I just want to say thank you for everything you’ve done for Oregon.
Together we created 18,000 new jobs in the last year, passed a balanced budget, improved Oregon’s credit rating to AA+, and began streamlining state services. While too many Oregonians remain out of work, we will emerge from this recession stronger and better positioned for a more prosperous future.
We also set in motion major overhauls of our education and health care systems in 2011, for the first time creating a unified public education system from Pre-K to college and career, while improving how Oregon delivers more affordable, more effective health care to more citizens.
On Wednesday, legislators will gavel in our first 30-day session, and I am proposing four bills to further implement these changes, while continuing to focus on strengthening our economy.
Let’s begin with early childhood. It’s hard to imagine a child at the age of six, showing up for the first day of kindergarten unable to match any spoken or written words, or understand that print is read from left to right. Yet for many of the 108,000 at-risk kids under the age of six, this is exactly the situation they face. My early learning bill focuses on integrating and streamlining the nutrition, health care and preschool services children need to be ready for kindergarten and beyond.
When it comes to K-12, one size does not fit all. For a decade we’ve experimented with No Child Left Behind, and we now have an opportunity to obtain a waiver from its punitive provisions if we can create a home-grown alternative that provides accountability and better paths to student success. Our proposed achievement compacts express a common commitment to improving outcomes, and tailor outcomes to the unique circumstances of individual districts. The Oregonian Editorial board recently pushed for action, writing, “So let’s move. Pass the education bills in February.”
It’s time for better health at a lower cost. My first health care bill implements Coordinated Care Organizations, creating partnerships between providers and stakeholders to deliver better health care at lower costs. Initial studies show more than $3 billion in savings to the state over the next five years through preventative medicine and coordinated services. As the Register Guard recently noted, “There has to be a better way. Oregon may have found it.”
Finally, it’s your insurance, so you should know what you’re buying. My Health Insurance Exchange bill finalizes implementation of an efficient central marketplace for individuals and small businesses shopping for health insurance. Oregonians will be able to easily compare plans, find out if they are eligible for tax credits and other financial assistance, and enroll for coverage through the Exchange website by 2013.
In the coming month, I hope that you will once again weigh in on these important issues and join me in putting Oregon on a path toward better education and health care.
Thank you for all you do for Oregon.
A message from Occupy Newport to the citizens of Newport
On Monday, February 6 at 6:00 PM, members of Occupy Newport and various local citizens will ask the Newport City Council to adopt a resolution of support for an amendment to the US Constitution which would reverse the 2010 ‘Citizens United’ Supreme Court decision and declare that corporations are not ‘persons’ with the same rights, protections and legal privileges as human beings.
This appeal will be made at City Hall in the Council meeting chamber.
Please come and show your support! A convincing attendance is needed for Councilors to understand how important this is to the citizens of Newport and Lincoln County. By investing an hour or two you can tell your children and grandchildren you stood up for democracy at such a dangerous time in our history.
Speaking time is limited so you may not get an opportunity to address the Council directly but your presence WILL be noted.
We hope to see you there.
541 563 6210
A Lincoln City man originally accused of sexual assault and rape, based on a complaint by two underage girls, was found not guilty last week by a jury in Lincoln County Circuit Court. Converse, a former high school state wrestling champion, was arrested for allegedly causing a disturbance at his family’s home on Silverside Drive in Otis. While in custody, the investigation led to other charges of rape and sexual assault involving the two girls, those charges being brought by a county grand jury.
Last Summer, the Lincoln County District Attorney’s Office asked the judge to drop the home disturbance charges but moved ahead on the more serious charges.
During the first day of the trial on the rape and sexual abuse charges, both the prosecution and the defense made their opening statements; the next day their arguments for and against conviction. The jury found Converse not guilty on all counts.
Defense Guy Greco told News Lincoln County that the U.S. system of law, a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Under jury instructions from the judge, if any juror has a reasonable doubt that the crime was committed, that person cannot be convicted. Greco said “That’s the test that is required to convict anyone of a crime in this country.”
Greco told the court that Converse never had sexual relationships with either of the girls.
When contacted by News Lincoln County, District Attorney Rob Bovett said only that he had no comment.
Updated: Monday, 10:15am
Two frantic families are trying to find their early teen children who disappeared together at around 3am Sunday morning. The mother of Akneesha Silva said her child always leaves her cellphone on so she can be reached. But so far, she says her daughter’s phone has been off. Shannon Benfit says there was a rumor that Akneesha and her boyfriend, Austin Neves, may have hopped a bus in Newport enroute to California or maybe hitchiking in that direction. A check with bus companies indicates that they were not on any buses leaving the area.
