Step by Step…Inch by Inch…progress toward affordable health care in Oregon

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Feb 152019

Governor Kate Brown
Affordable Health Care Advances….

Key Part of Governor Brown’s Health Care Funding Package Moves to House Floor
House Bill 2010 received bipartisan support

(Salem, OR) — A key portion of Governor Kate Brown’s plan to secure long-term, sustainable funding for the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) received bipartisan support today from the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.

The Committee today approved House Bill 2010, which revises the hospital assessment structure and reinstates and broadens the base for the current health insurance premium tax. Together, the assessments will raise $465 million to protect access to health care for over 1 million Oregonians and help stabilize rates for those who buy health insurance in the through Oregon’s Health Insurance Marketplace.

“Health care is a fundamental right, and we have worked hard to develop a consensus approach to stabilize funding for our health care system,” said Governor Brown. “Under the long-term, sustainable funding plan proposed in my budget, we secure access to health care for Oregonians no matter who they are or where they live. Access to coverage is foundational to healthy communities and growing economies.”

House Bill 2010 will next go to the House floor for a vote

Lincoln City Democratic Club By the Sea, Feb. 21

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Feb 152019

Lincoln City Democratic Club by the Sea

The February meeting of the Lincoln City Democratic Club by the Sea, an affiliate of the Lincoln County Democrats, will be held on Thursday, February 21, from 6:30 to 7:30 at the Lincoln City Community Center, 2150 NE Oar Place. All Democrats from Depoe Bay to Otis are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Traffic Crash on Highway 18, 12 miles east of 101

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Feb 152019

Report of a traffic crash on Highway 18, milepost 12. Two vehicles. Emergency responders enroute. Extent of injuries, if any, unknown.

One vehicle in the ditch.

Weather or Not: Mixed Bag for the Weekend

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Feb 152019

2/15/19 Showers and possible thunderstorms today-tomorrow, up to 1″ total precip, variable winds, SE to NW, 10-15mph gusting 25, highs 45-50F, low 40F. Outlook: mostly sunny Sun-Mon, then mainly overcast with occasional showers Tue-Thu, high temperatures 45-50F, lows 35-40F all week.

Beaches Today:
Surf Height…………..20 to 25 ft.
Weather………………Mostly cloudy with showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms. Highs around 50.
Wind…………………South 20 to 25 mph with gusts to 30 mph.
Tides (South Beach)…
Low tide….4.1 ft at 01:30 AM PST.
High tide…8.6 ft at 07:53 AM PST.
Low tide….0.2 ft at 03:04 PM PST.
High tide…6.6 ft at 09:53 PM PST.
Sunrise – 7:16 AM PST. Sunset – 5:44 PM PST.

Holiday Weekend Travel: Mainly wet pavement in the Valley today-tomorrow, slight chance of snow Sun, dry Mon; chance of snow and/or ice in the Coast Range and Gorge through Mon night; several inches of snow possible in the Cascades today-Sun, the snow level remains below the highway passes, icy and cold Mon.

Rain turns to snow turns to black ice and flooding Thursday evening

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Feb 152019

Flooding north of Prater and east of McCarran

Snow mixed with rain, then snow, then rain, back to snow forecasted during the rest of the night.

Some areas more flooded than others.

Vehicles were still able to drive through this high water.

Hopefully the water will have drained by the time the sun rises…although similar weather is forecasted.

That Banana Belt storm track roaring out from the South Pacific is dumping copious quantities of snow in the Sierra and beyond. Here on the valley floor, up to 3 inches of new snow could be expected Friday and another three inches of snow on Saturday. But up at Lake Tahoe they might see up to two to three feet at lake level, and a lot more in the higher elevations like at Heavenly Valley, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. Stay close to the latest weather forecasts and snow totals so you don’t get caught unaware.

North Lincoln Hospital 2018 Employee of the Year!

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Feb 142019

Sandy Wallace (center) with her supervisor, Christopher Garrison, and with hospital CEO Dr. Lesley Ogden.

