Pubs and St. Paddy’s please
If you’ve considered Roseburg a place where the streets roll up by 6 p.m. on springtime nights, then you haven’t been to the St. Paddy’s Day Pub Crawl. Crowds of people come out for this evening, when everyone is Irish and everyone (over the age of 21, please) is pleased to raise a pint for a good cause.
Nearly every establishment that serves beer in downtown Roseburg likes to get in on this night of festivities because their businesses are packed with people sporting lots o’ green — not only in their attire, but in their pockets. The primary beneficiary is the Taylor/Hatfield Youth Fund, which supports local events for children with disabilities. But the businesses benefit as well by seeing new faces.
A welcome addition to this year’s crawl is a food court where many leprechauns will be able to satisfy their appetites. That should take some pressure off the established restaurants that are often overflowing their capacity to feed the masses.
The gridlock spreads
The Department of Interior has yet to release hundreds of thousands of dollars due Douglas County, even though two federal lawmakers say the Bureau of Land Management misapplied the rules of sequestration.
BLM withheld federal safety net payments to 18 Western Oregon counties because of the automatic across-the-board budget cuts that went into effect March 1. The bureau held back 10 percent, or about $940,000, from Douglas County.
U.S. Rep. DeFazio, D-Springfield, complained sequestration shouldn’t have affected the payments because they were authorized under last year’s budget, not the current spending plan that’s being cut.
U.S. Sen. Merkley, D-Oregon, this week refined the request. Citing a report by the Office of Management and Budget on sequestration, the county should receive $412,660, or slightly less than half of the money held back, he said.
It didn’t need to happen, at all.
Sequestration went into effect because of gridlock over the federal budget. The only reason the county needs the money is because federal timber harvests have been unnecessarily suppressed by gridlock.
VA clinic brings smiles
Dentistry has made strides since the 1950s, so it’s fitting that a clinic of that era is being replaced with a modern-day 7,500-square-foot dental building on the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center campus.
The new clinic will triple the size of the crowded, antiquated facility in use today. The expansion will increase the number of patient rooms from six to 11. Removing the clinic from the second floor of Building 2 also means the new dental clinic will be easier to find and accessible to people in wheelchairs — that seems crucial in a hospital for veterans.
With 2,000 veterans seeking dental care annually at the VA clinic, compared to 800 a decade ago, the need for the clinic is apparent. The new technology that will be available in the clinic may also save veterans from having to travel to Portland for treatment.
Every aspect of the new clinic seems to point to a wise investment of $3.5 million, especially to care for veterans who were willing to give their lives for our country.