Adkneesha is 13 years old, is 5-7, 135 lbs, auburn hair and blue eyes. She lives in Lincoln City. Austin is about the same age, 5-3, 115lbs, with brown hair and blue eyes. He lives in Newport. Both attend Newport Prep, across Eads from Newport high School. Austin was believed to be wearing a red hoodie, green t-shirt, blue jeans and is wearing braces. He also is is believed to be wearing a black school type backpack. Akneesha is thought to be wearing possibly a black jacket, blue tank top, tall grey boots with black and white sox. She has purple highlights in her hair and her right ear is pierced.
Newport Police say they have checked to the Eugene bus company that comes through Newport and they say they did not pick up any young children, nor would they sell tickets to young children. Same for the Amtrak train in Eugene and Albany. Thus far police say they may still be hanging around Newport at a friend’s house pondering their situation. Or they might be in an abandoned house seeking shelter.
Shannon Benfit said she was told by an Oregon State Trooper that there was a report that two young people were seen hitch hiking north out of Newport yesterday, and that they got onto a bus. But the reporting party said they weren’t sure it was them, nor of any identification on the bus.
Austin’s mother Shannon Rullman said she has been updating her son’s Facebook page so that everyone will know that he is missing and that if anyone knows where he and Akneesha are to contact her or Newport Police. She said she and her husband did a long drive-thru of Newport last evening checking out abandoned houses or places where the teens might be. She says she believes in her heart that the two are still in Newport – maybe hanging out at a friends house whose parents “don’t know what’s going on.”
Anyone who may know the whereabouts of these two children should call Akneesha’s mother Shannon Benfit at 541-921-5982, or Austin’s mother Shannon Rullman at 541-264-8189, or their nearest law enforcement agency.
Information provided by Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office
An Otis, Oregon man was arrested last Friday on multiple drug-related charges following an investigation by the Lincoln Interagency Narcotics Team (LINT) with the assistance of Lincoln City Police Department, Oregon State Police (OSP), Lincoln County Sheriff‚s Office, and the OSP Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team.
Early Friday morning the OSP SWAT team served a search warrant at 19 Yodel Lane in Otis, the residence of WILLIAM L. HASH, age 41. After securing the residence, LINT investigators located evidence related to the drug investigation that led to a second location in the 900 block of Deerlane Loop in Otis. A second search warrant was served at the personal storage structure where methamphetamine and other evidence were seized.
HASH was arrested for Unlawful Manufacture, Delivery and Possession of a Controlled Substance ˆ Methamphetamine and Frequenting a Place Where Controlled Substances Used. He was transported to the Lincoln County Jail where he was booked on the above charges and is being held in lieu of $265,000.
LINT is comprised of personnel from Lincoln County Sheriff‚s Office, Lincoln City Police Department, Oregon State Police, and Lincoln County District Attorney’s Office.
Federal Court finds Eugene policeman used excessive force in an arrest that was unjustified and the illegal confiscation of arrestees video camera.
A Eugene man who was taken down by a Eugene police office while the officer was arresting him at a protest has won his day in court as a federal jury found that the officer illegally seized the protester’s video camera, which was recording the arrest. The jury also determined that the officer used excessive force and that the arrest itself was unlawful.
More from the Oregonian. Click here.
A pretty equally politically split legislature will tackle an array of pressing statewide issues, including an out of balance budget, threats to human services care and further declines in funds for education. The legislature and Governor Kitzhaber have a big challenging month ahead of them. The details are in the Oregonian. Click here.
It appears that the long running, and potentially very expensive disagreement between Depoe Bay and the contractor who recently built the town’s new water tank, may be coming to an end with the announcement of a possible settlment among all parties to the dispute. The Depoe Bay City Council has signed the proposed settlement offer but other parties connected with the dispute have, as yet, not signed it.
The original complaint was filed some years back after the T-Bailey Construction Company of suburban Seattle billed Depoe Bay for removing 1,714 cubic yards of rock related to the construction of the town’s new water tank in 2006. The difference between what the city was willing to pay and what T-Bailey billed came in at $29,000. T-Bailey claimed they removed 1,714 cubic yards of material but the city maintains it agreed to pay for just 1,422 cubic yards which the city determined to be all that was needed to be removed. The city also claimed that the city’s contract engineer made it plain that their amount was clearly communicated to T-Bailey and so there was no justification to pay the $29,000 overage.
T-Bailey sued and won a jury award that not only ordered Depoe Bay to pay the extra $29,000 but a great deal more based on lost interest on the $29,000 on top of court and attorney costs which, at the time, had risen to well over a quarter million dollars. Depoe Bay told it’s Newport attorney firm to appeal the case to the Oregon Court of Appeals.
In the meantime, Depoe Bay fired it’s attorney firm after watching the total court award grow even higher which was already at a level very stressful for a small town the size of Depoe Bay.
