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Tuesday
Apr122011

Clerk’s action triggers settlement

Roseburg, OR -- The Douglas County Board of Commissioners will hold a meeting at 11:00 am on Wednesday, April 12, in Room 217 of the Courthouse publicized as a “settlement agreement (K. Slater v. Douglas County)”.

The settlement stems from a lawsuit brought by Kathy Slater, a 10 year employee of the Clerk’s office, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (as amended in 1972).

Slater was fired by County Clerk, Barbara Neilsen after asking to “be excused from doing any work related to domestic partnership registrations”. Slater claimed the processing applications for same sex marriage would be a violation of her religious belief that homosexuality is a sin.

Slater, a 10 year veteran of the Clerk’s office, made the request after Oregon began allowing same-sex domestic partnership registration in 2008.

County Clerk, Barbara Neilsen refused Slater’s request, arguing that all employees must be willing to process the registrations, and to do so would have burdened other employees with additional work.

Slater’s suit claims the county violated federal and state law by failing to accommodate her religious beliefs.

The County filed for a motion with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for summary judgment, arguing that the  county did accommodate Slater’s request by offering her a position outside the Clerk’s Office if one came available.

The Ninth Circuit ruled that the county’s vague offer to transfer Slater did not reasonably accommodate her.
They also noted that Slater had been subsequently rejected for four positions in different departments.

The court also took into consideration that only 37 applications for domestic partnership registrations were processed in Douglas County in the two years that it had been allowed. With each application taking approximately 10 minutes to process, they concluded that having another employee do the job would not have been a hardship for the office.

The Court pointed out that Clerk Neilsen did not make inquires to ascertain the details of Slater’s requested accommodation and that the county failed to “engage in an interactive process” which is required by law.

The court denied the County’s motion for summary judgment and required they present their evidence before a jury. The Commissioners will consider the settlement agreement in a further attempt to avoid going to court.

Wednesday
Mar302011

Oregon Senate approves in-state tuition for illegal’s

Salem, OR – On March 29, 2011 the Oregon Senate passed SB 742 which makes illegal aliens, living in Oregon, eligible to receive in-state tuition.

According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Oregon’s population increased 20.7% between 1990 and 2000, and by 7.9% between 2000 and 2006, bringing Oregon’s population to approximately 3.7 million. FAIR estimates that 28% of the population increase between 2000 and 2006 was directly attributable to illegal immigrants.

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Wednesday
Mar302011

Gathering of Warbirds

Roseburg, OR - The Southern Oregon Warbirds held a public seminar and book signing event at the Douglas County Museum Thursday, March 24. Those in attendance heard stories never before told by the men who flew combat missions in WWII and Korea.

Les Long, a B-29 pilot in WWII, who enlisted at the age of 18, told the story of a twenty-two hour flight from Calcutta to Singapore. He said the B-29 he flew had a pressurized cabin, unheard of in those days. Though he suffered an injury, nearly losing the sight of his right eye, Long told the group “I decided then, not to become a professional victim.” He said he went on to run more than one successful business after the war.

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Wednesday
Mar302011

Dems Target Private Retirement Accounts

By Karen McMahan - Guest Contributor

RALEIGH, NC - Democrats in the U.S. House have been conducting hearings on proposals to confiscate workers personal retirement accounts including 401(k)s and IRAs and convert them to accounts managed by the Social Security Administration.

Triggered by the financial crisis the past two months, the hearings reportedly were meant to stem losses incurred by many workers and retirees whose 401(k) and IRA balances have been shrinking rapidly. The testimony of Teresa Ghilarducci, professor of economic policy analysis at the New School for Social Research in New York, in hearings Oct. 7 drew the most attention and criticism. Testifying for the House Committee on Education and Labor, Ghilarducci proposed that the government eliminate tax breaks for 401(k) and similar retirement accounts, such as IRAs, and confiscate workers retirement plan accounts and convert them to universal Guaranteed Retirement Accounts (GRAs) managed by the Social Security Administration.

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Wednesday
Jul212010

“Mommy, please don’t leave me, I didn’t do anything wrong”

Judge William Marshall rules against mother

By David Jaques

Roseburg, OR—Even though the mother of two and a half year old Nakota Eckel has never been accused of abuse or neglect of her daughter, nor been charged with any crime, Judge William Marshall has directed the Oregon DHS agency to terminate the mother’s parental rights within sixty days.

The decision was issued July 13, three days after the statutory deadline, according to Kareen LaValley, attorney for AJ Pichette, Nakota’s mother. Although the decision was filed with the court clerk on July 13 neither LaValley nor her client received notice of the court’s ruling until Friday, July 16. LaValley said Marshall’s failure to meet the statutory time limit may be grounds to have the decision overturned.

In an exclusive interview with The Beacon, Pichette said upon learning the news late Sunday afternoon from her attorney, that Judge Marshall ruled against her, she didn’t break down and cry she just felt numb

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