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Search continues for missing Canadian couple in eastern Oregon and beyond

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Apr 072011

Update from Baker City Police Department

Involved Person(s): Albert Paul Chretien – 59 years of age
Rita Eleanor Chretien – 56 years of age

On April 6, 2011 law enforcement agencies from multiple jurisdictions, in multiple states, continued the search efforts for missing British Columbia residents Albert and Rita Chretien. The couple was last seen at a convenience store in Baker City, Oregon on March 19, 2011, during a scheduled trip to Las Vegas, Nevada. The investigation and search efforts in Oregon are now entering the 6th day.

At this time the search has extended through Baker, Malheur, Grant and Harney Counties in Eastern and Southeastern Oregon. Over 40 Law Enforcement officers and 18 Search and Rescue volunteers, from six separate Oregon agencies, have traveled over 3,000 miles of state highways and county roads during the search. Malheur County has flown approximately 13 hours over two days, traveling in excess of 1,000 miles over Southeastern Oregon. Weather conditions have still prohibited an aerial search of Baker County.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)continue to have a significant presence in the investigation, with two investigators in Baker City and six others involved with the case in Canada. Oregon investigators have also contacted multiple U.S. Federal agencies including the United States Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, requesting assistance.

As this investigation enters its 6th day in Oregon, investigators are continuing to reach out to other states for assistance. Law Enforcement agencies in Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Arizona are being provided information related to the missing couple, along with requests for assistance in looking for the couple.

This case has drawn extensive media attention from Canada, Eastern Oregon and Southwestern Idaho. Canadian television and radio stations from as far east as Toronto have been in daily contact with the Baker City Police Department, with one Canadian television station sending a reporter and cameraman to Baker City.

Law Enforcement is requesting that any anyone with information related to the Chretiens or their missing vehicle to contact the toll free US/Canada Tip Line at 1-877-987-8477 or:

Baker City Police Department: 541-523-3644
Oregon State Police Southern Command Center dispatch: 541-664-4600

Protecting “Oregon the Beautiful” goes on despite Washington DC’s budget crisis

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Apr 072011

Oregon the Beautiful

Provided by Oregon Congressional Delegation

Wyden, Merkley, DeFazio Introduce Trio of Bills to Protect Natural Resources in Oregon
Bills Preserve 4,000 Acres of Oregon Caves National Monument; Designates Devil’s Staircase as Wilderness; and Protects Chetco River from Suction Dredge Mining

Washington, D.C. – Seeking protections to some of Oregon’s most valued and threatened natural resources, three Oregon lawmakers have introduced bills in both the House of Representatives and the Senate to protect and preserve the Devil’s Staircase Wilderness, the Chetco River and the Oregon Caves National Monument. U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) introduced the Devil’s Staircase Wilderness Act of 2011, the Oregon Caves Revitalization Act of 2011 and the Chetco River Protection Act of 2011.

The Oregon Caves bill transfers 4,000 acres in the Oregon Caves national monument from the National Forest Service to the National Park Service and designates the land as a Natural Preserve. The Devil’s Staircase bill designates 30,000 acres of the Siuslaw National Forest as a wilderness area and protects roughly 14 miles of the Wasson and Franklin Creeks. The Chetco mining bill protects three miles of the river from invasive mining practices.

“These areas are among Oregon’s most prized possessions and they deserve protection,” Wyden said. “Between the Oregon Caves and Devil’s Staircase legislation more than 34,000 acres of Oregon land will preserved and protected for future generations to enjoy. The Chetco bill puts a check on the horribly invasive practices of out-of-state mining companies operating in Oregon that threaten to devastate local ecosystems and wipe out breeding grounds for some of our most important fish species.”

“Oregon is home to some of the most amazing coastline, rivers, and forests on Earth,” said Merkley. “These treasures define where we live, providing outstanding recreational opportunities, clean drinking water, and economic benefits for our communities as we attract tourists from all over the world. The legislation we are introducing today renews our state’s commitment to sustaining the vitality of these natural wonders.” Continue reading »

Governor Kitzhaber debuts new ideas for Oregon health care

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Apr 072011

Gov. John Kitzhaber

Governor John Kitzhaber has been burning the midnight oil since being sworn in for his third term as Oregon’s number one politician. Kitzhaber is trying to make good on his campaign promises of more effective government at less cost. His latest product off his brain’s assembly line is health care. Oregon health care. He wants to make it better run, offer more coordinated services at a cost that’s lower than what has passed for normal, up to this point. More from the Oregonian. Click here.

