Health, Fitness and Safety

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Alarming Increase in Colorectal Cancer in Young 
A study from the American Cancer Society shows a sharp rise in the rate of colorectal cancer in young adults, even while the disease has been declining in the elderly. The Smithsonian has more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/new-study-shows-sharp-rise-colorectal-cancers-among-young-adults-180962318/

False Penicillin Allergies Boosting Superbugs 
It turns out that many people mistakenly report to healthcare providers being allergic to penicillin. This is fueling the rise of antibiotic resistant “superbugs”. Ars Technica provide the details: https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/03/false-penicillin-allergies-fuel-superbugs-and-doctors-are-fighting-back/

Pink Noise May Aid Sleep in Older Adults 
As people age, the quality of their sleep suffers, which is thought to adversely affect memory. A new study suggests pink noise can help restore sleep quality for such individuals. The Smithsonian has the news: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/pink-noise-may-improve-sleep-and-memory-older-adults-180962466/

B vitamins May Protect Lungs From Dirty Air 
While Oregon doesn’t suffer from air pollution as badly as much of the world, it is still a reality of urban life, here. Trials in the US now suggest high doses of vitamin B can protect lungs from damage from fine particulates. The BBC explains: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39231896

European Genes Demand More Vegetables and Grains 
It turns out that if you have European heritage, your genes have evolved to favor a diet high in vegetables and grains. Interestingly enough, this finding tends to debunk the concepts behind the paleo diet. Ars Technica elaborates: https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/03/europeans-evolved-to-eat-more-vegetables-several-thousand-years-ago/

World’s Healthiest Hearts Found 
The Tsimane people of Bolivia have been found to have the lowest rates of cardiovascular disease in the world. Their big secret? Diet and lots of exercise, (and maybe intestinal worms). Wanna go paddling now? The BBC expands: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-39292389

Using GPS Switches Off Brain’s Guidance System 
An intriguing study detailed in Scientific American suggests that using GPS guidance systems causes the portions of brain associated with direction finding to turn off. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-brain-takes-a-guided-tour-of-london/

Drains Splash Pathogens Easily 
“Down the drain” is generally considered gone and forgotten. Not so fast. Research has found that germs in the P-trap can climb out when the tap is turned on, causing the microbes to splash out. Major hospital infections of antibiotic-resistant pathogens are attributed to the phenomenon. Ars Technica has the disturbing news: https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/03/superbugs-fester-in-sink-p-traps-and-can-crawl-back-up-to-cause-infection/

BPA Alternatives Just As Bad? 
While the shift from plastics giving off BPA was supposed to solve the problem, new research suggests that at least some of the replacements are no cure. At issue are the hormone-mimicking characteristics of the substances, and Ars Technica has the details: https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/03/bpa-free-another-stand-in-chemical-also-disrupts-hormones-in-lab-tests/

Nighttime Bathroom Trips Linked to Salt 
If you are beset with the inconvenience of frequent potty trips during the night, your salt consumption may, at least partially, be to blame. The BBC elaborates: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-39382339

 

Nature and the Environment

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Wildfire Increase More From Humans Than Climate
Humans are responsible for 84 percent of the wildfires in the US. Human activities have extended the fire season, and are starting blazes when and where natural causes wouldn’t. Of course, one could reasonably argue climate change is just another human-caused contribution, but I’ll let Ars Technica give you the scoop: https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/03/in-the-us-added-wildfires-due-to-carelessness-not-climate-change/

Video Shows When Plastic Enters the Food Chain 
As we all know, plastics are fouling the world’s waters, both fresh and salt. Microplastics, fibers and particles which stem from many sources, are one of the biggest problems. They enter the food chain, harming wildlife from the microscopic to apex predators. Now, the BBC has video showing such microplastics entering the food chain: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39217985

Native American Ethnobotany Workshop June 3 
Stephanie Hazen has pointed out this workshop, sponsored by the Luckiamute Watershed Council. What’s ethnobotany? Try the workshop’s web page to learn more: http://www.luckiamutelwc.org/2017-ethnobotany-workshop.html

 

Paddlesport, Outdoors and Wildlife

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The Ongoing Saga of HB 2320
The Oregon State Marine Board’s drive for absolute hegemony over our state’s boaters and navigable waters continues, unabated. The likely outcome of all this is a costly, protracted legal battle. In the end, the board’s attempt to weasel around Section 2 of the Oregon Admission Acts by claiming a registration fee is not a fee on navigation is likely to founder, because if you can’t navigate our waters without paying the fee, it is a de facto fee on navigation. There is little reason to believe the courts will be amused by the agency’s contortions.

