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Pine workers eligible for federal help

ASHLAND -- Laid-off Parsons Pine Products workers are eligible for job search and relocation aid from the government.

The U.S. Department of Labor has certified that about 70 employees of the mill were adversely affected by business conditions, qualifying them for the aid.

Parsons closed at the end of February, laying off 40 employees, after the mill's equipment was seized because it defaulted on a loan.

It later reopened, and a judge ruled last month that the mill can continue operating while it pays off about $2.9 million in debt. It has until Aug. 25 to file a Chapter 11 reorganization plan with the court.

The company produces pine products such as louver slats, edge-glue panels and finger-jointed blanks.

The Labor Department found the company's sales were hurt when major customers increased reliance on imported products.

Workers can apply for benefits if they were laid off after March 18, 1998. Benefits are administered by the state Employment Department and funded by the federal government.

sales rep will address software group

Andy Spliethof, sales manager for Internet Ventures Oregon, will speak at a meeting Thursday of the Software Association of Oregon.

The meeting is set at C.K. Tiffin's restaurant, 226 E. Main St., Medford.

Spliethof handles marketing, strategy and support for Perkinet, a high-speed download service, and manages Medford Internet.

For more information, call Marie Finch at 858-1787.

— — REGION — —

is expensive place to raise kids

CORVALLIS -- The increasing cost of raising a child is highest for families living in the urban West, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In its annual report Expenditures on Children by Families, the USDA estimates a two-parent Western family earning between $35,900 and $60,400 a year before taxes will spend $169,440 to raise a child born in 1998 to age 18.

Child-raising costs in the urban West are higher than the rest of the country primarily because housing is more expensive, according to Alice Mills Morrow, an Oregon State University Extension Service family resource specialist.

Housing is the largest expense across all income groups and accounts for 36 percent to 38 percent of child-rearing expenses. Food is the second largest average expense, accounting for 15 percent to 20 percent.

The cost of food for a child rises steadily as the child grows older, almost doubling by the teen-age years, according to the report.

West will start flights from Eugene

EUGENE -- As expected, America West Airlines has confirmed that it will begin service between Eugene Airport and its Phoenix hub starting in September.

America West's Express service, operated by Mesa Airlines, will start Sept. 11 with a 1:45 p.m. departure from Eugene, arriving in Phoenix at 4:14 p.m. A 6 a.m. departure will be added Sept. 12, and an 11:05 a.m. departure is scheduled to start Oct. 1.

The airline's decision came after a yearlong recruitment effort by the airport and the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, including a pledge by nearly 70 local businesses to buy some $475,000 in tickets from America West.

Typical round-trip fares include $576 from Eugene to Chicago and $276 from Eugene to Los Angeles, both connecting through Phoenix, airline spokeswoman Patty Nowack said.