Single Vehicle Rollover, 1 mile north of Siletz on 229

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Apr 072011

Hwy 229, 1 mile north of Siletz
Click on photos to enlarge

Update 4:23pm

Oregon State Police say a Toledo woman was badly injured in a single car rollover accident a mile north of Siletz on Highway 229 at around 10am Thursday morning. Troopers say Sarah McElroy, 31, was headed northbound coming out of a curve when, for some reason, she straightened out, crossed over into the left lane, left the road and plowed into a berm of dirt with a tree stump in the middle of it.

The impact caused her Honda Accord to bounce off, flip, and come to rest on its top. McElroy was removed from the wreck by fire rescue personnel and was transported by ambulence to PCH in Newport. However, when she was assessed as having worse injuries than initially believed, she was helicoptered to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis. No word yet on safety belts or why she lost control of her vehicle.

Another quake in Japan, 7.4 – NO TSUNAMI

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Apr 072011

Reports say Japan endured another major earthquake. Power lines are down, public transportation was interrupted and water mains were broken, but NOAA says NO TSUNAMI. More from the Oregonian. Click here

Toledo City Council on trees, fees, and donations please…

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Apr 062011

Continuing a long tradition of Toledo qualifying as a Tree City USA community, Mayor Monica Lyons received yet another Tree City USA banner from the Oregon Department of Forestry, it’s representative remarking that “Toledo is truly worthy of this award because in Toledo you can’t tell where the forest ends and the city begins.” Forester Bill Mahr said the town has met other qualifying goals including having a working tree plan for the city, spending at least two dollars a year per resident in tree planting and maintenance, having a standing tree council, and that Toledo observes Arbor Day every year.

On trees to fees
The council determined that they want to better preserve the city’s biggest, most central fund it has: The General Fund. And to better protect that fund during the recession, the council decided that the general fund should no longer subsidize the cost of providing street lighting. And so the council began the process of raising city utility bills by 1 dollar a month aimed at taking care of and providing electricity to street lights around town. One resident rose to tell the council that many families are financially devastated by the recession and to many a dollar a month is a lot of money. She added, “Get ready to hear them complain that ‘there’s no street light outside my house, so why should I have to pay anything at all?'” One of the councilors remarked that everyone drives under them at night and that the lights especially provide for safer driving on stormy winter nights. The $1 dollar higher fee totalling $7 per month is likely to take effect July 1st thereby removing just about all of the general fund subsidy for street lights.

From fees to donations please
The Toledo City Council, however, did pass out some money to local non-profits that provide what the council considers critically important services to the community that the city could never afford to do on its own. They wrote a check for $1,000 to Samaritan House, which reports that up to 20% of homeless families that seek shelter and food from them are from Toledo. Senior Meals on Wheels, $1,900. Meals on Wheels serves 49 homebound seniors in Toledo amounting to 2,010 meals a year. Samaritan Place Senior Companion Program, which helps the elderly remain in their own homes rather than resorting to nursing home facilities, $100. The program provided 2,122 volunteer hours last year. My Sister’s Place, a refuge for battered women and children, $1,000. My Sister’s Place served 45 Toledo citizens last year. Lincoln County CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates, $800, 37 Toledo children were assisted. CASA volunteers ensure that judges and law enforcement keep the welfare of children from troubled homes (legally/criminally) a top priority. Progressive Options, $300. They teach life skills to seriously mentally and physically challenged persons throughout the county. No Toledo numbers were given. Association for Family and Community Education, $600, no details given. Retired and Senior Volunteers of Lincoln County $300. RSVP serves 57 seniors in Toledo with a value of $1,800 in service to each senior. And finally, East County Backpack Program, $1,000. It serves children who leave school on Friday and return to school extremely hungry on Monday because there is not enough food at home to get them through the weekend.

Which brings us to how Toledo will be helping a large number of children from low income families make it through the upcoming Summer with fun activities and good food. The city is looking for a home base for the program which provides breakfast and lunch for the kids before they go home in the afternoon. In between and after meals the children will be carefully shepherded through wholesome activities like reading at the Library, bowling, children’s theater, rowing club and an occasional plunge in the municipal pool. City Manager Michelle Amberg says she has her eye set on Toledo’s Children’s Center which already provides day care. The program starts in June. For details, call Toledo City Hall at 541-336-2247.

Community meetings on the school bond take to the road in April

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Apr 062011

Keep Improving District Schools Committee to Host Community Meetings
Explaining School Renewal Bond

K.I.D.S. Committee of Lincoln County will host informational meetings in all areas of the county this month, giving voters the opportunity to learn about the school improvement bond measure that is on the May 17 ballot. The meetings will provide answers to questions, and tour specific schools to see first-hand what improvements are needed.

Lincoln County School District administrators, including Superintendent Tom Rinearson and Director of Support Services Rich Belloni, have been invited to attend. One or both have said they will be available to answer questions from the public at these meetings.

