WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

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The council votes yes to fluoridate but also to refer issue to May 2016 election as a ballot issue. Council awards public art bid for new pool to Hood River artist

Newport City Council 4-3 on restarting fluoride in city water but also putting it to a public vote next May.

Newport City Council 4-3 on restarting fluoride in city water but also putting it to a public vote next May.


The Newport City Council has decided to fluoridate the city’s drinking water supply but also referred the issue to the May 2016 ballot to see if a majority of city voters agree.

After weeks of debate in front of the council and in the news media, the council said that there are a myriad of opinions that swirl around fluoridation but that science speaks very loudly. Unfortunately for the city council those on both sides of the issue contend they have science on their side. Lincoln County health officials contend the science is settled on the issue of fluoridation – that it’s a good thing, but critics contend the science shows that it’s not a good thing.

Those in favor of fluoridation say it’s one of the best preventative tactics to fight tooth decay which helps poor children the most. Those against fluoridation say there are other methods of getting fluoride onto the teeth of the poor that make more sense without “poisoning” the whole population while doing it.

The decision to fluoridate Newport’s water was made by the Newport City Council back in the early 1960s. Newport Resolution 1165-A ordered the city public works department to fluoridate the water. And there were two public votes back then that ratified that decision.

The recent construction of a new Newport water treatment plant ran into some funding problems so fluoridation was left out temporarily – but it can be added now that the city has the money to add it to the mix.

The city council will finalize its decision to fluoridate at the next city council meeting while also placing the issue on the May Ballot asking the voters of Newport to either support or strike down the council’s decision to fluoridate the city’s water supply.

Those voting in favor of fluoridation, subject to a public vote next May, were Councilors Laura Swanson, Mark Saelens, Mayor Roumagoux and Councilor David Allen. Those voting against putting it on the ballot were Councilors Dean Sawyer, Ralph Busby and Wendy Engler.

Large sculpture to adorn new Newport Municipal Pool

Large sculpture to adorn the entry way to the new Newport Pool.

Large sculpture to adorn the entry way to the new Newport Pool.

A small model of what will soon be a large sculpture outside the new municipal pool was debuted Monday evening before the city council. The Newport Arts Commission reviewed a number of proposed sculpture ideas from around the state. They settled on the above prototype submitted by Hood River artist C.J. Rench whose “Happy Kids” figures, joined together in a gleeful dance, will be the first thing people will see when they head for the pool. And yes it’s suitable for climbing on with soft-landing “cushie” flooring material all around it. The $65,000 sculpture was selected by the commission from among nearly 30 proposals and was ratified by the council on a unanimous vote.

It’s the first purchase of a major piece of art through the city’s recent commitment to have major pieces of art placed at entry-ways to major construction projects built by the city. Author, publisher and “Woman-About-Town” Carla Perry helped to spearhead the “1% For the Arts” adornment of new city buildings. She urged the city council Monday night to initiate a similar program for buildings or other structures built by the private sector – optional of course.

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