Bridge over troubled waters
The news that American Bridge is closing its plant is highly disappointing in so many ways.
It’s a loss of jobs for 51 employees. We feel for the families whose income will be impacted, and who may have difficulty finding another position in a county with 11 percent unemployment already.
It’s disappointing for the businesses in Reedsport and Gardiner, who benefited from having the employer in town.
It’s discouraging for Douglas County that yet another company that promised so many jobs to help diversify our timber-dependent economy could not survive. Especially since it was located at the coast, which has been hit by the decline of both the timber and fishing industries.
How are we to withstand the loss of American Bridge, Alcan, Bayliner, Dell and automation in other industries, yet have enough family-wage jobs to support the good people living in Douglas County?
Congratulations to Roseburg’s Fremont Middle School students for coming up with the perfect combination of attributes to be ranked among the top 10 percent of all schools in the state.
That’s quite a feat. Schools were judged primarily on reading and math test scores, year-to-year progress, graduation rates and the advancement of “subgroups,” including minorities, special education students and low-income students.
But it took more than winning those categories. Principal Keith Kronser said his staff reviewed data yearly and worked to improve.
He said over the years teachers have instilled a positive approach to learning, stressing to students they have the capacity to understand challenging subjects.
That sounds like a great way to encourage students to do well in high school and advance to college — a goal locally and statewide.
The reasoning escapes us
Who knew that when inmate Aaron Frank Cadger slipped away from a Douglas County work crew and went with his girlfriend to California that he wasn’t escaping jail?
Granted, it wasn’t the great escape. He just stopped shoveling horse manure at the fairgrounds and got into a car and away he went. Nobody was watching over him with a shotgun and hound dogs.
But there were consequences. The law caught up to him and his girlfriend just two days later. He was brought back to Oregon and convicted by a jury of escape, a felony.
The Oregon Court of Appeals this week overturned that conviction, ruling that Cadger couldn’t escape because he wasn’t in a correctional facility.
It didn’t matter that he began his day in the county jail and went to work in a black-and-white striped jumpsuit.
According to the appeals court, Cadger was temporarily turned loose — to shovel manure. Cadger might have been charged with a misdemeanor for not coming back, but not felony escape, the court ruled.
The Oregon Department of Justice might appeal to the state Supreme Court. If the high court doesn’t reverse the decision, the Legislature should revise the law to make clear that leaving a work crew is a felony.
If the ruling stands, the biggest losers could be the inmates themselves. If leaving a work crew is considered a minor offense, inmates might face more restrictions on their movements.
Shoveling manure wasn’t a great job. But the only other thing Cadger had going on that day was sitting in jail.