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October 8, 1998     Quad City Herald
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October 8, 1998
 

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Octobar 8, lgg8 Ouad Ci Herald Good regulations depend on go science by Don C. Brunell, President Association of Washington Business Recently, researchers reported that carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), the country's leading cause of work-related disability, may notalways becaused by the workplace afterali.The painful nerve condition which affects wrist and hands was assumed to be caused by repetitive motions required by certain jobs. As it tams out, there are a host of underlying conditions and illnesses - unrelated to the workplace - which can cause CTS. This scientific information comes after employers have been subjected to years ofregulationsand workers' compensation charges based on the assumption that CTS wasalwaysjob-related. Unfortunately, that assumption was made before all the facts were in. This revelation comes soon after news thai the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) apparently played fast and loose with the facts when it reported in 1993 that secondhand smoke is a Class A carcinogen that causes 3.000 lung cancer deaths a year. A federal judge recently ruled that EPA's conclusion was based on bad science. The judge said that the EPA publicly committed to its conclusion about secondhand smoke before the research had even begun, ignored proper scientific procedure and discarded facts which disagreed with its pre- judged conclusion. This is not to argue the case that all cases of CTS are unrelated to the workplace, or that second-hand smoke is not a health issue. But as regulators reach further and further into the workplace - into all our lives, really - prescribing what we can and cannot do, it is crucial that their conclusions - and their regulations - be based on "good science." Good science is science that has been independently confirmed and accepted by the majority of the scientific community. Ignoring science,orattempling to subvert it for bureaucratic expediency, will only serve recall all safety and health regulations into questions, and that would be bad news for all of us. I The following articles are not neeeeesrily the views of the Quad City Herald or it= employees. A third of Washington State pa00'.:s may close by Adele Ferguson Considering attendance at Washington state's 125 parks is up to 51 million visits a year, it's understandable that it hit the fan when it was announced that a third of them may have to he closed. That's may have to be closed. Not will have tobeciosed. May. Legislative leaders. nonetheless, hearing "may" from parks director Cleve Pinnix, stated flatly that it isn't going to happen, period. No way, no how. No time. Like over their dead bodies. But I'll get to that. The Spectre oftheCIosing Parks rattled the populace as a result of Gov.Gary Locke's direction to state agencies to turn in contingency plans for cutting their 1999-2001 budgets seven percent over current spending. He says if Referendum 49 passes on Nov. 3, shifting more motor vehicle excise taxes from the state general fund into transportation needs, he'll have a $469 million hole in his budget and seven percent all around should take care of it. With their $3 million share, parks commissioners decided against suffering in silence. Especially when they're already in the hole by $2 million. By agreement, parks is supposed to earn 30 percent of its budget in fees and the Legislature is provide the other 70 percent. But the Legislature has not done that. shorting parks, then making a loan to cover the shortage and urging that parks earn more revenue to pay it off. When parks tries to do that, however. the folks at home just raise holy hell with their lawmakers and the effort is for naught. New fees can be instituted without legislative approval, but not increases, and increases have to he tailored to the Initiative 601 tax and spending lid. Currently. parks charges $10 for a campsite. $15 for a site with hookups. $3 to launch a boat or dump sewage, and some grazing fees in Eastern Washington. Day use fees ----charging for entering a park m were considered, "but California has charged $6 for years and is in worse financial shape than we are," said Mel Wortman of Bremerton, a parks commissioner in his 12th year. "Some coastal parks charge $10, but their" building paint is peeling and their lawns aren't mowed. Oregon charges $3, but they proposed closing 60 parks last biennium and their legislature said no, we'll bail you out. Even though all the western states except us charge day use fees, people just don't go if they have to pay. They park on the roadside and walk in." Needless to say, director Pinnix's announcement of possible parks closures inflamed park goes from the Idaho border to the Pacific coast, a wrath reflected by their legislators and the backers of R-49. Dirty pool on the part of the governor in an effort to kill R-49, they said, so he can pass a gas tax increase instead. The state is rolling in dough and the next budget will be $1.3 billion higher than this one, they said. Even after passage of R-49. the state will have an $820 million cash surph, s in this biennium, and a $624 million surplus in the next. they said. "We will not close parks due to budgetary constraints, and to say that we must is a cruel hoax on the citizens," said House Appropriations Commitlee chairTom Huff, ec hoed by House Spe',tker Clyde Ballhrd. Senate Majority Leader Dan Mc Donald, Senate budget chair Jim West and Senate Natural Resources chair Bob eke. So here's how it stands at this writing. Parks has compiled a budget for the govemor as per law that includes possible park closures if this budget reduction becomes effective. Legislative budget writers say not to worry. If the governor sends them a slashed budget for parks, they'U just fill it h with whatever it takes to keep the parks open. Let us not forget, however, who has the veto power. R-49 opponents