Garbage rates going up – Utilities going up, but not right away – Bee City buzz and SDC sale

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May 212018
 

Newport City Hall


Trash rates going up in Newport

Thompson Sanitary came to the Newport City Council with its hat in its hand to ask for a sizeable rate increase for picking up trash, recycling and composting – exactly the same requests made by trash haulers in Lincoln City and South Lincoln County. The reason, of course, is due to what the Chinese are doing to America and other countries – they’re not taking nearly as much recycling, or other “throw-away products” as we’re used to turning over to them. In fact it’s almost stopping altogether.

So, in the face of that, trash haulers are now charging customers to take their recyclables away as well as their regular garbage and trash. And they’re bowing to the strict requirements for what they will take – especially with plastics. Plastics with the number 1 and number 2 on them are accepted. Plastics with numbers higher than that are not accepted. Cardboard is not accepted. GP in Toledo doesn’t take it anymore. Other kinds of trash and garbage are not accepted either including shredded paper of any kind.

It means that garbage and what we used to recycle is likely to wind up in landfills. And that ain’t cheap. Check your trash hauler’s website. It’s all there.

Of course there’s always hope, if not an eventual possibility, that what we can no longer recycle will prompt various companies to figure out what to do with the “left overs.” But for now, Newport, get ready to pay higher trash hauling fees. Thompson asked for and received permission from the Newport City Council Monday night to grant Thompson an 11.5% increase in monthly bills. It’s not a lot of money, maybe two or three dollars more come mid-Summer. But money’s money – especially for low income residents.

Thompson officials say they’re hopeful that the rates can stay at the new rate without any more big price hikes. But they caution, the marketplace is running the show on trash hauling. They say a way to fight back is to go to Thompson Sanitation’s website – ThompsonSanitary.com – and take the time to read over what’s happening and how you can minimize your trash stream in order to lower your monthly bill. Thompson officials say they’re already noticing that many customers are putting their rolling trash cans on a diet – sometimes eliminating two out of their three trash cans, thereby lowering their garbage bills considerably.

But for now, it’s 11.5% more in Newport to haul the same stuff. That rate is pretty much in the ballpark for higher rates requested by North Lincoln Sanitary and Dahl Disposal, Lincoln County’s two other trash haulers

At the end of the agenda item, the city council requested that Thompson Sanitary return to the council and explain, in detail, the way they arrive at monthly billing for their customers – again, a few dollars more a month. The council’s a little confused by the arithmetic.

The challenge of setting utility fees in Newport

The council also took another stab at making sense of Newport’s utility rates for water, sewer, storm water and other infrastructure – especially for new construction and fixing crumbling pipes in the ground, of which there are many.

Common complaints were mentioned about the recently proposed rate hikes – especially for large commercial establishments. But others, who describe themselves as lower income, again turned up the heat during public comment. “We can’t afford rate hikes. We’re barely making it with where our monthly bills are right now.” They went on to all but demand that the Newport Council do what other Oregon cities are doing – cutting rates for low income residents whose incomes can be verified by a number of government or non-profit agencies.

City Manager Spencer Nebel says his latest utility rate program still isn’t coming together because what staff has loosely put together still hits low income residents much harder than any other group. At that point, Council President Dietmar Goebel said he wasn’t comfortable even calling for approval of a tentative change in infrastructure fees. Nebel jumped right in and agreed with Goebel, asking for more time, but not too much more time. He suggested a new approach to setting rates for water, sewer, storm water and other infrastructure – and that a new approach should involve taking the financial burden off those on fixed or lower incomes. But Nebel’s said in the past that Newport’s aging infrastructure is in the process of failing and that the money has to come from somewhere. And it’s not all going to be from government grants and other “free money” sources.

And speaking of utilities, up-front fees for new housing and commercial construction projects – fees called System Development Charges (SDC’s) – was center stage for a while before the council. Housing developer Wilder, as it turned out, over-bought SDCs when they developed their Wilder housing project near the college. They soon discovered they had a surplus of SDCs, which are very expensive. So they approached the city with a proposal to sell their “surplus” SDCs to other developers who would like to save some money on projects they are pursuing, or thinking about pursuing.

Although no developer names were mentioned, it was plain that the city might very well be interested in seeing that these deeply discounted SDCs from Wilder are applied to work-force or affordable housing – no McMansions because the wealthy don’t need discounts on anything. The council said it wants more time to consider Wilder’s offer to sell their surplus SDCs. The city really doesn’t have much say in who buys them because Wilder owns them because they paid for them during the early days of the Wilder development off SE 40th near the college. Everybody agreed they need to think this one over.

The council also was busy as a bee trying to decide whether Newport should become a Bee City USA city. It’s a movement rolling across the country to combat the loss of habitat for bees and the poisonous effects of pesticide spraying in and among forests and farmlands which are favorites of bees. The council already approved participating in a “pollination zone” along Highway 101 south of the Yaquina Bay Bridge all the way to Yachats. Some councilors were curious as to what the restrictions would be if Newport became at Bee City USA. Although they rather liked the sound of the program, councilors also wanted to know what they would be getting themselves and the city in to. So they turned the issue over city staff to flesh out the topic and report back at the next council meeting.

