Sen. Merkley takes aim at Shell drilling rig headed for Arctic

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Jun 302015
Sen. Jeff Merkley D-Oregon

Sen. Jeff Merkley


Washington, DC – Today, Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley, joined by four other Senators, urged the White House and President Obama to rescind Shell Oil Company’s conditional Exploration Permit in the Chukchi Sea.

Merkley, along with Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) wrote the letter in response to the Administration’s recent decision to conditionally approve drilling by Shell Oil Company in the Chukchi Sea within the Arctic Ocean, highlighting a flaw in Shell’s permit that would put it in violation of wildlife protection and mitigation plans under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

“Over the past decade, attempts conduct oil and gas exploration in the Arctic Ocean have resulted in controversy, successful lawsuits, and the diversion of government resources,” the Senators wrote. “Shell’s latest permit will be no exception if it is approved despite inconsistences with the requirements of federal agencies.”

“Your administration has both the opportunity and obligation to reexamine past decisions and to follow your own agencies guidelines to protect wildlife, indigenous peoples, and limit greenhouse gas emissions. We reiterate that drilling operations in the Arctic Ocean are unacceptable, and we urge you to rescind Shell’s conditional Exploration Permit in the Chukchi Sea.” Continue reading »

 Posted by at 9:53 PM

Wii Bowling is a Weeeee bit different than the regular kind!

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Jun 302015
Bart Johnson with Senior Center Director Peggy O'Callaghan.

Bart Johnson with Senior Center Director Peggy O’Callaghan.


Congratulations to Oliver Bart Johnson for rolling two PERFECT 300 games in Wii Bowling!! Awesome accomplishment!

Wii Bowling is held at the 60+ Activity Center each Tuesday at 9:30 am in the Multi- Purpose Room.

In Wii bowling, game players hold onto a controller device as if it were a bowling ball and try to hit the virtual pins at the end of a lane on the screen. The game doesn’t require quite as much physical activity as real-life bowling. For one, the “ball” doesn’t weigh much, but players do have to move around. Some find it challenging at first to throw the bowling ball using the controller, but they soon figure it out.

To get more information, or to pre-register, call 541-265-9617. The 60+ Activity Center is located at 20 SE 2nd Street in Newport across from City Hall.

 Posted by at 9:37 PM

An urgent message from Newport Police

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Jun 302015
Wishing everyone a SAFE 4th of July

Wishing everyone a SAFE 4th of July

From Newport Police

As the Fourth of July quickly approaches, most of us are wrapped up with thoughts of barbeques, parades, block parties, gathering with loved ones, and obviously, fireworks! Who can say no to the loud flashes of brilliant color lighting up the night sky?

Unfortunately, along with these beautiful displays comes danger. If not used properly, fireworks can be dangerous, especially when fire conditions are extreme. As severe drought continues to plague many regions nationwide, increasing the threat of wildfires, it is important to celebrate the Fourth of July in the safest possible way.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in the month around the July 4th holiday, more than 200 people on average go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries. Fireworks are dangerous! This Independence Day, protect your family from fireworks. Attend public displays, and leave the lighting to the professionals.

Additionally, don’t forget that Independence Day occurs during the hottest time of year, so make sure you stay hydrated and keep out of the sun during times when the heat is most intense!

The National Council on Fireworks Safety and the Oregon State Fire Marshal offers these common sense safety tips for using consumer fireworks. Hopefully injuries to consumers can be greatly reduced this season. It is up to you to use fireworks in a safe and responsible manner:

 Parents and caretakers should always closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.
 Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
 Fireworks should be used only outdoors.
 Always have water ready if you are using fireworks.
 Know your fireworks; read the caution label before igniting.
 Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
 Light only one firework at a time.
 Never re-light a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes, and then soak it in a bucket of water.
 Avoid using homemade fireworks or illegal explosives.
 Lastly, soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor, fire-resistant garbage can away from buildings and flammable materials.

In Oregon, illegal fireworks are any that explode of fly into the air. Fireworks are prohibited on all beaches, state parks, and state or federal forest lands. Promote and practice the 4 Be’s: Be Prepared, Be Safe, Be Responsible, and Be Aware.

 Posted by at 5:28 PM

Cops looking for hit and run driver – South County

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Jun 302015

Police are looking for a hit and run driver who is driving a blue GMC Pickup that hit another vehicle near Waldport, milepost 153, and is now headed south on 101 toward Yachats. The pickup has Idaho plates.

 Posted by at 12:20 PM

Illegal outdoor burn – Lincoln Beach

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Jun 302015

Depoe Bay Fire is enroute to a report of an illegal outdoor burn on Breeze, near 101 in Lincoln Beach.

