Two couples and two dogs set out late Tuesday afternoon for a pleasant ocean jaunt up and down Waldport’s Bayshore in their 24 foot cabin cruiser. But suddenly things went sideways for the mariners when their steering broke and the motor quit running.
Boat owner Jim Loop worked on the problems for quite a while, but soon it got dark except for the brilliant overhead starry night sky. One of the women aboard called 9-1-1 on her cell phone to report that they were dead in the water somewhere near “The Jaws” where the Alsea River in Waldport meets the ocean.
Search and rescue units on the beach and in the water raced around the area trying detect any sign of the boat which by then was reported to be drifting dangerously close to the mouth of “The Jaws” due to no power and no steerage. And the caller said the boat was taking waves broadside.
By talking directly to the woman on the phone and then running emergency lights and flashlights at different intervals up and down the Bayshore Beach and asking her which direction they could see them and how far away, rescuers aboard a Central Coast Fire rescue craft were able to dead-reckon the boat’s location. Right about then was when the boat’s owner managed to get a little something out of his motor and was able to get closer in to be seen which was still hard because his navigation lights were still not working. But Central Coast rescuers spotted them, threw them a tow line and soon had them delivered to the Alsea Port Docks. Everyone was fine, right down to the two dogs that were also aboard.
For a few minutes the town of Siletz thought it was losing a dining icon Tuesday evening as a report came into 9-1-1 that flames could be seen through the windows of the Little Chief Restaurant in downtown Siletz. Siletz fire fighters pulled up and saw the flames and black smoke wafting up through the restaurant’s flue. Partnering up with Toledo firefighters who also responded, Siletz volunteers had the fire out very quickly.
As it turned out, the fire erupted on the grill in the back. Fire investigators said that the owner, earlier in the day, had cleaned the grease filters above the grill. When he finished, Bill Peck said he left a piece of cardboard on the grill surface and then locked up the restaurant and left. But unknown to him, when he was cleaning out the overhead grease filters, something he stood on or his knee hit the grill “on” controls. So by the time he had been gone for a while, the cardboard caught fire, and the flames ignited residual grease in the flue to the outside which was smoking pretty heavily when fire units pulled up outside.
But rather than having to battle ferocious flames from a blazing structure fire, firefighters got inside to learn that the grill’s automatic “hood fire suppression system” had worked like a charm and had kept the fire from spreading beyond the grill. There was no major damage.
However, The Little Chief Restaurant may be closed for a day or two to get an inspection and to get the grill’s fire suppression system re-charged. But it’s quite obvious, the owners dodged a disaster Tuesday evening thanks to that system.
An 11 year old Oregon boy deep sea fishing with his family off Winchester bay last month threw a message in a bottle overboard in that time-tested ‘fates to the sea’ attempt to see where it winds up. And lo and behold he got a message back from a 9 year old girl three thousand miles away.
In another in a long series of federal court rulings that go back and forth between federal fishery agencies and environmental protection organizations, a federal judge has ruled that the federal government’s plans to protect protected Columbia River salmon runs beyond 2013 are inadequate.
The Adequate Yearly Progress report from the Oregon Department of Education on Lincoln County schools show another mixed bag of academic achievement. Schools that met overall adequate yearly progress were Crestview Heights Elementary in Walport, Eddyville Charter School, Isaac Newton Magnet School, Newport High, Oceanlake Elementary in Lincoln City, Sam Case Elementary in Newport, Siletz Valley Elementary and Waldport High School.
Schools that failed to make adequate yearly progress, overall, were Newport Intermediate, Newport Preparatory Academy, Siletz Valley School, Taft Elementary and High schools, Toledo Elementary and High schools. Not as yet getting a score is Lincoln City Career Technical High School.
Overall comparisons between the schools suggest a slip in English Language Arts and Math across the board. Also, graduation rates didn’t meet adequate yearly progress.
