Jul 232014
Sen. Jeff Merkley D-Oregon

Sen. Jeff Merkley

Saying that America’s experiment with offshoring a large number of jobs to help stimulate foreign trade hasn’t worked – not only that but has actually harmed the U.S. economy – Senator Jeff Merkley has convinced 93 fellow senators to begin debating his bill to bring many of those jobs back home.

It’s called the Bring Jobs Back Home Act, and is aimed at fixing a major mistake in American foreign economic policy – believing that exporting American manufacturing jobs, made possible by U.S. taxpayer subsidies, would light a fire under foreign workers and help them rise in family income so they could afford to buy more American products exported from the U.S. Senator Merkley said “It didn’t work.” In fact it caused a mostly one way conveyor belt of jobs from the U.S. to foreign countries leaving the American labor force wounded with a loss of five million good paying jobs, 50,000 of them from Oregon.” On top of that, with the technological emergence of increased manufacturing automation, the importance of old style manufacturing labor is no longer as much in demand. The net effect, he says, is that a great many family wage jobs the U.S. lost will not be returning home.

Merkley told NewsLincolnCounty.com that he has a gut feeling that despite the continuing political loggerheads in both the Senate and the House, he’s convinced that his bill has at least a good chance of eventually passing and being signed by President Obama. He said his bill addresses the country’s widespread erosion of manufacturing jobs especially, which is painfully felt in large towns and small all across the country.

In other words, it’s gotten personal right down to “Main Street USA.”

NewsLincolnCounty.com asked Senator Merkley whether he thought that the country can handle the repatriation of these jobs in light of the fact that they’ve been gone such a long time that there exists a well documented lack of highly skilled manufacturing workers – and what’s worse, those lucky enough to still have such a job are either retired or beginning to plan for retirement.

Senator Merkley said it is a story he keeps hearing as he travels around Oregon. He said he talks to many manufacturing CEO’s who tell him that there is a serious shortage of workers who are skilled in the use of sophisticated tools and machinery. Merkley said the situation has been made worse by a shift in our public schools to emphasize math and reading skills (No Child Left Behind/Core Curriculum) at the expense of what used to be called vocational education, or simply shop class. He said such skills are also missing from many of our community colleges. It means that graduates are far less prepared for the work world than they used to be. Merkley said he’s promoted and worked on a number of bills that are aimed at providing financial support for schools and colleges that still find time and space to promote student vocational and technological opportunities.

Merkley finished up the conversation by expressing a deep hope that his Bring Jobs Home Act will receive favorable treatment in both the Senate and the House. Merkley’s bill involves the end of taxpayer subsidies to American corporations who have profited from offshoring American jobs during the “grand experiment.” But his bill also provides tax incentives for those companies bringing jobs back home to struggling American families who need family wage jobs – jobs that have been slow to come back after the Wall Street crash of 2008.

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 Posted by at 1:42 PM
Jul 232014
Pedestrian safety zone set for July 28, 9am-12noon.

Pedestrian safety zone set for July 28, 9am-12noon.

The Lincoln City Police Department will be conducting a Pedestrian Safety Operation on Monday, July 28, on Hwy 101 in the area between “D” River Wayside and South 5th Street (U.S. Bank).

With the use of a decoy pedestrian, police officers hope to raise awareness of drivers and pedestrians through education and enforcement of pedestrian right of way laws. The operation will be conducted between the hours of 9:00 AM and Noon. Enforcement warning signs will be posted well in advance, at both ends of the pedestrian zones.

The Lincoln City Police Department is dedicated to enhancing the safety of both citizens and guests of our city. Safety and courtesy go hand in hand at every pedestrian crossing. But responsibility goes both ways – pedestrians must exercise due caution when stepping into marked or unmarked crosswalks, and motorists must allow ample time and distance to stop safely when approaching a crosswalk.

Funding for the pedestrian safety operations is made possible through a grant from Oregon Impact and Oregon Department of Transportation.

Your Lincoln City Police Department

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 Posted by at 10:37 AM
Jul 232014
Wehby left, Merkley right

Wehby left, Merkley right

The Oregonian is knocking itself out covering the U.S. Senate battle between Democrat incumbent Sen. Jeff Merkley vs. challenger Dr. Monica Wehby. Today the question to both candidates deals with the long running debate over taxing the wealthy “enough” to ensure they’re paying a “proper” proportion of their income to help fund the country.

Here’s the latest installment on the issue in the Oregonian. Click here.

