The Blue Mountain eagle. (John Day, Or.) 1972-current, December 06, 2017, Page A4, Image 4

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Blue Mountain Eagle
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Health authority
audit interference
was outrageous
tate officials went to great
lengths to stymie an audit
of the Oregon Health
That is the most troubling
aspect of the audit, which state
auditors were able to complete
after Gov. Kate Brown
appointed a new director for the
beleaguered agency.
The audit report, which
Secretary of State Dennis
Richardson delivered last
Wednesday in a highly
politicized announcement,
found that the agency
inadvertently misspent millions
of state and federal dollars.
That is not a big surprise,
as news about the agency’s
missteps has dribbled out for
months. However, the audit
also showed that the health
authority is above average
nationally for its handling of
federal Medicaid money.
In that sense, the audit
report contained both bad
and good news regarding
Oregon’s $9.3 billion-a-year
Medicaid program. New
Oregon Health Authority
Director Patrick Allen, who
on Friday marked his 90th day
on the job, agreed with the
auditors’ recommendations and
said the agency already was
implementing some of them.
The report states that the
health authority previously had
impeded the auditors’ work but
goes on to say, “OHA’s new
management has been more
proactive and transparent in
addressing these issues.”
Audits are an integral part
of cost-effective governance.
Brown ousted former health
authority Director Lynne
Saxton this summer; but
it’s disconcerting that until
then, the agency aggressively
interfered with what could be
considered a routine audit.
That interference included
hiring an outside auditing firm
as an intermediary between
the health authority and the
state Audits Division. That
seems unprecedented in state
government. Allen said he
canceled the outside firm’s
$200,000 contract as soon as he
learned about it.
According to the audit
report, the health authority also
had monitored what its staff
was telling auditors, potentially
creating a chilling effect, and
ordered front-line workers to go
through management instead of
communicating with auditors.
“Preventing direct follow-up
slowed our work, potentially
limited our access, and created
a bottleneck for both us and
OHA. We had questions that
staff could answer in minutes,
but were instead required to
ask managers, who sometimes
provided incorrect information
because they lacked the same
level of familiarity as staff,” the
report says. In addition, “OHA
delayed answering requests and
at times provided incomplete or
erroneous information.”
Such interference,
regardless of where it occurs
in government, is outrageous.
Republican Richardson, who
oversees the Audits Division,
and Democrat Brown, who
oversees the Oregon Health
Authority and other agencies
in the executive branch, should
have known about the problems
and promptly worked together
to ensure a thorough, forthright
Their failure to do so creates
a stain on state government.
Fifty shades of hay
By Brianna Walker
To the Blue Mountain Eagle
“Uh-oooooooh,” my toddler
sing-songed as he picked up his
little green toy man with suction
cup hands and feet and stuck
him back up on the swather win-
dow. The toy would soon start
sliding down, then lose all suc-
tion and fall. “Uh-oooooooh,”
my toddler laughed and scooped
up the toy again.
This game went on for hours
— which was good because we
were hot and heavy into second
My toddler does a lot of jab-
bering, but the only words he says
are “Keeg” (for his brother) and
“Bama” (which means food —
any kind of food: dog food, cat
food, sheep food, baby food, etc.).
So this new addition of “Uh-oh”
seemed pretty cute — that is until
it became apropos.
Farming is like playing five-
card poker with four cards — and
this week was no exception. It
seemed that instead of moving
from hour to hour, the week was
passing from one calamity to the
The swather lost a bearing,
bent a roller, plugged up and
found a broken mainline — bur-
ied it up to its axles in unexpect-
ed mud. “Uh-oooooooh.”
The baler broke all six knot-
ters at once, and then twisted the
safety linkage. “Uh-oooooooh.”
The stack truck blew a front tire,
and the four-wheeler a back one.
“Uh-oooooooh.” The hydraulics
on the straw swather refused to
work, the rake lost a wheel and I
cracked the screen on my phone.
It felt like we
a round of the
Farming Game,
where you draw
operating expens-
es for each crop
but without re-
ceiving your har-
vest check. Some-
one needs to throw that card
away and slip in an extra couple
“double all your corn harvests
this year” squares or at least an
extra O.T.B. or two.
You can’t tell how good a man
or a watermelon is until they
get thumped, and I’m starting to
feel punky with a hint of “Uh-
The higher the mercury gets,
the more temperamental my
swather becomes. After plugging
up badly — the hay wrapped
tightly around the full-contact
rollers — I climbed back into
the cab like a damsel in distress,
waiting for someone to come bail
me out of my predicament. My
toddler sat on my lap and pointed
at the lifted flaps on my header.
“Uh-oooooooh,” he crooned.
“Yep, ‘Uh-Oh’ is right,” I re-
plied, wiping some of the dirt
off of his cheeks. “Kind of re-
minds me of a nursery rhyme,”
I told his upturned little face.
I changed some of the words
to fit this particular scenario,
as I recited: “There was a little
swather, who had a little crack,
right in the middle of it’s wind-
shield. And when it was good, it
was very, very good, and when
it was bad — it was horrid!”
OK, so Henry Wadsworth Long-
fellow it is not, but that’s how
I felt. When it was working it
worked beautifully — and the
rest of the time was just a series
of “Uh-ohs.”
Ever wonder what happens
when you cut the opening rounds
of a field and have a breakdown,
and then a few inside passes and
a breakdown and a few more
passes and another breakdown?