trying every move they can to paint it as a budget buster and a disaster can forget it. Washington voters aren't dumb. They may not fully understand the bonding mechanism, but they do understand that the alternative is Gov. Locke's 11 cents a gallon gasoline lax increase, and that is why R-49 is going to pass. (Adele Ferguson can be reached at P.O. Box 69, Hansville, WA 98340.) Legislators field questions at Chamber spOnsored forum in Bridgeport " ..... , Evans- Parlette and George Sellar address Bridgeport community Recently, veteran state senatorGete Sellar was discussing the possible closure of some state parks with a small audience of interested listeners at Bridgeport High School. One member of the audience wondered aloud if the sudden ,talk about closing parks was motivated by politics. "Oh, everything in Olympia is politically based. It's like saying you grow corn in acornfield" Sellarreplied. SeUar and state representative Linda Evans.Parlette came to Bridgeport to talk about politics and state government at a forum sponsored by the Bridgeport and Brewster Chambers of Commerce. Currently both the House of Representatives and the Senate are controlled by Republicans. But both Sellar and Evans-Parlette agreed that control of the Senate may shift to the Democrats. There are three very close Senate races, Sellar,said, and whoever wins two of those races will win the Senate. That control may become important as the legislature and GovernorGaryLocke, a Democrat, confront a number of issues in the next session. Legislators and the governor have been arguing about funding for repairs for the state's highways.An increase in the gas tax. proposed by the govemor, was defeated in the last legislative session. Legislators have placed Referendum 49 on the ballot. Sellar said the idea that money collected through the motor vehicle excise tax (car licenses) all goes to road repair and maintenance is only partly true. About 75 percent "kind of goes to roads," he said, and 25 percent goes into the general fund. That was Rugel challenges prosecutor in upcoming general election implement courts within the high schools to handle some of the minor cases. "Youth courts have been very successful in other states and other counties in Washington. There would little or no added expense since the personnel is already in place." These courts would require juveniles to be accountable not only to adults but to their peers as well. Being responsible for hundreds of cases a year has given Rugel a special appreciation for the importance of hard work. "Every attorney in the office has to be willing to carry afull caseload, including the elected prosecutor." Although Rugel has never run for public office he considers this an asset. "Rather than being concerned with being re.elected I feel it's more important to be a good attorney and above all a good person. The real work of the prosecutor is done in the courtroom where there is an opportunity to Iruly represent the people of Okanogan County." "Oh, evelything in Olympia is politically based. It's like saying you grow corn in a cornfieM," . George Sellar Former Deputy ProsecutingAttomey Tony Rugel has announced that he will be running for the office of Prosecuting Attorney in the upcoming election. For the last three years, untilApril. Rugel worked as the sole Deputy Prosecutor responsible for all juvenile cases handled in the county. This included felony, misdemeanor and mamcycases. In addition he also worked with adult felonies and argued cases lethe Court of Appeals. Prior to working at the Prosecutor's office he was in private practice with Henry Rawson in Okanogan where he practiced a wide range of civil criminal cases. He also served as the municipal court judge for the city of O "kanogan. Rural said one of his goals is to continue the work he had been doing with the juveniles in the county. "Juvenile crime is a vital concern to the county as a whole. While adult crime rates have steadily risen,juvenile crime has exploded. Processing more cases is important but it is time to do somethiag to prevent crime in the first place." Rural said he would like to con't on page 5 why he did not support a gas tax increase, he said; in his opinion, there is enough money in the current excise tax fund to pay for road maintenance. The Republican proposal was to stop using excise taxes in the general fund. Sellar said that charges Referendum 47 would damage programs paid for out of the general fund were untrue. The state is under .spending limitations imposed by Initiative 601, passed a few years ago, and currently has a surplus. Evans-Parlette said she thought gas tax issue would come up again sometime. Sellar said Okanogan and Douglas counties actually benefit from the gas tax, receiving more money from the state than they collect in taxes. In response to a question from the audience, Sellar said he did not know how or why the subject of closing state parks had been raised. He said he Quad City Herald Establhed 1901 Ike Vallance Editor & Publisher Doris Vallance Office Manager Wm. E. Vallance Associate Editor Cheryl Schweizer Staff Writer John Cleveland I1 Sports Barb Gibb Subscriptions Teri Chase Ad Design Fred Hanke Ads/Printer Published every week on Thursday at Brewster, Washington. Entered as periodocals matter at the Post Office, Box 37 in Brcwster, Okanogan County. Washington 98812. Telephone ![509)689-2507. Periodicals postage paid at Brewster, Washington USPS 241-920. Postmaster, please send change of address to Quad City Herald, Box 37, Brewster, Wasington 98812. 