The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, April 20, 2017, Page 5A, Image 5

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Under court order,
Oregon will restore
in-home care services
Families sued
state over cuts
Capital Bureau
SALEM — The Ore-
gon Department of Human
Services will temporar-
ily restore previous levels
of in-home care services to
people with intellectual and
developmental disabilities
under a court order won by
plaintiffs who filed a federal
lawsuit contesting recent
The department deter-
mines every year how many
hours of in-home care some-
one with an intellectual or
developmental disability is
eligible for.
Disability Rights Ore-
gon, an advocacy organiza-
tion that filed the suit last
week, objects to how those
decisions are made, saying
the process is opaque.
The lawsuit alleges
that under federal law, the
agency violated the civil and
due process rights of Ore-
gonians receiving these ser-
vices, as well as the Med-
icaid requirement that the
Office of Developmental
Disabilities Services must
provide such services “as
New assessment
Last year, the agency
implemented a new assess-
ment method on a roll-
ing basis, which the law-
suit argues resulted in a
reduction of in-home care
hours for many people —
although the amount of help
they needed at home had not
Not all people receiving
in-home care services have
yet felt reductions, because
the changes have been
implemented gradually.
Tom Stenson, litiga-
tion attorney with Disabil-
ity Rights Oregon, said
Wednesday’s order means
any new assessment method
the state wants to use “effec-
The lawsuit is still ongo-
ing. The Department of
Human Services is “working
on (its) plan to implement
the agreement,” a spokes-
woman said in an email.
Bob Joondeph, the exec-
utive director of Disabil-
ity Rights Oregon, said that
his organization also wants
to make sure families had a
transparent avenue to chal-
lenge a needs assessment.
“It’s great if they change
the formula to work bet-
ter,” said Joondeph, “But at
the end of the day, what we
want is that even with the
new formula, we’d be able
to explain to people why
there’s a change and give
them an opportunity to con-
test it.”
Joondeph said his orga-
nization had raised the issue
and proposed solutions in
private meetings with the
agency, but filed a lawsuit
after the agency did not act.
Federal funding
In 2013, after the expan-
sion of Medicaid under the
Affordable Care Act, and
a specific federal fund-
ing option called the Com-
munity First Choice Plan
that provided funds so peo-
ple with disabilities could
services, there were signifi-
cant increases in those eligi-
ble for in-home care — and
in costs to the state.
In 2015, state legislators
agreed to pay for the unan-
ticipated costs in the upcom-
ing budget cycle, but asked
the Department of Human
Services to come up with a
way to contain the rate of
cost growth in the future.
That became the method
that advocates are now con-
testing in court.
Renee Kuhn, of Wood-
burn, says her daughter
would need to enter adult
foster care if the state cut her
in-home care hours.
Khrizma Kuhn, 34, is
severely disabled, requiring
help with basic activities and
care such as bathing and eat-
ing. She receives 20 hours of
care a day, Renee Kuhn said.
Her daughter underwent her
annual assessment on Tues-
day and she expected to
learn the results Friday.
“We already told our
caseworker to begin the
steps to explore foster homes
for our daughter, where she
can access the services she
needs,” Renee Kuhn, who
also advocates for other
families with children who
have intellectual and devel-
opmental disabilities, said.
State budget
The Department of
Human Services makes up
a significant chunk of the
state’s approximately $20
billion general fund budget,
which lawmakers are busy
trying to balance in the face
of an approximately $1.6
billion shortfall.
Reducing in-home care
for people with intellec-
tual and developmental dis-
abilities by 30 percent, as
the department had planned
prior to the court order,
would have saved the state’s
general fund $6 million
in the upcoming two-year
The Capital Bureau is a
collaboration between EO
Media Group and Pamplin
Media Group.
Associated Press
Additional 1,000 Oregon eclipse
campsites quickly sell out
SALEM — State park officials opened 1,000 additional camp-
sites for people coming to watch the summer solar eclipse from
And it didn’t long for them to fill.
Parks Department spokesman Chris Havel says the campsites
were made available for reservation at 8 a.m. Wednesday and it
took just over an hour for them to be snapped up.
All state park sites available by reservation are now taken,
though cancellations may return a few sites to the pool.
The highly anticipated eclipse will occur on the morning of
Aug. 21.
Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
It’s an orca! Last killer whale
is born at a SeaWorld park
MIAMI — The last orca has been born in captivity at a Sea-
World park in San Antonio just over a year after the theme park
decided to stop breeding orcas following animal rights protests and
declining ticket sales.
The Orlando-based company said the orca — the last in a gen-
eration of whales bred in confinement — was born Wednesday
afternoon. SeaWorld did not immediately name the calf because
the park’s veterinarians had not yet determined whether it was
male or female.
The mother, 25-year-old Takara, was already pregnant when
SeaWorld announced in March 2016 that it had stopped breeding
its orcas. The gestation period for orcas is about 18 months.
