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Unveiling of new HMSC Marine Studies Building Wednesday, 4-6pm at Visitors Center

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Nov 132017
 


Everyone is invited to the unveiling of the final design of the soon-to-be under construction Hatfield Marine Science Center’s new Marine Studies Building. The presentation is set for this Wednesday from 4 to 6pm at the west end of the Hatfield Marine Science Center, in the Visitors Center. The new building will be part two stories, part three stories high and will be of state of the art construction. In addition to furthering marine science studies the building will provide what is called “vertical evacuation” in the event of a tsunami. HMSC Director Bob Cowen says the building will be firmly anchored in solid soils and rock under the building site, which will make it able to withstand a major earthquake and following tsunami. And for that, it will be an evacuation site for HMSC personnel and other employees and visitors in the area.

But again, the mission of the building will be to enable students and faculty to further human understanding of the world’s oceans, coastlines, estuaries and atmosphere. It will provide the resources for large numbers of graduate and post-graduate marine science students to continue that quest.

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Lincoln County agrees to pay $2.85 million for the death of a mentally ill jail inmate in 2015

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Nov 132017
 

Lincoln County Jail

News Release from Johnson, Johnson, Lucas and Middleton attorneys and Gresham Injury Law Center

A settlement was reached between the family of Bradley Thomas and Lincoln County for $2.85 million. On April 8, 2015, Thomas died of significant dehydration and starvation while in the care and custody of the Lincoln County Jail.

Middleton and Melville filed the civil rights lawsuit against Lincoln County on behalf of Thomas’ family and estate on April 1, 2016. The lawsuit alleged jail staff failed to provide Thomas with medical care or medication despite documenting his increasingly odd behavior and loss of ability to walk or even speak. “Jails and prisons throughout the state increasingly have to manage people struggling with mental illness. That includes providing appropriate medical care, not just locking them up and ignoring the problem,” Middleton said. “This case shows there is a price to pay when jails treat the mentally ill as disposable.”

Thomas was booked into the Lincoln County Jail on March 23, 2015, on misdemeanor allegations. It was immediately obvious that Mr. Thomas had severe mental health issues. At times, Thomas was observed throwing food, smearing feces in his cell, even licking feces off the walls. His water was turned off, he quit eating and drinking. He was not taken to the hospital to get help. At the end, he could no longer even ask for help.

In early April 2015, a Lincoln County Health & Human Services mental health investigator testified that Thomas was bi-polar, couldn’t fend for himself and could harm others. He was committed to the state hospital for 180 days. That night, jail staff observed Thomas lying naked on the cold floor beside his bunk. Jail staff failed to call mental health services or provide any emergency response. The next morning, Thomas was found dead in his jail cell alone. It was a long and solitary death.

“I am angry that my son died naked and alone,“ said Catherine Thomas, Thomas’s mother. “Nobody should have to die like that.”

“Justice and accountability are core principles in our society. Lincoln County’s payment represents their accountability and is the only form of justice our system provides,” said Tom Melville. “We hope this case is a message, not only to Lincoln County, but all of Oregon’s jails, that ‘care and custody’ actually means that the basic needs of the weakest and most vulnerable are met.”

As Thomas’ younger brother, Ron Thomas, said at the beginning of this case: “Being mentally ill should not come with a death sentence in Lincoln County.”

=========================================================

In the past few months, Lincoln County Commissioners have launched a new program called Stepping Up which is gaining acceptance around the region to ensure that those who don’t really belong in jail are not jailed – most of whom have serious mental illness as suffered by Bradley Thomas. The county commissioners and County Counsel Wayne Belmont have enthusiastically embraced the process of adopting the program in Lincoln County whereby obviously mentally disturbed or drug-intoxicated persons are not just warehoused in the jail but are given the help they need in a more humane and supportive environment. Sheriff Curtis Landers also points out that the rising influx of mentally troubled inmates are literally pushing serious criminals out of their cells and back onto the streets due to jail capacity problems.

The county is very busy revamping the way it handles mentally ill and drug addicted inmates.

Newport looking for volunteers for Bike/Ped Advisory Committee

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Nov 132017
 

Newport City Hall
Vacancies on the Bicycling/Pedestrian Advisory Committee


The City of Newport is seeking applications from citizens interested in serving on the Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

The Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee meets monthly on the second Tuesday, at 5:30 P.M., at City Hall, 169 SW Coast Highway.