By a vote of her peers, Sandy Wallace was named 2018 Employee of the Year at Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital. Chief Executive Officer Lesley Ogden, MD, presented this coveted award to Wallace during a recent celebration.

Wallace has worked at the hospital as a housekeeper for the past 18 years. When accepting the award, she commented that working at Samaritan is a joy and that everyone in her department and throughout the hospital are like family to her.

Wallace was originally named employee of the month this past September, which made her eligible for consideration as employee of the year. At that time, several nominators praised her with such comments as:
* Sandy is a joy to work with.
* She brings such a positive energy to our Environmental Services family.
* Sandy is a dedicated and hard-working employee. She is always willing to help and is appreciated so much.
* She always has a smile.
* She will go out of her way to help other people.
* She is always so cheerful and good for a laugh if you need it.
* She cleans and organizes the pre-op/PACU [surgical services] area for us and does this with a smile on her face!
* She has the best, positive, can-do attitude! We all appreciate her so much!
* She is pleasant, hard-working and never complains.
* She transforms our workspace from being a disaster to a clean, comfortable and organized work space!

Each month throughout the year, SNLH employees are invited to submit nominations and the Employee Appreciation Committee is responsible for making the final selection. Those selected to be honored demonstrate a commitment to work excellence, provide high quality customer service and are enthusiastic and valuable team members. They also show a commitment to Samaritan’s PRIDE values: passion, respect, integrity, dedication and excellence.

At the end of the year, all SNLH staff are invited to vote for one of the 12 monthly winners to receive the top honor. The recipient receives a nice monetary reward, a traveling trophy and smaller prizes in appreciation.
Sandy Wallace poses with her supervisor, Christopher Garrison, and with hospital CEO Dr. Lesley Ogden.

Newport business and patrons menaced by a very angry man…

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Feb 142019

Zebedee Schultz
LCJ photo

Newport Police Officers responded to a business in the 200 Block of NW Coast Street for a 911 hang-up call. Dispatchers tried to call the business several times but there was no answer. Officers arrived on the scene and learned that a man had been in the business creating quite a disturbance.

Investigation revealed, Zebedee Shultz, 36, of Newport, had walked into the business in a rage and began arguing with customers – even threatening to hurt or kill them. Shultz walked out but returned a short time later and demanded his money back for a beverage he had purchased earlier. When an employee was not able to refund him his money, Shultz again became violent – threatening staff and patrons. Shultz grabbed the money out of an employee tip jar and walked back out the door. About five minutes later Shultz returned. He got into an argument with a customer and pushed him. Shultz grabbed a cellphone out of the victim’s hand and left the building.

An employee followed Shultz down the street in an attempt to retrieve the phone. Shultz realized the employee was behind him and began threatening to kill him. The employee backed off.

Schultz then threw the cellphone up on the roof of a nearby building. At his residence, Shultz changed his clothes and grabbed two knives and headed back towards the business. It was then he was intercepted by police. Shultz told officers he had only grabbed the knives because he was afraid of the people at the business and that he was just going for a walk.

Moments later the officers had Shultz handcuffed and on his way to to the county jail where he was booked for Menacing, Theft and Disorderly Conduct. His bail was set at $35,000.

Waldport City Council tells ODOT….”No deal”

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Feb 142019

ODOT’s offer to widen 101 south of Waldport falls flat with City Council.

The Waldport City Council told ODOT today that although they would like to partner with ODOT to widen Highway 101 just south of town up to Waziata, Waldport can’t afford it. Not the way ODOT’s contract is configured.

It wasn’t that the town’s financial contribution to the project was too high, it was that ODOT’s contract made Waldport responsible for any cost over-runs which are notoriously common with these kinds of projects. And so the council, exercising an abundance of caution, declined the liability and sent ODOT’s proposal back for further review.

So it’s now in ODOT’s corner.

Waldport has, for a long time, wanted to see Highway 101 widened to give pedestrians and bicyclists more of a safety margin from traffic while walking or riding up or down the hill.

But for the time being, Waldport councilors have balked because of possible unforeseen cost overruns that are typical with high dollar roadway improvements.