Looking at what kinds of students were still under-performing in reading, students with disabilities stood out as lagging at all levels. Middle School students who know little English fell back, as well as Latino students at the high school level. For math, all students at middle and high schools fell beneath adequate yearly progress. It was especially bad for low income students, those with disabilities in middle school and high school, students with limited English in middle school, Latino students in high school, and Native American students across all grades. White students met adequate yearly progress in all grades for both math and reading.
The district released some figures for what’s called OAKS Math scores looking at the last five years. Those math scores show that Crestview Elementary is up 20% over the past five years. Eddyville is up 2%, Newport High +11%, Newport Intermediate +14%, Newport Prep +10%, Oceanlake +15%, Sam Case Elementary +30%, Siletz Valley School -17%, Siletz ECA +25%, Taft 7-12 +11%, Taft Elementary +17%, Toledo 7-12 -3%, Toledo Elementary +19%, and Waldport High +5%.
For reading scores over the past five years, Crestview Elementary +18%, Eddyville -7%, Newport Intermediate +4%, Newport Preparatory +4%, Newport High +26%, Oceanlake Elementary +5%, Sam Case Elementary -7%, Siletz Valley -21%, Siletz ECA +9%, Taft Elementary +5%, Taft 7-12 +15%, Toledo Elementary + 10%, Toledo 7-12 +12%, and Waldport High +4%.
In what may be an escalated domestic dispute, Lincoln County authorities are looking for a man who may have kidnapped his wife in the family’s red Jeep Cherokee. Reports say that he approached the Jeep on Idaho Street in Yachats, kicked out the windshield, got into the drivers seat and took off with a female on board. Latest report is that it is not his daughter.
A South Lincoln Water District employee said they say the Jeep headed eastbound on Blodgett at a high rate of speed. Blodgett runs up into the mountains just north of Yachats. It connects with roads that can dump him out on Eckman Road to Highway 34 just east of Waldport, or south to Yachats River Road, east of Yachats.
The Jeep now has no windshield, is bright red, possibly a two door with license plate CK37001. It’s said to be “a rattlecan” with mud tires.
Well…if not a part of aviation history then at least you’ll know where you’d be on the third Thursday of the month at 2pm; serving on the Newport Airport Advisory Board.
It’s an interesting time for the Newport Airport. It continues being a big money-loser for the city but that hasn’t dampened the hopes of city fathers and mothers for it to become an economic asset for the community. Although SeaPort Air has flown the coop on airline service, efforts are moving ahead to enlist another airline. But in the midst of the country’s stubbornly long recession, the list of high flying dating partners is pretty short, if you can say that it exists at all. But Spring always follows Winter and with it “Hope Springs Eternal.”
There’s been lots of talk about Newport turning over management of the airport to a competent “fixed base operator,” as they say in the airport business. Usually such operators make enough income on aviation fuel sales to make the job worth it. But with the departure of SeaPort, that revenue stream has been reduced to its pre-SeaPort levels. There’s been talk of NOAA bringing one of their twin engine “Otters” to homebase itself at Newport. But thus far, it’s only talk. But you never know. And there is a major push by Newport’s business community to begin capitalizing not only on the creation of NOAA’s new Pacific Marine Heaquarters but also on the National Science Foundation’s Ocean Observation industry that is gathering critical mass on and offshore. And all that, of course, would be expected to produce increased airport activity there at SE 84th and 101.
So, it could be an interesting ride for anyone who signs up for the solo slot still open on the Airport Committee. Here’s the city’s official announcement of the opening:
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 August 16th.
The Airport Committee will interview interested volunteers at its August 18th meeting, and will forward a recommendation to the City Council for formal appointment at its September 6th meeting.
MERKLEY: DEBT DEAL WILL UNDERMINE SUCCESS OF OUR FAMILIES
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the United States Senate voted on legislation to increase the debt ceiling while imposing deep cuts on programs important to many middle class families. Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley voted against the bill. He issued the following statement:
“I have spent the last several days immersed in the details of this budget deal, trying to understand its real-world impact on Oregon’s middle class and small businesses. I have a single, simple measure to evaluate this proposal: is it going to create greater opportunities for prosperity and success for working Americans? Unfortunately, I have concluded that it will not, and so I cannot support it.
