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Trump case expected to head to the jury today; IN food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; NH parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in migratory fish populations, in US and worldwide.

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Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest against Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial as both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic Party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Funds Still Available to Help Low-Income Oregonians with Power Bills

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016   

REDMOND, Ore. - Oregonians at risk of falling behind on their home-heating bills this winter have some options. Funds are still available for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which isn't always the case this far into the season.

To get help, households have to apply and show proof of income. Every county has an organization that administers energy-assistance funds. In Jackson County, it's ACCESS, where Vicki D'Alessandro, customer service coordinator, says they've already served 500 more households this winter than last.

"A lot of individuals, not just seniors but people that live on fixed incomes, are a large population that we serve," says D'Alessandro. "And the majority of our clients work, they receive income, and they meet the criteria to receive assistance."

Statewide, about 20 percent of people who receive heating assistance are age 60 or older. It's estimated that 450,000 Oregonians are eligible for assistance with paying their power bills, but federal LIHEAP funding covers only about one in five.

The numbers of households receiving LIHEAP assistance are also up in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties. Steve Murray, deputy director for community services at Neighbor Impact, says families facing a power shutoff are given priority, but it shouldn't have to come to that.

"We encourage people to contact us ahead of time and also work with your utilities," says Murray. "If you're not going to be able to make your full payment but you can make partial payment, work with your utility. Contact them. Don't wait until you're in way, way over your head."

He says Neighbor Impact and other groups also work closely with the utility companies to find ways to keep people's lights and heat on. LIHEAP funding is released in October every year, and has to last not only through the winter, but into the summer months.


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