The Committee advises the Newport City Council on issues relating to bicycle and pedestrian transportation, safety, recreation, and education. The Committee also acts as a resource to provide additional information related to the unique problems associated with non-motorized transportation.

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. Paper copies of the committee application form can also be obtained by contacting Peggy Hawker, at p.hawker@newportoregon.gov, or by telephone at 541.574.0613.

The application deadline is December 29, 2017. It is anticipated that the Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee will interview interested volunteers at its meeting of January 9, 2018, and forward a recommendation to the City Council for formal appointment.

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Oregon utilities warn of phone scammers….

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Nov 132017
 


Portland General Electric, Pacific Power and NW Natural are recognizing Utility Scam Awareness Day. Together they are urging community members to be aware of ongoing attempts to defraud utility customers.

Many utility customers throughout Oregon are being targeted by impostor utility scams. Scammers typically use phone and in-person tactics to target these customers. Scammers pose as electric or natural gas company employees, and threaten customers with disconnection if they fail to make an immediate payment — typically using a prepaid card or other non-traceable form of payment.

Scammers can be very convincing and often target those who are most vulnerable, including senior citizens and low-income communities. They also aim their scams at small business owners during busy customer service hours. However, with the right information, customers can learn to detect and report these predatory scams.

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PGE, Pacific Power, and NW Natural urge customers to be aware of these signs of potential scam activity:
* Threat to disconnect: Scammers may make contact by phone and aggressively tell the customer his or her utility bill is past due and service will be disconnected if a payment is not made — usually within less than an hour.
* Request for immediate payment: Scammers may instruct the customer to purchase a prepaid card — widely available at retail stores — and then call them back supposedly to make a bill payment to his or her utility company.
* Request for prepaid card: When the customer calls back, the caller asks the customer for the prepaid card’s number, which grants the scammer instant access to the prepaid funds and the victim’s money is gone.
In order to protect themselves, customers should know:
* Customers should never agree to immediate purchase of a prepaid card to avoid service disconnection or shutoff. Legitimate utility companies offer a variety of ways to pay a bill, including accepting payments online, by phone, automatic bank draft, mail, or in person. Depending on delinquency, certain forms of payment may no longer be an option. However, payment via a prepaid card will never be demanded.
* If someone threatens immediate disconnection or shutoff of service, customers should contact their utility company immediately. Customers with delinquent accounts receive a disconnection notice in advance by mail. Companies never send a single notification one hour or less before disconnection. A legitimate utility company employee will allow the customer to call the office to discuss arrangements.
* If customers suspect someone is trying to scam them, they should state that they are calling their utility company for verification. They should then call the number on their monthly bill or the company’s website, not the phone number the scammer provides. If customers ever feel that they are in physical danger, they should call 911.

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Customers who suspect that they have been victims of fraud, or who feel threatened during contact with one of these scammers, should contact local law enforcement authorities.

PGE has information about how customers can protect themselves from scams at: https://www.portlandgeneral.com/our-company/news-room/fraud-alert
Pacific Power has customer education materials at: https://www.pacificpower.net/scam
NW Natural has information about customer protections at: 800-422-4012

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Medicare and Your Employer Health Plan

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Nov 132017
 

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Duane J. Silbernagel
Financial Advisor
Waddell & Reed

Medicare and Your Employer Health Plan

If you plan to continue working after you reach age 65, you may be wondering how Medicare coordinates with your employer’s group health plan. When you’re eligible for both types of coverage, you’ll need to consider the benefits and costs, and navigate an array of rules.

How does Medicare work with your group health plan?

You can generally wait to enroll in Medicare if you have group health insurance through your employer or your spouse’s employer. Most employers can’t require employees or covered spouses to enroll in Medicare to retain eligibility for their group health benefits. However, some small employers can, so contact your plan’s benefits administrator to find out if you’re required to sign up for Medicare when you reach age 65.

If you have Medicare and group health coverage, both insurers may cover your medical costs, based on “coordination of benefit” rules. The primary insurer pays your claim first, up to the limits of the policy. The secondary insurer pays your claim only if there are costs the primary insurer didn’t cover, but may not pay all the uncovered costs.

