Oct 232014
Is the U.S. Department of Homeland Security forcing the Coast Guard to shut down Newport helo base?

Is the U.S. Department of Homeland Security forcing the Coast Guard to shut down Newport helo base?

Commercial Fisherman and prominent Newport area figure Herb Goblirsch walked into the Lincoln County Commission meeting Wednesday morning and dropped a bomb on the place – a credible explanation on why the Coast Guard is so intent on closing down their Newport Air Helo Rescue base.

Goblirsch says his research shows that Congress went home without approving a Border Protection appropriation. Without funds from that appropriation to intercept tens of thousands of Latin American children at the border and tens of thousands more from other Central American countries, it is bankrupting the Department of Homeland Security border operations. Goblirsch says the Director of Homeland Security, who has enormous powers, raided the budgets of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Transportation Safety Administration AND THE COAST GUARD to the tune of $405 million dollars. Budgets approved last year for all three federal agencies have been thrown out the window and it appears there isn’t much anyone can do about it. Homeland Security has a lot of power.

Goblirsch said he attended this week’s Newport Town Hall Meeting dealing with the Coast Guard’s intended closing of the Newport helo air rescue operations. He told commissioners that he asked one of the coast guard brass where the two soon-to-be “homeless” air rescue choppers are being transferred to. Goblirsch said the response was, “Nowhere,” they’re being de-commissioned.” Goblirsch said that leaves just three Coast Guard Air Rescue helos to patrol the entire Oregon Coast. Three.

And of course each county commissioner could do the math. If one helo has a mechanical problem, you’re down to two. If the weather is bad where another one is based, you’re down to 1. Which is like no coverage at all.

The numbers are clear. The situation is beyond outrage. This is the richest country on Earth and we’re told, in so many words, that people will just have to start dying because the federal government can’t seem to figure out how to properly run the country.

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 Posted by at 12:07 AM
Oct 222014
A 500 ton lift has been approved for the Port of Toledo - a total game changer for the facility and likely to become a big family wage job creator.

A 600 ton lift is being sought for the Port of Toledo – a total game changer for the facility and to become a big family wage job creator.

Port of Commissioners Tuesday evening decided they have a long way to go and a short time to get there. So they’re puttin’ the pedal to the metal to get their Yaquina Boat Works property ready for their new 600 ton boat lift which arrives next Spring. But before it does, the port will have to completely redo the Yaquina Boat Works itself. They’ll have to relocate the existing dry dock, remove the dry dock piers, relocate the wash system, build a new haul out pier system for the lift and lots more.

To get all that done, and all the in-water work completed before next February 15th, they’re going to have to really hustle. And hustle SMART!

The tight timeline and tight margins prompted Toledo Port Commissioners and Port Manager Bud Shoemake to pursue what’s called a “design build” process. A designed build project has a lot of competitive bidding by subcontractors but the leadership comes from someone who may not have been the cheapest. He or she will simply be the best in the opinion of port commissioners and Shoemake. Design Build asks the question, “Who better to coordinate the construction than those who designed the project?”

The commission this week decided to put out a “Request for Proposals” to get several firms to propose competent “fast-tracking” of the project.

The port set the deadline for the RFP’s for November 10th with the bid award for November 15th. All in-water must be complete by February 15th.

Port officials say the star of the show, the 600 ton lift, will arrive late next spring. But it’ll arrive not quite fully assembled. That will take some time, as well as for training the lift operators.

Port officials say with a 600 ton lift there were be very few fishing boats in the U.S. or Alaskan fleets that can’t be worked on at Toledo’s Yaquina Boat Works. It’s a complete game changer – a huge economic boost for the regional economy. Shoemake predicts it will provide many partnering and other mutually beneficial relationships between the Port of Newport and the Port of Toledo along with other local boat works companies. And these new relationships will begin growing more and more family wages jobs that the area is starved for.

The first customer fishing vessel arriving at the Port of Toledo’s Yaquina Boat Works should be lifted up out of the water by next fall. Shoemake says the boat works should be able to work on nine boats at a time, once they get the routine down.

