State workers healthier — The state says its workers are getting healthier, and that university employees are the healthiest among them. The Statesman Journal reports the findings are included in a survey conducted by the Public Employees’ Benefits Board. The survey found a decline in the number of workers who reported smoking or being overweight. The proportion of state workers who smoke dropped from 9 percent in 2009 to 4 percent this year. Fifty-seven percent of workers were overweight or obese this year, down six points from three years ago.
Children in car during chase — Police in eastern Oregon say two young children were in the back seat of a vehicle that led them on a highway chase at more than 100 mph. The East Oregonian reported the chase on Interstate 84 ended near Hermiston. A state trooper set spike strips that hit both front tires, which came off before the car stopped. Officers say a 3-year-old boy and an 8-month-old girl were in child seats. They were released in the care of a deputy. The driver, Amelia Cortez, 26, of Hermiston, has been arrested on several charges.
‘Chainsaw massacre’ of trees — The city of Ashland is going ahead with plans to cut down trees in the city’s Plaza, although opponents are calling it a “chainsaw massacre." Two of the trees are old sweetgum trees, 60 and 90 feet tall. Public Works Department engineer Scott Fleury says one is diseased and the other is the “wrong tree in the wrong environment." Tree-cutting opponent Bryan Holley says their only fault is that they’re old. He says city officials are failing to protect Ashland’s culture.
Rainy year in Portland — The year is ending with more than 50 inches of rain falling in 2012 in Portland. Andy Bryant at the National Weather Service office tells The Oregonian it will be the fourth-wettest calendar year since 1940 when they started taking measurements at Portland International Airport.
— From wire reports