Good morning to you! This is Thursday, February 1, 2018; January’s in the recycle bin, and we’re grateful that its weather was much kinder to us than the January before. Now we’re in the month that starts us warming up for Spring, and foreshadows it in so many ways, with preparatory tasks in the garden and the commencement of Spring Training, now just thirteen days away. Let’s not be blind to February’s meteorological capabilities; you might remember a deep winter snow on Lincoln’s Birthday in 1995. But today looks like rain in Portland and highs of 45, and on Accuweather’s long-range charts, there’s nothing even resembling freezing weather from here on out. Not here. But the Midwest and East are in for six more weeks of winter weather, so we won’t need that groundhog tomorrow to tell us so. By the way…Sunrise 7:31 AM, sunset 5:17 PM.
Factoid tweeted by NWSPortland: The Portland airport recorded 18 days this Jan with a max temp of 50 or more. Last year, the 18th such day didn’t occur until Mar 9.
For all the confetti being thrown around about the economy, we’re taking some punches on the local front:
–The Camas paper mill, owned by Georgia Pacific–a Koch Bros. subsidiary–will stop making paper for printer and copiers, eliminating 243 good paying jobs (industry average $77,000) in May. The paper towel operation will keep rolling. We’re not printing many documents these days, but we certainly spill stuff.
–Nordstrom is closing its store at Salem Center Mall. A shame, we think…as we place another order on Amazon.
–Just when we need more real journalism, and real journalists digging around and asking nosy questions and filing FOIA requests, The Oregonian has lopped eleven more newsroom staff members from its already frail payroll. (There was a Rialto bar tab fund created for the eleven on Pay Pal last night. It raised $2,264.)
About a hundred Republican members of Congress were aboard a specially-chartered Amtrak train on their way to a retreat in West Virginia when the engine plowed into a garbage truck, killing the driver. Nobody on the train was hurt. About a dozen of these congressmen are doctors and other medical professionals, and they rushed off the train to assist the injured. Also aboard was Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, and he took photos. Greg was a radio guy in the Gorge, back in his pre-political days; he and I traded reports for each others’ morning newscasts quite often. “Greg Walden, K103 News, Hood River.”
A deeply critical audit of Oregon’s child welfare system was released by the Secretary of State’s office. Overwhelming caseloads, broken promises, computer snafus, a persistent lack of foster homes, staff shortages…all combining to fail an endless number of children.
Somebody may be poisoning crows in Portland. Dead and dying crows have been found on the ground near MLK and Jessup, and also in downtown Portland. This time of year crows have a daunting presence; the Audubon Society of Portland says thousands congregate and roost in one spot, to keep warm and “share information about food sources.” They are extremely smart. Crows are protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and killing them is a crime.
The TriMet Board today will announce the winning concept and design team for the Hollywood Transit Tribute Wall, in honor of the brave heroes who stood up to that hatemonger last year.
The Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated on reentry fifteen years ago today.
Today begins the Portland Winter Light Festival. Modeled after light festivals in other high-latitude cities around the world, where winter nights are long, this festival is an annual gift from the Willamette Light Brigade and Portland General Electric to “brighten up the skyline” with “displays of light, color, and imagination.” Unusual and creative installations of light will erupt over the next several days on bridges and many other public places, and you can learn more at PDXWLF dot com.
CJ McCollum was red hot and rolling last night, scoring a team-record 28 in the first quarter, on the way to 50 points in the Blazers’ win over Chicago. His 92-year old aunt was in the stands, seeing her first game in Portland.
Monopoly is releasing a special edition specifically for cheaters who steal an extra hundred when they pass GO, skip spaces, move others’ tokens, avoid rent, and sneak hotels onto properties.
The Drive-by Truckers are at the Roseland Theater tonight.
–“Elephant victory: Hong Kong, considered the world’s largest ivory market, has voted to ban the ivory trade.”
–“Puppy Bowl stars dogs rescued from disaster-ravaged regions”
–“Anonymous NFL player donates bone marrow to local man”
–“‘Pen pals for life:’ Newfoundland girl’s message in a bottle discovered in England”
–“Therapy Dog Stuck In Traffic Jam Helps A Man Who Desperately Needed A Hug”
–“Amateur astronomer finds a long-lost NASA satellite–still orbiting, and still functioning.”
Ancient Wisdom for the day…
–“Do not pass by someone in need, for you may be the hand of God to them.” – Proverbs 3:27
OK! February! Hit reset, and go!