“First, this deal will contribute to the gathering storm threatening to make our current unemployment crisis even worse. Our unsustainable deficits are absolutely a long-term challenge that we must address. But millions of Oregonians and Americans are out of work right now. And with at least 5 million foreclosures looming, with the expiration of extended unemployment benefits forecast to cost half a million jobs next year, with the payroll tax holiday ending and costing another estimated 900,000 jobs in 2012, we should be relentlessly preoccupied with how to create more jobs. Instead, this package will add to the job losses, repeating the mistakes that have caused prolonged economic slumps in this country and elsewhere.
“Second, this deal will do serious damage to the programs that middle class Americans depend on. The bulk of the deficit reduction is piled onto that small part of the budget that funds things like Head Start, college financial aid, research into clean energy and medical cures, and safeguards against contaminated food and polluted air and water. These sorts of programs combined are less than one-fifth of the budget. And we are spending the same amount on them today in a real dollars, per person basis, as we did in 2001. Yet these programs — critical to helping families in tough times, to giving kids the tools they need to succeed, and to keeping our economy competitive so there are good jobs in the future – would endure as much as 15% in cuts. Mortgaging the middle class’s future and increasing their burdens now do not make America stronger.
“Moreover, while all reasonable people can understand the need for belt-tightening to bring down our unsustainable deficits, this plan exempts the wealthy and well-connected. The many subsidies and entitlements that they enjoy are tucked away in the tax code, which has been put off limits. So despite the dramatic increases in income of the best off in our nation since 2000, the sweetheart deals that litter the tax code are protected.
“Finally, this flawed product is the result of irresponsible threats to torpedo the economy by refusing to pay America’s bills. The editorials are full of phrases like ‘extortion,’ ‘hostage-taking,’ and ‘lunacy.’ President Reagan himself said, ‘This brinkmanship threatens the holders of bonds and those who rely on veterans benefits. Markets would skyrocket, instability would occur and the federal deficit would soar. The United States has a special responsibility to itself and to the world to meet its obligations.’ A default would be enormously damaging to every American, and I respect and value the hard work of the President and Leader Reid to avoid that calamity despite the unreasonable ransom demands they were facing. But at some point we must finally stand up for the middle class and insist that their jobs and their futures be our priority, or this ugly drama will repeat itself again and again.
“I am fully committed to work towards real compromise, one that asks for sacrifice from everyone who can afford it to tackle our long-term debt challenges. I’m prepared to make hard choices when those choices are necessary to solve our nation’s challenges and make it stronger. However, I cannot endorse a process that will worsen our economy, burden middle class families, and reduce our children’s opportunities in the future, and doesn’t ask those who have so much already to contribute one thin dime.
“Somewhere in the frenzy of economic anxiety, ideology, and electoral politics, Washington has lost its way. The greatness of America and the strength of our economy cannot be separated from the well-being of the American middle class. If we continue to sacrifice their prosperity to subsidize the well-off and well-connected, we sacrifice America’s future.”
With the nation’s debt limit deadline approaching, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden issued the following statement announcing his support for the legislation to lift the debt ceiling:
“Today, Members of Congress have a choice: allow the United States to default on its financial obligations or vote for the deal on the table. The full faith and credit of the United States is being held for ransom, and because I’m not willing to sacrifice the economic well-being of hundreds of millions of Americans, I will vote for the deal on the table.
This is not the deal that I would have constructed nor should it be held up as a shining example of bipartisanship. Democrats and Republicans could have worked together on real reforms. They could have put the country first and come up with constructive solutions to reduce the deficit, grow the economy and put Americans back to work. They could have laid the groundwork for tax reform and made it possible for both parties to achieve long-sought victories.
