A friendly mug raising message from the Surfrider Foundation:
A Beer for your Volunteer Hour
Ocean Friendly Garden Work Party Friday 6-8pm, Newport City Hall (south side)
Join us this Friday, September 9 from 6-8pm to learn more about our Ocean Friendly Rain Garden project at Newport City Hall and get your hands a little dirty! Come volunteer with us from 6-7 for a little garden maintenance and then join us for a BEER ON US and social hour at Bier One from 7-8!
Volunteers can email email@example.com to learn more or just show up with a pair of work gloves at the south lawn (where the farmer’s market is held) to join us for an hour of quick and dirty maintenance and education on the garden. Volunteer participants will receive more information and literature on our ocean friendly gardening program and a ticket for a complimentary pint at the Bier One social following. We hope to see you there!
It may soon be easier for locals and tourists alike to find a place to park along Newport’s Bayfront. And a lot of those new parking spaces will be accessible to everybody, including commercial fishermen and those who work on the waterfront.
Under a new Bayfront parking district plan, business license surcharges for businesses along Bay Boulevard will go into an account that will amass up to twenty thousand dollars a year. Those funds will help create more parking through better signage, striping, and leasing of private and commercial properties to hold more vehicles during the summer months especially.
Port of Newport General Manager Don Mann told the council the port will chip in $6,000 a year on behalf of commercial fishermen who sometimes have to park their vehicles a long away because there isn’t any parking close to the docks.
A number of fishermen have told the Newport City Council in the past that commercial fishing contributes many times the money to the local economy than Bayfront tourism, and yet fishermen have to fight tooth and nail for a place to park while they’re out at sea. Councilors are hoping that the Bayfront parking district will reduce those tensions by providing more parking. Newport Community Development Director Derrick Tokos said once an interagency agreement is inked between the port and the city, the district could be enacted within sixty days.
The Newport City Council Tuesday appeared to be resigned to just let SeaPort Air fade off into the blue like a bad memory as they decided not to try to collect over $600 in back rent that councilors claim SeaPort owes. They say SeaPort just up and left. It didn’t give the previously agreed to 30 day notice which would have cancelled the debt. SeaPort disagrees claiming that by stating in a letter that “we may leave by July 15th” is the same as ‘we will leave July 15th.’ The council said “may” doesn’t mean “shall” or “will.”
City Councilor David Allen said it’s possible the city could get it’s $600 by taking SeaPort to small claims court. He said, “All you have to do is fill out a half page piece of paper, walk across 101 to the courthouse and get a judgement from the court.” Others on the council, however, weren’t biting, not that Councilor Allen was expecting them to. Mayor McConnell said it was time to move on but that if anyone calls Newport wanting information or A recommendation on behalf of SeaPort, the city will tell them of the black eye the airline gave the city despite the city bending over backwards with big cost breaks for SeaPort’s operations at Newport Airport, give away prices for office and terminal space and cheap gas for its planes.
Meanwhile, a Boise International Airport official told NewsLincolnCounty.com that SeaPort’s brand new flight schedules in and out of Boise and Idaho Falls, with connector flights to Pendleton and Seattle seem to be working for them.
Officer Daniel Miller is sworn in by City Recorder Peggy Hawker
Newport City Recorder Peggy Hawker swore in the town’s newest police recruit Tuesday evening. He is now Newport Police Officer Daniel Miller, a former three year veteran of the Oakridge Police Department and a four year veteran of the U.S. Air Force. Officer Miller was caught in the middle of Oakridge’s notorious financial meltdown that has decimated its city government, including police force. So Officer Miller applied for an officer’s position with Newport and beat out many other candidates for the job.
Officer Miller was warmly welcomed by the city council and was given stand-up applause by the council and the audience upon completion of his swearing in. Chief Mark Miranda said Officer Miller is an good addition to the police department but added that the department is still one position short of a fully staffed force. And there’s no budget to fill that one position.
Newport Fire Chief Phil Paige told his city council during a workshop on Tuesday that a Wilsonville-based emergency services consulting firm can help coastal fire departments grow more smartly as independent departments or as collaborators with adjacent departments. It’s all about how ECSI gathers information and gives each department a report card as well as a plan that could make them stronger and more effective, again as stand-alone or as inter-connected departments.
