The Cover Oregon fiasco was voted the Associated Press Oregon news story of the year for 2013.
Once considered a national health care leader, Oregon produced the worst rollout in the nation of the new national health insurance program, and has yet to enroll a single person online. One top official took a medical leave of absence, and another resigned.
In other top stories, the Legislature tried to take control of medical marijuana by allowing sales to patients through dispensaries, and joined with the governor to make historic cuts to state employee pensions.
Meanwhile, timber counties struggled to provide basic services, as federal subsidies dwindled and taxpayers refused to fill the gap. And drought and lightning combined to give the Oregon Department of Forestry its most expensive wildfire season ever.
The Department of Homeland Security refused a visa for Lulo Reinhardt as not being “Culturally Unique.” Now at the end of a two year battle, Reinhardt will begin his tour of the Pacific Northwest this week thanks to the intervention of Oregon Senator, Jeff Merkley. The prestigious Gypsy Jazz guitarist and composer hales from Germany and is recognized around the world as one of the leading authorities in Gypsy Music. His discography includes ten albums, and a new song called Visa – written for the USA. His Latin Swing Project Concert, Thursday, January 2nd at the Florence Events Center kicks off Northwest Tour, tickets are on sale at the Florence Events Center. With the help of Senator Merkley’s office Lulo Reinhardt is one of the lucky artist to obtain a performance visa, the list of international performance artist denied performing visas in the United States since the 9 – 11 terrorist attacks is long and growing.
Dozens of new laws will be taking effect across Oregon as the new year arrives on Wednesday. Expect a few higher fines and fees, new crimes to avoid committing and new workplace rules. Tobacco taxes will go up, and it will be illegal to smoke cigarettes in a car with a minor. Minors will be barred from tanning beds unless they have a note from a doctor. Employers won’t be allowed to demand access to social media accounts of their workers. Fines will go up for using a cellphone while driving. Tying up a dog in a manner that causes an injury to the animal will be a crime.
If you didn’t get that special “something” for Christmas, Cal Applebee has something “special” just for you. Applebee, Executive Director of the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce, says with one exception, everything at the Chamber Visitor Center is half off today and tomorrow. That includes souvenirs, trinkets and vintage festival merchandise and wearables.