A burn in a front yard – causing neighbor to have an asthma flare up. Crews enroute.

 Posted by at 11:22 AM

Reedsport Bridge work through July 2nd

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Jun 302015
Umpqua Bridge Reedsport Wiki Commons photo

Umpqua Bridge
Cacophony photo

From this morning (Tuesday, June 30) until Thursday evening (July 2), U.S. Highway 101 motorists should expect lane closures and delays on the Umpqua River Bridge at the north end of Reedsport. Flaggers will provide traffic control. The lane closures will allow workers to replace a failing bridge bearing.

All lanes are expected to be open for the Independence Day weekend (July 3-5).

 Posted by at 10:22 AM

Weather or Not: Static Seasonal Scenario

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Jun 302015

Chris Burns Weather

Tuesday, June 30th – Lincoln County

Summary: Clouds and clearing took turns yesterday as the effects of a passing shortwave weather disturbance persisted. However, it was all over but the shoutin’ at 2:00pm when the wind direction abruptly switched from southwest to northwest and the Sun took command of the sky. The mercury quickly rose to the mid-60s. While high clouds from the minor system didn’t return, the northwest breeze conveyed low-level marine overcast and fog into area before midnight, which then continued overnight; lows were in the mid-50s. At dawn, the overcast was thinning, the fog slowly dissipating and the wind came out of the northwest at 5-10 mph.

Past 24 Hours High/Low…
Lincoln City: 65F/58F
Depoe Bay: 62F/53F
Newport: 64F/54F
Waldport: 64F/54F
Yachats: 63F/55F

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Forecast: The Valley is heating up again to the mid-90s, but the only effect here will be increasing sea breezes WON PCLOUDY-SUN-WINDin the afternoons and evenings. Our thermometer readings should remain seasonal all week with highs around 65F and lows of 50-55F. Possible night and morning low clouds, and maybe some patchy fog along the beaches, are expected to give way to mostly sunny days with blustery northwest winds right on through the holiday. Outlook is for no change in this static seasonal scenario for the foreseeable future.

4th of July Weekend… Sunny, moderate breeze, high 65F, low 50-55F.

Surface Rescue

Call or email George today!

Travel: In the Coast Range today, sunny with 75-80F. Valley destinations are expecting sunshine and highs of 85-95F. The Columbia River Gorge forecast calls for sunny skies, northwest winds gusting 25 mph, temps around 90F. For the Cascades, there’s bare pavement on the highways this morning, temperatures are 60-65F; sunny, the free air freezing level is 14,000 feet.

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Marine: Seas are down to a little under 3 feet at 8 seconds this morning and the breeze is NNE 5-10 knots. But, a WON SCASmall Craft Advisory for winds kicks in at 11:00am today and runs through tomorrow afternoon. Expect N wind increasing to 15-20 knots gusting 25-30 through Wednesday with steep windwaves 4-6 feet. Outlook is for the same pattern through Saturday, but with swells slowly building to as high as 10 feet by the weekend. Always check the latest Bar Reports before you venture offshore.

On the Beach… Fog/clouds, sun, breezy, surf 3-6 feet (low).
* For a safe and enjoyable time on the Central Coast, the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department offers these Beach Safety Tips.
* Tides
06/30 Tue 05:58 AM -0.78 L
06/30 Tue 12:38 PM 6.45 H
06/30 Tue 05:30 PM 2.98 L
06/30 Tue 11:36 PM 9.04 H

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In Short: Mixed sky, windy, then partly cloudy nights, sunny days and breezy.

 Posted by at 8:05 AM

Pickleball tickles all…

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Jun 292015
Pickelball making beach head in Newport

Pickleball making beach head in Newport

Pickleball Expo on July 4th

Some call it the fastest growing sport in North America. Others call it the sport with the funny name. No matter what you call it, it’s the newest passion taking Newport by storm. Pickleball is a sport that welcomes people of all ages and skill level.

By partnering together, Newport Parks & Recreation and the USA Pickleball Association were able to convert two tennis courts at Frank Wade Park into multipurpose courts for both pickleball and tennis. There is now the ability to have four pickleball courts in active play at the same time.

The sport began 50 years ago in the Seattle area. It is played with a solid paddle and a whiffle ball. There is a net that divides the playing court into two sides. It has been compared to ping-pong and involves the strategy and skill of tennis. The action is fast, close and a lot of fun.

At 9 AM Saturday, July 4th, local players will unveil the new Frank Wade Park courts with a free expo to promote the sport. There will be refreshments and coaches on hand to help new enthusiasts learn the sport.