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 Posted by at 11:04 PM
Oct 222014
Conde McCullough Bridge North Bend Closed due to accident

Conde McCullough Bridge
North Bend
Closed due to accident

8:30pm Wednesday
A man driving a pickup got into a traffic crash and wound up going over the side of North Bend’s McCullough Bridge Wednesday. The driver’s body has been recovered.

OSP says traffic coming down 101 should head for I-5 and exit I-5 onto Highway 42 in order to get to the Coos Bay area.

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 Posted by at 9:01 PM
Oct 222014
Trinity guard rail that has failed safety tests, impaled drivers and severed limbs.  ODOT evaluating the situation.

Trinity guard rail that has failed safety tests, impaled drivers and severed limbs. ODOT evaluating the situation.

A $175 Million dollar lawsuit has been filed in federal court in Texas against Trinity Highway Products for allegedly inappropriately changing the design of their company’s common guard rail “heads,” a change which now causes them to fail. Trinity’s guard rail heads were originally designed to collapse when hit, while hanging onto the car so it doesn’t go back into traffic.

There are thought to be 900 such guard rail “headers” along Oregon Highways.

ODOT says they’re going by what the Federal Highway Administration is saying – they’re not approving any new Trinity product until they re-test them and verify they works as claimed. Latest crashes show that the header doesn’t collapse – rather, it sends the guard rail straight into the vehicle and kills and maims people inside.

The story is in the Oregon. Click here.

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 Posted by at 8:22 PM
Oct 222014
Lincoln City City Council Archive photo

Lincoln City City Council
Archive photo

marijuana plant wiki

marijuana plant

The Lincoln City Council seems poised to enact a sales tax on both recreational marijuana (if it’s approved at the polls) as well as medical marijuana which is already legal to sell in Oregon. The federal government, on paper, disagrees, but that’s another story.

The council Monday night will be considering a new city law that places a 5% sales tax on the sale of medical marijuana, or medical marijuana-infused products, to marijuana card holders within the city limits of Lincoln City. In addition, the council is pondering whether to place a 10% sales tax on recreational marijuana and marijuana-infused products sold within the city limits of Lincoln City.

Before the city council makes a decision, councilors would like to hear from the public – get their take on it.

Many Oregon cities and counties are racing to get their new marijuana sales tax laws on the books. They’re trying to beat the state to the punch in that the voter initiative bans local taxes on marijuana, requiring that all possible taxes on marijuana be handled by the state – reflecting how it’s already done with liquor. State liquor stores tax liquor and then return some of the collected revenue to local cities and counties in which the sales were made. Cities and counties with their new sales tax laws would mean that all the revenue they collect they keep.

What’s different about Lincoln City’s tax plan is that they’re taxing medical marijuana – something many cities and counties have decline to do since medical marijuana is legally medicine under Oregon law. The arguments goes ‘unless you’re going tax all medicines, you shouldn’t be taxing medical marijuana. That’s basically discrimination.’

At any rate, the Lincoln City Council wants to hear from Lincoln City residents or about how they feel about the new tax being levied on marijuana – either recreational OR medical. The council convenes Monday night, October 27th, 6pm at Lincoln City City Hall, third floor. Go all the way down to left to the council chambers.

The council is meeting on October 27th to debate the issue because it’ll be the last city council meeting they can pass their marijuana tax and have it take effect before the voters pass recreational marijuana November 4th – that is – if they pass it.

The city council meeting begins 6pm, Monday, October 27th, third floor of city hall. When you get off the elevator and go inside, when you get to the really long hallway, turn left and go to the end. And don’t forget to sign up to speak to the council.

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 Posted by at 7:12 PM
Oct 222014
Steve Boynton Superintendent of Schools

Steve Boynton
Superintendent of Schools

Lincoln County Schools Superintendent Steve Boynton, probably still with some ringing in his ears from protest outcries and exclamations of misunderstanding from teachers, parents and maybe some students, Wednesday tried to set things straight about what is, and what is not going on, with rearranging schools county-wide to add full-day Kindergarten district-wide.

Boyton said the impressions that were migrating around the district about school changes to accommodate all day kindergarten, were very premature. He said everything is still in the talking stages. Any “near” final plan will have to go before the school board which will hold its own public hearings to get reaction from teachers, parents and citizens. In the meantime, there are public meetings scheduled to begin talking with teachers, parents and residents about all day kindergarten, what effects it may have on schools, bus routes and daily work loads for teachers and students.

