Rachael McDonald

Morning Edition Host / Reporter

Rachael McDonald started her career at KLCC as a volunteer in the newsroom in 2000.  Rachael was hired by the Northwest News Network to establish their Richland bureau in 2004. She reported on the progress of cleanup at Hanford Nuclear Reservation, chemical weapons destruction at the Umatilla Chemical Depot, agriculture and wine. Rachael returned to KLCC in 2007 to be the host of Morning Edition. She also reports on Lane County, forest issues and a variety of other local and regional stories. Rachael has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Oregon. Rachael has won numerous awards for her reporting including first place from PRNDI for her story "Garden Brings Community Together" and for her interview with Naseem Rhaka, author of "The Crying Tree".  Rachael enjoys reading, hiking, biking and cooking.

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Justice
11:45 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Attorney Says Pete Seda Has Been Vindicated

Pete Seda, (center) and his attorney Steven Wax (left) leave the Federal Courthouse in Eugene following his sentencing hearing. This is a file photo from 2010.
Credit Rachael McDonald

This week the US Attorney for Oregon announced a plea agreement with the former Ashland-based Islamic charity Al Haramain and its former head Pete Seda. Seda pleaded guilty to tax fraud. In return the government dropped all criminal charges against him. Seda had been convicted in 2010 on charges of funneling 150 thousand dollars to Chechen rebels. A federal appeals court last summer overturned that conviction. KLCC's Rachael McDonald spoke with Seda's attorney, Steven Wax who is with the Public Defender's office in Portland.

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Crime & Law
12:42 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Tax Fraud Plea Agreement Closes Case Involving Islamic Charity

Pete Seda is former head of the Ashland-based Al Haramain charity.
Credit AP

The saga involving an Ashland-based Islamic Charity and its former head has finally come to a close. The US Attorney for Oregon has dismissed criminal charges against Pete Seda  in return for a guilty plea to tax fraud.

 

Seda served 33 months in prison after being convicted in 2010 on charges of smuggling money to Chechen rebels. Last summer, a Federal Appeals Court overturned the conviction and remanded it for retrial. Assistant U-S Attorney Chris Cardani prosecuted the original case.  He says the plea agreement avoids a return to court.

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Lane County
11:06 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Lane County Offers Free Access to Select Emails

Lane County Administrator Steve Mokrohisky.
Credit Lane County

Lane County is trying to be more open to the public by providing free access to emails and to meeting rooms.

Members of the public and the media can now go to the County Administrator's office and log-in to a computer terminal to read emails between the County Commissioners and the Administrator. The terminal displays messages in an email group collected when constituents contact their commissioners from the Lane County website. County Administrator Steve Mokrohisky says these emails have been available by request, for a fee, in the past.

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World Junior Championships
5:40 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Police Locate Fourth Ethiopian Track Athlete

The four Ethiopian athletes were in Eugene for the IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field.
Credit oregon14.com

The fourth Ethiopian track athlete who was reported missing from the World Junior Championships in Eugene has been found. Zeyituna Mohammed was found safe Tuesday evening in Federal Way, Washington. The 18-year old was contacted at the home of an acquaintance by Federal Way Police. The University of Oregon Police had been investigating a missing persons case since last Friday when four Ethiopian athletes were reported missing. Three of them were located in Beaverton, Oregon, Monday. Police say all four athletes are safe and the case is closed.

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Climate Change
10:26 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Eugene Passes Climate Ordinance

Eugene City Councilor Alan Zelenka proposed the Climate Recovery Ordinance.
Credit City of Eugene

Advocates of a climate reduction plan say Eugene is the first city in the country to put its carbon reduction targets into law. The City Council Monday passed the Climate Recovery Ordinance with a 6 to 2 vote.

The proposal includes a plan to reduce the city's output of greenhouse gasses, monitor progress, and requires the city manager to bring back a community carbon reduction goal. Councilor Alan Zelenka proposed the ordinance, but he credits young people for pushing for action on climate change.

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Eugene Sick Leave
6:25 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Eugene Approves Sick Leave Ordinance

Credit tallasiandude / Flickr

The Eugene City Council has joined Seattle, Portland and San Francisco in approving a mandatory sick leave law. The ordinance passed Monday on a 5-3 vote.

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Wildfire
1:13 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Lightning Could Spark More Wildfires This Week

The Buzzard Complex of fires is currently the largest in the nation. It's burnt more than 600 acres of rangeland southeast of Burns.
Credit Schin Haakenson / Inciweb

Most of the major wildfires burning in Oregon are at or near containment, but a new round of intense lightning storms is forecast this week.

Fire officials say 6 of the 11 large wildfires in Oregon now range from 80 percent to fully contained. The blazes are burning east of the Cascades.
Carol Connolly with the Northwest Coordination Center says lightning is expected for the next couple of days.

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World Junior Championships
10:54 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Four Ethiopian Athletes Missing After World Junior Championships

The IAAF World Junior Championships took place at Hayward Field July 22 - 27.
Credit oregon14.com

A group of Ethiopian athletes in Eugene for the World Junior Track & Field Championships have been missing since Saturday.

The University of Oregon Police Department is leading the search for the three women and a 17-year old boy.  They're part of a 30 member team from Ethiopia. U of O spokeswoman Julie Brown:

Brown:"We have heard 2nd and 3rd hand, so indirectly from others, that the four athletes are safe and that they are with family and friends in other parts of the state. So at this point we don't have any reason to believe that they are in harm's way."

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Fish Kill
11:07 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Fish Kill Likely Caused By Mill Fire

The fire at the Springfield mill likely caused the fish kill in the nearby millrace.
Credit Angela Kellner

The fire that destroyed a Springfield mill a week ago likely also caused a fish die-off in the nearby millrace.

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Eugene Sick Leave
1:34 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Lane County Board Acts Against Eugene Sick Leave Ordinance

The Lane County Board of Commissioners listened to public comment Monday before approving three ordinances that would effect Eugene's efforts to pass a sick leave ordinance. Commissioner Pete Sorenson was traveling and did not vote.
Credit Rachael McDonald

The Lane County Board of Commissioners has made the unprecedented move of barring cities in the county from passing laws that impact employment. The vote Monday morning is meant to pre-empt the City of Eugene's efforts to pass a sick leave ordinance.

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