10269631_10152799945013312_7187888118058125599_nASK THE METEOROLOGIST

“What is cloud seeding?”
Janine Muse
Connections Academy
Gold Hill

There are several types of cloud seeding, but the one done at the Rogue Valley International Medford Airport involves releasing a balloon that disperses crushed dry ice. Other ways include shooting a canister into the fog/clouds with silver iodide or dry ice or flying through/over the clouds to release the chemical. This chemical essentially provides a nuclei for ice/water droplets to form on and create larger droplets that can fall to the ground as snow, rain or even freezing rain. When fog/cloud molecules turn to rain or snow they disperse and clearer skies develop and planes are able to depart and land at the airport!

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Meteorologist Megan Parry

ferryJindo, South Korea (CNN) — South Korean authorities searched the offices of the company that owns the sunken ferry Sewol on Wednesday, prosecutors confirmed to CNN, broadening a criminal investigation that has already ensnared 11 members of the ill-fated ship’s crew.

Investigators also searched the offices of 20 organizations affiliated with Cheonghaejin Marine Co. as well as the home of Yoo Byung-eun, a billionaire whose family appears to control the company, according to the semiofficial Yonhap News Agency.

Yoo is known in South Korea as the “millionaire with no face” because he rarely appears in public. According to major South Korean newspapers, he also has an artistic alter ego — Ahae — as a photographer who has won international acclaim.

His website appears to show Yoo taking pictures, but his face is not visible.

Through an investment vehicle and subsidiary, Yoo and his two sons control the shipping company that operated the ferry. Korean tax authorities say that under the family’s ownership, the ferry company has been struggling and reported a loss last year.

Days after the ferry sank, the company sent out its president to apologize, but not Yoo — who’s had a brush with bad publicity before.

In 1987, he was a religious cult leader. More than 30 people from his group were found dead, bound and gagged in a factory outside of Seoul. Officials investigated the incident as a mass murder-suicide, but found no evidence tying the event to Yoo.

Prosecutors in the South Korean city of Busan are also investigating the private organization responsible for inspecting and certifying ships for the South Korean government, Yonhap reported.

Investigators are looking for any evidence of possible wrongdoing in relation to the Korean Register of Shipping’s safety inspection of the Sewol, the news agency reported, citing an unnamed prosecutor.

The Sewol sank April 16 during a routine trip from Incheon to the resort island of Jeju. Among its 476 passengers and crew were more than 300 high school students on a field trip.

As of early Thursday, authorities had retrieved 159 bodies, leaving 143 passengers missing.

Eleven members of the Sewol’s crew, including its captain, have been arrested in connection with the disaster.

Capt. Lee Joon-seok and some other crew members have been criticized for failing to evacuate the sinking ship quickly and for giving orders for passengers to remain where they were. Lee has said he was worried about the cold water, strong currents and lack of rescue vessels.

Lee and others have also drawn public anger for leaving the ship while many passengers remained on board.

Authorities still do not know precisely what caused the incident. It did not appear that the ship was overloaded, according to figures provided by the company and the South Korean coast guard. But coast guard officials said investigators won’t know for sure how much cargo the ship was carrying until it is salvaged.

federal-courthouseEUGENE, Ore. — People on both sides of the same-sex marriage issue are closely watching what happens in Eugene.

Those supporting same-sex marriage say the current ban creates inequalities, and they hope the state can come together and unite behind same-sex couples. But members of a national organization says they’re countering this suit because they say marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

Ben West and Paul Rummell, who have been together for eight years. They had a commitment ceremony in 2010. They say they’re just like any other couple in the state.

“It looked legal. It sure did. It felt legal, but it wasn’t legal. It cost as much,” West said.

But they’re trying to change that, along with two other couples filing suit against the state of Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage.

“It’s affirming as an individual to know that your union is legitimate and secure,” West said.

But a national group is filing a suit against lifting the ban because they believe a marriage should be between a man and a woman.

“Because it takes a man and a woman to produce a baby, and the reason society across human history has developed the institution of marriage is to provide a safe environment for the children and the offspring of that man and woman,” said John Eastman, National Organization for Marriage.

But in Oregon, it’s legal for same-sex couples to adopt.