Who is the primary insurer? If your employer has 20 or more employees, your employer group health plan is primary and your Medicare coverage is secondary. If your employer has fewer than 20 employees, your Medicare coverage is primary and your employer group health plan is secondary.

Your employer can tell you more about how your group health coverage works with Medicare.

Should you wait to enroll in Medicare?

Medicare Part A helps pay for inpatient hospital care as well as skilled nursing facility, hospice, and home health care. Because Medicare hospital insurance is free for most people, you may want to enroll in Part A even if you have employer coverage. It could be helpful to have both types of insurance to fill any coverage gaps. However, if you have to pay for Part A, you’ll need to factor the cost of premiums into your decision.

Medicare Part B medical insurance, which helps pay for physician services and outpatient expenses, requires premium payments, so it would be wise to compare the costs and benefits of Medicare to your employer’s plan. If you’re satisfied with your employer coverage, you may be able to wait to enroll in Part B.

Late-enrollment penalties typically apply if you do not enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B when you are first eligible. However, if you are covered by a group health plan based on current employment, these penalties generally do not apply as long as you follow certain rules. You can sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Part B at any time as long as you are covered by a group health plan through your own employment or your spouse’s employment. When you stop working or your coverage ends, you have eight months to sign up without penalty. This eight-month period starts the month after your employment ends or the month after your employer group health coverage ends (whichever occurs first). Visit medicare.gov for more information.

What if you have an HSA?

If you have a high-deductible health plan through work, keep in mind that you cannot contribute to a health savings account (HSA) after you enroll in Medicare (A or B). The good news is that the HSA is yours, even if you can no longer contribute to it, and you can use the tax-advantaged funds to pay Medicare premiums and other qualified medical expenses. So it might be helpful to build your HSA balance before enrolling in Medicare.

Whether you should opt out of premium-free Part A in order to contribute to an HSA depends on what you consider to be more valuable: secondary hospital insurance coverage or tax-advantaged contributions to pay future expenses. HSA funds can be withdrawn free of federal income tax and penalties provided the money is spent on qualified health-care expenses. HSA contributions and earnings may or may not be subject to state taxes.

How are Medicare claims handled?

Once you enroll in Medicare, tell your health-care providers that you have coverage in addition to Medicare to help ensure that claims are submitted properly. You can also contact the Medicare Benefits Coordination & Recovery Center (BCRC) at (855) 798-2627 if you have questions about how your claims will be handled.

Medicare rules are complex, and these are only guidelines. Different rules and considerations apply if you have retiree health coverage through your former employer (or your spouse’s employer) or other types of health coverage.
For more detailed information, visit medicare.gov.

I hope you found this beneficial and informational. For more information about me and my services, visit my website:
www.duane.wrfa.com

Thank you for your interest.

Duane Silbernagel is a Financial Advisor in Lincoln City, Oregon offering securities through Waddell & Reed, Inc., Member FINRA and SIPC. He can be reached at (541) 614-1322 or via email at DSilbernagel@wradvisors.com.
 
This article is meant to be general in nature and should not be construed as investment or financial advice related to your personal situation. The article was written by an independent third party, Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. (Copyright 2017) and is provided for informational and educational purposes only. Waddell& Reed is not affiliated with www.newslincolncounty.com website and is not responsible for any other content posted to this website.  (10/17)

Weather or Not: A Rude Awakening

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Nov 132017
 

Monday, Nov. 13th – Lincoln County

Summary: Cloudy yesterday; evening rain; windy overnight; morning thunderstorms.

Past 24 Hours High/Low/Gust/Rain/Total*
Lincoln City: 56F/52F/44mph/0.66”/2.94”
Depoe Bay: 56F/52F/47mph/0.52”/2.43”
Newport: 59F/50F/46mph/0.54”/2.74”
Waldport: 61F/51F/37mph/0.31”/2.89”
Yachats: 60F/51F/58mph/0.57”/3.10”
*Since last dry day, November 7th

Newport Airport Conditions…
Ceiling: scattered @ 4,200’, broken @ 5,000’, overcast @ 8,500’
Visibility: 7 miles/Wind: SSW 26 mph G37/Altimeter: 29.86”

The High Wind Warning issued by the National Weather Service for the Central Coast remains in effect until 4:00pm this afternoon. In the coastal communities, south wind 25-40 mph with gusts to 65 mph. Near beaches and headlands, south wind 35-45 mph with gusts to 70 mph. The strongest winds will be from late this morning through the afternoon. High winds may blow down limbs, trees, and power lines. Scattered power outages are possible. A High Wind Warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected or occurring. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage.