1 YEAR SUBSCRIPTION Okanogan $18.00 Washington State $22.00 Out of State $27.00 Out of Country 32.00 Single Copy .50 Subscriptions must be paid in advanc Notice of Church entertainments where an admission fee is charged, cards of thanks, resolutions of condo- lence ornotices intended to promote private business of any kind must be paid for at regular rates. did not see any reason to close any state parks at the present time. In a budget crisis,closure might be justified. he said. but there is no crisis now. He said he did not think any parks would be closed. Locke may have asked state park administrators to establish a priority list 0f closures just in case of budget shortfalls, Sellar said. but he did not know if the governor has the authority to close slate parks without permission of the legislature. Salmon recovery and water use issues are still important topics, but both Evans-Parlette and Sellar said they did not know--or even have any guess--about the final outcome.Arecentagreement between the federal government. Native American tribes and Chelan County Public Utility District No. 1 was a sign of progress. Sellar said. But state officials and legislators are reluctant to make decisions about salmon without some sign con't on page 5 QUAD CITY HERALD j LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The following Letters to the Editor are not necessarily Ihe views of the Quad City Herald or its employees. A vote for Jackie Letter to the Editor: I understand that Jackie Bradley, one of the finest County Clerks in the State of Washington. may face competition in this upcoming election. I write to you and the citizens of Okanogan County urging you to retain Jackie in this position of trust and responsibility. I have had the privilege of developing a personal relationship with Jackie. but also a successful professional relationship with her for over twenty years. I hope to convey to you what an outstanding individual she is to work with and what an asset she is to your county. Jackie has always impressed me with her intelligence, her motivation. her dedication, her poise under fire, and her complete willingness to accept responsibility. Because of these qualities I came to rely on her for wisdom and guidance in carrying out tasks and duties within ouroffices. S he uses excellent abilities in problem solving to seelhat things are carriedout to successful completion. If there is any problem or concern. you can count on Jackie to help you through it. It is my perception that Jackie is held in high esteem by her co-county clerks across the state because of these abilities and her leadership aptitude. Anotherquality I appreciate in Jackie is her diplomacy and ability to communicate effectively in order to accomplish tasks. I find Jackie to be a woman of intelligence, commitment. strength and determination. Okanogan County should be proud to have this caliber of woman in their local government. Thank you. Marianne Waiters Commends city officials Dear Editor. The general Brewster Chamber of Commerce Membership and I would like to take this opportunity to commend the City of Brewster officials and staff for the wonderful job they are doing in maintaining and beautifying Brewster. We are grateful for the effort the city employees are making to maintain the swimming opel and R.V. Park property and also, we are very impressed with the way that the new park on Main Avenue has brightened up B rewster. We are proud to have been a part of the project and hop that it will encourage property owners to in turn improve their own property to make Brewster an attractive place to live and visit. Dianne Stanley, President Brewster Chamber of Commerce Douglas County Sheriff's Office September 29: Ruth Rieman, 55, Bridgeport, was arrested on an Okanogan County District Court warrant for failing to appear to answer charges of driving while under the influence of intoxicants. September 30: Jose Montes, 43, Bridgeport. was arrested for driving while under the influence of intoxicants and for driving without a valid driver's license. October 1: Juan Martinez, 20, Brewster, was cited for ma -ldng false statements and for driving without a valid driver's license but with other identification. Juan Mendez, 22, Leavenworth, was cited for making false statements and arrested on a Douglas County District Court warrant for failing to appear to answer charges of driving while under the influence of intoxicants. October 2: A 14 year old Bridgeport boy was issued a juvenile intake for fourth degree assault after allegedly kicking a 14 year old girl. Open burning allowed in City of Bridgeport The City of Bridgeport is allowing opening burning beginning October 5, 1998. You are asked to have a water hose available and do not leave the fire unattended. Please burn only burnable debris such as brush, branches, leaves and clean lumber. If you have any questions please contact City Hall. The Desk Behind the Editor By Doris Vallance I'm sitting tight here in the pitch black of the a.m., listening to the cars roar down the lane for work, and absolutely nothing comes to the brain to make this pen race across the page with intelligent, clever; humorous writing. Wow, and all that in one sentence! ! mention the cat's roaring down the lane. God help a child, which these are numerous, or an animal, which there are more of, make a misstep or dart on the road, the speeders would have them in a minute. By the time they pass out" house, going either way, they have their motors cranked high at 50, 60, or higher: West Indian is a narrow road, to pass a car with caution anytime. Not these speedies, the faster the bettet; get by another car quick! I'm here to tell you, there is going to be big, messy wreck, on this 35 mile an hour; posted road, one of these days. We are in full swing of apple harvest. What fun ? What a rat race! A good harvest for us, fortunately, only lasts a few weeks. Ike and Bill leave us here at the Quad, exchange for a tractor seat out in the fresh air. A call for tractor vibrates through the air every once in awhile when a picket" needs a new bin or his bin moved to the next tree. Our contact with these two is by radio. A big plus over trying to chase them down like we used to do. The gopher detail time has been cut in haiti Of course those of us left here at the Quad play double duty for these few weeks. After all the deadlines still have to be met, publication dates must be kept. Believe me we all heave a big sigh of relief when the end of harvest is in sight. We can relax just,a smidgen, reclaim out" regular work positions, and have time to enjoy!