In Lincoln City, public meetings are scheduled for:
* Wednesday, October 29, 6pm at Oceanlake School,
* Tuesday, November 4th, 6pm, Taft Elementary,
* Thursday, November 13, 6pm at Taft High

In Newport, a public meeting is set for:
* Wednesday, October 29th, 7pm, Newport High School Library (Boone Center)

The big push for all day kindergarten is coming largely from the Oregon Department of Education which wants to do something about Oregon’s low achievement scores among young learners. Boynton says a large portion of students entering first grade simply aren’t prepared. It shows, he says, that half-day kindergarten just isn’t getting the job done. So the state is implementing full-day kindergarten with strings and “some” money attached. That money will pay for extra teachers and teaching materials – but that’s about it.

So that’s the dilemma.

Boynton told reporters that there are some minor funds for making a few building changes, but not much more than that.

The upshot is that the only way to get more classroom space is to reopen Yaquina View School. And that means groups and organizations that now use that space will have to move out. New kindergarten classes will also mean that the former Arcadia School in Toledo will likely have to be re-opened, displacing some organizations operating there. Boynton said accommodations can be made for the Christian School to give them more time to find another location. However, he said the child care center may have to move more quickly.

There are also some logistics to work out for Siletz and Toledo families who may be affected by efforts to accommodate all day kindergarten between their two communities. Siletz has a charter school.

Lincoln City’s adjustments MAY include redrawing student boundaries with some Oceanlake children being transferred to Taft Elementary. Taft Elementary would be remodeled somewhat to create new classrooms space. Then special program services that don’t require classrooms would be moved to Taft High.

That would leave Oceanlake having kindergarten through 2nd grade, Taft Elementary with grades 3-6, and the rest at Taft High 7-12.

Preliminary discussions for Newport show that Newport High is already busting at the seams. No room for anything else. That puts pressure on Newport Prep Junior High and Newport Middle School – the high achieving Isaak Newton Magnet School.

Boynton says preliminary discussions show that Yaquina View School would take kindergarten through 2nd grade, Sam Case would become 3rd through 5th grades, Newport Prep 6th through 8th, and what happens to the Isaak Newton Magnet Program at Newport Intermediate school is unknown at this point. Currently they take select students grades 6 through 8th. Again, Newport High’s status doesn’t change.

For Toledo, they’ll be back using some classroom space at Arcadia Elementary, which has been used by other groups since the school was closed. Those groups, as we mentioned earlier, will have to find spaces elsewhere in the area. Toledo enrollments have fallen a bit so the situation, says Boynton, is a little fluid. Still he says that Toledo Elementary will likely need some remodeling to handle at least some changes.

The new relationship between schools, no matter how it turns out, will require at least 13 new teachers added to the school district employee roster. Again, the State Education Department provides the money for that since they’re the ones pushing for expansion to all day kindergarten. However, there is no money for buildings or building remodels.

Boynton says no decisions have been made – the exploration of options is still ongoing. However, between public meetings along the way, including in front of the school board, it all should settle out by January 1st so the district can be ready for school, with full time kindergarten, by the opening bell of school next fall.

Boynton reminded reporters, parents and regular citizens that Oregon’s K-12 education is not performing well, according to national test scores. And that something must be done about it. And that “something” is the proven effects of all day kindergarten. It works. It gets children ready to say goodbye to mom and dad for a while, focus their learning about being with other people and friends, develop social skills and have times times during the day to work on numbers, words and rudimentary reading and arithmetic. Boynton says all day kindergarten gives students a one and a half year learning advantage all the way through school.

Boynton says the district will be open and transparent through the entire process. He says he welcomes comments and questions about any and all aspects on how the school district adds full day kindergarten to its curriculum. He can be reached at 541-265-4403, or you can email him at Steve.Boynton@Lincoln.K12.or.us.

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 Posted by at 3:20 PM
Oct 222014
Click ad for details

Click ad for details

Free hepatitis C screenings

Hepatitis C is on the rise, with about 3 million adults in the United States that are infected with the virus. Hepatitis C can cause liver damage and liver cancer if left untreated. Early treatment can prevent further damage.