Forecast: Several lightning strikes along the coast this morning were a rude awakening and the harbinger of a stormy day. Showers and possible thunderstorms today, very windy at times with gusts as high as 65 mph, the thermometer climbs to about 55F. Tonight, showers remain likely, but the wind diminishes, low of 45-50F. Rainy and breezy conditions return tomorrow, gusts 45-50 mph, maybe a quarter inch of precipitation, and a high in the low-50s. Outlook is for heavy rain, 1-2 inches, and winds to 50 mph Tuesday night, more heavy rain Wednesday albeit not as windy, showers Thursday, a chance of rain Friday and Saturday, then rain likely on Sunday. Normal November temperatures are projected with highs in the low-50s and lows in the mid-40s all week.

wxon-twitterWith the stormy season upon us, use Weather or Not’s Twitter feed to get updated regional travel info and immediate notification of any new advisories, watches or warnings affecting the Central Coast. Just follow @chrisburnswx.

Travel: In the Coast Range this morning, highways are wet, temp 45F. Willamette Valley roads are mixed wet/dry, thermometer readings 45-50F. The Columbia River Gorge has wet pavement, temperatures 45-50F, light east winds. For the Cascades, highways have packed snow, slush and ice, 30-35F, the snow level is below the passes at 4,000 feet, 3-6 inches of snow possible today, carry chains or traction tires. * Get up-to-the-minute Northwest highway weather at Real-Time Roads. Also, motorists should always visit ODOT’s TripCheck for the latest traffic conditions including delays and hazards.

Marine: Winds are SSW 20-30 knots gusting 35 this morning with steep and rough seas 19 feet at 12 seconds. A Gale Warning is in effect through this afternoon. Wind speeds decrease rather quickly late this afternoon on the Central Coast, but gale force gusts are likely to persist through the evening in the northern waters. Another round of gale force wind is predicted for tomorrow with gusts up to 45 knots. Seas will continue to build over the next several hours, peaking around 25 feet. However, should wind speeds end up slightly stronger than forecast, seas to 30 feet would be possible. Seas subside fairly quickly by this evening to around 15 feet or so. The next forecast round of gales will boost seas back to near 20 feet Tuesday, finally settling to about 10 feet by late Wednesday or Wednesday evening. * Full text of the latest marine forecast is available here. And, make sure you check the latest Bar Reports before venturing offshore.

On the Beach… Showers, breezy, surf 15-20 feet (high).
* Stay off of jetties and offshore rocks, and be extremely watchful on rocky shores or sandy beaches. These areas may be periodically inundated by surf, especially during high tides. Be aware of sneaker waves that will be significantly higher than those that precede or follow them. Never turn your back on the ocean.
* Tides
11/13 Mon 8:32 AM 8.25 H
11/13 Mon 2:49 PM 1.74 L
11/13 Mon 8:45 PM 6.85 H
11/14 Tue 2:42 AM 1.29 L

In Short: Mainly wet and windy for the next several days.

Speak Out: Harvesting burned over timber is no boon to taxpayers or the environment

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Nov 122017
 

Oregon Dept. of Forestry
Courtesy photo


From Ernie Niemi, President
Natural Resources Economics
Eugene, OR

Most of us know the saying, there’s no free lunch. When somebody offers us something valuable for free, we hold tight to our wallets and purses, because it’s usually a con job. We know that, if we accept the offer, we eventually will have to pay a price, perhaps a big one.

Hold extra tight these days, in response to promises of wonderful things for free if we let the timber industry salvage-log trees killed in Lane County and elsewhere in Oregon by this summer’s forest fires. Like all good cons, the sales pitch sorta makes sense on the surface. It goes like this:

The fires were a tragedy. Leaving the burned trees to rot will double the tragedy. But, if we quickly log the trees we can turn bad into good. Logging will be good for the forest, restoring good health to forests ruined by fire and reducing the risk that the areas will burn again. Logging also will be good for the economy, creating thousands of new jobs for loggers and mill workers in nearby communities, and generating truckloads of lumber and plywood to build new homes. And we can have all these good things for free, because the salvage logging will generate millions of dollars of timber-sale revenue for the Forest Service.

