As The State Turns…

oregonPTSD Sufferers Not that Interested in Pot
With Senate Bill 281, Oregon became the fourth state nationwide to allow medical cannabis as a treatment for PTSD, an anxiety disorder resulting from the experience of a traumatic event. However, so far the number of applicants claiming PTSD has been so incredibly low as to be practically insignificant. Despite the turnout, proponents of the bill see cannabis as a way for those with PTSD to ween off of harder pharmaceuticals as they progress in their recovery. One critic of the bill, Republican Sen. Fred Girod of Stayton, will apparently have to eat his words after previously claiming that it would lead to false claims of the disorder in order to manipulate the system.

Flu Hospitalizations Rise to the Occasion
With the recent death of a five-year-old Oregonian boy just after Christmas and a several percentage point increase in state clinic visits, flu season is not only upon us, but has become to wreak some havoc. The Portland area alone has seen upwards of 180 hospitalizations due to flu alone. Although it can take a few weeks for a vaccine to kick in, so to speak, it’s not too late to get one in order to protect yourself and those you come in contact with. According to the Oregon Department of Human services (DHS), 67 people died from influenza during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic between September 2009 and May 2010 in Oregon alone.

Oil Car Explosions Don’t Inspire Confidence
To light the proverbial candle on the cake of all recent talk regarding the movement of volatile Bakken oil by train through Oregon, we have not one… two, or three… but four exploding trains to look at before perhaps reconsidering how we handle the substance here in our state. Granted, these instances occurred in Canada where Celine Dion’s voice could be setting off the fireworks, but that can’t readily be corroborated. The fact that the first instance killed almost 50 people and destroyed a large portion of downtown Lac-Megantic, Quebec, has certainly risen the concern level for Oregonians such as Rainier Mayor Jerry Cole, who overlooks a city known for its rail lines.

According to Betsy Johnson, an Oregon state senator from Scapoose, our rail lines are still quite safe – citing the fact that plane crashes occur, but it’s still a relatively small percentage of planes that do so. Which is absolutely true, however there isn’t a portion of planes carrying spontaneously-combustible passengers, now is there?

This analogy doesn’t quite hold up when you look at the fact that a series of tank cars, referred to as DOT-111, were involved in all recent accidents and that the Association of American Railroads is pressuring the US Department of Transportation to either replace or retrofit 78,000 of the current 92,000 rail cars estimated to be in service for flammable liquids.

Where’s the Snow, Crater Lake?
With just four inches of snow setting down on the 7th, Crater Lake National Park saw the lowest amount of snowfall in history – the previous record being 14 inches, and the norm up around 70. While a dry spell of this nature usually spells bad news, park rangers reported some positive effects including record turnout for snowshoe walks. As winter carries on, those in the area have their fingers crossed that snowfall numbers will catch up so that long term ill effects won’t settle in; however, in the meantime it doesn’t hurt to make lemonade out of a few lemons. Just don’t eat the yellow snow.

By Johnny Beaver