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 Posted by at 9:12 AM
Jul 232014

Chris Burns Weather

Wednesday, July 23rd – Lincoln County

Summary: The strongest of the low pressure systems lurking offshore yesterday dominated the competition and won the weather skirmish. It gobbled up one of the smaller systems, intensified and moved into our area early this morning. Rainfall totals have been impressive for late July with amounts generally between a third and a half of an inch; Depoe Bay had over two-thirds (0.68”). South winds blew 15-20 mph gusting into the mid-20s with a peak of 31 mph recorded on the Yaquina Bay Bridge. At daybreak, the rain was steady, the southerly winds continued and low temps were in the mid-50s.

Past 24 Hours High/Low/Rain…
Lincoln City: 67F/60F/0.58”
Depoe Bay: 63F/54F/0.68”
Newport: 63F/55F/0.42”
Waldport: 62F/55F/0.31”
Yachats: 64F/54F/0.37”

Forecast: We should be over the hiccups by tomorrow, but today will be wet, windy at times, and could feature a thunderstorm or two, possibly with small hail. The mercury rises a little, to 60-65F. By tonight, the chance of showers is down to about 50-50 with light winds and lows of 50F. Tomorrow we’re on the mend as the clouds dissipate and we see highs of 65F or better. Outlook is for sunny days, partly to mostly cloudy nights, moderate northwest winds, highs of 65-70F and lows of 55F. This pattern is predicted to last through the weekend. By the way, we slipped under 15 hours of daylight today with 14 hours and 59 minutes between sunrise and sunset. We’re now losing just over two minutes a day.

Travel: There’s another potential bottleneck on Highway 101, south of Lincoln City on the Kernville Bridge. Work there will reduce one lane of travel Monday thru Friday between 8:30am and 4:00pm. Crews will be replacing the expansion joints on the bridge. The project still allows a full lane of travel in each direction. Therefore, it is not expected to result in significant delays for motorists. Highway construction work also continues on 101 through the Nelscott District in Lincoln City with varying delay times. In the Coast Range today, showers, possible thunderstorms and 60-70F. Valley destinations will have showers and potential thunderstorms with highs of 70-75F. For the Cascades, showers and thunderstorms; the freezing level is at 8,000 feet.

Marine: Steep square seas of 5 feet at 5 seconds along with gusty S winds 5-20 knots and rain are creating a sloppy ride this morning. As of 8:00am, Depoe Bay and Yaquina Bay bars are unrestricted. Southerlies are expected to continue today at 10-15 knots gusting 20 with choppy seas 3-5 feet. Tonight, the breeze veers to W 10-15 knots gusting 20 and a 5 foot swell will be topped by 3 foot windwaves. Things start changing tomorrow as winds go north and subside to 5-15 knots but the swell rises to 7 feet. Outlook is for classic Summer weather beginning Thursday and lasting through the weekend. NW winds 20-25 knots, swells 3-5 feet and lumpy 6-7 foot windwaves especially in the afternoons and evenings.

Click here to download the Chris Burns book, "Family Voyaging"

On the Beach… Rain/showers, breezy, surf 3-5 feet (low).
For a safe and enjoyable time on the Central Coast, the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department offers these Beach Safety Tips.
07/23 Wed 11:40 AM 6.31 H
07/23 Wed 04:32 PM 3.27 L
07/23 Wed 10:38 PM 8.52 H
07/24 Thu 05:41 AM -0.34 L

In Short: Rain turning to showers, moderate winds, then back to Summer.

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 Posted by at 8:08 AM
Jul 232014
The sea blowing "smoke" in our face to remind us who's boss, even in "summer."

The sea blowing “smoke” in our face to remind us who’s boss, even in “summer.”
Greg Henton

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 Posted by at 7:30 AM
Jul 232014
Oregonian photo

Oregonian photo

Merkley, Wyden Press For Additional Firefighting Funds for Oregon -
Urge Senate to Supply Emergency Funds and Revamp Broken Fire Prevention, Management System

As wildfires spanning nearly 600,000 acres burn across Oregon – with lightning storms predicted for the next 48 hours – Oregon’s Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden led 10 other senators Tuesday in sending a letter to Senate leaders calling for swift passage of President Obama’s emergency supplemental funding request, which would allocate $615 million – accessible immediately – to fight wildfires. The Senators also called for a vote on the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, a bill sponsored by Wyden and Merkley that would fix the broken system of stealing funds from fire prevention programs to fight fires that are already burning.

With persistent droughts, dry forests and new fires starting daily, the West has experienced an especially harsh fire season. Currently there are active fires burning in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, and California. Both Oregon and Washington have declared states of emergency. The administration already estimates that this year’s funding for firefighting will fall far short of the costs.

“We cannot afford to wait another year to fix this urgent problem,” the Senators wrote in the letter. “We urge you to take up the President’s emergency funding request to deal with wildfire funding once and for all.”

The emergency supplemental funding request would grant $615 million, which would be immediately accessible for firefighting efforts in western states through the end of the year.

