Albany Democrat-Herald from Albany, Oregon on March 21, 2012 · 1
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Albany Democrat-Herald from Albany, Oregon · 1

Albany, Oregon
Issue Date:
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
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WNIT LOSS ENDS BEAVERS' SEASON SPORTS, B1 I MM in . 1 1 iii ii f i i II it I ""rSwiP KNIGHT US EUGENE OR 9u: WORLD MOTE Mitt Romney took a major stride toward the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday night, rout- : ing Rick Santorum in the Illinois primary for his third big-state win in a row and padding his already-formidable lead in the race for convention delegates. Returns from 98 percent of Illinois' precincts snowed Romney gaining 47 percent of the vote compared to 35 percent for SantorumA9. A 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit southern Mexico on Tuesday, damaging some 800 homes near the epicenter and swaying tall buildings and spreading fear and panic hundreds of miles away in the capital of Mexico City. Tuesday's earthquake hit hardest in border area of southern Oaxaca and Guerrero statesB5. Mixing deep cuts to safety-net programs for the poor with politically risky cost curbs for Medicare, Republicans controlling the House unveiled an election-year budget blueprint Tuesday that paints clear campaign differences with President Barack Obama. Republicans cast themselves as stepping up to a federal deficit crisis long ignored by both parties, while Democrats and their allies responded with promises to protect the elderly and the poor from drastic cuts they said would harm the most vulnerable AmericansA9. The U.S. suspect in the slaughter of 16 villagers in Afghanistan has a trail of shaky financial dealings -from working in penny-stock boiler rooms that drew numerous client complaints, to an unpaid $1.5 million fraud judgment, to a failed investment partnership with a former high school football teammate, records show. Staff Set. Robert Bales joined the Army in 2001 after a Florida investment 1 ft 11 ousiness iauea ana arter ne naa worked with a string of securities operations with one company official now barred from trading in OhioA12. Svrian soldiers hacked hv tanks seized the eastern city of Deir el-Zour from rebels on Tuesday, the latest opposition stronghold to fall to an offensive by the better equipped Syrian military. A bill designed to enact President Obama's plan for a "Buffett rule" tax on the wealthy would rake in just $47 billion over the next 11 years, according to an estimate by Con gress' official tax analysts obtained by The Associated Press. That fig ure would be a drop in the bucket of the over $7 trillion in federal budget deficits projected during that period. It is also minuscule compared to the many hundreds of billions it would cost to repeal the alternative minimum tax, which Obama's budget last month said he would replace with the Buffett rule tax. A new clue In one of the 20th century's most enduring mysteries could soon uncover the fate of American aviator Amelia Earhart, who went missing without a trace over the South Pacific 75 years ago, investigators said Tuesday. Enhanced analysis of a photograph taken just months after Earhart's Lockheed Electra plane vanished shows what experts think may be the landing gear of the aircraft protruding from the waters of f the remote island of Nikumaroro, in what is now the Pacific nation of Kiribati, they saidB8. In Sanford, Fla., an unarmed black .teenager shot to death by a neigh borhood watch captain told his girlfriend moments before he was killed that he was being followed, a lawyer said Tuesday as federal and state prosecutors announced they would investigate. "'Oh he's right behind me, he's right behind me again,"' 17-year-old Trayvon Martin told his girlfriend on his cellphoneA12. . Associated Press V 10 t 1 A T v 1 . Mark 1 lenDemocrat-Herald Members of art archeological crew examine the ground along Riverside Drive while doing preliminary Work for Northwest Natural. Activity part of NW Natural plan to replace pipes BY CATHY INGALLS ALBANY DEMOCRAT-HERALD A work crew last week peered into the grass beside sections of Riverside Drive and then scribbled notes. ' . What were they doing? The activity turns out to be in preparation forNW Natural's plan to extend and replace transmission lines fai parts of the mid-valley. "They are scouting out where the new lines will go to make sure work doesn't disturb any historic cultural areas," said Valerie White, NW Natural spokeswoman in Portland. " Line work near Riverside Drive is expected to start this summer and be completed before winter." v The $15 million extension and replacement project will increase the reliability of the transmission system, she said. : NW Natural is replacing 12 miles of pipe laid in the 1950s and installing another 18 miles of lines. -'v . , The improvements in this area will tie into a transmission line at Perrydale, northwest of Salem. The line goes from Perrydale into Monmouth and south down 99W from Hoffman Road to Parker Road and then east to Haley Road. ... '- Work on 99W already has started. The bare steel main pipe is being replaced with coated V Lines then loop into Corvallis and Albany. " Corvallis has been a typically weak spot in the system," White said. "That means when it gets cold, line pressure gets low because of the demand. The new lines will fix that." Dennis Griffin, state archaeologist with the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office in Salem, said URS Corp. of Portland was hired to conduct cultural surveys along the pipeline route in the Monmouth, Corvallis and Albany areas."; . "Before they put a line through, we do archaeological studies so there won't be any dis -turbance of cultural areas