When it comes to establishing a highly restricted marine reserve off Cape Arago, the Port of Coos Bay Commission turned thumbs down on it this week, the commission preferring that studies on other proposed marine reserves along the Oregon Coast proceed first. Then, if Cape Arago is still of interest to the state offshore planning efforts, the port can take up the matter then. The story is in the Coos Bay World. Click here.Share on Facebook
A well known Coos Bay manufacturing company and the family that runs it has been hauled into federal court on allegations that it outsourced the making of parts for military equipment, including for Kiowa Helicopters and C-5A jet transport carriers. The U.S. Attorney in Portland claims the Bettencourt family and their Kustom Products Incorporated (KPI) had parts made in Mexico and China, with little attention to quality, lied to the military that the parts were made to military specifications, then pocketed the added profit. The Department of Defense contends the contract with Kustom Products was valued at over $7.5 million.
The indictment alleges that KPI’s Harold Bettencourt II, Kathy Sue Bettencourt, Bo Bettencourt, Nicholas Bettencourt, Peter Bettencourt Margo Densmore and Joshua Kemp all were principal players in an elaborate scheme to defraud the Defense Department. The indictment also alleges that all proceeds traceable to the fraud are to be forfeited including over $365,000 in funds from twenty bank accounts, eight vehicles, one boat, two boat trailers, two jet skis and three all-terrain vehicles.
The indictment also reveals that the lock nuts supplies by KPI were part of the Kiowa Helicopter’s main rotor assembly. They were also part of the C-5A’s engines and used by other aircraft.
If convicted, prison sentences range from 10 to 20 years and huge fines in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.Share on Facebook
The Coast Guard spent a great deal of Monday searching for a well known Coos Bay area fisherman who fell overboard after his boat “Randi” overturned several miles north of the Coos Bay Jetty. With water temperatures down to near 50, there was little hope that Jim Peterson would have survived very long in the cold water.
The story is updated by the Coos Bay World. Click here.Share on Facebook
Oregon lawmakers adjourned the legislature last week with a list of accomplishments, near accomplishments, and outright flops. Here’s a list of some of what they did accomplish without federal stimulus money and without over-committing the state’s precious reserves. The story is in the Statesman Journal. Click here.
One legislative orphan left to die on the Capitol steps was House Bill 2009 which was the product of endless meetings on how best to gauge the health of Oregon’s near shore ocean. Supporters of the bill said the establishment of marine reserves, with either outright bans on human activity or near to it, is necessary to devise a near-shore regulatory framework to keep our coast waters healthy. Marine reserve supporters say there is research that proves that human activity is having a harmful effect on the health of oceans and along the Oregon coast. Opponents, however, vociferously contended that there has already been enough research on Oregon’s territorial waters to challenge those broad contentions. Their opposition to the establishment of marine reserves was muted, however, due to a not-so-veiled threat by environmental protection groups to launch a statewide voter initiative to mandate the reserves despite the reluctance of the legislature. House Bill 2009 never did come up for an up or down vote.
Some point to the fact that House Co-Speaker Arnie Robian is from Coos Bay whose community involvement with the marine reserves process has been somewhat contentious. The Port of Coos Bay, especially, has demanded that any legislation authorizing marine reserves carry with it “economic mitigation” for any commercial fishermen who are kicked off their traditional fishing waters for the sake of ocean research as well as for any lost jobs at Coos Bay area’s three major fish processing facilities. The port’s demand that the state compensate for such lost fishing related income was met with less than open arms in Salem.
A spokesman for Governor Kitzhaber’s office told NewsLincolnCounty.com that the governor is keenly aware of the political and environmental stakes and will work with all those involved to develop a way forward on the issue while plans are made to develop another attempt at legislative review. Funds for implementing part of the targeted marine reserves program are found in the state’s environmental protection and anti-pollution agencies. It remains to be seen how the environmental groups react to the governor’s efforts. If they’re judged insufficient, a statewide “Save Our Ocean” campaign could kick off with a voter signature collection campaign that would put the marine reserves issue on the ballot. Most political observers and pundits predict it would overwhelmingly be approved mainly on the strength of voters in the Eugene and Portland areas.Share on Facebook
Coos Bay is again trying to develop a strategy that will revitalize it’s waterfront and downtown that will make it more attractive for news business, industry and tourism. And to the extent that “imitation is the highest form of flattery,” the Coos Bay newspaper reports they’re looking to emulate Astoria which they claim successfully pulled off their own make-over and have benefited greatly from it.
Here’s the story in the Coos Bay World. Click here.Share on Facebook