But recently, a negotiated offer of settlement has been pursued and an announcement was made at last week’s Depoe Bay City Council meeting that Depoe Bay City Councilors, most who whom were not part of the original group that authorized the work, agreed to the settlement. Mayor Carol Connors told News Lincoln County that she and the council are not authorized to make any comment on the agreement or anything related to the case until the other parties sign on the dotted line as well, and then only according to any disclosure restrictions such a document may include. The amount of the settlement cost to the city would, however, be presumably public information. Mayor Connors would not offer an prediction as to when the other parties to the agreement might sign the document and finally put the matter to rest.
Depoe Bay’s quest for installing tsunami sirens that everybody in town can hear is inching toward a selection of the contractor who will provide and install them. Out of six or so “interested” companies, it’s come down to two, according to Mayor Connors. The two companies will make presentations to the Depoe Bay City Council in early March and then one of them will be chosen later in the month. Mayor Connors says money for the sirens will come out of the long accumulating hotel-motel room tax fund, but that they also hope that the Siletz Indians Charitable Fund will award the town a grant in the second quarter of 2012.
The recent group of winter storms terribly over-stressed Depoe Bay’s sewer pump system, especially at the lift-station on Vista. The pump was overcome with the volume of storm water that infiltrated the system and submerged the pump. The pump was ruined ($10,000) and diverted a part of the town’s sewer system to an outfall into Pirate’s Cove. City officials estimated it was 90% storm water, 10% sewage. Many communities up and down the Oregon Coast have routine problems with storm water getting into their sewer pipes and are working to ensure they are working as separate systems and are rebuilt where necessary. But progress is usually slow due to the enormous costs associated with such challenges.
Fixing Depoe Bay Dock One missed last season’s “repair window” due to the city’s grappling with designs and ascertaining the true cost of replacing the dock that was basically destroyed by the March 11th Japanese Tsunami. Typically, all “in water work” must be completed during the time that salmon are not spawning or growing juvenile fish, mainly November to the end of January. Mayor Connors says they now have a pretty good handle on the price tag to rebuild the dock and are relying on a FEMA grant and funds from the city’s insurance carrier. Mayor Connors said a temporary fix has served the town well but it cannot be relied on to become a defacto long term solution. She said she expects the replacement of Dock One to be completed during the November to January time frame later this year, at a final coast of several hundred thousand dollars.
Governor Kitzhaber and Oregon state lawmakers will begin a familiar but painful drill next week – trying to rebalance the state budget And it appears that human services are again in the crosshairs. The story is in the Statesman-Journal. Click here.
Kim Carlson had a good eye for change on Beaver Creek when the waters receded and the native inhabitants resumed their rightful place in the beautiful environment that is the Oregon Coast. Thanks you Kim!!!
Mother Nature endures her own stormy wrath!
The subsiding Clackamas River, after a week of raging, finally let loose of the body of a young Portland area girl who fell into its flood-swollen waters last weekend. Her body was spotted by river visitors about four miles downstream where her family reported seeing her alive.
The tragic story is in the Oregonian. Click here.
Mandi Smith was out in morning’s first light to capture these really pretty frost scenes along the Siletz River. Love the reflections in the water! Thank you Mandi!!
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Oregon State Police (OSP) is continuing the investigation into the cause of a single vehicle injury traffic crash that occurred along Highway 22 about one mile north of Highway 18 in the Grand Ronde area. Two people were injured after their vehicle traveled off the highway, down an embankment and landed in a creek. Witnesses reported the highway was icy at the time.
At approximately 11:10 a.m. a 2004 Jeep Liberty driven by GERTRUDE DICKEY, age 57, from Willamina, was eastbound on Highway 22 near milepost 24 when it traveled off the highway about 30 feet down an embankment and struck a tree. The vehicle came to rest on its wheels in about 3 feet of water in Casper Creek.
A Polk County inmate work crew witnessed the crash. Inmates and supervising sheriff personnel went down the embankment and checked on the two occupants but were remove them or their dog due to force of the water and the fact the vehicle was stuck in the creek bed.
West Valley Fire Department responded to the scene and removed the driver and her brother/passenger MONTY E. DICKEY, age 67, also from Willamina, from the vehicle and brought them up to the roadway using a rope line gurney. Their labrador dog was not injured.
GERTRUDE DICKEY was transported by ambulance to Willamette Valley Medical Center in McMinnville with minor injuries. MONTY DICKEY was taken to a landing site near Spirit Mountain Casino and then transported by REACH air ambulance to a Salem Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
OSP troopers from the McMinnville Area Command office are continuing the investigation as to the cause. Witnesses told troopers the road was icy at the time and that it appeared that the Dickey vehicle, the first in a line of cars, slid out of control on a shady curve and careened over the edge of the road and downhill into the still storm-swollen creek.
