Public meeting May 3 on county behavioral health lay-offs

Public meeting Thursday, May 3, on county behavioral health lay-offs

The impact of last week’s abrupt layoff of nine mental health and addiction counselors, and several part time staffers in the Lincoln County Department of Health and Human Services’ Behavioral Health Division will be the sole topic this Thursday [May 3] at the regular monthly public meeting of the Lincoln County Addiction Prevention and Recovery Committee (APARC), in Newport.

The committee (also known as the Local Alcohol and Drug Abuse Planning Committee) is the state-mandated addictions advisory committee for Lincoln County.

APARC Chair Chandler Davis said County Commissioner Doug Hunt, who directly oversees the health department and interim health department Director Rebecca Austen have both agreed to attend the meeting, along with County Attorney Wayne Belmont, to answer questions about the decision.

Davis is also the Vice Chair of the county’s state mandated Mental Health Advisory Committee (MHAC), which also meets on Thursdays, and he will be chairing both meetings, “This decision is of equal concern to the mental health committee, of course, but we meet consecutively so I was able to clear the APARC agenda to allow for an hour of discussion and questions immediately following the mental health meeting, between 1:30 and 2:30 pm.”

The two statutory citizens’ committees are responsible for assessing addiction and mental health needs in both the private and public sectors of the community and informing the county commissioners and the public. Members include treatment and prevention professionals, treatment consumers, and representatives from law enforcement and the courts, the medical community, and the faith community.

Both the mental health and addiction treatment impacts will be discussed at the meeting, and members of both committees will be urged to attend. Other members of the public — including county health department clients who will be directly impacted —  are encouraged to attend and will be allowed to participate in the discussion and to ask questions as time allows.

The two committees meet every first Thursday from noon to 2:30 pm in Room 207 at the health department’s temporary administrative headquarters in the Western Title Building half a block south of Newport City Hall, at 255 SW Coast Highway. For more information, call or email Lauri Snow at the committees’ county office at 541-265-0441 or

Governor Brown Celebrates Future Ready Opportunities in Eastern Oregon

Governor Brown Celebrates Future Ready Opportunities in Eastern Oregon

(La Grande, OR) — Governor Kate Brown celebrated Eastern Oregon University‘s (EOU) campus expansion and official designation as Oregon’s Rural University. The Governor’s visit to La Grande was part of a three-day tour of Eastern Oregon to highlight new investments and programs in the region that support the Governor’s Future Ready Oregon initiative. The initiative, announced earlier this year, closes the gap between the skills Oregon’s workers have and the skills Oregon’s growing businesses need to thrive in the economy of the future.

“The strength of communities in Eastern Oregon and the local economy depends on students who are prepared for the workforce of the future,” Governor Kate Brown said. “Thanks to new and collaborative initiatives and an investment from the state, EOU is expanding opportunities to more students, making it possible for students who love this region to stay and work here.”

As part of the EOU campus visit, Governor Brown signed HB 5702, which includes $9 million in capital funding for a new Fieldhouse. The new facility will provide flexible space for the region for physical activity, as well as an exercise lab and instructional space for EOU’s physical activity and health degree program. Funding for the project is part of a larger, statewide investment package that includes new facilities on the campuses of Oregon State University – Cascades and the University of Oregon.

These projects serve high-need, growing communities, and each will feature Oregon manufactured wood products — particularly cross-laminated timber — in construction. Additionally, Governor Brown announced the launch of the Urban-Rural Ambassadors Program, a partnership with EOU, Portland State University, and Oregon Solutions.

Discovery of new material is key step toward more powerful computing by Steve Lundeberg

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new material created by Oregon State University researchers is a key step toward the next generation of supercomputers.

Those “quantum computers” will be able to solve problems well beyond the reach of existing computers while working much faster and consuming vastly less energy.

Researchers in OSU’s College of Science have developed an inorganic compound that adopts a crystal structure capable of sustaining a new state of matter known as quantum spin liquid, an important advance toward quantum computing.

In the new compound, lithium osmium oxide, osmium atoms form a honeycomb-like lattice, enforcing a phenomenon called “magnetic frustration” that could lead to quantum spin liquid as predicted by condensed matter physics theorists.

Corresponding author Mas Subramanian, Milton Harris Professor of Materials Science at OSU, explains that in a permanent magnet like a compass needle, the electrons spin in an aligned manner – that is, they all rotate in the same direction.

“But in a frustrated magnet, the atomic arrangement is such that the electron spins cannot achieve an ordered alignment and instead are in a constantly fluctuating state, analogous to how ions would appear in a liquid,” Subramanian said.

The lithium osmium oxide discovered at OSU shows no evidence for magnetic order even when frozen to nearly absolute zero, which suggests an underlying quantum spin liquid state is possible for the compound, he said.

“We are excited about this new development as it widens the search area for new quantum spin liquid materials that could revolutionize the way we process and store data,” Subramanian said. “The quantum spin liquid phenomenon has so far been detected in very few inorganic materials, some containing iridium. Osmium is right next to iridium in the periodic table and has all the right characteristics to form compounds that can sustain the quantum spin liquid state.”

Arthur Ramirez, condensed matter physicist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, one of the co-authors in the paper, noted that this compound is the first honeycomb-structured material to contain osmium and expects more to follow.

Ramirez also noted that this study demonstrates the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration involving materials chemists and condensed matter physicists engaged in synthesis, theory and measurements to tackle emerging science like quantum spin liquid.

The next step for Subramanian’s team is exploring the chemistry needed to create various perfectly ordered crystal structures with osmium.

The National Science Foundation is funding the research through its DMREF program: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future. Findings were published today in Scientific Reports.

The concept of quantum computing is based on the ability of subatomic particles to exist in more than one state at any time.

Classical computing relies on bits – pieces of information that exist in one of two states, a 0 or a 1. In quantum computing, information is translated to quantum bits, or qubits, that can store much more information than a 0 or 1 because they can be in any “superposition” of those values.

Think of bits and qubits by visualizing a sphere. A bit can only be at either of the two poles on the sphere, whereas a qubit can be anywhere on the sphere. What that means is much more information storage potential and much less energy consumption.

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