Sherman County eNews #141


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  1. Congratulations to the Sherman High School Class of 2016

  2. Burn Ban

  3. Lessons from the Young

  4. Gilliam County Public Library Youth Services

  5. Gilliam County Public Library Summer Reading Program

  6. Opinion: Socialism For The Uninformed

  7. Commentary: Health Care Catastrophe Continues

  8. Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do

“[T]he government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.” —James Madison (1794)

1.Congratulations to the Sherman High School Class of 2016


When:  June 4, 2016 at 11:00AM

Where:  Sherman Jr/Sr High School

65912 High School Loop

Moro, OR 97039

Class Motto:

“Never look back darling, it distracts from the now.”

~ Edna Mode, The Incredibles


Graduating Class of 2016

Carlos Ambriz Kolton Busler
Garak Casper Ken Earl
Alex Fields Hunter Grenvik
Jeanna Hill Hollee Kaseberg
Brett Lane Luke Lawrence
Bethany Lohrey Logan Raczykowski
Elvia Rubio Wyatt Stutzman
Breck von Borstel Jasmine Wilson

2. Burn Ban, Effective June 1

Sherman County Emergency Services

Shawn Payne, Director

P.O. Box 139

309 Dewey Street

Moro, Oregon 97039

541-565-3100     541-565-3024 Fax

Due to extreme fire danger conditions, the burn ban is in effect as of June 1, 2016 for Moro Fire District and North Sherman Fire District, which include the cities of Moro, Rufus and Wasco. This includes burn barrels, incinerators and agricultural burning.  Thank you for your cooperation.

3. Lessons from the Young

~ The Pacific Institute

children.cartoonThe best teachers learn from their students. The wisest parents teach and learn from their kids. Today let’s talk about what we can learn from our children.

There is a great deal we can learn from our children, if we approach them with open hearts and a receptive spirit. In some ways, kids are the greatest teachers, because they teach by simply being who they are. And who are they?

Well, when children are young, they are completely trusting. It is only when they have had their trust betrayed many times that they learn to doubt and fear. Young children love justice and scrupulously respect the rules. They are also fearless. As far as anyone can tell, we come into the world with a startle reflex when we hear a loud noise. All the other fears are learned.

This is something that has been known, sometimes intuitively, and more recently with research proof. With a nod to Oscar Hammerstein’s lyrics for “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught” from 1949’s “South Pacific” –

“You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear,

                                    You’ve got to be taught from year to year,

                                    It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear,

                                    You’ve got to be carefully taught.”

Young children are also naturally joyful and full of life. They seem to have a natural inclination toward love, but need to be taught to hate or feel contempt. They are color-blind, and play happily together regardless of race, religion, sex, or ethnic background. They are honest and confident, secure, and venturesome.

When we realize that all of us started out that way, we also realize that if we will only let our children teach us to remember our essential nature, there is great reason to hope for a peaceful world

4. Gilliam County Public Library Youth Services

Exciting programs are scheduled at the Gilliam County Public Library this summer. The following programs are free, open to all ages and will last about one hour.

  • Traveling Lantern Theater Company will present Validmire Goes for the Gold! on Friday, June 17 at 6 pm.
  • Move Like a Mammoth comes to the library on Tuesday, June 21 at 2 pm. This program is targeted for a family audience with elementary age children. It will include a book reading and short presentation, followed by activity tables offering touchable specimens and hands-on activities.
  • Faye the Fairy will be brought to life by Penny’s Puppet Productions on Wednesday, July 13 at 6 pm. Faye believes everyone she meets can dream big, sparkle more and shine bright! Perfect for the young and the young at heart!

The programs are sponsored by Libraries of Eastern Oregon, the Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History and the Oregon State Library.

5. Gilliam County Public Library Summer Reading Program

On your mark, get set, READ! Welcome to the Summer Reading Program for 2016 at the Gilliam County Public Library! We will be following this year’s health and fitness theme by offering a program that will have everyone moving, grooving and competing all summer long in preparation for this summer’s Olympics!

Come to the Gilliam County Public Library and get registered Thursday, June 23 at 1pm and create your favorite athlete to race to the finish line! The Gilliam County Public Library Summer Reading Program will be every Thursday at 1pm through the summer and will last for 45 minutes to an hour. Each week, youth will check-in at the library with their reading passport for fun and exciting activities! Youth have the opportunity to win prizes weekly and move their athlete through the race as they complete reading challenges. Snacks are always provided to the attending youth. The program will end on August 11 with an End of Summer Party for the Podium that will start at 1 p.m.! Don’t miss the fun happening at the library this summer!  ~ The Gilliam County Public Library  541-384-6052

6. Opinion: Socialism For The Uninformed

~ by Thomas Sowell 5/31/2016

American flag2Socialism sounds great. It has always sounded great. And it will probably always continue to sound great. It is only when you go beyond rhetoric, and start looking at hard facts, that socialism turns out to be a big disappointment, if not a disaster.