Letter to the editor: Mental Health Services and the County Budget

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May 212018
 

The views and opinions of submitters to “Letters to the Editor” do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of NewsLincolnCounty.com, its staff or advertisers. The positions taken in the following letter are strictly those of the submitter.
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From Chandler Davis
Community Mental Health Booster

Together we cast more than 3,000 votes each, last week, against two of the three County Commissioners who voted for these outrageous cuts to mental health and addiction treatment services in the midst of a deadly opioid emergency, a re-emerging methamphetamine crisis, a tragic and out-of-control homelessness emergency, and a bold effort to get people with mental health and substance use disorders out of the county jail that will go nowhere if we do not increase our county’s behavioral health treatment resources substantially.

I believe that Cheryl Connell has been scapegoated for the substantial deficiencies in the Lincoln County Department of Health and Human Services by the very people who were in fact in charge of overseeing the department’s policies. But whatever her failures may have been, I can personally attest that she was committed to mental health and addiction treatment as DHHS Director and despite being retired, she still continues to be a strong advocate for addressing the county’s urgent behavioral health treatment needs.

Don’t be conned into thinking that this is a minor matter; it is important, and it is urgent!

Therefore: “CALL TO ACTION
If you think the County’s cuts to our Mental Health and Addictions programs are wrong, you can let the County Budget Committee know that you want these programs restored for the coming year. The County Budget Committee is made up of the 3 County Commissioners plus 3 appointed members of the public.

The Budget Committee is meeting over the next 2 weeks to approve the coming year’s budget, which begins July 1. The Budget meetings are open to us, The Public, for comments.
They are scheduled for:

–6 PM Tuesday (5/22) at Lincoln City City Hall,
–6 PM Wednesday 5/23 at Toledo City Hall, and
–6 PM Wednesday 5/30 at the Lincoln County Courthouse

Here’s how the Budget Committee can restore the cuts. There is $1.83 million in unspent Mental Health revenue that should be invested back in our County Mental and Addictions programs. The funds are in the account known as 219-100 Capital Projects. The funds were placed in that account when the County was planning to build a new building in Newport in the south Courthouse parking lot so that all Health and Human Services would be located in the same building. However, those plans were recently scrapped because the site did not pass required environmental tests.

Let the Budget Committee know that:
— There is $1.83 million in unspent Mental Health revenue in the account known as 219-100 Capital Projects.
— None of this $1.83 million is General Fund.
— Our communities need more, not fewer, mental health and addiction services, especially to support the County’s Stepping Up Initiative.
— It is right and just to use the money to restore the $1.7 million cuts that were recently made to the Mental Health and Addictions budget. And that you expect them, as our public officials, to do what is right and just.
If you cannot attend a meeting, you can send your written comments to the Board’s staff to share with the Budget Committee members:

*Kristi Whitaker kwhitaker@co.lincoln.or.us or
* Casey Miller clmiller@co.lincoln.or.us
* Or you can call the Board at 541-265-4100 to leave your comments for the Budget Committee.
* We all have a voice in this process–so let’s show our public officials how well we use our voices.”

Chandler Davis

Albatross – The Movie: The plight of seabirds in the heart of the Pacific Ocean

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May 212018
 

Albatross rearing season
Submitted photos

On Friday, June 1, the Bird Nerds Club of OSU and the Newport Chapter of Surfrider Foundation will host a screening of the movie ALBATROSS. This is a special pre-release screening of a movie by Chris Jordan about the plight of sea birds in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. Following the movie will be Q&A and discussion with a panel of experts. The screening will be at Hatfield Auditorium from 6:00 to 8:30 pm. Doors open at 5:45.

Click here for details

The making of the movie began in 2008, as a collaboration between director/writer/editor Chris Jordan and activist/photographer Manuel Maqueda. Studying the newly-emerging issue of ocean plastic pollution they learned of a stunning environmental tragedy taking place on a tiny atoll in the center of the North Pacific Ocean. On the first trip to Midway Atoll in September of 2009 their team filmed thousands of dead albatrosses. Returning to Midway eight times over the next four years the filmmakers experienced the bird’s beauty, grace and sentience more and more with each trip. ALBATROSS tells the factual story of the suffering of these birds brought about by our culture of mass consumption and conveys the intensely vivid sensual, emotional and spiritual experience of being with them on the island.

The film’s maker realized that this eight year labor of love could not be treated as a commercial product and is, there for,​​ a gift to the world. With this in mind ALBATROSS is offered as a free public work of art. The screening hosted by Bird Nerds Club of OSU and Newport Surfrider is free. The hosted screenings will culminate on World Oceans Day 2018 (June 8), when ALBATROSS will be shown at the United Nations. On that day ALBATROSS will be made available for free permanently.

For Info Click Here

Lincoln City Police launches “Text to 911” service

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May 212018
 

Typical text message during an emergency.
Wikipedia


Lincoln City Police Chief Jerry Palmer is pleased to announce that, thanks to a grant from Oregon Emergency Managmeent, Text-to-911 technology is now in operation in Lincoln City.

