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Spokane/East. Wash/North Idaho News Releases for Sun. Jan. 26 - 4:12 pm
Fri. 01/24/20
Bureau of Land Management Seeks Help Increasing Access to Public Lands
Bureau of Land Management Ore. & Wash. - 01/24/20 11:39 AM

As part of Dingell Act Implementation, BLM will publish priority list of land access issues, invite public review

As part of its efforts to implement the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking public assistance in identifying lands managed by the agency on which the public is allowed to hunt, fish, or use the land for other recreational purposes, but to which  there is no legal public access or where access is significantly restricted. Recommendations from the public will aid the BLM in creating a report to Congress that provides options for reasonably providing access to such lands, such as by acquiring an easement, right-of-way or fee title from a willing owner.

The BLM plans to post its first priority list online at BLM’s ePlanning website by Thursday, March 12, 2020.  The BLM will update the priority list every two years for at least the next decade. The public nomination period to identify parcels for inclusion on the BLM’s priority list will open on January 31, 2020, and will close on Saturday, February 29, 2020. Subsequent updates on BLM’s efforts will be published prior to the release of future priority lists in order to seek additional information and suggestions from the public. 

“The BLM has worked tirelessly with other federal and state agencies, public and private partners to proactively identify and address public land access issues for many years. Our priority is to increase access to public lands wherever possible, and to increase public opportunities for hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation across the more than 245 million acres of lands we manage,” said William Perry Pendley, BLM Deputy Director for Programs and Policy. “The John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act will help us expand and improve these efforts, and we welcome information from the public that will help us pinpoint barriers to access.”

All lands nominated for inclusion on the BLM’s priority must be managed by the BLM, encompass at least 640 contiguous acres and have significantly restricted or have no public access. BLM must also consider the likelihood of resolving identified access issues when determining whether to include parcels on the list. When submitting nominations, the public must include the location of the nominated land or parcel, total acreage affected (if known), a description or narrative describing the lack of access, and any additional information the BLM should consider when determining if the land should be on BLM’s priority list. BLM will not include any personally identifying information concerning owners or ownership of any parcels in preparing the priority list or related congressional reports.  

Public nominations will be accepted via the BLM’s ePlanning website.

This effort advances a primary goal of the Dingell Act (S. 47), which was signed into law by President Trump in March 2019. Section 4105 of the Act directs the BLM to develop a priority list, which identifies the location and acreage of BLM-managed parcels over 640 acres open to hunting, fishing, or other recreational purposes, and which have no legal public access or where access is significantly restricted.   

The BLM is working to implement Dingell Act tasks assigned in Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Utah, Montana/Dakotas, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon/Washington, and the Eastern States Office (Louisiana and Minnesota).  Implementing the Dingell Act is a top priority for Secretary of the Interior, David Bernhardt.  Implementing the Dingell Act will continue the Department of the Interior’s work to strike proper balance for land and resources management, increase access for hunting, fishing, and recreation, and create economic prosperity while protecting and preserving America’s treasures.   

To learn more about the Dingell Act and how it affects your public lands, please visit https://www.blm.gov/about/laws-and-regulations/dingell-act

ESD 123 Welcomes New Board Member, Matthew Backlund (Photo)
ESD 123 - 01/24/20 8:44 AM
New board member, Matthew Backlund
New board member, Matthew Backlund

PASCO, WA – During last night’s regular meeting, the board of directors at Educational Service District 123 welcomed their newest member, Mr. Matthew Backlund.  Mr. Backlund is serving Director District Number 6, which includes part of Kennewick. During the January board meeting, Mr. Backlund delivered his oath of office as he was sworn in by ESD Superintendent Mr. Darcy Weisner.

Managing teams in the Tri-Cities and Boise, Idaho, Mr. Backlund currently serves as Senior Vice President and Market Leader for Umpqua Bank.  He also serves on a number of community nonprofit boards and is actively involved as a Rotary member, local youth sports coach, and a Jr. Achievement classroom volunteer.

The ESD board of directors includes nine positions serving 23 school districts in seven counties.  For more information, visit the ESD website at www.esd123.org/about/board_of_directors or contact the ESD Superintendent’s Office at 509.544.5785.


Educational Service District 123, based in Pasco, WA, is one of nine ESDs in Washington. Dedicated to delivering collaborative solutions that promote learning, ESD 123 serves 23 school districts in seven counties of Southeastern Washington. Under Superintendent Darcy Weisner and its board of directors, this legislatively mandated, not-for-profit educational organization provides efficiency of educational systems and equity of learning opportunities for over 70,000 Washington students. For more information about ESD 123, please call 509-544-5700 or 888-547-8441 or visit www.esd123.org.

Attached Media Files: New board member, Matthew Backlund , Matthew Backlund delivering his oath of office, sworn in by Superintendent Weisner

Thu. 01/23/20
It's Time to Open Everyone's Eyes to Credit Unions (Photo)
Northwest Credit Union Assn. - 01/23/20 8:02 AM
Open Your Eyes Poster
Open Your Eyes Poster

A campaign urging consumers to consider credit unions as the best financial partner has launched throughout the Northwest.

SeaTac, Washington (Jan. 23, 2020) — Not-for-profit, cooperative credit unions operate to serve the people and businesses of Main Street, not shareholders on Wall Street. Those who join credit unions become member-owners, which means they get to keep their money where it belongs – in their wallets.

Consumers across the nation are choosing credit unions as their financial partners because they see the difference in service and savings. But for many, there are misconceptions about credit union membership. Some believe they can’t join because they don’t meet a membership requirement. Others fear it’s difficult to access funds while traveling, or that mobile banking, for example, won’t be available to them. All of these misconceptions couldn’t be further from the truth.

