Newstrackers (Feb. 26)

Newstrackers (Feb. 26)

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OSU’s cutting Edge

The story: Dan Edge, head of Oregon State University’s fisheries and wildlife science department, began serving as chairman of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission in July. Edge has been on the commission since 2004 and has served as vice chair since 2007. The commission sets policy for the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the department has 1,000 employees who implement policy statewide.

The story: Edge, who’s served as the university’s department head for nearly 12 years, recently received the 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association. Edge is a supporter of online education, and his department — ranked as one of the best in the U.S. — it was the first in the nation to offer an online bachelor’s degree in fisheries and wildlife. This spring, the department will launch the nation’s first professional science masters in fisheries and wildlife administration.

Gail Cole

Albany arson fires

The story: The city of Albany has permission from the court to tear down two houses destroyed in arson fires just over a year ago. The houses are at 129 Sixth Ave. S.E. and 2211 Jefferson Court S.E. The city is waiting to get court authority to bulldoze a third house also destroyed by arson at 116 13th Ave. N.E.

The latest: The city attorney’s office has filed a motion for summary judgment to allow the city to deal with the dangerous conditions at the 13th Avenue house by demolishing the structure and then cleaning up the lot. The demolition there has not gone as swiftly as hoped because of the owner’s struggles with her insurance company. On Wednesday, the city solicited bids to demolish the other two houses. Contractors have until 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 6, to respond. Once the contract is awarded, work must start around April 2, and completion and cleanup must be finished before April 20.

Cathy Ingalls

Sex abuse allegations

The story: Former Lebanon High School band teacher Joshua Head, who moved on to take a job with the Beaverton School District in 2007, was arrested Jan. 4 in connection with allegations that he sexually abused a female student while employed in the Lebanon district.

The latest: Head, 34, was arraigned Feb. 1 in Linn County Circuit Court on four counts of third-degree sex abuse. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for March 5. Jonathan Crow is the prosecutor. The state Teachers Standards and Practices Commission also began an investigation into the allegations and that investigation remains open.

Jennifer Moody

Linn adds E-Verify

The story: In December, Salem resident David Cross asked the board of commissioners whether Linn County participated in the Department of Homeland Security’s E-verify data, which can help employers determine whether someone has legal residency status in the U.S. The commissioners thought they had been using E-Verify, but were actually making in-depth background checks through the Social Security Administration database.

The latest: According to county administrator Ralph Wyatt, staff recently completed training with the E-Verify system and the county is now registered to use the free system. In addition to searching the Social Security database, E-verify also searched more than 80 million Department of Homeland Security records. Seventeen of Oregon’s 36 counties are registered with E-Verify.

Alex Paul

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