To see inside the con, look back to 2002, when the Biscuit Fire burned 500,000 acres in southern Oregon. OSU researchers visited the site several years later and found that unlogged areas had enough naturally occurring tree seedlings to satisfy the Forest Service’s management standards for the area. Elsewhere, though, salvage logging operations had killed many tree seedlings and these areas were replanted, at significant expense. Other OSU researchers looked at areas where the Biscuit Fire re-burned lands that had experienced fire 15 years earlier. They found that the re-burning was more severe on lands that had been logged and replanted after the earlier fire than in areas left unlogged.

This and other research reinforces the reality that fire can play a beneficial role in sustaining healthy forests. The seeds of some trees, for example, need exposure to fire before they will germinate to produce young trees that can replace old ones. Some forests need low-intensity fire every few years to clear away the brush that, if left to grow, could eventually become thick enough to support a catastrophic fire. Salvage logging disrupts these processes, with negative impacts on trees, the quality and quantity of water in forest streams, and fish and wildlife.

The heart of the con is the promise of an economic free lunch. It begins with a tasty appetizer: logging to remove burned trees near roads and homes. Here, the added safety for motorists, homeowners, and others can outweigh the costs, and salvage logging makes sense. But a full meal of salvage logging spread across larger areas likely will be bitter, with costs that far outweigh the benefits.

After the Biscuit Fire, I worked with colleagues familiar with the intricacies of Forest Service finances to calculate the benefits and costs of different levels of salvage logging. We particularly focused on the agency’s costs to administer post-fire timber sales and to clean up the mess logging would leave behind. We found that, with logging limited to areas next to existing roads and other facilities, the timber-sale revenues would cover the agency’s costs. Logging a larger area, though, would reverse this outcome, with the Forest Service spending more to cover the logging than it would receive in timber-sale revenues.

Other costs make a free-lunch offer even more of a con. Widespread salvage logging can damage the ecosystem by degrading soil productivity, introducing invasive species, damaging habitat for birds and fish, and more. It also intensifies climate change by accelerating the release of large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. There is no apparent reason to anticipate that widespread salvage logging of the lands burned this summer can somehow avoid these economic and ecological costs. If it extends much beyond the zones along roads, etc., you, I, and other taxpayers will pick up a high-priced tab.

But wouldn’t widespread salvage logging produce new jobs and other economic benefits tasty enough to be worth the price? Probably not. Timber markets are highly competitive, and any increase in the supply of burned logs from public lands likely would depress the market price of logs and trigger a reduction in logging on private lands. The displacement could be as high as one-for-one. This is what the Umatilla National Forest concluded would occur with salvage logging following the 2005 School Fire.

Sure, we all would like a free lunch, but don’t expect one from salvage logging.

Ernie Niemi is President of Natural Resource Economics in Eugene.

The foregoing opinions are strictly those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of NewsLincolnCounty.com or its advertisers. They are published herein to stimulate information and debate on substantial issues that affect our communities. Opposing views of the above are always welcome.

Yachats Community Calendar Fundraiser for “the good” of the community!

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Nov 122017
 

Yachats Calendar, 2018

The new 2018 Yachats Calendar, besides the pretty pictures of Yachats, is in most part to help support the Yachats Youth and Family Programs. Yachats Youth and Family gives guidance and structure to our local youth in Yachats, Waldport and Seal Rock. They conduct pre-school, after school and summer programs that keep our kids occupied with all kinds of fun and interesting activities. Alice Rose Beck, who is the executive director, and her staff do one heck of a terrific job and they’ve been doing it for many years.

The Pacific Ocean is Yachats’ next door neighbor from which most blessings flow. Blessings will come your way if you could be so kind to order a calendar for your family home or office. By the way they make very useful Christmas gifts that last all year!

Here’s the info where you can buy or order online. Thanks for all your support. http://www.yachatsyouth.org/?page_id=3034.

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