Such things as sharing training, equipment purchases, mutual response tactics, levels of service, resource allocation and reducing personnel costs are just a few variables that Chief Paige says ECSI can explore. He told the council that every fire department in the county, except for Toledo, wants to have the company perform a county-wide assessment of all departments, an assessment that each department is kicking in money to pay for. Newport’s share would be $12,000. City Manager Jim Voetberg, who appeared very supportive of the move, said although there were no funds budgeted in the current fiscal year for it, he and Finance Director David Marshall can “find the money” and make it up later.
Chief Paige later pitched the council on getting two new part-time positions added to his department; one an administrative person to take care of paperwork, the other an emergency medical coordinator to keep first responders certified for what they’re doing during emergencies. His request on these two items was met a lot less warmly than for the fire consultant assessment proposal. But the council said they’ll see what they can do about it…maybe approve the administrative help…”but there’s other ways to keep the troops certified” seemed to be the consensus of the moment.
As well intended as this award winning newspaper is to be fair and balanced, some days they don’t quite manage to pull it off as happened to the Newport News-Times on Tuesday afternoon.
NewsLincolnCounty.com learned that they were loading recycled newspapers into a truck trailer in the News-Times parking lot when suddenly, it was “fair” to say, the load became “unbalanced.” Down went the nose and up came the rear, stranding a worker inside. But quickly, an intrepid fork-lift driver rushed over and rescued his colleague by raising up his blades, then lowered the stranded recycler safely to the ground.
A “fair” amount of leftist liberalism may be needed to “re-balance” this half “double truck.”
Governor John Kitzhaber today said that the future of Oregon lies in its education system. The better it is, the better will be Oregon’s future. He called for student specific education strategies that acknowledges the variability in the way each child learns and therefore the approach teachers must take in their classrooms.
After reviewing a plan to all but eliminate herbicide use on Newport parks, playgrounds and other city recreation areas, the Newport City Council Tuesday reasoned, “if it’s good for city parks, why not for all city streets, rights of way and other city properties?
City Parks and Recreation Department Director Jim Protiva presented the budding anti-herbicide policy to the council Tuesday, the report a product of a citizens advisory committee. The council seemed pretty satisfied with the recommendations which, by the way, don’t 100% rule out herbicide use, but its use would require City Manager Jim Voetberg’s” approval to use them. The council said they want Voetberg to bring the city public works department into the discussion to suggest that herbicides not be used on city rights of way or other city-owned properties unless of course, they are approved by the city manager.
The council will probably get a final version of the anti-herbicide plan before them within a month or two and then they will make their final determination. From the discussion today, herbicide use will soon be all but banned on Newport city-owned properties. A similar herbicide ban is in place in Waldport.
And this just in from the Oregonian. Chemicals used in fighting wildland fires. Another controversy falling out of the sky? Click here.
Reports now say that it began as a rear-ender but has evolved into a “pile-up.” Possibly four vehicles involved.
A traffic collision on Highway 20 at Tom Jack Road between Newport and Toledo has blocked the eastbound lanes of the highway. Law enforcement is enroute to the scene. Dispatchers are checking for injuries.
In another exchange between himself, Mayor Mark McConnell and City Manager Jim Voetberg, City Councilor David Allen again expressed visible frustration with what he characterized as inadequate communication between the city’s contract city attorney and the council as a whole, and with him in particular.
Allen complained that he sometimes feels like he’s in the dark over issues he wants to be better informed about including any progress at addressing heavy criticism of the city’s business license ordinance. Some members of the city’s lodging association have threatened to sue the city if it doesn’t come up with an ordinance that can stand up to legal scrutiny. Lodging association attorney Dennis Bortoldus claims the city’s current business license ordinance is discriminatory and inconsistently enforced. He asked for the city and the association to sit down and hammer out an ordinance that gets the job done instead of having to go to court to settle it.
Allen said that it was his impression that today the council would get an update on the city attorney’s review of the issue, but none was offered. The city attorney did not attend the city council noon workshop meeting. Allen said it was another example of insufficient communication between the city attorney and the council. Allen suggested that a remedy might involve more “progress reports” from the city attorney rather than putting her through one-on-one discussions with each councilor. Allen said he’s sensitive to not running up the city’s bill with the city attorney but at the same time he does not want all city attorney reports funneled primarily through City Manager Jim Voetberg. Allen reminded his fellow councilors that the current policy of city councilors having very limited access to the city attorney was adopted only as a temporary provision. Allen said it may be time to re-examine the issue.