All of this could have been avoided if the agency had actually worked with the nonmotorized-boating community in good faith. Instead they clearly set this result as their goal, and manipulated the process to achieve it. This can be seen not only in the board’s attempts to sidestep Section 2, but in their stacking the deck on their Nonmotorized Boating Advisory Committee. Of the 14 members on the committee only one was without commercial ties to the sport. This makes as much sense as having motorists represented by car dealers. The reason for the agency’s actions is simple; commercial interests align much more closely with the board’s agenda than those of private individuals.

To be clear, these shortcomings were brought to the attention of agency personnel early on. The result was sidestepping, denial, and dismissal of the concerns, basically saying, “We have what we want, now go away.”

As with the other aspects of the agency’s process, the online questionnaire was designed to give a patina of legitimacy to the board’s ambitions. In reality, the questionnaire was tilted to give the agency the result it wanted.

Not the least of the smoking guns here is the agency’s cobbling together of two completely separate issues into one bill: life jackets for floaters and nonmotorized boat registration. Such a measure would never qualify for the ballot, but here it gives the board the chance to claim an emergency regarding the floaters, while ramming through the onerous registration of boaters on that premise.

Adding insult to injury, to advance their agenda the board characteristically portrays nonmotorized boaters as deadbeats, unwilling to pay our way. The reality is that it is the board which refuses to earn its way. In this specious characterization of us, the agency conveniently neglects to mention that we are floating the Aquatic Invasive Species program. While we pay $5 per year for the permits, power boaters get theirs at $5 for two years, as part of their registration. Now they plan to extend the fees to those with boats under 10-feet, yet little outcry against this has arisen. Bear in mind, the board’s own statistics indicate our boats represent less than 1 percent of those found with infestations. Yet we pay at 200 percent the rate of power boaters, aren’t complaining, (much), and yet we are deadbeats. The board seeks to offset the appearance of inequity this poses by insisting that the transferrability of our permits makes up the difference, all the while knowing that most individuals have only one boat, or if they do have another boat, they usually get a permit for it so a guest can paddle it. Unfortunately, the legislators HB 2320 has come before seem to have little awareness of how they are being spun.

To be fair, the board has argued that nonmotorized boaters use agency-funded facilities, without paying. That argument has some legitimacy. But, also to be fair, it has to be noted that a gravel beach makes a better launch for many of us, than a boat ramp. In many cases, such natural areas have been paved over by the board to build their environment-damaging, habitat-destroying facilities. Having made it so we have little choice but to cross board-funded facilities to access the water, they now want to hold us responsible for paying for that inconvenience. To be fair.

As you might imagine, a three-decade long drive by the board to impose this head tax on Oregonians has generated many more examples of egregious behavior and attitudes on the part of the board. I’ll spare you from the full discussion, but suffice it to say: HB 2320 is bad law aimed at depriving every Oregonian of their birthright to navigate our waters free from taxes or fees, and the board’s arguments to support it are largely disingenuous.

Kroc Tries New Kayak Sessions 
Salem’s Kroc Center pool will be hosting Friday, daytime kayak sessions on a trial basis, starting April 7 and running to mid-May. The sessions will run from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. You can contact the center at 503.566.5762 for more information.

 

April Excursions

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TERMS, CONDITIONS, DISCLAIMERS AND WAIVERS CAN BE FOUND ON THE “ABOUT” PAGE.

April 23
Willamette River, Buena Vista to Independence – Class A – 12 miles
The Rogue Ales tasting room is back open, so we’ll give it a visit. Both food and potables can be had at Rogue, though bring adequate provisions if you won’t be availing yourself of the hospitality.
Jim Bradley
jim.cascadepaddlers@gmail.com

April 30
North Santiam, Greens Bridge to Jefferson – Class 1 Whitewater – length 3.5 ± miles
This run is always popular for its beauty and delightful break spots. Bring appropriate staples and potables. We’ll be taking it slow and easy, with plenty of time for reflection.
Jim Bradley
jim.cascadepaddlers@gmail.com

Paddlesports, Outdoors and Wildlife

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The 3/1 hearing on HB 2320, Non-motorized registration 
As previously mentioned, the legislature held a hearing, March 1, on the Marine Board’s proposal to license all boats used on Oregon waters. A variety of speakers addressed the inequities of this blunderbuss approach taken by the board. Most important, in my view, was testimony brought forward regarding the Oregon Admission Act. The act states, “… all the navigable waters of said State, shall be common highways and forever free, as well as to the inhabitants of said State as to all other citizens of the United States, without any tax, duty, impost, or toll therefor. [11 Stat. 383 (1859)]”

I had expressed concerns, during the board’s process in developing the proposed legislation, in regard to this stipulation on Oregon’s waters, and basically got blown off. The Transportation Committee seemed less disposed to disregard the admission act than the agency had proven to be.