You get “50 shades of hay.” It’s
a lot more “stemmy” than its
“steamy” counterpart, and isn’t
nearly as profitable!
The little green man fell from
the window again, breaking my
thoughts. “Uh-oooooooh,” my
little guy laughed as he scooped
up the toy.
I sure hope he learns a new
word soon. I don’t know how
much more we can afford this
one. Perhaps with just a little
tweaking on his pronunciation
his “Uh-oooooooh” can say “Ua
Maybe that’s actually what
he’s been getting at all along —
with every breakdown, he just
wanted us to think about a beau-
tiful tropical island in French
If we’re going to spend a
ton of money, while sweating
profusely, at least we can do it
in swim suits on a white sandy
beach — not in work boots, or-
dering parts for a persnickety
swather while rivulets of sweaty
mud drizzle into your eyes and
your nails get torn by pulling out
clumps of alfalfa between obsti-
nate rollers.
Next time I hear “Uh-
oooooooh,” I’m going to envi-
sion “Ua-Pooooou.”
Brianna Walker occasionally
writes about the Farmer’s Fate
for the Blue Mountain Eagle.
• Grant County Courthouse — 201
S. Humbolt St., Suite 280, Canyon City
97820. Phone: 541-575-0059. Fax: 541-
• Canyon City — P.O. Box 276, Canyon
City 97820. Phone: 541-575-0509. Fax:
541-575-0515. Email: tocc1862@centu-
• Dayville — P.O. Box 321, Dayville
97825. Phone: 541-987-2188. Fax: 541-
• John Day — 450 E. Main St, John Day,
97845. Phone: 541-575-0028. Fax: 541-
575-1721. Email:
• Long Creek — P.O. Box 489, Long
Creek 97856. Phone: 541-421-3601. Fax:
541-421-3075. Email: info@cityoflong-
• Monument — P.O. Box 426,
Monument 97864. Phone and fax: 541-
934-2025. Email: cityofmonument@
• Mt. Vernon — P.O. Box 647, Mt.
Vernon 97865. Phone: 541-932-4688. Fax:
541-932-4222. Email:
• Prairie City — P.O. Box 370, Prairie
Blue Mountain
City 97869. Phone: 541-820-3605. Fax:
820-3566. Email:
• Seneca — P.O. Box 208, Seneca
97873. Phone and fax: 541-542-2161.
• Gov. Kate Brown, D — 254 State
Capitol, Salem 97310. Phone: 503-378-
3111. Fax: 503-378-6827. Website: www.
• Oregon Legislature — State Capitol,
Salem, 97310. Phone: (503) 986-1180.
Website: www. (includes
Oregon Constitution and Oregon Revised
• State Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario (Dis-
trict: 60), Room H-475, State Capitol, 900
Court St. N.E., Salem OR 97301. Phone:
503-986-1460. Email: rep.cliffbentz@state. Website:
• State Sen. Ted Ferrioli, R — (District
30) Room S-223, State Capitol, Salem
97310. Phone: 503-986-1950. Email: sen. Email: TFER2@aol.
com. Phone: 541-490-6528. Website: www.
Officials should
uphold the
Victims of sexual
harassment should
report it
To the Editor:
I was very happy and relieved to
hear that Sheriff Palmer was cleared
of all charges.
As a taxpayer and an Ameri-
can, I expect our law enforcement
people and elected officials to
meet with any group who comes
into our great county to find out
their intentions and then make
a plan to fight them if it is in any
way threatening the citizens of the
county, and these officials should
be expected to know and uphold the
Joe Clarke
Long Creek
To the Editor:
When I was a 25-year-old col-
lege student back in the 1970s, I was
very badly sexually harassed by a
female college professor who had a
lot of power over me. It finally ended
when another female college profes-
sor insisted that I tell her what had ob-
viously been bothering me. It ended
when she confronted my harasser and
told her that she would report her to
the authorities if she did not stop.
Like most of my “fellow vic-
tims and survivors,” I have been too
ashamed and embarrassed to tell any-
one about it for the past 40 years aside
from my wife — until now. I have re-
cently found out that a lot of people
do not take the sexual harassment of
a male by a female seriously.
Recently, I have sometimes been
mocked, teased, bullied and insulted
about it. And, as many others find out,
I have sometimes been called a “liar”
and that “you made the whole thing
up just to get attention, publicity, pity
and sympathy from others.” I want to
urge all victims of sexual harassment
to immediately report it to someone
in a position of authority. One of the
biggest regrets of my life is that I did
not. Please do not repeat my mis-
take. These perpetrators need to be
stopped. And please do not repeat my
mistake of blaming myself for it. You
did not do anything to bring on that
predatory behavior or to encourage it.
It was not your fault.
Stewart Epstein
Rochester, New York
etters policy: Letters to the Editor is a forum for Blue Mountain Eagle readers to express themselves on local, state, national or world issues. Brevity
is good, but longer letters will be asked to be contained to 350 words. No personal attacks; challenge the opinion, not the person. No thank-you
letters. Submissions to this page become property of the Eagle. The Eagle reserves the right to edit letters for length and for content. Letters must
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Mountain Eagle, 195 N. Canyon Blvd., John Day, OR 97845; or fax to 541-575-1244.
Grant County’s Weekly Newspaper
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