While throngs of young people are cheering loudly for avowed socialist Bernie Sanders, socialism has turned oil-rich Venezuela into a place where there are shortages of everything from toilet paper to beer, where electricity keeps shutting down, and where there are long lines of people hoping to get food and complaining that they cannot feed their families.

With national income going down, and prices going up under triple-digit inflation in Venezuela, these complaints are by no means frivolous. But it is doubtful if the young people cheering for Bernie Sanders have even heard of such things, whether in Venezuela or in other countries around the world that have turned their economies over to politicians and bureaucrats to run.

 The anti-capitalist policies in Venezuela have worked so well that the number of companies in Venezuela is now a fraction of what it once was. That should certainly reduce capitalist “exploitation,” shouldn’t it?

 But people who attribute income inequality to capitalists exploiting workers, as Karl Marx claimed, never seem to get around to testing that belief against facts — such as the fact that none of the Marxist regimes around the world has ever had as high a standard of living for working people as there is in many capitalist countries.

 Facts are seldom allowed to contaminate the beautiful vision of the left. What matters to the true believers are the ringing slogans, endlessly repeated.

 When Sen. Sanders cries “The system is rigged!” no one asks, “Just what specifically does that mean?” or “What facts do you have to back that up?”

In 2015, the 400 richest people in the world had net losses of $19 billion. If they had rigged the system, surely they could have rigged it better than that.

But the very idea of subjecting their pet notions to the test of hard facts will probably not even occur to those who are cheering for socialism and for other bright ideas of the political left.

 How many of the people who are demanding an increase in the minimum wage have ever bothered to check what actually happens when higher minimum wages are imposed? More often they just assume what is assumed by like-minded peers — sometimes known as “everybody,” with their assumptions being what “everybody knows.”

 Back in 1948, when inflation had rendered meaningless the minimum wage established a decade earlier, the unemployment rate among 16- to 17-year-old black males was under 10%. But after the minimum wage was raised repeatedly to keep up with inflation, the unemployment rate for black males that age was never under 30% for more than 20 consecutive years, from 1971 through 1994. In many of those years, the unemployment rate for black youngsters that age exceeded 40% and, for a couple of years, it exceeded 50%.

 The damage is even greater than these statistics might suggest. Most low-wage jobs are entry-level jobs that young people move up out of, after acquiring work experience and a track record that makes them eligible for better jobs. But you can’t move up the ladder if you don’t get on the ladder.

 The great promise of socialism is something for nothing. It is one of the signs of today’s dumbed-down education that so many college students seem to think that the cost of their education should — and will — be paid by raising taxes on “the rich.”

 Here again, just a little check of the facts would reveal that higher tax rates on upper-income earners do not automatically translate into more tax revenue coming in to the government. Often high tax rates have led to less revenue than lower tax rates.

In a globalized economy, high tax rates may just lead investors to invest in other countries with lower tax rates. That means that jobs created by those investments will be overseas.

None of this is rocket science. But you do have to stop and think — and that is what too many of our schools and colleges are failing to teach their students to do.

Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

7. Commentary: Health Care Catastrophe Continues

By Sen. Doug Whitsett, Senate District 28

ORStateFlagMany of us predicted the passage of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010 would cause harmful consequences to citizens throughout the country. Those initial concerns have proven to be prophetic during the six years since Obamacare was signed into law.

Obamacare was passed on party-line votes by Democrats in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Republicans in both chambers opposed the new law.

Then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) famously stated that “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”  Most veteran lawmakers should have found that remark beyond offensive. Like many others, I make it a point to read and try to understand each piece of legislation before I cast a vote either in committee or on the floor of the Oregon Senate. Voters should expect no less from their elected representatives, regardless of party affiliation.

Disgraced former governor John Kitzhaber, along with many other Democratic leaders in Oregon, was determined to make this state the poster child for health care reform. Part of that effort involved the creation of the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) during the 2009 regular session.

Through the passage of House Bill 2009, the OHA was spun off from the Department of Human Services (DHS) largely for the sake of implementing the reforms promised under the federal legislation. Although HB 2009 was not a strictly partisan effort, I voted no due to many concerns, including cost and efficacy.  

The combined budgets of the two agencies has increased more than 130 percent during the six years since that ill-advised division into two agencies. The expense of implementing Obamacare has been the greatest cost driver in that budget-busting expansion, despite the constant assurances of “free health care” proclaimed by its proponents.

My concern regarding how the top-down federal legislation would ultimately leave consumers with fewer and more expensive choices for their health care providers has unfortunately come to pass. The consequences of Obamacare are starting to hit really close to home.

An insurance agent who serves the northern part of our large, rural Senate District recently informed my office that multiple providers are discontinuing service to the area. After several phone calls to other area insurance agents confirmed what we were told, I scheduled yet another meeting with state’s Insurance Commissioner and the Director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) to express my concerns and learn more about the problems

The Director and Commissioner informed me there are now 500 counties in the United States served by only one insurance carrier. The numbers for Oregon and its counties were only marginally better. Several large health insurance carriers are either leaving Oregon or are dramatically curtailing their areas of service and health plan portfolios.

