Freshman State Representative’s Road to Free Dental Care for Oregon’s Poor

Freshman State Representative’s Road to Free Dental Care for Oregon’s Poor

He just wanted to help.Hayden

But local governments wouldn’t allow dentist (and now State Representative) Cedric Hayden to open full service dental clinics offering free services to the poor of Oregon’s economically depressed areas.

Says Hayden, “you have to ask yourself, why would free health care services be rejected? Was there not a need?”

Of course, there is a need, and Hayden has the tools to help. He and his wife Julie founded Caring Hands Worldwide in 2006, a non-profit that sets up mobile dental clinics and brings in dentists and dental hygienists to serve those in need of dental healthcare in Oregon and around the world.

But despite the great need and his desire to help, Hayden was unable to get permission to move forward.

“In one case we had even purchased land for the clinic—property that still sits empty in an economically depressed logging town.”

Thus began Hayden’s bid for serving in the State Legislature. After a decisive victory in the 2014 election, Hayden set to work pushing legislation that would prohibit local governments from preventing free medical clinics from locating to private property.

This effort finally paid off in late May with the passage of House Bill 3139 by the House and Senate and with the signature of the Governor.

At the bill signing ceremony, Hayden’s son Wessen turned to him and said to great laughs, “Daddy, you made a law!”

Nun asks that Boston bomber be spared the death penalty

Nun asks that Boston bomber be spared the death penalty

Sister Helen Prejean, a Catholic nun, testified in the trial of Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and asked that he be spared the death penalty. 

Prejean, famous for counseling inmates on death row, spoke with Tsarnaev and claimed he showed remorse for the suffering he caused the victims of the bombings.

Sister Helen Prejean

Sister Helen Prejean

“I had every reason to think he was taking it in and was genuinely sorry for what he did,” Prejean testified, according to CNN.

“He said emphatically, ‘No one deserves to suffer like they did,’” she said, according to the New York Times

Prejean is known as an outspoken opponent of the death penalty, writing a bestselling book on the subject called “Dead Man Walking.” She met with Tsarnaev five times over the past year at the request of Tsarnaev’s defense lawyers, according to Yahoo News.

Prejean’s testimony came in light of the battle over Tsarnaev’s sentencing. Found guilty on 30 counts, including setting off weapons of mass destruction, it is to be decided whether or not he will receive the death penalty.

If Tsarnaev is spared the death penalty, he will spend his sentence at a supermax penitentiary in Florence, Colorado. There he would serve 23 hours a day in solitary confinement.

Oklahoma prepares to pass 72-hour abortion wait time bill

Oklahoma prepares to pass 72-hour abortion wait time bill


On the heels of its groundbreaking legislation banning dismemberment abortions, Oklahoma is now set to pass a bill mandating a 72-hour waiting period for abortions.

The Oklahoma House voted 75-3 on Thursday to approve the bill, which now goes to Gov. Mary Fallin’s desk.

“In Oklahoma, we have a waiting period for divorce of 10 days. If there are minor children it is 90 days,” said Sen. Greg Treat. “We should also take it very seriously when we’re talking about the irrevocable decision of abortion.”

If the governor signs the bill, Oklahoma will become the fourth state with a 72-hour waiting period. The other states are Missouri, South Dakota and Utah.

Oregon currently has no waiting period or other restrictions on abortion: a woman can obtain an abortion at any time during pregnancy.

Reporter texting during national anthem causes uproar

Reporter texting during national anthem causes uproar

Helena Andrews, a Washington Post gossip columnist attending the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, was apparently so glued to her phone that she couldn’t even take a break for the national anthem.

She was caught on camera by a CNN videographer and promptly roasted on social media.

“At #whcd disgusting disrespect for flag and anthem,” one person tweeted.

Another added, “*sigh* That’s disturbing. Well, I’m glad some folks in that photo are being respectful.”

After realizing she had been caught on TV camera, Andrews identified herself and attempted an explanation. “Apparently someone saw me on TV ‘texting’ during the dinner. FTR I was taking notes. On my phone. Because it’s 2015.”

Her text only added to the uproar. “Have respect and wait 3 minutes to take ‘notes’. People died for you,” someone said.

“We’re all well aware of the year. Respect for the National Anthem is timeless,” someone else added.

An apparent veteran chimed in: “…and to think I fight for your freedom. Everyone who’s replied to this is right. You show no respect…”

“There are those that defend this country and are moved to their soul by that song every time it plays!”

Someone pointed out there is not much difference between “taking notes” and “texting”: “As if that is any more excusable than texting? Were you writing down the words of the song before you forgot them? Come on.”

The “real face of Israel:” help and healing for Nepal

The “real face of Israel:” help and healing for Nepal

Shortly after the devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, and Col. Yoram Laredo, of the IDF Home Front, discussed ways to assist the country.

Just before the meeting, Netanyahu said, “You are being sent on an important mission. This is the real face of Israel — a country that offers help at any distance in moments such as these.”

The Home Front Command assistance team Israel is sending in approximately 260 personnel. At the time of the meeting, an advance team was already in Nepal, preparing for the rest of the team to arrive.

The team’s goals are locating missing Israelis, rescuing people trapped under rubble, and providing the thousands of earthquake victims with medical care.

An extensive field hospital will be set up as well. “As time passes, the focus will move from search and rescue to hospital treatment. The hospital can treat 200 patients a day,” Laredo said. “We can link up with local heavy engineering vehicles.”

Israeli delegations have assisted in many disasters, including in Haiti and the Philippines.“It’s a blessed thing that a variety of Israeli delegations are going, as from my experience, in situations like this, everyone who arrives will be needed and have work to do,” said Dov Meisel, a volunteer paramedic.

“The Nepal government asked for help, and Israelis rush to help,” Meisel said.

Dept. of Fish and Wildlife: deciding whether Oregon’s gray wolves keep endangered species status

Dept. of Fish and Wildlife: deciding whether Oregon’s gray wolves keep endangered species status

Last Friday, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) Commission decided to begin deliberating whether or not to remove gray wolves from the state’s endangered species list.

Oregon’s 77 known wolves are a dramatic improvement from when the state’s gray wolves became extinct in 1947. The wolves slowly returned from surrounding Northwest states, and Oregon now boasts 4 breeding pairs.

“Wolves are a success story in Oregon,” ODFW wolf coordinator Russ Morgan told the Statesman Journal. “Their population is growing, and their range is expanding.”

Conservation and wildlife officials are currently debating whether the wolf population is stable enough for the animals to be taken off the endangered species list.

“It’s kind of a gamble to delist wolves right now, with such low numbers,” legal director for Eugene-based Cascadia Wildlands Nick Cady said. “If a few more wolves were killed than ODFW anticipates, it could swing wolves in the direction of conservation failure.”

Despite concern, the commission meeting on Friday decided to propose two bills for further consideration: one promoting the complete removal of the wolves from the endangered species list, and one re-categorizing the species as merely “threatened.”

“It’s hard to make a reasonable case that 77 known animals of any species is a legitimate, sustainable recovery,” Rob Klavins of Oregon Wild told OPB. “And it’s not appropriate to be treating wolves differently just because they may be controversial for some people.”

Little will change immediately if ODFW removes wolves from the endangered species list. In most of the state, gray wolves will still be protected by the federal Endangered Species Act and Oregon’s Wolf Plan – promoting non-lethal control in dealing with the animals.

Many argue that the ODFW title protects wolves nonetheless.

“Our main concern is the message it sends, that people will take it the wrong way and we’ll see more people going out and shooting wolves,” Cady said. “It has been our non-lethal policies that have made wolves such a success in Oregon.”