For more information, contact Tom Widden, USA Pickleball Ambassador, at 503-718-4496,, or call Mike Cavanaugh at 541-574-5453.

 Posted by at 9:20 PM

Memories of Artie…

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Jun 292015

starypan with wolverines

Memories of Artie

Greg Starypan never thought he’d write a book, but when his best friend died suddenly, grieving the loss brought him to places he had heard of, but never believed. This scientist, trained in oceanography and zoology, learned that the road from head to heart led away from the security of the here and now to the vulnerabilities of the past and the uncertainties of the future.

Crawling Back to Start, published in 2014, pays homage to Starypan’s best friend, “J.T.” As the author tells it, “The novel was supposed to be about J.T., but it ended up being about me.” Perhaps that’s a revelation of all first novelists: that the story is about them. For Starypan, however, this was a surprise. Remembering J.T., feeling his presence and guidance after death, and paying attention to coincidences were what drove him to write the book. That Crawling Back to Start chronicles the author’s own growth Starypan puts down to a reflection of the impact that J.T. had on him, alive and after his tragic death.

The novel brings us from a Washington state zoo to the Alsea River in Oregon, where the main character, Biter, drifts his way into a bartending job and meets the characters that come to shape him. Along the way, we learn about wolverines (not the graphic novel character), encounter a cougar, and appreciate the natural blessings of the forests, rivers, and mountains of the Pacific Northwest. We watch Biter as he transforms from an impulsive man who rarely leaves his comfort zone to a man whose heart is opened – bit by bit – through his encounters with the bar regulars whom he comes to appreciate when he sees them through the eyes of his friend.

The novel is a mixture of memoir and fiction, written this way, Starypan says, to preserve the privacy of his friend’s death for his family. The end result is a story about men, men’s friendships, and men’s feelings. It is easy to see that Starypan has been transformed, not only by his friend’s death, but by the writing of the novel. He allows us to see the struggle he goes through and the not-so-easy extrication from the pain.

Starypan is working on his second novel, a murder mystery set on the Alsea River. His first novel, Crawling Back to Start, can be purchased at . For a review of the novel, visit

 Posted by at 9:00 PM

Newport Port Commission: Why won’t the Coast Guard or Homeland Security answer our questions?

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Jun 292015
Coast Guard wants to base two 110' Coast Guard Sentinel Class Cutters in Newport - or Astoria.  But communications aren't so good...

Coast Guard wants to base two 110′ Coast Guard Sentinel Class Cutters in Newport – or Astoria. But communications aren’t so good…

Some time back the Coast Guard and their big brother Department of Homeland Security wrote a letter to the Port of Newport saying, “We’d sure like to homebase two of our latest patrol cutters in your port. What do you think?”

The port’s initial reaction was one of near jubilation because it would help the port’s bottom line in light of the crash of the Asian raw log market.

But port officials quickly learned that the Coast Guard and Homeland Security seemed more intent on having a one-way conversation. The demands were for two berths when the port said it could only provide one. Also, since NOAA controls all the docks the port reasoned it would be smart if NOAA was brought into the discussions.

Then Coast Guard/Homeland Security started talking about a new 400 foot long dock addition to the NOAA facility to accommodate the new cutters.

The port was taken aback by that because you don’t just throw up new docks without an environmental assessment and some very expensive mitigation somewhere else, in the bay or along the river, to compensate for loss of fish and other wildlife habitat taken up by such a large dock.

Silence from Coast Guard/Homeland Security.

Port Commission wonders what’s going on.

Port Commissioner David Jincks was the first to “cut through the fog” by saying that the port’s first loyalty is to NOAA. Jincks said NOAA is leasing the facility and NOAA has their own plans for it. Secondly, says Jincks, the port isn’t done completing all the environmental mitigation required for everything that’s been built already. Couple that with the need to do major repairs, even possibly expansion to Port Dock 5, and all the mitigation that will be required for that, and you’ve got a lot of uncertainty, if not a huge financial exposure. Jincks said there are many unknowns at this point – and that the Coast Guard/Homeland Security needs to be fully transparent in their communications with the port.

Commissioner JoAnn Barton chimed in with her full support of Jincks’ position. However other commissioners, along with Port General Manager Kevin Greenwood, urged that the port try to be a bit more forward with their communications with the Coast Guard/Homeland Security to get a more fluid two-way conversation going.

And that’s pretty much where the subject was left.

Newport is not the only location that the Coast Guard/Homeland Security Department is looking at. The Port of Astoria is also in the running.

 Posted by at 2:36 PM