Y-Booi! Newport’s future looks bright!

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Jun 282011

Provided by Yaquina Bay Ocean Observing Initiative

Ocean Observing: A New Economic Engine for Newport?

While most of the community knows that NOAA’s new Marine Operations Center – Pacific Fleet Headquarters has come to Newport, fewer are aware that the National Science Foundation is in the process of investing tens of millions of dollars in a cutting-edge array of oceanographic equipment that will be installed in the ocean off the Pacific Northwest. It will gather data about the ocean for at least the next 30 years. This initiative adds to the existing kaleidoscope of other ocean research activities already underway and based in Newport. A working group of scientists, port representatives and business interests has been meeting to discuss how these activities can be turned into economic development opportunities for the greater Newport region.

The group’s effort, called the Yaquina Bay Ocean Observing Initiative (YBOOI), will hold a public meeting in mid-July to provide information to the community about upcoming scientific and economic development activities. It will also solicit public opinion on how to position Newport as a hub for ocean observing and other scientific and general economic development activities in the Pacific Northwest.

“Ocean observing and other marine research could be an economic driver in this region, if we are proactive,” said YBOOI Co-chair John Lavrakas of Advanced Research Corporation. “We could provide everything from warehousing to ship maintenance, and we could attract other businesses that develop and service instruments and create educational products using ocean observing data. But we’d like to hear more ideas.

The public meeting will be Thursday, July 14 at 7:00 pm at the Hennings Auditorium of the Hatfield Marine Science Center. All are invited to participate. At this meeting attendees will hear from speakers on a range of scientific initiatives and related economic development opportunities. They will be invited to provide their thoughts on issues to be considered as YBOOI moves forward.

For more information, please contact YBOOI Project Coordinator Nancy Steinberg at nsteinberg@charter.net.

DUII mother, who rolled her car into a north county creek with three children aboard, found guilty.

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Jun 282011

Willow Creek, November 18, 2009
LCSO Photo

Amber Gandy was found guilty Tuesday of assault, three counts of reckless endangerment, reckless driving and DUII for losing control of her SUV that plunged into Willow Creek, upside down, trapping herself and three of her children. It was just luck that another resident came along the same lonely road on the night of November 18, 2009, 12 miles east of Lincoln City, and saw skid marks through the brush that led down toward creek. When he looked over the bank, he saw Gandy’s Ford Explorer, wheels up in the rushing water.

He and others got Gandy and two of her children out, but her six month old son was underwater for an extended period. Court testimony described efforts to revive the little boy who was described as blue and plastic-looking. But rescuers and doctors eventually brought him back from the brink of death.

Although finding Gandy guilty on the above charges, Judge Thomas Branford found her innocent of other charges, including indifference to human life, that could have lengthened her already possible year and a half in prison sentence. Judge Branford noted in police reports that all three children were either seatbelted or car-seated in and that she was hysterical as her children were being rescued.

Judge Branford noted that Gandy’s blood-alcohol that night was a .24, a level that would cause most people to pass out, yet she was still driving. Judge Branford looked sternly at Gandy and said “No one in this room could get to that alcohol level without passing out, except you. You are an experienced drinker.”

When Judge Branford indicated that he was prepared to take Gandy off supervised release and have her booked into the county jail, her attorney asked Judge Brandford to reconsider. He cited Gandy’s 19 months of urine-tested sobriety and full cooperation with counseling and rehabilitation. But Judge Branford was not swayed. He ordered Gandy to be taken straight to jail pending her sentencing on July 30th at 1:30pm.

A tearful Gandy was led away in handcuffs to begin what is likely to be a long time to sit in a prison cell and think about what she did, or more to the point, what she almost did to herself and to her three children that terrible night. Not to mention to her supportive husband and their two other children.

Army Corps “ups the bet” on their closure of Newport’s South Jetty

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Jun 282011

“Entrance” to South Jetty

The Army Corps of Engineer office in Portland recently announced, that despite decades of recreation along Newport’s South Jetty, they were closing it off for safety reasons. Ever since, the agency has been in a tug of war with unnamed locals who are set on defying the closure. The Corps claims the danger is too great, while a number of locals claim the danger is minimal. Since there have been no public meetings on the issue, neither side has heard directly from the other except in the form of “midnight warfare.”

Last month the Corps erected two steel posts, cemented in the ground, with a thick steel cable between them thereby blocking off motor vehicles from the South Jetty. Within a day or two someone had the posts pulled out leaving the wire lying flat on the ground. Vehicular access resumed.

The Corps said it would replace the barrier with something more substantial. And this week they did just that. The posts have been inserted into big river boulders on both sides of the access road, just beyond the pavement. Corps officials said they hope that will do the trick.

The Corps contends that the jetty is a dangerous place to hike, ride a bike or fish from. Although there is sand over the top of the jetty, Corps officials say sea water underneath often carves out deep chasms that a small child or pet, or even an adult could unwittingly fall into. They also pointed to the recent deaths of three people on the jetty over the past year.

But a number of residents claim that those deaths were due to poor judgement, not inherent danger. The two young adults who died last year near the western end of the jetty were from Portland and apparently had no respect for the power of thirty foot waves that were crashing over the end of the jetty. One wave washed them both to their deaths. The other death was a suicide. Jetty recreation supporters contend that Central Coast families for generations have used the South Jetty for recreational enjoyment and that it’s rare that anyone is hurt. They contend the Corps is simply overreacting.

So, the new barrier across the road is in place. Will the Corps have the final word in this anonymous tug of war over access to the South Jetty? Time will tell.