Polk County Sheriff‚s Office, Yamhill County Sheriff‚s Office, West Valley Fire Department and ODOT assisted at the scene. Highway 22 was closed for two hours at the scene during emergency response, rescue, and investigation.
The vehicle was removed from the creek. There was no indication of a fuel leak.
Apparently Newport’s ODOT Yaquina Bay bridge cameras have been upgraded to ACTUAL COLOR! Camera picture clarity is also considerably higher than with the old black and white surveillance versions that served so many years on the bridge. Nice touch ODOT! We’re sure the Newport Area Chamber of Commerce will be pleased with those sunset shots!!
Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputies responded Thursday to a report of a burglary at a business in the 3800 block of South Coast Highway in South Beach. Deputies learned that someone had forced entry into the building and had taken six handguns.
Using surveillance footage and physical evidence at the scene, deputies were able to develop Patrick Ambrose Daly, 22, of Newport as a suspect. When deputies contacted Daly at his residence, they located additional evidence lying on his front porch, linking him to the investigation.
During a search of Daly’s residence, deputies recovered all six handguns, a sawed off shotgun, a small quantity of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. Deputies also learned Wesley Ray Pruett, 36, of Newport had assisted Daly in disposing of evidence after the burglary.
Daly was charged with Burglary II; Theft I x 6; Unlawful possession of methamphetamine; and Unlawful possession of a short barreled shotgun. He was lodged at the Lincoln County Jail with a bail of $500,000. Pruett was cited and released for Hindering Prosecution.
Highway 18 travel restrictions Jan 30-Feb 3, and Feb 6-10. One lane travel while dangerous trees removed.
ODOT contractors will be removing hazardous or vulnerable trees along the Van Duzor Corridor between Grand Ronde and the coast starting the next two weeks between the hours of 9am and 4pm, Monday through Thursday, and 9am to noon on Fridays . Highway 18 will be shut down to just one lane of travel regulated by flaggers at milepost 16.3, or just over 16 miles east of Lincoln City. Delays are expected to be no more than fifteen minutes.
An NLC.com reader happened to drive by that auto crash a mile or two west of Toledo Friday afternoon. It happened at Highway 20 and Buford Road, where they had that Mona Lisa picture upon the hillside. Looks like the Jeep was badly damaged. Don’t see the other car but it too had to have been “scarred” up a bit. Hopefully nobody bad hurt.
One thing that I’ve learned in Oregon is that Oregon lawmakers expect Oregon drivers to stay vigilantly in their lanes. No drifting too far right or too far left. All you get for pavement is minimum standard width. AND NO SHOULDERS. The fog line is where the mud or the embankment STARTS! So if you fudge, you’re off the road! And if you’re off the road anywhere in Oregon, you are, 1) Going off a cliff, 2) Going cross-country or 3) Going for a swim or a mud bath!
So! Straight and narrow my dear readers. Straight and narrow!
The Newport Police Department, Dutch Brothers Coffee, and the Lincoln County Special Olympics have joined forces to raise awareness and gain support for our local Special Olympic Athletes.
In an effort to allow our local athletes to attend upcoming sporting events, Dutch Brothers Coffee has donated time, resources, and finical support by offering a $5.00 “Cops for Cause Card”. These cards offer 2-for-1 on any size beverage, or any 16-oz. beverage for $1.00. The cards each have a total of 10 stamps that may be used in any combination of the above options.
The cards are on sale until 06/01/2012, and are valid Monday through Friday. All proceeds from the card sales go directly to Lincoln County Special Olympics.
To obtain information on where to buy these cards, please contact Sgt. Real at the Newport Police Department at 541-574-3348, or visit the Newport Police Department’s face book site to view upcoming locations and events where cards may be purchased.
South Moolack Beach right after the storms, courtesy Laurie Neary. Although foam on the beach can be a fun thing for children to play in, here’s a few points from Wikipedia that may give you pause:
“Where polluted stormwater from rivers or drains discharges to the coast, sea foam formed on adjacent beaches can be polluted with viruses and other contaminants, and may have an unpleasant odor. Prolonged periods of heavy surf can churn up pollution and other organics that have been deposited over time just offshore.
“If crude oil discharged from tankers at sea, or motor oil, sewage and detergents from polluted stormwater are present, the resulting sea foam is even more persistent, and can have a chocolate mousse texture.
“If the foam forms from the breakdown of a harmful algal bloom (including those caused by some dinoflagellates and cyanobacteria), direct contact with the foam, or inhalation of aerosols derived the foam as it dries, can cause skin irritations or other respiratory discomfort.”
Look at this photo! No rain, no funnel clouds, no high surf, no flooding! Just paradise in Steve Power’s camera!
Steve Power photo of Siletz Bay near Salishan.