April 17, 2014

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Congress passes bill to stop cut to Medicare docs
Written by AP Wire   
Monday, March 31, 2014 8:00 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — With just hours to spare, Congress stepped Monday to finalize legislation to prevent doctors who treat Medicare patients from being hit with a 24 percent cut in their payments from the government.

The Senate’s 64-35 vote sends a measure to delay the cuts for a year to President Barack Obama, who’s expected to quickly sign it. The House passed the measure last week.

More mudslide victims found as state seeks new aid
Written by AP Wire   
Monday, March 31, 2014 8:00 PM

DARRINGTON, Wash. (AP) — Estimated financial losses from the deadly Washington mudslide that has killed at least 24 people have reached $10 million, Gov. Jay Inslee said Monday in a letter asking the federal government for a major disaster declaration.

In seeking additional federal help following one of the deadliest landslides in U.S. history, Inslee said about 30 families need assistance with housing, along with personal and household goods. The estimated losses include nearly $7 million in structures and more than $3 million in their contents, Inslee’s letter said.

The Snohomish County medical examiner’s office said Monday afternoon that it has received a total of 24 victims, and 17 of those have been positively identified. Previously, the official death toll was 21, with 15 victims identified.

Authorities have said more than two dozen people remain missing following the March 22 slide that destroyed a rural mountainside community northeast of Seattle.

Inslee is also seeking federal help with funeral expenses for up to 48 people, and mental health care programs for survivors, volunteers, community members and first responders.

Monday’s request asks for access to disaster housing, disaster grants, disaster-related unemployment insurance, and crisis counseling programs for those in Snohomish County and for the Stillaguamish, Sauk-Suiattle and Tulalip Indian tribes.

Steve Harris, a division supervisor for the search effort, said Monday that search teams have been learning more about the force of the slide, helping them better locate victims in a debris field that is 70 feet deep in places.

“There’s a tremendous amount of force and energy behind this,” Harris said of the slide.

Harris said search dogs are the primary tool for finding victims, and searchers are finding human remains four to six times per day. Sometimes crews only find partial remains, which makes the identification process harder.

Meanwhile, members of the Seattle Seahawks football team and Seattle Sounders soccer team were scheduled to visit with community members Monday evening.

Obamacare deadline meets glitches
Written by AP Wire   
Monday, March 31, 2014 8:00 PM


WASHINGTON (AP) — In a flood of last-minute sign-ups, hundreds of thousands of Americans rushed to apply for health insurance Monday, but deadline day for President Barack Obama's overhaul brought long, frustrating waits and a new spate of website ills.

"This is like trying to find a parking spot at Wal-Mart on Dec. 23," said Jason Stevenson, working with a Utah nonprofit group helping people enroll.

From the Archives - March 31, 2014
Written by Staff Reports   
Sunday, March 30, 2014 8:11 PM

One Year Ago

Another addition to the new location of the Wassenburg Art Center was unveiled on Thursday. Enhancing the entrance at 214 S. Washington St. will be a steel sculpture archway portal which will be crafted by sculptor Michael Bendele of Delphos. Bendele was on hand Thursday with a model of the work which will rise to a total height of 12 feet on either side of the sidewalk leading to the former Van Wert Armory Building which will soon become the new art center.


Volunteer ombudsman training to start soon
Written by Information submitted   
Sunday, March 30, 2014 8:10 PM

Information submitted


According to Points of Light, National Volunteer Week, April 6-12, is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities.

It’s about demonstrating to the nation that by working together, we have the fortitude to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals. It is about taking action and encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change – discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to make a difference. (http://www.pointsoflight.org/signature-events/national-volunteer-week)