Meanwhile, the Corps asks that anyone who has any information as to who has been manhandling the road access structure to call 503-808-4510.

Would you like to serve the community where the sky’s the limit?

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Jun 282011

Newport Airport

The City of Newport is seeking applications from citizens interested in serving on the Airport Committee. The Airport Committee meets monthly on the third Thursday, at 2:00 P.M., at City Hall. It is charged with recommending rules and regulations for the Newport Municipal Airport; recommending policies governing the use of airport property; reviewing and reporting to the Council on matters referred to it by the Council; making studies or reports relating to the Newport Municipal Airport; and promoting the Newport Municipal Airport.

Anyone interested in serving on this committee should apply using the city’s committee application which is found on the city website at www.newportoregon.gov; click on “City;” then on “Committees;” and then on “Application for Committee/Commission.” The completed form can be submitted electronically. Copies of the committee application form can also be obtained by contacting the City Manager’s Office at 169 SW Coast Highway, Newport, Oregon 97365, or by calling 541.574.0613. The application deadline is July 15, 2011.

The Airport Committee will interview interested volunteers at its August 18, 2011 meeting, and forward a recommendation to the City Council for formal appointment at its September 6, 2011 meeting.

Newport man arrested on child pornography and eliciting a minor.

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Jun 282011

Eugene Dudas, Sex Abuse

After a follow up investigation, Newport Police have arrested a 55 year old Newport man on charges that he showed a young girl pictures of naked children in sexually suggestive poses and that he encouraged her to pose naked for him so he could photograph her. Police say the victim also reported that Eugene Dudas made several unwanted advances toward her and touched her inappropriately.

Police obtained a search warrant for Dudas’ residence and once inside investigators seized several computers, accessories and cameras.

Police charged Dudas with two counts of sexual abuse, possession of materials depicting children in explicit sexual behavior, eliciting a child to pose in a sexually explicit manner, encouraging child sexual abuse, unlawful contact with a child, endangering the welfare of a child, and attempt to use a child in displays of sexually explicit conduct.

Dudas was lodged in the Lincoln County Jail on a bail of $665,000.

Anyone with any information on Mr. Dudas, contact with Mr. Dudas, or suspicions of contacts with Mr. Dudas should call Newport Police Detective Brent Gainer at 541-574-3348.

Big Detour in Toledo Thursday

 Toledo, Travel Alerts  Comments Off on Big Detour in Toledo Thursday
Jun 282011

Provided by Toledo Public Works Director Adam Denlinger

Motorist can expect delays as Toledo PW crews will be performing routine maintenance along Business Hwy-20 from Dundon Road to French Ave all day Thursday June 30th please plan to use an alternate route.

Crews will be reestablishing stormwater drainage along the roadway, mowing, removing debris, and dangerous trees from the hillside and completing some guardrail maintenance. Motorist can expect delays throughout the day as crews safely complete improvements.

Motorists are being encouraged to use an alternate route if possible. Feel free to contact the PW Department at 541-336-2247 if you have any questions.

Accident atop Foulweather 101

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Jun 282011

12: 19am

A vehicle towing a boat lost the boat on its way over the top of Cape Foulweather. The boat left the trailer and headed for the side of the road. No injuries. They’re trying to get the boat back on the trailer. Caution in the area.

Select tree thinning of Lincoln City’s Agnes Creek open space may take a while

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Jun 282011

Agnes Creek Open Space, Lincoln City

Efforts to “unclutter” Lincoln City’s Agnes Creek open space area and let a little sunshine in will happen. It just won’t be tomorrow. The Lincoln City City Council approved a contract to have 17 out of Agnes Creek’s 54 acres thinnned of timber in order to let more sunshine in as well as give healthy forest undergrowth a chance to flourish and thereby help diversify local wildlife.

Agnes Creek was clear cut back in the 1960’s, and so all the planted “grow back” trees are all the same age. They’re all about the same size and same height and they’re all packed tightly together which makes the forest rather dark and a little wanting for a healthy forest floor. The tree crowns are also rather meager which indicates that competition between the trees being so close together is taking a toll on them. Thinning the grove will help all that, according to city officials.

However, with a roaring housing slump still going on nationwide, raw timber prices are in the bucket so city officials say it would be better if the thinning is held off until the market improves. They city’s contract with the forestry management company gives the city a big cut of the timber sales.

Lincoln County’s $63 million bond sale went really well…

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Jun 282011

Newport High football field getting artificial turf
Click to enlarge

Lincoln County School District officials are saying that Lincoln County voters will get a break on their school district property tax bills thanks to a very good bond sale this week. The $63 million dollar offering was snatched up by national investors for a net interest rate of just 1.98% That’s the interest on the bonds property owners will pay for a huge upgrade to local schools and a new high school in Waldport which currently sits in a tsunami zone. It all means that although the recent bond election passed by the voters quoted a probable school district bond retirement rate of 72-cents, it will be 70-cents per thousand. It’s currently at 76-cents which will lowered to the new 70-cents rate as old bonds are retired very shortly.

School District Superintendent Tom Rinearson said several factors played a role. The first was a Moody’s bond rating report that called the school district well run and fiscally sound. Second, the district qualified for the tail end of the Obama stimulus package program so that the district gets the first $15 million interest free. And third, in an uncertain national and world economy, investors are going for “sure things” backed by property taxes rather than traditional investment strategies. Rinearson said all three factors means taxpayers will save $7 million over the life of the bonds.

School renovations and construction are already underway, including new football fields at Newport, Toledo and Waldport High (at its new location). Completion of all renovations and new construction is expected to take three construction seasons, or through 2013.