Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Hello, friends! here we are safely together on a stormy Tuesday, December 19, 2017. Portland and the Valley are in for a one-inch drenching today, with highs of 50, while a winter storm warning is in effect for the mountains above 2000 feet, as today’s storm could deliver unleash two feet of snow. And here’s a little something to keep an eye on: Portland might receive a rain-snow mix on Friday morning. Not more than a flurry or two. No problem….or so we think.

Eighty miles an hour in a thirty zone. That’s the lead line from the NTSB, on the morning after the rail catastrophe south of Seattle. I just can’t shake the images of Amtrak’s proud train carrying dignitaries and rail buffs inaugurating a well-promoted new Seattle-to-Portland schedule, hanging crazily off an I-5 overpass, wrecked and tumbled like logs in a logjam. It’s good to look at a sickening scene like that and find the people who are helping out, like the Eagle Scout who was driving through, and instantly sprang into action, going through the wreck rail cars, triaging injured people, stopping bleeding, comforting and praying with the injured; OHSU neurosurgeon Nathan Selden who was on his way to Seattle with his son, and spent two hours loading people onto ambulances; the JBLM military personnel who went from car to car in the backed up traffic on I-5, soliciting first aid kits from motorists for responders to use; the people who lined up to donate blood, meeting all of the immediate needs, but the demand will continue for the next five days.

I-5 southbound remains closed because of the derailment. Some people are getting around it by going through Yelm. Others are going through Yakima. Alaska Airlines is offering a reduced fare–$99 instead of $214– for people who need to travel today between Portland and Seattle.

Other news: the City of Salem continues to use water from backup groundwater and reservoir sources, after the fatal tanker accident that sent an unknown quantity of gasoline into the North Santiam River, whose watershed is the capital city’s primary source.

The closure of Highway 22 has had another effect: drivers who followed their onboard GPS’s directions onto Forest Service roads found themselves lost, stuck in snow, or out of gasoline. Those roads are often not maintained during the winter. GPS doesn’t know that.

Governor Kate Brown cut the ribbon on the Newberg Bypass. Getting to wine country will be easier.

The House and possibly the Senate vote today on final passage of what’s named the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” People who’ve run the numbers say that indeed many in the middle class will realize some reduction when they file in 2019, although it’ll be vastly more for people who make vastly more, and blue-state taxpayers will be squeezed by the limit on the deductibility of state and local taxes. But corporations win big with a drop in their top rate from 35% to 21%. Proponents say that will stoke economic growth; critics question the wisdom of stimulating a healthy economy. President Trump tweets that the bill will “create many beautiful JOBS,” but opponents expect the cut will spur many companies to invest heavily in robotization. Wall Street likes it. The Dow is up 5000 points this year.

OK. Headlines for the heart:

–“B.C. puts immediate ban on hunting grizzly bears: Environment Minister says bear sightseeing could have a much greater economic impact than hunting.”

–“MLB pitcher Cole Hamel donates $9 million home to camp for people with special needs.”

–“Anonymous Jedi treats 140 at-risk Calgary youth to private Star Wars screening.”

–“Jurors Pay Fine for Undocumented Immigrant They Just Convicted of Jewelry Theft.”

–“An Irish farmer travels to Africa and sees for himself how his late father’s gift of a cow has transformed the life of a Rwandan family.”

“Clark Public Utilities call center employee saves a caller’s life when he hears the signs of a stroke in her voice.”

Hey! wait a second. Let’s find out more about that last one. This is a story in The Columbian about a Clark PUD customer service employee who took a call from a woman last March, and she showed unmistakable symptoms of being in a medical crisis, so he called 911, and she’s alive today as a result. It’s in the news now because the employee was honored the other day, His name is Joshua Vincent. Well done sir!

President Bill Clinton was impeached on this day in 1998 for perjury and obstruction of justice.

“Titanic” opened in theaters 20 years ago today.

Sunrise 7:46 AM Sunset 4:29 PM

That’s my report so far. Your radio dad hopes you stay safe and dry!

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