As the State Turns

By Johnny Beaver

stateturnssymbolBad News for People That Eat Food

According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report, in 2013 one in every seven U.S. families were food insecure, or had to struggle to provide food to everyone in the household. Oregon’s particular rate was 15%, signaling that despite many positive changes to the landscape such as the expansion to the earned income tax credit and increased enrollment in SNAP, our numbers have rolled back to a time when we were the “hungriest” state in the nation. In fact, the only reason we don’t have the crown right now is that other states have gotten even worse.

While the GOP’s plan to completely gut WIC and other programs will undoubtedly make this all go away (because that makes sense), until they figure out how to stage a surprise takeover, it looks like many of us will continue to face hard times as we struggle to feed our families.

For those of us that can afford food, but only with a modicum of security, this report doesn’t even address the food quality issues that lower income families face. Er, looks like I failed to end this section on a positive note.

And Then There Was This…

In case you are starving, this bit of information should at least wipe your appetite out. Hillsboro beer lovers gathered recently for a competition that would judge over a dozen homebrews. Homebrews made partially out of “purified” sewer water. 

Spurred forth by Washington County’s Clean Water Services, the contest was designed to help reduce the gag reflex that just made me throw up in my mouth a little when I first heard about it. And also a little bit just now. Beer can use up to five gallons of water for every one gallon of beer produced, and that is, of course, not the only application of water where recycling technology could prove life-saving as natural resources dwindle.

The water was collected just downstream from the city’s treatment plant along the Tualatin River where the crystal depths contain about 30% treated wastewater. Before being brewed, it was treated with oxidation, filters, and UV lights. The good things about this method is that it kills harmful bacteria as well as vampires.

And the winner? Ted Assur, president of the Oregon Brew Crew, with a Belgian style ale. Unfortunately, Nasty McNabb’s Brown Trout Stout placed last.


Last month the Federal Communications Commission dropped the hammer on requiring wireless phone companies and other messaging services to allow messages to be sent to 911 services via text. But of course, it’ll be a while before we get access to this newfangled system here in Oregon because we need infrastructure upgrades. That’s how we do. And in this case, that’s how most of the country do.

While the vast majority of the currently updated systems are in Maine and Vermont, counties across the country have begun the process of conducting the necessary technological wizardry to make it all work. The new systems will make it a lot easier for those with hearing problems or other disabilities to contact emergency services. It will also make it a lot easier to send a message incognito when in a dangerous situation, such as one may experience with domestic violence or a break-in.

So far no one from the Cover Oregon camp has been tapped to work on this project, so we should expect it to move along at a decent pace.