Instead we are left to celebrate what this legislation doesn’t do. This bill doesn’t allow the United States to default on its financial obligations. It doesn’t hold seniors hostage or put important safety net programs like food stamps, Medicaid and veterans benefits at risk. Instead this deal protects seniors and ensures that our nation’s most vulnerable will stay protected as Congress continues to find ways to get our deficits and debt under control. But we can’t afford to rest on those assurances. We need to stay vigilant for the most vulnerable and we must find better ways to save money than cutting education, job training, infrastructure and research efforts that are essential to this country’s economic future. Arbitrary cuts to these programs will harm our nation’s ability to compete at the individual, corporate and national level, for years to come. That’s not good for the economy or the deficit.
The creation of a bipartisan Congressional Committee to tackle the deficit creates an opportunity to fix what this deal did and achieve what it didn’t. It creates an opportunity for Congress to find savings elsewhere and restore those needed investments in our economy. Reducing the deficit doesn’t have to be defined by slashing spending to achieve arbitrary goals. This Committee can look for ways to save money by thinking more strategically and finding ways for current programs to operate more efficiently. This committee can look for ways to grow the economy and put people back to work. This Committee can tackle tax reform and give Americans something to show for the debate.
I will vote for this deal because I don’t believe that allowing the country to go into default is an option. Putting an already struggling economy at even greater risk is not an acceptable choice. But I believe that Congress can and should do better. The only way we do better is to keep working for real solutions and real reforms, like tax reform. And while such reforms may be hard to achieve, they are impossible to achieve if no one fights for them. This is why I will keep putting ideas on the table and fighting for solutions that address the very real challenges facing Americans.”
Spiderman on Waldport Bridge
Photos by Vivian Mills
3:30pm Update: DW from Waldport reports that ODOT has removed Spiderman. People around Waldport report seeing him on other signs, in a fishing boat, and at the Drift Creek R/V Park. Unfortunately, ODOT has taken possession of him so his roving days may be over.
While the nation sat gripped in financial near-panic over the debt ceiling (or was it Oprah’s “Summer wardrobe survival guide”), someone with a bit of healthy levity decided to make his or her thoughtful comment on it all by putting a Spiderman figure on an upper rung of the Waldport Bridge during the night. One might assume that the message might be “Fear not the unknown, for Spiderman is here to protect us.”
One wonders what kind of safety gear the perpetrator of commuter entertainment might have used to secure the comic book character which is high enough off the pavement to pose a serious threat to one’s life at the hint of a slip. It’s not known if ODOT has been alerted to the unauthorized adornment of the bridge. Certainly qualifying as a serious driving distraction, the continued presence of the figure on the bridge is surely in doubt.
9:55 am Update
ODOT’s Rick Little tells NewsLincolnCounty.com that the Spiderman figure is a highway safety distraction and that they will be soon taking it down. However, in order to remove the figure they will need to bring in a high enough cherry-picker truck to allow one of their electricians to remove it. Nothing local will go that high, so Little says they’ve dispatched a beefy cherry-picker with a platform from Salem to do the removal. So by day’s end, Spiderman will likely be removed and returned to Gotham where he would be expected to do a better job of protecting the country from the derivatives market and credit-default swaps among Wall Street brokerage houses, since the effectiveness of the newly launched Consumer Protection Agency has been called into question.
The Coast Guard has released a video of their rescue of two men who got themselves stranded on the side of Archer Mountain in the Columbia Gorge over the weekend. A Coast Guard helicopter from Astoria was summoned due to the technical nature of the rescue, and per usual, the Coast Guard did a superb job of plucking the hikers off the mountain side. Here’s the Coast Guard video which gives a birds-eye view of the lift of one of those rescued. Click here.