“The state of Oregon gives us the legal right to adopt, but we don’t have a lot of the same protections that traditional married couples have, so it creates inequalities,” Rummell said.

But the National Organization for Marriage says that doesn’t matter.

“The biological complementary of the sexes has always been at the core of the institution of marriage, and when you weaken that, when you say that’s irrelevant, when you say that the institution is more about relationship between two adults, we believe that it’s necessarily going to undermine the benefits of society,” Eastman said.

So in the next month, as a judge hears both sides of the argument, those on each side of the fence are hoping their voices are heard.

“It will weaken the institutional bonds that marriage has always provided,” Eastman said.

“I could go to Vancouver across the river, pop over to the courthouse and get married. So my marriage is legally defined by the Columbia River,” West said.

Basic Rights Oregon says if the judge lifted the ban, it would allow for 7,000-8,000 same-sex couples in the state to marry. The judge will hear the National Organization of Marriage’s case on May 14.

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WEATHER DISCUSSION

A warm front is bringing increasing rain and wind to the region this evening with the heaviest rain falling overnight into tomorrow morning ahead of a cold front. While in the warm sector tonight and Thursday morning snow levels will climb to 6,000 to 7,000 feet, so this will mainly be a rain event for most areas with snow at Crater Lake and Diamond Lake. After the cold front passes Thursday snow levels will drop to 5,000 feet Thursday afternoon and down to 4,000′ overnight Thursday. The heaviest precipitation will be over when snow levels drop but those heading of the Cascade passes should be prepare for winter travel into Friday morning.

An upper-level trough will sit over the Pacific Northwest Friday bringing continued showers though showers will be lighter compared to tonight. There will be a break in the rain late Friday into Saturday with rain returning to the coast Saturday afternoon and spreading inland late Saturday. Spotty showers will continue Sunday then drier and warmer weather returns next week.

Share your weather reports and photos with me on Facebook and Twitter! Thanks for logging on and have a great evening!

Meteorologist Megan Parry

Oregon State PoliceMEDFORD, Ore. — Police are urging you to “move over” as part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Oregon State Police and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department are teaming up, and on Thursday they will be stepping up their patrols and enforcing the Oregon “Move Over” Law.

The law requires drivers to get into the left lane if an emergency vehicle with lights on is parked on the side of the road.   If you can’t get over, you must slow down — and drive at least five miles under the speed limit.

”Sometimes people can’t get over, and we understand that, but the law says you have to slow down, and do the best you can to move over,” said Sgt. Jeff Proulx. “Truck drivers are aware of it, and they do a good job, but a lot of citizens are not aware of the law so they just stay in that lane.”

Oregon enacted the move over law nearly 10 years ago.  Most of the enforcement will be between mile marker 27 and mile marker 40 along I-5.

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MEDFORD, Ore. — Catrina Quintana remembers when her son had his first allergic reaction three years ago. He was eating a treat with almonds his grandfather gave him.

“He spit it out really fast and started crying, and we’re like ‘Asher, what’s going on?’” said Quintana.

Quintana said her son’s allergy to peanuts and tree nuts caught her by surprise.

“No one in our family has food allergies. I didn’t even know what to look for,” said Quintana.

Allergic reactions like in the case of Quintana’s son can be off set with epinephrine, administered through a self-injectable device.

Now, Grants Pass School District 7 has changed their policy and will allow trained staff to help with the potentially lifesaving medication, not just licensed health care providers.

“We’d rather err on the side of those people having access to epinephrine auto injectors to use at appropriate scenarios than waiting, for example, a school nurse,” said Dr. Kevin Parks of The Allergy and Asthma Center of Southern Oregon.

Doctor Kevin parks says nearly half of all reactions occur before a diagnosis has been made.   For that reason, doctor parks said it’s essential auto injector devices are available for use.

“This explains to the person who is administering it how to do it, even in a stressful situation when a child may be having an anaphylactic reaction. If a person has never used an auto injector, the device can actually walk them through the process,” said Dr. Parks.

Quintana’s son is home schooled, but she says the new policy change will have an impact in an emergency.

“A lot of times, you don’t have enough time to get to a school nurse to administer epi, so hopefully teachers are able to do that,” said Quintana.