We were informed that one company, LifeWise, will discontinue offering plans in Oregon starting next year. Moda will no longer service customers in 23 counties, including three of the five counties I represent in the Legislature. Pacific Source is pulling out of 30 counties and Providence will no longer be servicing 17 counties.

This is very bad news for many of the state’s 36 counties. According to the Commissioner, under current plans, only eight counties will have more than five health insurance providers. The number of insurance providers falls precipitously outside of those more populous counties.

We were told that as many as 28 counties will have four or fewer health providers. Approximately 14 of those will have only three, including the more populous Jackson, Lane and Deschutes counties. Nine counties currently have only two identified exchange insurance providers.

The more rural district I represent in the Senate includes all or parts of five counties, including Jackson and Deschutes. Four will have three providers and Lake County will have only two.

I was assured by the Insurance Commissioner and DCBS Director that the number of remaining providers will be adequate for preserving competition. However, I remain skeptical because virtually all remaining exchange insurance providers intend to ask for double-digit insurance premium increases and one is requesting increases greater than 30 percent.

Health insurance is currently being provided by two other companies that are not on the state insurance exchange. It is my understanding that those companies and their clients are prohibited from accessing and taking advantage of the Obamacare tax breaks and incentives.

Oregon also spent over $300 million on a website for our state health insurance exchange. That website never worked or signed-up a single person for private insurance coverage. The state and software giant Oracle continue an expensive court battle over who was at fault for the failure. Oregon taxpayers are footing the State’s legal bills.

Last week, Republican members of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform called for a criminal investigation into the Cover Oregon debacle. Not surprisingly, they want to know what happened to their $305 million.

What the public is not being told in those discussions is Oregon was not required to build a website from scratch. In December 2012, my chief of staff wrote an article for the Estacada News in which former state Rep. Patrick Sheehan grilled state officials regarding that decision. Those officials appeared to respond they were not too worried about spending other peoples’ money and could simply ask the federal government for more if they ran out.

Sheehan, who has a background in website development, had received live, real-time demonstrations from a company alleging it could have licensed existing software to the state for $6 million and customized the software to fit the State’s needs for another $6 million. We will never know whether that $12 million investment could have successfully replaced the Cover Oregon tech project. The private sector alternative would have cost only about four percent of what the state eventually wasted building its ill-advised website debacle.

Instead, we became a national laughing stock for wasting $300 million to build a website that was never used to sign-up private sector insurance. Worse, when more than 12,000 insurance applications could not be serviced by the website, the state was forced to hire 400 employees to process paper applications by hand. Compensation for the replacement “low-tech” employees was paid by taxpayers.

The controversy surrounding Cover Oregon has yet to subside. While it is true there are now fewer Oregonians without health insurance coverage than before the health care reforms were enacted, the State’s private insurance market place appears to remain in disarray. Most of the new insurance coverage is due to the expansion of the State’s Medicaid program through the Oregon Health Plan.

The federal government has thus far picked up the tab for paying the premiums on all those new Medicaid participants. However, beginning next year, the federal government will be lowering its contribution towards covering those costs. The state’s obligation to pay for its share of the greatly expanded Medicaid population may soon be as much as $1 billion per budget cycle.

Similarly, the decision to create the OHA will continue to have severe ramifications for the rest of the state’s budget. All-funds combined spending for OHA and DHS has ballooned to more than $28 billion. No end appears to be in sight for that near exponential spending growth that reduces available funding for public safety and education.

In short, federal health care reform has become every bit the disaster that many of us predicted it would be. Our well-founded cynicism was based on our fiscal concerns that further government disruption of the insurance marketplace would result in the restricted availability of medical services and significantly higher costs. Those concerns were met and overridden by derision and allegations that we didn’t want our State’s most needy to have health insurance coverage.

Many of the events we predicted would occur have come to pass. Some are even worse than I had initially imagined.

Access to medical care is rapidly becoming more difficult. Many care providers are reluctant to service Medicaid patients due to cost and reimbursement constraints. Government regulators are reducing payments for available diagnostic and treatment procedures. Patient wait times and frustration are escalating.

Oregonians are already experiencing fewer choices when it comes to health care. Those choices will be even more unaffordable for those who pay for their own health care insurance. This reality is especially true for people living in rural areas.

All things tend to become much clearer with the benefit of hindsight. Perhaps all of this could have been prevented had federal legislators, on both sides of the aisle, actually read the Affordable Care Act and attempted to understand its ramifications and potential unintended consequences. Unfortunately, we are left to deal with the Obamacare catastrophe.

Please remember–if we do not stand up for rural Oregon, no one will.

8. Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do

Incredible Interactive Photographs: 1944 then 2014
Directions: Click on the photo anywhere and it will become 2014. Click again and it will go back to 1944. Scroll  down for more of the same.

 Rare Solar Eclipse Coming to Oregon 2017

 Cicada Time-Lapse Video By Samuel Orr Makes Insects Look Beautiful

Discover Magazine

Discover Magazine | Immunotherapy

Mortality Increasing Right Along with Insurance Premiums

                                                                                                                                                                   Opinion: Socialism for the Uninformed… Thomas Sowell, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

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