So we’ll see how ODOT receives the news.

Wyden: Solidifying the tax code for full marriage equality

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Feb 142019

Recent rally outside Newport City Hall

Proposed Legislation Would Eliminate Gender-Specific Spousal References in the Tax Code, Protect LGBTQ+ Americans from Discrimination

Washington, D.C. – This Valentine’s Day, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., introduced legislation providing equal dignity in the tax code for all legal marriages. The Equal Dignity for Married Taxpayers Act, which is cosponsored by every member of the Senate Democratic caucus, protects LGBTQ+ Americans from inequality and discrimination by removing gender-specific references to marriage in the tax code.

“Marriage equality is the law of the land, but the tax code still reflects the discrimination of a bygone era. It’s past time for that to change,” Senator Wyden said. “There’s a real danger that old, gender-specific tax laws could pose problems for married same-sex couples, and it’s a shame Republicans never got around to rooting out this discrimination when they crafted their partisan tax overhaul that showered cash over the wealthy and corporations.”

On June 26, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage by striking down state-level bans on such marriages. In 2016, the Treasury Department reflected this decision by finalizing rules allowing federal joint filing for same-sex couples. Senator Wyden’s bill, first introduced in 2015 and reintroduced in 2017, adds to these efforts by ensuring our nation’s tax laws offer equal treatment to all married taxpayers. Congressman Andy Levin, D-M.I., is introducing a companion to the bill in the House of Representatives.

The legislation is endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign. Legislative text can be found here.

UPDATE: Apartment Fire at 716 SW Beach – Newport

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Feb 142019

Fire in three story brown building.
Google Maps


At around 1:30pm Wednesday Newport Fire Department was dispatched to a report of smoke coming from a third floor apartment in the 700 block of the Nye Beach turnaround. Arriving firefighters observed light smoke coming from the third story near the rear of the building.

Once inside firefighters extinguished a small fire in a third story apartment. The adjacent unit was opened and checked for damage and none was found. Fire damage did not extend to any other business or residences. Fire damage was contained to a dryer. However, the rest of the apartment did suffer some smoke damage.

The cause of the fire was determined to be a build-up of lint in the dryer. The Newport Fire Department reminds you to clean your dryer lint trap after every use.

Newport Fire Department received mutual aid assistance from Depoe Bay Fire District, Seal Rock Fire District, and Toledo Fire Dept. Newport Police Dept. and Newport Public Works provided assistance with traffic control.

Newport Fire Department responded with 2 fire engines, 1 ladder truck, 1 heavy rescue, 2 chief officers and 11 firefighters.

Weather or Not: Wet & Windy Valentine’s Day

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Feb 142019

2/14/19 Rain today-tonight, total over 1″, ESE winds 15-25mph gusting 35-40, high 50F, low 45F, showers tomorrow, high 45-50F. Outlook: rain Sat, mostly sunny with a slight chance of showers Sun-Mon, overcast, showers possible Tue-Wed, continued cool, highs topping out at 45F, lows dipping to 35F.

Beaches Today:
Surf Height…………..8 to 12 ft.
Weather………………Cloudy with rain. Highs 45 to 50.
Wind…………………Southeast 10 to 15 mph with gusts to 20 mph, becoming southwest 25 to 30 mph with gusts to 40 mph.
Tides (South Beach)…
Low tide….3.9 ft at 12:13 AM PST.
High tide…8.3 ft at 06:46 AM PST.
Low tide….1.0 ft at 02:01 PM PST.
High tide…6.0 ft at 08:46 PM PST.
Sunrise – 7:17 AM PST. Sunset – 5:43 PM PST.

Rainfall Totals for Monday-Tuesday:
Yachats – 3.88”
Toledo – 3.30”
Rose Lodge – 2.40”
Newport Airport – 1.98”

Travel: Through 10:00pm tonight, a Winter Storm Warning is in effect for the Central Gorge with 3-6” of snow expected; a Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for the Western Gorge and Cascades with 1-3” of snow, ice accumulations up to 1/4” and winds gusting as high as 40 mph.