The credit union consumer consideration campaign, Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union®, dispels these myths. Earlier this month, the cooperative campaign – funded by Northwest credit unions – launched in the Northwest, joining 18 other regions across the country.

“Consumers are ready for a change,” said Danielle Sittu, Northwest Credit Union Association SVP of Marketing and Communications. “They want a financial partner that makes them the number-one priority. Anyone can join a credit union. In the Northwest, the credit union industry is robust and growing stronger every day.”

Consumers across Idaho, Oregon, and Washington are now beginning to see the campaign’s bold, black-and-white digital ads on Facebook and Instagram telling them about the credit union difference. They’re also watching high-energy videos on YouTube that urge them to take their money to the next level. The ads guide consumers to YourMoneyFurther.com, a website that educates them on the benefits of membership and helps them locate a nearby credit union.

As of last month, 9.2 million people have seen the ads on social media and 28.2 million have watched videos on YouTube, with more than 426 million total impressions. And the buzz is only growing.

“The interaction we’re seeing from across the United States is impressive,” Sittu said. “We’re proud of our strong Credit Union Movement here in the Northwest, where cooperative values are held in high regard. And we are so excited to share, with consumers, why and how credit unions are the better financial services choice.”

To learn more about the Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union® campaign, visit YourMoneyFurther.com, and check it out on Twitter and Facebook.


The Northwest Credit Union Association is the trade association representing more than 175 not-for-profit, cooperative credit unions in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, and their 7.3  million consumer members. Those members are served by a professional workforce of 18,700 professionals. According to an independent analysis by economists at ECONorthwest, Northwest credit unions drove a positive economic impact of $7.8 billion last year. For information on how to join a credit union, please visit: https://yourmoneyfurther.com


Attached Media Files: News Release , Open Your Eyes Poster

Partners in Science Celebrates 30 Years of Hands-On Training for High School Educators
M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust - 01/23/20 6:30 AM

January 23, 2020


Partners in Science Celebrates 30 Years of Hands-On Training for High School Educators

Program marks three decades of service, honors Salem-Keizer teacher


Vancouver, WA – The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust celebrated the 30th anniversary of Partners in Science this week at the professional development program’s annual conference.


Partners in Science is a unique opportunity for high school science educators from around the Pacific Northwest to work one-on-one with a mentor conducting cutting-edge science research in an academic lab, a lab associated with another nonprofit institution or a national lab. Participants spend two summers in this environment, bringing their experiences back to their classrooms during the school year to help facilitate hands-on research to inspire and engage students from all backgrounds.


“Our benefactor, Jack Murdock, believed strongly in the power of hands-on research to inspire learning and spark innovation, particularly in the areas of STEM subjects that are so critical in our modern world,” said Dr. Moses Lee, senior program director for scientific research and enrichment programs, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. “We hear from educators regularly that this type of professional development opportunity is incredibly valuable in helping grow and enrich their teaching experience. We are grateful to play a small role in supporting educators in all communities across the Pacific Northwest.”


Partners in Science

Since it was founded in 1990, nearly 600 teachers from public and private high schools in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington have had the opportunity to grow their professional experience by collaborating on science research with researcher mentors through the Partners in Science program. Nearly 340 educators have returned for an additional session and continued mentorship.


Participation in the two-year program is funded entirely through a Murdock Trust grant. In addition to the two-year mentorship program, participants also attend an annual conference, where they have the opportunity to present their work to their peers. Following the original grant, partners can apply for a two-year supplemental grant to translate their research experiences back to their classroom; thus, directly transforming their habits of teaching and student learning.


“Science can’t just be taught with a text book and lecture notes. Teachers and students need to have an opportunity to see how the work comes to life in real-world scenarios,” said Kim Newman, program director, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. Newman oversees the Partners in Science program and was a former participant when she was a biology and technology teacher at Camas High School. She notes that the impact of Partners in Science can be felt both by students and by the participants themselves.


“Many of our educators report feeling an increased confidence in their teaching after completing the program,” Newman added. “But we also see it in the classroom. Many Partners alumni transition from a ‘recipe’ style of lesson planning—where students are told to follow specific steps that will lead to a specific result—to an inquiry- based lesson plan, where students are given an opportunity to experiment with no defined path and the opportunity to hypothesize and discover the outcome themselves.”


Honoring Excellence


As part of the Partners in Science 30-year anniversary, the Murdock Trust introduced the new Murdock Exemplary Teacher-Researcher Award (META), honoring outstanding service by a Partners participant. This year’s winner, Dr. Jason Niedermeyer, is a biology teacher at South Salem High School and adjunct professor at Western Oregon University. 


“Dr. Niedermeyer is the definition of what the Partners in Science program is about as he is regularly praised by faculty and students for finding ways to bring science to life and get his students excited about research,” said Newman. “We are so pleased we can honor his outstanding work at this year’s conference and that we will be able to recognize more educators at future conferences.”


META includes an $8,000 cash award that is shared between the recipient and their school to support future, hands-on research opportunities.


For more information on the Partners in Science Program, please visit our website murdocktrust.org.



About M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust

The Murdock Trust, created by the will of the late Melvin J. (Jack) Murdock, provides grants to organizations in five states of the Pacific Northwest—Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington—that seek to strengthen the region’s educational, spiritual and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways. Since its inception in 1975, the Trust has awarded more than 6,800 grants totaling more than $1 billion. For more information, find the Murdock Trust on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and on our website.