Yaquina Bay Bridge, 1936, Courtesy LC Historical Society, Bridge today, East Steps, West Steps, Intersection re-alignment, plan photo
ODOT, perhaps getting into the 75th birthday mood with those who love the Yaquina Bay Bridge, is awarding Newport a $150,000 grant to install what many contend are long overdue sidewalks leading outward from the bridge’s north end steps. The grant will also pay for a wide sidewalk under the bridge to connect pedestrians from the top of Naterlin Drive, to the eastern steps, then under the bridge to the western steps and then to a re-aligned intersection on the west side. Public Works project manager Tim Gross says the work should be done in time for the bridge’s 75th birthday party which is being held October 2nd, sponsored by the City Center Association Deco District and the Lincoln County Historical Society. Watch for details coming up on this website and around town.
Lincoln County’s newest food pantry for the needy, or just temporarily so, received either a $1,600 gift from the Newport City Council Monday night, or as much as $1,900. It depends on how things work out after all the building, water and sewer fees are tallied.
Newport Food Pantry Board member Lurlyn Patrick told the council that her non-profit had budgeted only around $800 for city fees when they moved a former portable school building from Yaquina View School to its new location, and new function as a food pantry on the grounds of the First Presbyterian Church on NW 12th. The two operations are completely separate.
The council pondered whether to allocate money from their newly created $10,000 fund to be divided up among local non-profits or make an immediate grant award to the pantry so they can have their scheduled opening on time. The council decided to allocate between $1,600 and $1,900 dollars depending on how the fees were levied by the city community development department. Those fees cannot be waived, they said, because the bulk of them are for system development fees which cannot be waived according to city code. System development fees are levied on new construction as they incrementally consume their fractional capacity of the town’s water and sewer systems.
The Newport Food Pantry is the county’s newest pantry which works in tandem with Food Share of Lincoln County. Food Share imports and collects donated food for distribution from its warehouse on NE 1st Street in Newport. From there it goes to the far flung reaches of Lincoln County at various pantry locations. Newport was the last remaining major population center without a pantry apart from Food Share. Food Share said the Newport Pantry will allow Food Share to concentrate on collection and distribution of food in a more efficient way and food recipients in Newport will have a more convenient “pantry” shopping experience when they come for food.
The Newport Pantry will be fully wheel-chair accessible and offer a wide variety of food as one would experience in a regular grocery store. It’s expected to be open in the very near future as their new facility gets its finishing touches on the installation. Local construction and building suppliers have donated time and materials to the project. Food Pantry officials say they will be thanked and praised loudly and often so the whole community will learn of their good work and donations.
City Manager Jim Voetberg (L) welcomes new Fire Chief Phil Paige (R)
The top pick of fire chief applicants by Newport volunteer firefighters was welcomed as the new fire chief at the city council meeting Monday night. He’s Phil Paige, a longtime fire service veteran who has spent many years in California, most recently with the fire department in Redding, California. He appeared before the Newport City Council with his wife and was given the fire chief’s badge by City Manager Jim Voetberg who welcomed him to his new job.
Paige said he was happy to be in Newport and that he enjoyed the coast sunshine, which drew laughter from the crowd. He was later told it’s beautiful on the coast, even when it rains. He said his first day on the job was fun and that he looks forward to getting to know the troops and the area. Volunteer firefighters said they preferred Paige over the other three candidates mainly because of Paige’s obvious professionalism, friendly, transparent demeanor, and that he’s a “people person.”
The department has suffered what’s been described as unpleasant tension between paid staff and the volunteer force. The department has now had four chief’s in the past six months, largely due to turn-over from retirements and Assistant Chief Rob Murphy having to fill in until Chief Paige’s arrival.
The Newport City Council has appointed seven residents to examine whether and how the Newport Pool and Recreation Center might be managed for less cost, while keeping current service levels the same. The committee will be trying to figure out if a private company or a non-profit might be able to pull off such an arrangement. What hasn’t been made clear is whether whoever or whatever takes them over would be responsible for the cost of maintaining both facilities and whether they’d have to do it with the money the city is willing to give them or would the city remain on the hook for the maintenance and upkeep.