during trenching or boring," he said. "Often these checks are done in farm fields where there has been a lot of dis turbance because of plowing." If crews from URS Corp. find something they will do further probing, Griffin said. "I haven't heard about any results, and this office would be told of anything they find," he said. If something of significance is discovered, NW Natural will avoid the site or mitigate any damage. :.; If the lines affect an historic site, NW Nat -' ural will either move a line or bore under it., Griffin said. Boring is becoming more preva- lent because of the number of creeks and wetlands in the mid-valley. "The cost of boring and trenching has gotten really close these days," he said. Before work could get started in this area, NW Natural applied for permits from Linn County, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Environmental Quality, among others. .V; The work is considered a capital projects, so the costs will be "rolled into rates eventually," White said. Lawsuit filed over labor commissioner election BY JONATHAN J. COOPER ASSOCIATED PRESS PORTLAND - The two candidates for Oregon labor commissioner have spent months asking voters for support in the election this May. So they were a bit surprised to find out re cently that the election won't actually happen until six months later, in November. ; State elections officials say a quirk in an obscure 2009 election law requires them to alter the election schedule, but only for this one office and only for this year. Republican Bruce Starr filed suit Tuesday, asking a judge to order that candidates for labor commissioner appear on the ballot in May, as they historically have. ' Starr said he found out about the change on Friday, when a campaign staffer made a routine call to be sure everything was in order with his statement for the voter pamphlet; Democrat Brad Avakian, the incumbent, found out from a reporter Monday night, an aide said.1 'v Starr, a state senator from Hillsboro, accused Democratic Secretary of State Kate Brown of playing politics with the election to help a fellow Democrat. He argues that Avakian might . have an easier victory in November if he shares a ballot with President Obama, who remains popular in Oregon. -: ,. "They don't want their candidate to lose, and we're confident we are in a position to be very, very competitive in May," Starr said. "I believe the cohorts who run our state basically said they want to give their candidate an advantage." Brown fought back against allegations she r -A --fit 1 , t di 11 Bruce Starr Brad Avakian called "outrageous and unfounded," saying her Starr's lawyer argues. office is enforcing a "very clear" law. "This is an issue of election law, not politics," Brown said in a statement. In most years, candidates for nonpartisan of -fices like labor commissioner appear on the May primary ballot, and if nobody gets a major ity, the top-two candidates face each other in November. With only two candidates on the ballot this year, the candidates and other political observers widely assumed the race would be de-cided in May. , The legal dispute is the result of an improvised solution to a problem that began when Dan Gardner resigned as labor commissioner in the second year of a four-year term in 2008, touching off a special election later that year to replace him. Lawyers said then that the election would be for a full four-year term, not to finish Gardner's term. But as a result, labor commissioners would be elected in presidential election years despite historically being chosen in midterm elections. 1 1 v . - The Legislature voted in 2009 to get the cycle back on track, approving House Bill 2095 to limit the labor commissioner elected in 2012 to a two-year term. But the words in the bill leave room for disagreement. The measure said that the term of the labor commissioner "elected at the general election November 2012 shall be two years." Now, a Marion County Circuit Court judge will have to decide whether that language means a labor commissioner cannot be chosen in May this year, as Brown's office argues, or whether the standard election law applies, as Albany & Eastern RR will upgrade line to S. Home SWEET HOME - The Albany & East -ern Railroad has plans to upgrade its line from Lebanon to Sweet Home, and has called a public meeting to talk about the project. Itwillbeat 6:30p.m. Thursdayatthe Jim Riggs Community Center, 890 18th Ave. . The company plans to replace more than 32,000 railroad ties from Lebanon to Sweet will also remove brush and rebuild crossings, which could lead to traffic congestion at times. . The company's goal is to bring the railroad line up to Federal Railroad Admin-' istration standards. Currently, speeds are limited to 3 mph in places. When upgraded, speeds of up to 25 mph will be allowed. The Albany & Eastern Railroad has been owned since 2007 by Rick and Bernice Franklin of Lebanon, but its his-; tory dates back to 1880 with the forma-; tion of the Albany-Lebanon Railroad.; Ownership has changed several times of. the years. Estimated cost of the repairs is $4 million. The Oregon Department of Transportation will provide about $2.6 million in lottery funds through the Connect Oregon III program. Connect Oregon was developed by the state as way of revitalizing the state's non-highway infrastructure. Alex Paul Today's Outlook Periods of rain High: 49 Low. 36 Calendar.. A4 Lotteries........ ,.A2 Sodoku.. Classified ,,..B8 Markets....... All TV ...... Comics.;....; 87. Obituaries .............. A4 Weather. Crossword ............. B12 . Opinion.-.;..........:.. A10 Legal Ads ...... . ... B10-B12 Sports. .: Bl ,.B7 ..B6 ,A12 CLASSIFIED ADS 541812-6112 SUBSCRIBER SERVICE 541-812-6115 . Volume 146 No. 69 !

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