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The House of Representatives has defeated an amendment that would have derailed a science fleet relocation to Newport.
A former Oregon State University professor is stepping down from a top post in the Obama administration. Jane Lubchenco told her staff Wednesday that she's leaving her job as head of the National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration.
As of July 1st, Newport is officially home to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Fleet. Two years ago, the competition for where NOAAs ships would be based was fierce — the fact that Newport won out over bigger cities was something of a coup. Now that operations are beginning, we want to know, how is that affecting people in Newport — from residents to scientists to business owners?
Jane Lubchenco was a highly respected zoology professor at Oregon State University when she was tapped in 2009 by the Obama administration to become the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). We spoke with her shortly after her appointment and we're checking in with her again, now that she's stepped down. Her research at OSU has been focused on "understanding the dynamics of natural ecological communities." She's received numerous awards for her research, including one earlier this year that honored her lifetime achievement. After a stint as a distinguished visiting professor at Stanford University, she's returning to OSU. This Friday she'll be keynoting the 25th annual da Vinci Days festival in Corvallis.
Representative Kurt Schrader is serving his second term in the U.S. Congress. Before going to Washington, Schrader spent seven years in the Oregon House of Representatives followed by five years as a state senator. He's also been a farmer and a veterinarian. Schrader won a close race against Republican State Rep. Scott Bruun to hang on to the 5th Congressional district in 2010. Schrader is a member of the Congressional "Blue Dog" coalition, a group of self-identified moderate Democrats who advocate for fiscally conservative policies. While he voted against Senate Majority Leader Harry Ried's initial plan to raise the debt ceiling, he voted for the final deal in the House on Aug 1. He broke with his party on two other significant votes earlier this year, which could help him in the 2012 election. New redistricting lines drawn this year may make Schrader's district lean more to the right and he's likely to face another challenging reelection campaign if this early attack ad is any indication. Locally, Schrader has focused his most recent efforts on the Oregon coast. He fought an amendment that would have blocked the relocation of the NOAA fleet to Newport. He also joined with other members of the Oregon Congressional delegation to exempt the state from a bill that would make offshore drilling more accessible.
The good folks at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association have just released their temperature measurements for July. And if you thought it's been hot lately, it's not just you. Turns out July of 2012 was the hottest month on record in North America. Meanwhile a couple of climate change studies have come out recently suggesting that heat waves are related to increased carbon dioxide and that we can expect more of them in the future. That may seem like what you've heard people saying for years but now there's mounting data to confirm it. Nevertheless, few people are expecting much political action at the Congressional or presidential level, or for that matter at United Nation's international climate change summit. We'll ask why not — and dig a bit deeper into relationship between climate change and odd weather events, something the director of OSU's Climate Change Research Institute, Phil Mote, calls "hot new science."
Twenty sea lions have been killed in Oregon and Washington in the past two months. The deaths come at a time when sea lions have been at the center of an ecological controversy among wildlife advocates. Fishermen and sea lions compete for fishing stocks, which leads some to think that the slain sea lions were killed by fishermen wanting to weed out the competition. Sea lions are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and shooting them could lead to a $20,000 fine and a year in prison. There is, however, an exception to that law. Sea lions have been preying on endangered salmon and steelhead at Bonneville Dam in the Columbia River, and NOAA recently allowed for some of those chronic poachers to be killed. The Humane Society has attempted to block the kill order, saying that humans kill more fish than the sea lions do.
Author Diane Hammond had never been to the West Coast when her husband got a job with NOAA in Newport. As an East Coast transplant, she felt at first that she didn't fit in. To avoid isolation, she decided to not talk, but listen.
Everything from the words I used to the things I might find of interest didn't resonate. I didn't fit in professionally or socially, which in a small town are often the same thing. In order not to seem like a Martian, I decided that instead of being the me I had been all my life, I would change to fit in better.Hammond got a job with the electric utility company and listened as the people she worked with shared those little bits of their lives that come up in the break room or over lunch. Slowly, their stories wove into her consciousness, and her writing. That was 25 years and four novels ago. Now she says: "Before Newport I didn't write anything worth a damn."