Candlelight Vigils in Newport February 14th

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Feb 142019

Ann and Don Davis Park
Google Maps

Thursday, Feb. 14
Candlelight Vigil to remember all shooting victims and survivors on the one year anniversary of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy.
Ann and Don Davis Park Gazebo, 840 Olive Street, Newport. 5:30p-6:30p.

On Valentine’s Day, a Candlelight Vigil will be held at Ann and Don Davis Park Gazebo, 840 Olive Street, Newport from 5:30pm to 6:30pm to remember the lives lost at school shootings across America. This date marks the one year anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy in Florida. Nationally, 47 “gun bills” have been introduced, of which 37 support Gun Violence Prevention (GVP). Senators Wyden and Merkley are either co-sponsors or supporters all 37 GVP bills. Let Congressman Kurt Schrader know you support GVP legislation.

In Oregon, 17 bills have been introduced, of which 10 support GVP and are endorsed by Ceasefire Oregon. Both Senator Roblan and Representative Gomberg have a long records of supporting GVP legislation. Please, thank them when you see them. A short handout, updating the legislative activity and providing information about school shootings in the US, will be available at the Vigil.

Monica Kirk, Steering Committee Member
Central Coast Ceasefire Oregon
Depoe Bay

Sen. Wyden: “We must upgrade rural areas with better and faster internet!”

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Feb 132019

Sen. Ron Wyden

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden this week introduced bipartisan legislation that aims to ensure the success of current rural broadband initiatives and to remove barriers to future rural broadband growth in Oregon and nationwide.

“All across Oregon, one of the top issues I hear about is the need to bring fast, reliable internet to our rural areas,” Wyden said. “For education, for jobs, for medicine, broadband is really essential to helping rural communities thrive today. Creating a new Office of Rural Broadband will create a new focus at FCC on making sure every home and business can get online.”

Joining Wyden in introducing the Office of Rural Broadband Act on Tuesday were U.S. Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Hoeven (R-ND).

“Affordable internet access is essential for farmers, small businesses, and rural Americans,” Cramer said. “This legislation establishes an office dedicated to helping consumers gain access in previously unreached areas. As the Trump administration continues to make progress on expanding rural broadband, Congress needs to remove unnecessary barriers so more rural Americans can receive the access they need.”

“Broadband infrastructure is critical in our 21st century economy, but many rural communities still lack access to reliable, high speed internet,” Klobuchar said. “Establishing an Office of Rural Telecommunications within the Federal Communications Commission will allow for more effective coordination as we deploy broadband infrastructure to ensure that every family has access to high speed internet, no matter where they live.”

“As chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, I am committed to providing support for programs that will update broadband infrastructure in our rural communities,” Hoeven said. “This bipartisan legislation will help make rural broadband programs more effective and efficient, complementing our efforts to ensure individuals and businesses in rural areas have access to affordable and reliable broadband services.”

Letter to the Editor: Single Use Plastic Shopping Bags

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Feb 132019


I urge the Newport City Council and the voters to proceed carefully with the proposed plastic bag ban. As a past mayor who has been down this path, there can be unintended consequences to communities who choose to impose such a ban. I am not saying it isn’t the right thing to do, I agree with the advocates but in my experience few share that opinion.

I suggest that the city poll the merchants to get their input. Careful consideration should be made over what happens if a good number of shoppers take offense at government forcing unneeded (in their minds) regulations on them and choose to shop in other cities where a ban is not in place. Consider whether summer visitors will go elsewhere rather than comply, considering it too much of an inconvenience.

Voting for a ban is a vote for the environment and an exemplary act but how many would still think so if their job was on the line, the loss of which would make it difficult to support their family? There are those who will answer the question by saying that sacrifices are needed to protect the environment but that is easy to say as long as they aren’t the one making the sacrifice.

Think it through carefully before proceeding. Do your homework. Once you embark on this path and the economic life of the community should happen to be negatively affected, there will be no turning back. It will be too late and all will pay the consequences.

Ronald Potter
P.O. Box 2140
Waldport, OR 97394