Appointed to the task force was Fred Springstein, Vincennes University, Ed Simon, Parks and Recreation Committee, Pat Cowan, School Admininstrator, Jeff Schrantz, insurance, Phil Jackson, Coast guard, Thomas Hurst, NOAA Biologist and Josie Bissell, Safeway Manager.
The committee has until sometime in November to study the two facilities’ operations and to review various operating models that would help the city council determine whether the city could save money by privatizing their operations, again, with an eye to keeping service levels at their current base, for less money. The council said it wants the information in time to determine whether the two facilities should be privatized in time to make corresponding changes in the city’s 2012-2013 budget planning period which begins shortly after the first of the year.
Privatization of such facilities have had mixed results over the years, largely depending on the monitoring and enforcement of prescribed service levels and how operating and maintenance expenses are covered in contract agreements.
The council also appointed another task force to assess Newport’s tourism related organizations and determine which of them should be granted a part of the city’s million dollar “tourism facilities” fund. The Oregon Coast Aquarium, the Marine Heritage Museum and others have already expressed a strong interest on using some of those funds to bolster their programming and facilities. The city and the county, at one point, were talking about teaming up to produce a large convention center or special events “expo” at the county fairgrounds in Newport, but that vision has apparently faded.
Appointed to the Tourism Facilities Task Force was Caroline Bauman, economic development coordinator, John Lavrakas, businessman, Julie Hanrahan, manager of West Coast Bank, Dan Rowe, Tracy Wiley, Embarcadero Resort manager, Ann Aronson, and one vacancy.
The council says it wants guidance on how to allocate some or all of the fund to create facilities, or add onto already existing facilities, to create the maximum tourist draw to the area. The fund was created mostly by room tax funds collected from local hotel and motel properties.
The suspect sought in connection with Saturday morning’s stabbing at a remote camping site in Clatsop County was arrested by Oregon State Police (OSP) Monday evening. The suspect, SCOTT ROBERT BRANDON, age 26, from southwest Portland, contacted OSP following media reports regarding the investigation and made arrangements to turn himself in.
According to OSP Detective Aaron Jackson, BRANDON was arrested August 1st at the OSP Portland Area Command office and lodged in the Clackamas County Jail for Assault in the Second Degree. Arrangements will be made to transfer BRANDON to Clatsop County pending an appearance in Clatsop County Circuit Court.
Previously released information indicated on July 30th at approximately 8:00 a.m. the suspect, BRANDON, and the 30-year old male victim, Jeremy Daniel Peat from Gresham, were part of a large group of about 50 people camping off Wolf Creek Road about five miles north of Highway 26 in Clatsop County. The suspect and victim became involved in a verbal argument during which the suspect allegedly sprayed the victim’s face with a chemical agent similar to mace. As the victim tried to defend himself, the suspect stabbed the victim once in the abdomen with a knife described as a bayonet.
Others present at the scene overpowered the suspect and disarmed him. The suspect then fled on foot into the woods. A search that evening by troopers and deputies failed to find him.
The victim was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Beaverton by two people at the camp site. OSP was notified by hospital staff and started an investigation led by Detective Jackson. Peat is still being treated at the hospital but his injury is believed non-life threatening.
Since it was started in August of 2008 by Kit O’Carra, as the Cape Foulweather Drum Circle (Kit was then living in Depoe Bay), the Newport Community Drum Circle has become a recognized and vital part of the social and cultural life of Newport and even – thanks to the talented people who have gathered around it – an increasingly significant part of the Lincoln County arts and entertainment community. The drum circle flourished during its first few months, but suspended operations briefly during that first winter due to the difficulty of finding a winter indoor venue that would not necessitate charging a fee to cover rental costs. Kit eventually asked to be relieved of the responsibility for coordinating. When I took over as coordinator in April 2009, there were two people (Jan Weathers and I) at the drum circle. With the help of a handful of diehards (including Jan, Barbara Wilson, and Richard Sherlock, among those still involved), the drum circle recovered and began attracting new participants during the spring.