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NEAR LOST CREEK LAKE, Ore. — Trout fishing season starts this weekend, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is getting lakes and reservoirs ready to go.

Throughout the month of April, more than 50,000 trout will be released from Cole Rivers Hatchery.  They will be dumped into lakes and reservoirs around southern Oregon. Each trout costs ODFW roughly 50 cents to disperse, but officials said it’s worth it.

The cost of stocking is paid for by angler dollars and the Sport Fish and Recreation Fund. Not all water bodies are being stocked with fish now, Howard Prairie and Hyatt lakes were stocked last fall.

“These are hatchery fish,” said David Pease, Cole Rivers Hatchery manager.  “We get them in as eggs. We raise them up. It takes just over a year to get them legal size and then we start putting them out.”

ODFW said drought conditions are not impacting their fish stocking.   ODFW fish biologists said while the lack of water may make it difficult for boats to get in the water, the fish will be fine as we head into warmer weather.

comedy of errorsMEDFORD, Ore.– For the twelfth straight year, students at Orchard Hill Elementary are preparing to put on their own Shakespeare Festival.

On Wednesday, 5th graders practiced their version of the Comedy of Errors. Director, Jim Amberg, said he picks the play based on what is happening at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival that year. Amberg said, the cast was determined before Christmas break to make sure there was enough time to memorize all the lines.

“I have truly done it with third graders up through high school. I know that if you convince the kids that they can understand the language, they’ll deliver, and they do year after year.”

Admission is free. The show will be performed seven times on Thursday and Friday.

Show times are Thursday (April 24) 8:45 am, 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, and 7:00 pm and

Friday (April 25) 8:45 am, 10:30 am, and 7:00 pm.

 

angel investSAMS VALLEY, Ore. – Jim Romano isn’t your average brewer.

While many in the Rogue Valley flock to the wine and craft brewing industry, Romano is going medieval, brewing his own mead. The drink is made from fermented honey and grains, and offers an alternative to traditional wine and beer.

“I like to pull my recipes from ancient history, the brewing habits of our ancestors, before hops came to dominate,” Romano said.

Romano launched Fire Cirkl Brewing to get the drink to the public. Now he wants to entice local investors to pull a seat up to the bar, as he attempts to win a $200,000 investment in the 2014 Southern Oregon Angel Investment Network Conference. Romano said the investment would be used to help market the drinks, which are already available at several local stores and supermarkets.

“What I need is help, I need someone to jump in here and is part of this business,” Romano said.

But Fire Cirkle is the only southern Oregon business in this year’s Southern Oregon Angel Conference. The four other finalists are from Portland, Hood River, and Cottage Grove. Organizers said that is a surprising development after the success of previous conferences, which have invested more than $700,000 into Oregon businesses in the past three years.

“We all would have thought that would be a large enough carrot to induce a lot of entrepreneurs,” said Steve Vincent, who is organizing this year’s conference.

Vincent said very few local companies applied this year, and many of those that did were not at the level investors were looking for. Vincent said many did not have the potential to grow as a business, or lacked a definite business plan.

“They’re companies that just aren’t quite ready for a quarter of a million dollar investment to launch,” he said.

The conference was established in 2011 as a way to help grow local business, and Vincent said it’s hard to see so few local businesses in the running this year. But he added that the Angel Investors were also taking into consideration how their money would be spent. He said in the end, some companies from outside the Rogue Valley seemed like better investments.

“There’s an expectation for a rate of return and not philanthropy,” he said. “So they still have to make a decision about what is the very best investment to make.”

The 2014 Southern Oregon Angel Investment Network Conference will be held April 30 at Bigham Knoll in Jacksonville.

add school daysMEDFORD, Ore. — Medford Schools may soon be adding extra days in the classroom, and could bring back parent teacher conferences.

The district eliminated the conferences in 2012 in order to add instructional days. Now, the school board could add five days in the classroom for the upcoming school year, to bring the total instructional days to 175. Superintendent Phil Long said it could also mean the return of the parent teacher conferences.

“It’s trying to get back to a standard where we can provide the full quality education we want for our kids,” Long said.

Next week, the district plans to send out a survey to parents, teachers and administrators, asking what they would like to see with the reinstated parent teacher conferences, and what times would be most convenient.

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