Oregon In Brief

Ashland Masons offer open house

Ashland Lodge No. 23, of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Oregon, announced the installation of officers for 2008. This week, Lodge No. 23 is celebrating this ceremony for the 149th year.

The Masonic Order is the world's oldest fraternal and philanthropic organization in existence, according to a Masonic press release. The first Grand Lodge was established in England in 1717. The Grand Lodge of Oregon was established in 1851 and Lodge No. 23 was chartered in 1858.

Lodge members assemble annually to affirm the progression from newly made Mason to the highest office of Worshipful Master of the Lodge. During this ceremony the elected and appointed officers for 2008 will receive the insignia of office and assume their respective responsibilities in the operation of the lodge.

The principal officers elected for 2008 are: Glen M. Ward, Worshipful Master; N. Lynn "Skip" Bessonette, Jr., Senior Warden; Russell Grimm, Junior Warden; Roland Fletcher, Treasurer; Santino "Sam" Lupini, II, Secretary.

The installation will be held Saturday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m. in Ashland Masonic Center located at 570 Clover Lane in Ashland, near The Holiday Inn Express and KFC.

The members and their families invite the public to attend and observe this annual ritual event.

For information, contact Glen M. Ward at 601-2555.

Salmon-dams opinion postponed


U.S. District Judge James Redden postponed a deadline for a biological opinion that would balance operations of Columbia Basin dams with threatened or endangered fish runs to March 18 but threatened unspecified consequences "that could be harsh" if he rejects the results.

He extended the deadline from March — to March 18 and extended the period for comment by four days to Jan. 4. Redden has thrown out two previous biological opinions as inadequate and wrote this week that a draft of a third effort looks little better. He told parties Wednesday to the extended litigation to keep talking to find an acceptable agreement.

Governor appoints Bushong as judge


Gov. Ted Kulongoski on Wednesday appointed Assistant Attorney General Steve Bushong a Multnomah County Circuit Court judge.

Bushong will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Ronald Cinniger, who leaves the bench Dec. 31.

Bushong is chief trial counsel at the Oregon Department of Justice, where he has served as an assistant attorney general since 1994.

The governor said he has known Bushong since Kulongoski was the attorney general and called him a "brilliant, dedicated lawyer" who has handled many of the state's major cases &

including the successful defense of the Oregon physician-assisted suicide law.

"" Staff and Wire Reports

Oregon man pleads guilty to hit-and-run in party death


A man who drove over a fellow partygoer sleeping on a Southern Oregon road has made a plea bargain that will send him to jail for 30 days.

Aaron Hasko, 22, of Klamath Falls, was at a party with about a dozen people at a campsite at Whiskey Lake east of Medford that ran into the early hours of June 16, investigators said. He left the party but hit a power pole, and he decided to drive back, they said.

Meanwhile, officers said, James Severe, 25, of Butte Falls left the party and fell asleep on Butte Falls-Fish Lake Road.

Hasko drove over him and continued driving to the campsite, investigators said. Severe died on the way to the hospital in Medford.

Hasko was initially accused of manslaughter, but the senior deputy district attorney for Jackson County, Tim Barnack, reduced the charge.

"I wouldn't have been able to prove that (Hasko) saw the guy in the road because it was a rural road and it was dark," Barnack said. "He turned a corner and right after he turned, he hit the guy."

Hasko pleaded guilty Monday to failure to perform the duties of a driver, and a drunken driving charge was dismissed. He lost his driver's license for a year, must undergo alcohol treatment and must pay restitution of an amount to be determined.

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