Perhaps the best summation of the other testimony would be to say that it pointed out how the board’s proposal was a one-size-fits-all solution to a complex and nuanced issue. The agency’s proposals call for all non-motorized boaters to pay for facilities and services that would be utilized by only a subset. For the agency, it’s a convenient head tax on boaters; for boaters it is in inequitable redistribution of funds to the board’s favored projects.

To keep track of HB 2320’s progress, you can go here: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Measures/Overview/HB2320

Minto Bridge Progresses, Slowly 
Advances continue toward the delayed opening of the pedestrian bridge, across Salem’s Willamette Slough, linking Riverfront Park to Minto-Brown Park. On tap for the nearish future is a limited, soft opening. Work to remove temporary construction structures will not take place until June, and the bridge is expected to close again for that. A full opening is now slated for August. Maybe. The Statesman has the details:  http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/2017/02/23/countdown-soft-opening-salem-pedestrian-bridge/98263806/

Oregon’s Illinois River – A Whitewater Jewel 
Zach Urness at the Statesman did an article on one of Oregon’s most esteemed whitewater rivers, the Illinois, a tributary of the Rogue: http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/travel/outdoors/2017/02/15/illinois-river-rafting-green-wall-oregon-rogue-kayaking/97949480/

 

Nature and the Environment

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84% of Wildfires Human Caused 
Looking at wildfires in the U.S., researchers from the University of Colorado concluded that 84% had origins in human activity. The Smithsonian has the disturbing news: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/study-shows-84-wildfires-caused-humans-180962315/

Pirate Fishing Spotted by Satellite 
With the world’s ocean stocks in dizzying decline, eliminating pirate fishing takes on new importance. Now it has been shown that a little creative use of existing commercial satellites can go a long way in identifying the malefactors. Ars Technica explains: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/02/to-catch-a-thief-with-satellite-data/

Fracking Found Fraught With Spills 
A new analysis of spills associated with fracking operations suggests prior assessments have underestimated the problem. The BBC investigated: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39032748

Bee Population Declines Mapped 
A new map shows how bee populations in the U.S. are declining. This has important ramifications for agriculture and our future food supply. The Smithsonian provides details: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/new-map-highlights-bee-population-declines-across-us-180962268/

Solar Power Jobs Now Double Coal Jobs 
There are now twice as many people working in solar power than in the coal industry, according to a recent analysis. Vox has the story of this turnaround: http://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/2/7/14533618/solar-jobs-coal

Banned Toxins Persist in Deep Ocean 
Long-banned toxic substances have been found in startling concentrations in deep ocean environments. The BBC relates the grim news: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-38957549

 

Health, Fitness and Safety

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Few Mosquito Repellents Found to Work  
Researchers at New Mexico State University did some well-controlled tests with a variety of insect repellents to determine which worked. The winners formed a short list. Ars Technica has the biting news: https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/02/in-high-tech-mimic-of-your-patio-scientists-find-the-best-mosquito-deterrent/

Heartburn Remedies Implicated in Alzheimer’s 
A popular class of heartburn drugs, the proton-pump inhibitors, are now believed to contribute to a range of ills, including dementia. Scientific American has the unsettling news: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/studies-link-some-stomach-drugs-to-possible-alzheimer-rsquo-s-disease-and-kidney-problems/

Fasting Diet Triggers Pancreas Regeneration in Diabetics 
Researchers are reporting success in treating both Type 1 and 2 diabetes with a “fasting-mimicking diet”, to restore pancreatic function. The encouraging news is covered by the BBC: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-39070183

Would You Like to Supersize Those Fluorinated Carcinogens?
A lot of the health liabilities of fast food are pretty well documented. You can, however, add a new dimension to the assault fast food makes on the body: carcinogenic chemicals in packaging. Researchers found troubling amounts of the stuff in wrapping and packaging used with fast food items. CNN reports: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/02/01/health/fast-food-packaging-chemicals-pfas-study/index.html

 

Travel and Photography

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Malayan Tiger Cub Cuteness 
The Cincinnati Zoo recently cared for three Malayan tiger cubs, which provided the fodder for the following adorable video, if you’re so inclined: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=90&v=DHNZJXE8_nU

Synchronous Fireflies Provide Rare Light Show  
While fireflies are common, the synchronous ones are not so much. Should you wish to observe the uncommon event, the BBC offers insights: http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20170112-a-surreal-synchronised-wave-of-light

 

March Excursions

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TERMS, CONDITIONS, DISCLAIMERS AND WAIVERS CAN BE FOUND ON THE “ABOUT” PAGE.

