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Dispensary rules leave pot test labs unregulated
SALEM, Ore. (AP) - The Oregon Legislature's vote last year to regulate medical marijuana shops created new business opportunities for another kind of pot enterprise - marijuana testing - but leaves it virtually unregulated.

The state's dispensary law and the rules that implement it require pot stores to register with the state and to test marijuana for contaminants and potency before putting it on their shelves.

But the law doesn't require the labs that run those tests to be licensed or regulated by the state. And no state agency oversees their operations to ensure that they actually run the tests they say they do.

Pot advocates and dispensary owners say the law needs to change to protect patients, dispensaries and the testing facilities themselves.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

4/19/2014 8:51:49 AM (GMT -7:00)

Oregon promotes prison visits to combat recidivism
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Oregon prison officials say they've been on a push the past few years to increase the number of visits that prisoners get.

They say they've been influenced by a 2011 Minnesota study that found inmates who get visits from family and clergy members are much less likely to be among the recidivists - those who break the law again and return to prison.

Among the steps taken are increased visiting hours, special events and video conferencing facilities.

The Department of Corrections doesn't have data yet on the impact of the work. But officials say when the push started, about 60 percent of inmates never got a visit. Now, about 60 percent of inmates are getting visits.

The state has about 14,000 prisoners.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

4/19/2014 10:13:58 AM (GMT -7:00)

Crater Lake's annual snowfall gradually declining
SALEM, Ore. (AP) - You wouldn't know it from appearances, but Oregon's only national park has been losing snow.

Crater Lake averaged 460 inches of snow each year between 2000 and 2013. Though that's a lot of powder, it's much less than what the park got in the 1930s and 1940s - when the average was more than 600 inches per year.

Crater Lake park ranger Dave Grimes says the decline has been very gradual.

Snowmelt provides water for Crater Lake and seasonal water to the Rogue and Klamath basins for irrigation, fish, plants and wildlife.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

4/19/2014 11:40:09 AM (GMT -7:00)

woman charged with DUI after mudslide report
PENDLETON, Ore. (AP) - Oregon State Police arrested an Edmonds, Wash., woman on a drunken driving charge not long after getting a report that she may have been stuck in a mudslide.

A search and rescue crew looked for 48-year-old Melanie Machado on Thursday after the woman texted a friend about a mudslide in the Umatilla National Forest.

The car was gone by the time volunteers arrived. State police later arrested Machado after she allegedly sideswiped a car on Interstate 84 near Pendleton and left the scene. 

Machado faces charges of drunken driving and failure to perform the duties of a driver. She was released from jail after a posting bond and has a May 15 court date. 

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Water dispute partially settled with legislation

Justin Matthews/KTVL.com

                CHILOQUIN, Ore.- State and national leaders gathered at Collier State Park today to sign the Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement.

                The agreement introduces legislation to reduce the amount of water that can be used to irrigate land.  It prohibits irrigation practices on 18,000 acres of land.

                There were protestors there, but many who attended the ceremony at Collier State Park say it is a step in the right direction.

                “It reduces the amount of water that is going to be allowed for irrigation by 30,000 acre-feet,” said Don Gentry, the chairman for the Klamath Tribes.

                Last summer, irrigation was shut off for ranchers in the upper basin because local tribes were acting on newly adopted water rights to protect fish. The water dispute between Native Americans, farmers, ranchers, etc. has been going on for decades.

                “We know that with the drought coming with global climate change, we’re going to have more conflicts over water and Oregon is one of those places where we will sort it out together,” said Governor John Kitzhaber.  “Not by destroying communities but by building communities while we bring the path forward.”

                Even though staying proactive with certain demands and dealing with effects of climate change, Don Gentry says keeping water in the river is still crucial for the Klamath Tribes’ culture and ways of life.

                “Agriculture is a key component of the economy, from the Tribal perspective our treaty resources are for our ability to hunt, fish, and gather,” Gentry said.  “Those are still important today even in these modern times.

                The legislation essentially addresses the conflicts between Klamath Tribes wanting to keep water in the streams and ranchers/farmers who need to use the water to irrigate their lands.


Local dream becomes reality
By Caitlin Conrad/KTVL.com

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore --   After years of dreaming, one woman's hope to open a transitional home for women, is now a reality. 

Hope in the Future Ministries President, Rachelle Benthin, has opened up a faith-based home where women just getting out of prison can find a support system. Benthin a former inmate says the community has been in desperate need of something like this, “because most of the women that I work with, when they get out of prison they have nowhere to go,” she said.

Now they do have somewhere to go. The Lighthouse Church’s Pastor, where Benthin attends services donated the house. Volunteers got it in tip-top shape and now five to six women will be able to live there, each for up to a year.  

One of them women living at the home now only wanted us to print her first name, Kirsten, she was incarcerated for severn-years, and until she started writing Benthin she didn’t know what was next for her in life. Now she says she’s on her way to achieving goals, “I felt totally taken care of before I left, and so this is given me a place to be,” she said.

Benthin says when you’re incarcerated, you’re cut-off from society, and when you get out even basic things like a trip to the grocery store can be overwhelming. She says the home not only gives women a safe place it also teaches them life skills, like house-hold budgeting. 

The home is accepting applications for residents. Towards the end of your stay there is a fee to live there, it’s 25 percent of your income once you are employed.  

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