Funding for Vernonia Schools/Rural Health Care Included in Labor/Health Appropriations Bill

Washington, D.C.
– Working to improve access to rural
health care, much-needed school equipment and support for military families,
U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D- Ore.) and Jeff Merkley (D- Ore.) announced that the
Labor and Health and Human Services appropriations bill headed to the Senate
floor includes more than $1.4 million in projects for Oregon.

“Whether by providing badly-needed classroom computers in
flood-ravaged Vernonia, extending a hand to our returning soldiers, or fueling
economic development in distressed parts of the state, the projects in this
bill will improve the lives of many Oregonians,” said Wyden.

 “A strong education system and quality health care
services are vital components of a healthy economy,” said Merkley. 
“These funds will improve health care access for rural and underserved
populations, supply our soldiers and veterans with the medical care they
deserve, and invest in education facilities while creating jobs.”

The bill will be considered by the full Senate and upon
passage will be reconciled with the version passed by the House of
Representatives and then sent to the President for his signature. Funding will
only be available at the end of the process.

Some of the appropriations in the bill include:

Helping our Heroes – Preventing
Suicide Among Oregon Soldiers and Providing Support to Military Families –

This project will create a
dedicated Oregon line at Oregon Partnership’s LifeLine Call Center for
returning soldiers and their families dealing with mental health, suicide, and
alcohol and drug problems. The program will provide hands-on support to military
children and families prior to, during, and after the deployment of a parent or
loved one. Calls will be answered by trained war veterans.

Renovation and Repair of Asher
Community Health Center – $200,000

This project will help bring the
37-year-old health center, the only one in Wheeler County, up to current
construction standards.

Vernonia School Equipment
Replacement – $150,000

This project will fund new network
infrastructure, computer equipment, and furniture in all three Vernonia schools
damaged by the flooding in 2007. The funding would also go toward the
technology needed to provide adequate internet and computer access for

Women Veterans Trauma
Rehabilitation Center – $100,000

Funds will be used to help
reconfigure and recommission the Eastern Oregon Training Center (EOTC) to offer
post-acute and intermediate-term treatment and rehabilitation for women
veterans who have suffered post-traumatic stress, brain trauma, sexual trauma,
and related forms of debilitating physical and psychological injury in the
course of military service. 

Northeastern Oregon Business
and Economic Growth Project, Blue Mountain Community College – $100,000

This project is designed to fuel
economic development in Northeastern Oregon, a rural, economically distressed
region, with an at-risk population characterized by high poverty, high
unemployment, and low educational attainment. It will expand access for the
local population to a wider and deeper range of postsecondary education and
training programs, to increase the number of skilled and educated workers in
the region, and to establish the comprehensive postsecondary-education
infrastructure required to attract new businesses to the area.

Cove Health Clinic – $100,000         

This funding will be used to help
construct a 1,200 square foot health care services building in Cove,
Oregon.  The building, leased to South County Health District
professionals, will assist them in providing health care to underserved, rural

Providing Early Childhood Development
and Education Via Therapeutic Classrooms for Children at Risk of Abuse and
Neglect – $100,000

Funding for this project will help
create therapeutic classrooms in each of the 11 Relief Nurseries in Oregon.
This is a program that supports natural and normal development of children who
are experiencing challenges early in their lives due to the stresses of their
home environment and threat of abuse.

Making Smiles, Changing Lives:
Providing Low-Cost Dental Care to Uninsured, Underserved Children – $100,000

This funding will go toward
improving Kiddazzle, a program that recruits dental professionals to provide
low-cost or free restorative and preventive dental services to uninsured or
underserved children. This funding will increase the number of volunteers in
the network, penetrate rural, outlying and hard-to-reach communities in each
county, provide follow-up care for children receiving emergency care through
other programs, and educate target populations on preventive care.

Simulation Equipment for Lane
Community College’s Nursing Program Expansion – $100,000

This funding will go toward
providing critical health information technology, simulation equipment, and
other health care training equipment to allow Lane Community College to expand
training and professional programs in health care.

Oregon Center for Translational
Genomics – $100,000

This funding will go to Oregon
Health Sciences University to help purchase advanced, state-of-the-art equipment
designed to sequence genes at significantly higher rates of speed. This will go
along with the creation of a new center, the Oregon Center for Translational
Genomics, to develop new avenues for diagnosing disease, finding new treatments
and analyzing responses to treatments through genetic research.