After a year long project and extensive testing, the system is now in place and operational for wireless customers of Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile.

Most citizens in Lincoln City can now send a short message service (SMS) text message to 911 for emergency help when unable to make a 911 voice call. This service is available to wireless customers of Verizon, Sprint AT&T and T-Mobile at this time, when within range of a cell tower in Lincoln City.

Text-to-911 was not developed as a replacement to a voice call to 911 in an emergency situation, but rather as an enhancement to reach 911 services in three specific situations: 1) the caller is hearing/voice impaired, 2) a medical emergency renders the person incapable of speech, or 3) when speaking out loud would put the caller in danger, such as a home invasion, a domestic violence incident, or an active shooter scenario.

During an emergency, all wireless callers should remember to “call if you can; text if you can’t”.

Click here for Details

Lincoln City citizens should keep the following important information in mind if they send a Text-to-911:

* Customers should use the texting option only when calling 911 is not an option.
* Using a phone to call 911 is still the most efficient way to reach emergency help. Texting is not always instantaneous, which is critical during a life-threatening emergency. It may take slightly longer to dispatch emergency services in a Text-to-911 situation because of the time involved: Someone must enter the text, the message must go over the network, and the 911 telecommunicator must read the text and then text back.
* Providing location information and nature of the emergency in the first text message is imperative, since the Lincoln City Police 911 Center will initially only receive the location of the cell phone tower closest to the call’s origin.
* Text abbreviations, emoticons or slang should never be used so that the intent of the dialogue can be as clear as possible.
* Customers must be in range of cell towers in Lincoln City. If customers are outside or near the edge of the county, the message may not reach the Lincoln City Police 911 Center.
* Texts to 911 from areas where the service is not available will receive a “bounce back” message telling them to make a voice call.
* Texts sent to 911 have the same 160-character limit as other text messages.
* Wireless customers who use Usage Controls should remove this feature to ensure full Text-to-911 capabilities.
* Wireless customers must have mobile phones that are capable of sending text messages. The solution is available for customers who use the native SMS provided by wireless carriers. Customers should consult their over- the-top (OTT) messaging provider to determine if and how Text-to-911 is provided by the OTT application.
* The texting function should only be used for emergency situations that require an immediate response from police, fire, or emergency medical services. For non-emergency situations, customers should contact their local public safety agency via a 10-digit non-emergency number. The non-emergency number for Lincoln City Police 911 Center is 541-994-3636.
* Text-to-911 should only be used to communicate between emergency help and the texter. Pictures, video, attachments or other recipients CANNOT be included to the message.

Click here for details

Possible Surf Rescue: Lincoln City, 6119 SW 101 – False Alarm

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May 212018
 

Possible surf rescue off Watersedge Condos, south end of Lincoln City at Schooner Creek

11:56am
Possible surf rescue in Lincoln City off 6119 SW 101. North Lincoln Fire-Rescue is responding.

12:05pm
False Alarm.

Young man shot by neighbor needs our help…

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May 212018
 

Jose Gaeta
One of Tuesday night’s shooting victims in Newport. His wife and children have lost the breadwinner for a while.

An argument with a neighbor who resorted to gunfire has put two Newport men in the hospital. One of them has a family he still needs to take care of. But now, they need to take care of him and allow recovery from his THREE gunshot wounds.

A Go Fund Me account has been set on behalf of shooting victim Jose Gaeta who was shot in each leg and in one foot Tuesday evening. Jose has a long recovery ahead of him. Time that he won’t be working, putting tremendous financial pressure on him and his family.

If you can find your way to offer a little or a lot, please do so. Here’s the link to the Gaeta family’s Go Fund Me account set up by his friends. Just Click here.

IN ADDITION! US Bank in Newport has also set up a donation account for those who would like to help Jose and his family. You can donate to the US Bank account by stopping by their branch at 400 EAST Olive in Newport.

UPDATE: US Bank does not offer online donating. You must go in to one of their branches.

Click here for details

Thunder and Lightness Duo – Across from Cafe Mundo at “For Artsake Gallery” – June 1st!

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May 212018
 

For Arts Sake Gallery
258 NW Coast Street, Nye Beach
Google Maps photo

Thunder & Lightness Duo — World Beat percussionist Chandler Davis with Terry Filer on the Native American flutes will be helping Newport’s For Artsake Gallery celebrate its eight annual Itty Bitty Art Show with a rare duo performance of traditional and indigenous song rhythms. June 1st, 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Light refreshments. 258 NW Coast Street, across from Café Mundo, in Nye Beach.

Contact chandler@chandlerdavis.com or 541-272-4615.

Click Here for details

Fire alarm at 210 SW 2nd in Newport – Burnt Toast

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May 212018
 

Lincoln Co. Personnel Bldg.
SW 2nd and 101
Google Maps photo

11:17am
Report of a fire alarm going off at 210 SW 2nd Street in Newport. Fire-Rescue is enroute.

Office of Lincoln County Personnel. No answer to the contact phone number.

Building evacuated. No smoke showing.

11:22am
Burnt toast.

Click here for details