Community Meetings Schedule:

Tuesday, April 12, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Newport High School multipurpose room, 322 NE Eads St.

Wednesday, April 13, 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., beginning at Toledo Elementary School, 600 SE Sturdevant Rd. and ending at Toledo Jr./Sr. High School, 1800 NE Sturdevant Rd. Because this meeting takes place through the dinner hour, a light meal will be served.

Thursday, April 14, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Waldport High School, room 2, 320 Lower Crestline Drive.

Monday, April 18, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Oceanlake Elementary School gymnasium, 2420 NE 22nd St., Lincoln City.

Tuesday, April 26, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., Hatfield Marine Science Center auditorium, 2030 SE Marine Science Drive, Newport.

K.I.D.S. Committee is a countywide organization of parents, community members, and educators who are working together to “Keep Improving District Schools.” They are encouraging voters to get the facts and to vote yes for school bond renewal. Herman Welch, former mayor of Waldport, is campaign manager.

“As a community, we are responsible for educating our children in a safe environment. We are also obligated to protect the significant dollar investment that we have in our school buildings,” Welch said. “As voters, we must become well informed on issues before voting. We hope people will come to these meetings ready to learn the facts about the bond measure and to have their questions answered.”

For more information about the proposed bond measure, visit the Lincoln County School District website at or go online to Facebook/KIDS Committee of Lincoln County, Oregon. You may also call Welch at 541-563-2354; K.I.D.S. Committee Treasurer Sue Woodruff at 541-563-2479; or K.I.D.S. Committee Volunteer Coordinator Liz Martin at 541-270-1300.

Editor’s note: The May 17th School Bond Election will involve a $63 million dollar bond that will not raise taxes, and in fact may lower them slightly. That is possible because earlier school bonds will paid off as the new bonds take their place. But likewise, if the bond measure fails, property taxes would fall significantly. A newly emerging justification for passing the bond is that any school in a tsunami zone like Waldport High risks a tsumani at its front door within 20 minutes of an earthquake offshore, giving not enough time for trapped or injured children and staff to be removed from the building before the tsunami roared ashore.

Newport Reads Program announces….

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Apr 062011

Kim Stafford

Provided by Cindy McConnell, Newport Library Foundation

April brings the showers that provide May flowers, but another much-anticipated event in April is the annual Newport Reads program, sponsored by the Newport Library Foundation.

“Down in My Heart: Peace Witness in War Time” by William Stafford is this year’s selection. With an interesting and informative introduction by Kim Stafford, son of the author, this short but powerful book tells the story of Stafford’s time as a conscientious objector during World War II. Stafford, who went on to become the Poet Laureate of the United States, writes of being in the conscientious objector camps and the work done there. He paints a heartfelt picture of the men who were at these camps, why they were there, and how they became a community of peace.

Kim Stafford, a writer as well, will speak at the OCCC Community Room on Thursday, April 14, at 6:30 to talk about his father and the book. This evening will be a great opportunity to understand the man behind the book, and his legacy in the writing world.

The Newport community and surrounding areas have a wealth of citizens with experience relating to times of war. On Thursday, April 28, at 6:30, a panel discussion on pacifism will take place in the McEntee Room of the Newport Public Library. Participants include Steve Cole, Jay Cox, Sam Scheinberg, and Steve McQuiddy, who is writing a book about the conscientious objector camps of WWII. This evening will be a time of discussion and reflection on war and peace, and what effect war experience can have on a person.

There are two other events taking place around this time that add to the understanding of the topic and of Stafford himself. On Tuesday, April 12, at 6:30, the Newport Public Library will show the old movie, ‘Sergeant York,’ about a conscientious objector who becomes the most-decorated American soldier of WWI. In addition, the current Poet Laureate of Oregon, Paulanne Peterson, will be at the Newport Public Library on Sunday, April 24 at 1:00, for a workshop called “Writing the Stafford Way.”

All of these events are free to the public. If you have not read the book yet, there are copies available at the library and at local bookstores. For more information, go to www.

Still some space in the Loyalty Days Parade!!

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Apr 062011

55th Annual Newport Loyalty Day and Sea Fair Festival Parade
Applications still available.

Applications for entry into the Newport Loyalty Day & Sea Fair Festival parade scheduled for Saturday, April 30th continue to be available. Theme for this years parade is ” Heart of America.” Lincoln City Police Officer Steve Dodds has graciously agreed to be our Grand Marshal and appear in the parade.

The deadline for submitting applications is Thursday, April 21st. If your group or organization has participated in the parade in the past, an application was mailed to your groups contact address from the previous year. Applications can also be picked up and dropped off at the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce Office or you may mail your application to Newport Loyalty Days & Sea Fair Festival Assoc., PO Box 1531, Newport, Oregon 97365.