilla Depot, extensive wind farm development and the high price of wheat helped the economies hold steady.

Schools in the mid-Willamette Valley recently received mixed news on school funding. The State Board of Education's new calculation method sending money to school districts based on the number of students living in poverty. Using the new poverty calculation method, school districts in Albany, Sweet Home and Central Linn will receive more funding next year. Scio, Harrisburg, Jefferson, Corvallis and Philomath will receive less.

The 6th annual Gathering of Oregon’s First Nations “Standing Strong” Pow Wow at the Oregon State Fairgrounds took place on Saturday in Salem. Participants engaged in the day long event packed with song, dance and hands-on traditions. There's a lovely photo essay about the Pow Wow here, well worth viewing.

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