March 19
Luckimute River, Luckimute Landing to Buena Vista – Class A – 3± miles
A short but scenic run, with few opportunities to stop, but plenty to look at. We will find a place to stop for lunch, so bring provisions.
Jim Bradley
jim.cascadepaddlers@gmail.com

March 26
Willamette River, Buena Vista to Independence – Class A – 12 miles
The Rogue Ales tasting room is back open, so we’ll give it a visit. Both food and potables can be had at Rogue, though bring adequate provisions if you won’t be availing yourself of the hospitality.
Jim Bradley
jim.cascadepaddlers@gmail.com

Paddlesports, Outdoors and Wildlife

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Bills Seek to Put Fees on All Boaters 
At least two bills expected to come before the Oregon Legislature this year are aimed at imposing fees on all boats and boaters. One, HB 2320, is aimed at imposing registration fees on all non-motorized boats. The other, HB 2321, has the intent of expanding the Aquatic Invasive Species Permit program to boats under ten feet in length. Both bills are Oregon State Marine Board initiatives.

This is hardly the first time the board has attempted to impose registration on paddle craft. One significant difference this time around is the agency has made an attempt to identify ways in which it might serve the paddling public. Unfortunately, it is hardly clear that public was well represented in the process. The advisory committee formed by the board was heavy on members with commercial interests in paddlesport, and very light on private boaters. The interests of the two groups often intersect, but far less commonly are they in harmony. The result of this imbalance seems to have left the concerns and welfare of many, if not most private boaters in the margins.

The board has invested heavily in trying to remain relevant as motor craft use has declined. While their efforts appear to be in good faith, the approach these bills take is heavy handed and overly broad. For instance, rather than focus fees on facilities users, like a Sno-park permit, they seek facilities fees from every boater. The idea behind “pay-to-play” is paying for your own play, not someone else’s. And, of course, all of it runs contrary to the mandate given the State of Oregon upon statehood, by the federal government, to maintain our state’s waterways as “freely navigable”.

Of course, many predicted that the AISP fees would prove to be the camel’s nose in the tent. HB 2321 seems to confirm that view. While the statistics I’ve seen on the boat inspections suggest that non-motorized boats over 10′ comprise a fraction of 1 percent of the problem, such boaters pay for their permits at a rate 200 percent that of their fuel-burning peers. Now, with no apparent factual evidence to support the action, we see an attempt to force the smallest of boats into this inequitable arrangement.

While it makes sense for the Marine Board to realign its thinking with the new realities of 21st Century boating, the agency’s approach this time around relies on the same big-government thinking of the past. The benefits the agency can provide the paddling public are nuanced and limited. Any programs to serve that public need to reflect this fact. Instead, these two bills try to indiscriminately pull revenue from every boater, and offer little but vague justifications and with little specification as to how the money will benefit Oregonians. Indeed, parts of the proposals make it sound as if the board wishes to turn our waterways into fun parks, with the OSMB as gatekeeper and concessionaire.

Of course, you are welcome to come to your own conclusions about this legislation. If, though, you feel as I do, I would suggest you make your legislators aware of your position. Otherwise, you may soon be paying for someone else’s fun.

The text of HB 2320 can be found in this PDF: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB2320/Introduced

HB 2321’s text is here: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB2321/Introduced

As the session proceeds, the status of the bills will change. To fully follow their progress, you can find the main tracking page, here: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/citizen_engagement/Pages/Find-a-Bill.aspx

Festival of Sail Dates Set 
The festival brings historic sailing vessels to coastal ports, which includes Coos Bay, June 1-4: http://festofsail.com/

Minto Island Bridge Opening Delayed to April 
The bridge is now expected to open in April for foot and bicycle traffic, it will close again in summer for the removal of the construction support structures. The final completion of the project is expected in July. The Statesman has more: http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/2017/01/19/minto-island-bridge-open-april/96722680/