SeaWorld decided to stop breeding orcas, and phase out its
world-famous killer whale performances by 2019, after pub-
lic opinion turned against keeping orcas, dolphins and other ani-
mals in captivity for entertainment. The backlash intensified after
the 2013 release of “Blackfish,” a documentary critical of SeaWor-
ld’s orca care. It focused on the orca Tilikum, which killed trainer
Dawn Brancheau in Orlando in 2010, dragging her into the pool
before shocked visitors after a “Dine with Shamu” show.
Tilikum, which sired 14 calves over nearly 25 years in Orlando,
died of bacterial pneumonia in January.
Once critical of global deals,
Trump slow to pull out of any
WASHINGTON — The “America First” president who vowed
to extricate America from onerous overseas commitments appears
to be warming up to the view that when it comes to global agree-
ments, a deal’s a deal.
From NAFTA to the Iran nuclear agreement to the Paris climate
accord, President Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric is colliding
with the reality of governing. Despite repeated pledges to rip up,
renegotiate or otherwise alter them, the U.S. has yet to withdraw
from any of these economic, environmental or national security
deals, as Trump’s past criticism turns to tacit embrace of several
key elements of U.S. foreign policy.
The administration says it is reviewing these accords and could
still pull out of them. A day after certifying Iran’s compliance with
the nuclear deal, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attacked the
accord and listed examples of Iran’s bad behavior. His tone sug-
gested that even if Iran is fulfilling the letter of its nuclear commit-
ments, the deal remains on unsure footing.
Yet with one exception — an Asia-Pacific trade deal that already
had stalled in Congress — Trump’s administration quietly has laid
the groundwork to honor the international architecture of deals
it has inherited. It’s a sharp shift from the days when Trump was
declaring the end of a global-minded America that negotiates away
its interests and subsidizes foreigners’ security and prosperity.
Trump had called the Iran deal the “worst” ever, and claimed
climate change was a hoax. But in place of action, the Trump
administration is only reviewing these agreements, as it is doing
with much of American foreign policy.
O’Reilly is out at Fox but
influence endures; career too?
LOS ANGELES — Despite the inglorious end to Bill O’Reil-
ly’s two-decade Fox News Channel career, observers say his deep
imprint on Fox and other cable news outlets and his influence on
barbed political discourse are intact for the foreseeable future.
Orca Takara helps guide her newborn to the water’s sur-
face at SeaWorld San Antonio on Wednesday.
Fired on Wednesday amid a drumbeat of sexual harassment
allegations, the vacationing host’s “The O’Reilly Factor” was
quickly redubbed “The Factor” and Fox News announced his time
slot will be filled by Tucker Carlson, another adamantly conserva-
tive Fox host who dovetails with the channel’s audience.
But it was O’Reilly who created the template for how to suc-
ceed in cable TV punditry, delighting his viewers with unapolo-
getic attacks on liberal politicians and media members that he
delivered with gusto.
“In many ways, he led Fox’s cable news revolution,” said Frank
Sesno, a journalism professor at George Washington University
and former CNN Washington bureau chief. “Cable news is some-
one standing on a mountain top shouting, and Bill O’Reilly was on
the highest peak so he echoed across the landscape.”
And he keeps echoing in the broader media landscape. O’Reil-
ly’s success at appealing to like-minded viewers made him and Fox
into cable news leaders.
Questions abound in aftermath
of NFL star Hernandez’s death
BOSTON — Aaron Hernandez’s death in prison — just days
after the former NFL star was cleared of additional murder charges
— remains shrouded in mystery.
Why now? Is there more to the story? What happens to his
Authorities offered few answers after Hernandez was found
hanging from a bedsheet Wednesday in his cell in a maximum-se-
curity prison in Massachusetts, where he was serving a life sen-
tence for the 2013 slaying of a onetime friend.
His death came hours before his former New England Patriots
teammates visited the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl
victory. Hernandez, 27, died five days after a jury acquitted him in
the 2012 shooting deaths of two men whom prosecutors alleged
he gunned down after one accidentally spilled a drink on him at a
Boston nightclub.
The apparent suicide left friends, family and his legal team
shocked and in disbelief. Many were searching for an explana-
tion to the tragic end of a young man whose football skills at one
point earned him a five-year, $40 million contract extension with
the NFL’s top franchise.
AP Exclusive: Pesticide maker
tries to kill risk study
WASHINGTON — Dow Chemical is pushing the Trump
administration to scrap the findings of federal scientists who point
to a family of widely used pesticides as harmful to about 1,800 crit-
ically threatened or endangered species.
Lawyers representing Dow, whose CEO also heads a White
House manufacturing working group, and two other makers of
organophosphates sent letters last week to the heads of three Cab-
inet agencies. The companies asked them “to set aside” the results
of government studies the companies contend are fundamentally
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