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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City of Florence

Tom Turner will leave his job as Lane County Sheriff at the end of April. He'll take the job of Florence Police Chief May 1st. KLCC's Rachael McDonald asked him why he made the change.

City of Eugene

For the first time in 6 years, Eugene is not looking at a budget shortfall.

The 516-million-dollar proposed budget for fiscal year 2016 maintains the city's current level of services. The Sheldon branch of the Eugene Public Library will get another year of funding.

Twyla Miller is the city's Acting Budget and Analysis Manager.

Miller: "Our revenue picture really has improved. So, we are seeing property tax revenues in particular at pre-recession growth levels. And our general fund is almost 70 percent funded by property taxes."

Rachael McDonald

The Lane County Board of Commissioners today [Wednesday] chose Byron Trapp to be the next Sheriff. The Chief Deputy will replace Tom Turner when he leaves to be Florence Chief of Police at the end of the month.

City of Eugene

The bridge that connected the old Eugene City Hall to the Lane County Building has been sent to the scrap heap. The city tried to give it away, but there were no takers.

Mike Penwell, Eugene City Hall Project Manager, says the bridge was steeper than what's allowable under Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. It was also narrower than what is standard for bike and pedestrian bridges. The city had wanted to give the bridge away.

A hearing is scheduled Monday in Federal Court in Eugene on a lawsuit filed by Newport Fisherman's Wives against the Coast Guard. The suit was filed after the agency said they would close the Newport rescue helicopter facility at the end of last year. That closure was put off until January 2016.

The plaintiffs are asking Judge Michael McShane to suspend their lawsuit since the Coast Guard may still close the helicopter station. The coast guard has asked for the case to be dismissed.

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The U.S. Senate Tuesday approved a renewal of timber payments to rural counties. The two-year extension is expected to bring 85 million dollars to Oregon. The bill is on its way to the President's desk and he's expected to sign it.

Lane County spokeswoman Anne Marie Levis says the county expects to receive about 6 million dollars for fiscal years 2014 and 2015. She says the renewal of Secure Rural Schools funding is welcome news. But since 2008, the county's share of federal timber payments has gone down 73 percent. Levis says budget planners want to use the money wisely.

www.purdue.edu

Oregon's unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent last month. That's the first time the state's jobless numbers have inched below the national rate since 1996.

State economist Nick Beleiciks says this shows just how well Oregon's economy has improved over the last year.

Angela Kellner

The Lane County Board of Commissioners agreed Tuesday to extend by 2 years a property tax break for Swanson Group. The company plans to rebuild its plywood mill in Springfield this summer.

Eugene Police

The shooting of an unarmed African American man by a police officer in South Carolina this week has people talking about the videotaping of police. KLCC's Rachael McDonald spoke with Eugene Police Chief Pete Kerns.

City of Eugene

The popular trail to the summit of Spencer Butte in south Eugene will be closed Thursday. The city is building a new clearly marked trail at the rocky top of the butte.

Crews started work on the new trail last week.
Philip Richardson is with the City of Eugene's Parks and Open Space Division.

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