Health care providers from Samaritan Infectious Disease will offer free screenings for hepatitis C on Thursday, Nov. 13 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital.

Sugat Patel, MD, of Samaritan Infectious Disease, will speak about the importance of testing for hepatitis C. His team will offer testing at no charge while testing supplies last. Testing kits were provided by Samaritan Community Benefit Funds.

To reserve your space, register on line at SamHealth.org/BeHealthy or calling 541-768-4887.

Optional free HIV testing will also be offered.

The event is part of the Healthy Minds, Health Bodies seminar series offered through Samaritan Health Services. Healthy refreshments will be provided.

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 Posted by at 1:16 PM
Oct 222014
Herbicide spraying is supposed to be very tightly regulated.  But are those regs being enforced properly? Courtesy photo

Herbicide spraying is supposed to be very tightly regulated. But are those regs being enforced properly?
Courtesy photo

A number of southwestern Oregon families have gone to court to fight what they claim is a chemical war declared on their lives. And they’re blaming not just those in the aerial spray machines – helicopter and airplane pilots -but also timberland owners who need to be held responsible, along with state regulators who the plaintiffs claim aren’t doing their jobs.

Quite a list.

The story is in the Oregonian. Click here.

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 Posted by at 11:33 AM
Oct 222014

OCA diver off Florence Jetty finding young starfish.

OCA diver off Florence Jetty finding young starfish.

OCA diver prepares to count the juveniles

OCA diver prepares to count the juveniles

Thousands of juvenile starfish, offspring of those who died off during recent "wasting" episode along the coast.

Thousands of juvenile starfish, offspring of those who died off during recent “wasting” episode along the coast.

Click photos to enlarge

Oregon Coast Aquarium Divers Discover Juvenile Stars on Florence Jetty!

Divers in the Pacific Northwest faced a gruesome landscape of over the past few months. Sea stars, stricken with a wasting syndrome whose cause has puzzled scientists across the globe, were disintegrating arm by arm into pale piles of gelatinous goo.

A glimmer of hope appeared on Florence’s North Jetty this month in the form of juvenile stars. Aquarium volunteer science diver, Diane Hollingshead, first noticed the tiny invertebrates during a recreational dive. She let the Aquarium know and a team was deployed the next day to survey the area.

Aquarium Dive Safety Officer, Jenna Walker, who led the science dive team said, “It was overwhelming, when we first got down there it looked like the rocks were covered with barnacles. We soon realized those white spots were thousands and thousands of stars. I have never seen them in numbers like that, it was pretty incredible.”

The thumbnail-sized juveniles were so abundant, as many as 202 in a square meter, that divers had to change their survey technique to get an accurate sample of the stars’ numbers before they ran out of air. The stars are still too small for Aquarium staff to discern their species, but they plan to return to the site regularly in the coming months to monitor the progress.

The site in Florence, where adults were completely absent, proved to be a polar opposite from the teams’ findings in their survey areas near Newport. There, certain species of adults are still present, but juveniles have not been sighted for some time. The nature of sea stars’ reproductive cycle makes it difficult to discern from where the new stars originated. “Sea stars start out as plankton, and drift wherever currents will carry them,” said Stuart Clausen, Assistant Curator of Fishes and Invertebrates for the Aquarium.

This may be the first sign of recovery in Oregon, where sea star wasting syndrome has ravaged local sunflower (Pycnopodia helianthoides), false ochre (Evasterias troschelii), giant pink (Pisaster brevispinus) and ochre (Pisaster ochraceus) star populations.

“We are not out of the woods yet, but it is encouraging. It means some adults survived or at least put viable offspring in the water before being affected,” Clausen said.

The Aquarium and its partners will continue to dedicate considerable effort to transform this unfortunate mass die-off into an opportunity to learn more about the species and ecosystems the Aquarium has the privilege to conserve.

Details about the Aquarium’s initial discovery of sea star wasting syndrome in Oregon’s waters can be found at aquarium.org.

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 Posted by at 10:31 AM
Oct 222014

lites on after

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 Posted by at 8:24 AM