In response, Mayor Mark McConnell said he’ll contact the city attorney to arrange for her to be on hand for a city council workshop set for September 19th at which time the council can get updates on the city’s pending changes to its business license ordinance including an update on at least a couple of lawsuits filed against the city by two former employees; that part of the update given behind closed doors in an executive session.
NEWPORT SWIMMING POOL ANNOUNCES OCTOBER YOUTH SWIMMING LESSONS
& ADDITIONAL SCHOOL’S OUT RECREATIONAL SWIMS
The city of Newport Swimming Pool will offer youth group swimming lessons October 4th – 20th. The lessons will run Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings for the three week period at either 5pm or 5:30pm. The cost of the lessons is $48.00 and participants must be a minimum of four years of age. Registration is to be done in person at the pool beginning Monday, September 12th.
The city of Newport Swimming Pool has added additional daytime recreational swims 1:30pm to 3pm on Friday October 14th, 21st, and 28th.
It’s the big annual fundraiser for the Oregon Coast Aquarium, and there will be lots of great eats and fun for those who want to be a part of one of the best things to ever happen to Newport. For all the info on the jubilee, just grab your lil ole mouse and click it right HERE!
SeaPort Air, which ended scheduled airline service to Newport on July 15th, has refused a request for payment of around $600 for rental fees the city claims it owes. SeaPort Air CEO Rob McKinney said the airline fulfilled all of its contractural obligations with Newport, including giving the city more than thirty days notice that they would be ending service.
McKinney points to a newspaper article that quotes McKinney telling Mayor Mark McConnel that Seaport “may” cease providing service to and from Newport in July. McKinney said that was back in June which was well within the 30 day contractually binding notice period. City Councilors have already addressed that part of the issue by agreeing that a statement that Seaport “may” cease operations does not constitute formal notice of the end of service. Therefore they believe the airline owes the money.
Again, McKinney says it’s clear that SeaPort doesn’t owe the money and told City manager Jim Voetberg in a letter “The invoice associated with your August 16 letter is not valid, and we consider this matter closed.”
The ball, such as it is, appears to be in the city council’s court.
SeaPort Air recently launched new airline service between cities in Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
There has been a lot of behind the scenes talking going on among fire departments all around Lincoln County about how fire services might be more efficiently run and give better service to the taxpayers. As anyone who drives up and down Highway 101 knows, there are about as many fire district signs as there are city limit signs. And for every fire district they have to have fire fighters, lots of equipment, and paid staff, especially administration.
The talk between departments is that by combining their purchasing power for equipment, vehicles and supplies and with eventual savings on cost of personnel, the departments owe it to themselves and to their respective taxpayers to investigate how to more constructively blur the lines between fire departments up and down the central coast. The city council will consider financially contributing to a proposed county-wide study of how collaboration between departments might get a better deal for the taxpayers of Lincoln County. Just about all fire departments in the county, except for Toledo, are included in the study. Earlier discussions indicated that Toledo is not interested at this time in joining in the study.
The firm proposing to do the collaboration study is Emergency Services Consulting which does a lot of these collaboration/consolidation studies. Their proposal before the council runs the gamut of variables from the purchase of fire trucks to turn-out gear for fire fighters. The council will be reviewing the consulting firm’s proposed work plan on Tuesday.
Under direction by the Newport City Council, city Parks and Recreation Department Director Jim Protiva is proposing new policies for herbicide use on city property, parks and playgrounds. And the new policy is basically, “NO HERBICIDES,” unless specifically authorized by the city manager. A recent discussion among city councilors and citizens opposed to herbicides because of their reported health hazards to pregnant women and children especially, drove the policy change. In the past, herbicides were used occasionally “as a last resort,” according to Protiva. But no more, at least without the expressed authorization by the city manager.
Protiva said the prohibition will be especially strict on city owned and maintained property where children play. If and when any further herbicide use is employed, the new policy requires that signs will be posted 24 hours ahead of spraying and that the sign shall reveal the date and time of the spraying, when it’s safe to re-enter the sprayed area, the type of herbicide used and contact information. The city council is expected to review the new policies Tuesday during their noon workshop.