The cost of fighting wildfires has regularly exceeded the amount appropriated by Congress in past years. To cover this need for additional funds, money must be redirected from mitigation and prevention efforts.

To ensure that fires are treated like other natural disasters and ensure that both firefighting and prevention efforts are adequately funded, the Senators urged passage of Wyden and Merkley’s bipartisan Wildlife Disaster Funding Act, which would create a long-term solution for wildfire budgets.

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 Posted by at 1:11 AM
Jul 232014

Dirk Siedlicki and Bob Keller restore an old cemetery stone in Burns, OR

Dirk Siedlicki and Bob Keller restore an old cemetery stone in Burns, OR

Courtesy photos

Courtesy photos

The Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries will meet at 9 a.m. July 25 at the Hallmark Inn in Newport.

On the same day at 1:00 p.m. the Commission invites you to join them and the Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board (OMCB) for a community planning session on a very important topic: The Future of Cemeteries in Oregon.

Both boards have noticed a trend of the increasing difficulty of getting new volunteers step in and help keep up the continuity of non-profit and often rural cemeteries–whether a non-operating pioneer cemetery, or a small operating one. With the high cremation rates in the Northwest, even the for-profit operating cemeteries are facing concerns of increasing operating costs for ongoing maintenance without the same level of new burials and revenue coming in as before. We want to compare notes on these trends and any others identified by the community. And then discuss what roll—if any—the public sector (either of our boards, or other state, county or city) should have in addressing these trends, or, simply in helping if and when a particular cemetery becomes abandoned,

Melisa McDonald of Metro will be facilitating this very special session.

Please call or email Carla to RSVP for the afternoon session ASAP. 971.673.1507 or Carla.Knapp@state.or.us. The OMCB will hold its meeting regular meeting on July 24 at 1:00pm.

Historic cemetery and marker repair workshop to be in Toledo

The Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries will offer a historic cemetery and marker repair workshop July 26 in Toledo. All of the events are free and open to the public. The workshop will be at the Toledo Cemetery near the intersection of Skyline Drive and Arcadia Drive from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The free workshop will address marker assessment, cleaning, leveling and repair.

Participants should bring their own lunch, snacks, water to drink, a stool or folding chair to sit on, gloves to wear, a hat, sunscreen, appropriate clothing as this is a hands on workshop, comfortable shoes, a pen and note pad and camera if they want to take photos during the workshop.

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 Posted by at 1:00 AM
Jul 232014

Kim Carlson

Kim Carlson

Kim Carlson

Kim Carlson

Kim Carlson In her native Beaver Creek

Kim Carlson
In her native Beaver Creek

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 Posted by at 12:47 AM
Jul 232014
Sunset on the Bayshore Kerry Terrel

Sunset on the Bayshore
Kerry Terrel

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 Posted by at 12:43 AM
Jul 222014

Kevin Greenwood Newport Port Manager

Kevin Greenwood
Newport Port Manager

International Terminal Dredging deeper to handle deeper draft ships likely in late September/early October. Port of Newport graphic

International Terminal
Dredging deeper to handle bigger ships likely in late September/early October.
Port of Newport graphic

Newport Port Manager Kevin Greenwood says dredging to accommodate larger log ships transporting raw timber to the Orient could be complete in late September or early October.

Greenwood told his port commission Tuesday evening that the National Marine Fisheries Service has completed it’s biological assessment of the magnitude of environmental impact deeper dredging would cause near the new International Terminal in order to handle bigger logging ships.

Greenwood said the assessment is being reviewed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers – the corps doing the actual dredging. Greenwood said those reviews should be complete and permits issued in time for the dredging to begin in the second or third week of September.

But a new wrinkle emerged during those discussions – a wrinkle that could amount to a rather large cost overrun in creating the enhanced aquatic habitat behind the Oregon Coast Aquarium, thereby offsetting the loss next to the terminal. However, further discussions indicated that cost savings connected with the timing and set up for dredging operations could amount to upwards of $300,000, thereby cancelling out those extra expenses.

Stay tuned.

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

Meanwhile, as News Lincoln County reported to you last week, Teevin Brothers will not be building their multi-million dollar log export handling yard just east of the terminal this year due to the delay in getting permits for the dredging.

The Teevin Brothers’ team noted in a letter to the port that although there has been a marked slow-down in China’s log purchasing, it has nothing to do with the delay in building their log yard. It’s strictly due to the delay in dredging. They also say it doesn’t weaken their commitment to building the log yard or continuing to be an economic partner with the Port of Newport.

In recent communiques with the port, another log exporting firm, Alcan Timber, said it was setting up a log handling yard on some industrial properties south of Toledo. They said they would be amenable to loading ships half-full to accommodate the currently shallow depths around the terminal. But port officials say Alcan has not recently contacted the port over such matters.

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 Posted by at 11:24 PM