If you’re one of those wonderful people who found us early when we signed on in March of last year as LincolnCountyToday.com, it’s time for us to remind you that that is NOT the name of the website you’re looking at right now. The name was changed in July of last year. We learned that there was another website that was named something very similar to ours and we didn’t want to step on each others toes. BUT they were here first, so were obliged to change our website name and we did to NewsLincolnCounty.com, and it’s been NewsLincolnCounty.com since July of last year.
The reason LincolnCountyToday.com still works is that we own the URL and there is an instant pointer on it that sends you to NewsLincolnCounty.com. But sometime in the future that pointer may not be there so WE’RE ASKING ALL OF YOU to make sure your “Favorite” or “Bookmark” is connected to NewsLincolnCounty.com not to the other one. Okay?
Thank you very much. We now return you to our regularly scheduled website…..
Toledo firefighters dousing the last of the vehicle fire, photos by Steve and Elizabeth Thomas, Eddyville! Click to enlarge.
An SUV headed up Nashville Road, a quarter mile north of Eddyville, caught an edge of the pavement, went through a power pole, careened down a 15-foot embankment and came to rest in a field. The driver got out just as the vehicle caught fire. The driver tried to unload the vehicle as the flames built but ran out of time as the flames grew hotter and higher. A neighbor across the street, who heard the accident and watched his lights go out, ran outside and grabbed a fire extinguisher. But it was no match for what was, by then, a blazing out of control SUV.
Toledo Fire Department crews pulled up but all that was left to do was mop up. The vehicle was totalled. Again the driver was not injured. He was given a field sobriety test and he passed it.
Power was supposed to be back on in that stretch of Nashville Road by around 10pm.
Those who drive the Nashville Road know that there is absolutely no shoulder on the road for long stretches; the side of the road is more like a straight off mini-cliff. Motorists have to drive like they are on a catwalk instead of a normal road. If you get a wheel off the pavement you’re in big trouble as this fellow found out. In addition to knocking out a power pole and losing his car, he got a ticket from an Oregon State Trooper for failure to maintain a lane of travel. A narrow lane it is, indeed.
Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers, with the assistance of Sherman County Sheriff’s Office, is continuing the investigation into a single vehicle fatal traffic crash found Monday morning over 400 feet down a steep rocky hillside off Highway 216 west of Grass Valley. Oregon State Police identified the driver Sunday as Andrew Middleton, 53, of Grass Valley.
Early Monday morning, a citizen notified Sherman County Sheriff’s Office of a vehicle spotted down a hillside along Highway 216 near milepost 10. After police and fire personnel arrived on scene they confirmed there was a single fatality.
Preliminary investigation indicates at an unknown time on Sunday or early Monday morning, a 1972 Ford pickup driven by the victim was eastbound on Highway 216 when it failed to negotiate a curve, traveled onto the gravel shoulder and crashed into a guardrail. The pickup continued over the guardrail and rolled several times down a steep rocky hillside before coming to rest on its wheels about 424 feet down from the highway.
Sherman County Sheriff’s Office were coordinating resources to retrieve Middleton’s body from the vehicle.
Lincoln County authorities were called late Sunday night on a report that someone had stolen a 27-foot travel trailer from a repair shop in Seal Rock. A short time later a member of the victim family called 9-1-1 to report the trailer was seen traveling eastbound on Alsea Highway, apparently headed for the valley. Pursuing sheriff’s deputies caught up with the alleged thief and his female passenger near Little Switzerland Road who were pulling the trailer with a silver Toyota pick-up.
Deputies pulled them over and began talking with the driver, Dustin Petty, 40, of Zillah, Washington. After learning that Petty didn’t own the trailer he was immediately arrested on charges of aggravated theft and unauthorized use of a vehicle. Petty was lodged in the Lincoln County Jail on a bail of $150,000. His female passenger was not charged and the trailer was returned to its owner who lives on Huckleberry Lane in Seal Rock.
Next Regular Newport Drum Circle
TODAY: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 6:00 – 8:00 PM…
In the gazebo at Don Davis Park, foot of Olive Street, in Newport.
(Regular “summer” schedule -every first and third Tuesday, 6 to 8:00 p.m. – through September!)
Winter schedule starts next month… We return to our regular winter schedule next month, meeting monthly every second Saturday beginning on October 8, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Meeting in the afternoon assures that it will be light out, and the gazebo has proved to be warm enough, during the past two winters, even on the coldest days. Although we will only have one scheduled drum circle each month, during the winter, watch for special events and performances that you can be part of. (more…)