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February 9, 2016 · 3:17 pm

Forest Clean Up Efforts

By Kiera Morgan

lincoln-county-forestsA group of Forest Service permit holders who gather forest products such as mushrooms and Sal-al took time out from their foraging last weekend and worked together to clean up the forest where they work. According to State Police litter and vandalism in forested areas around Lincoln County was becoming a big problem and was the number one complaint to state police from hunters. This group of foragers recognized the problem and spent their weekend helping to clean up in the Siuslaw National Forest. Lisa Ramono with the Siuslaw National Forest said littler especially food waste left in the forest has become a big issue.

“Crows, Jays and Ravens are opportunistic feeders and when these birds once they are attracted to an area will then start to feed on the eggs of other birds such as Marbled Murrletts and Snowy Plovers, which are endangered species.” She said “The Siuslaw is starting to look at their overall trash management practices. We they are looking at our campgrounds and recreation areas to see how we can prevent trash from attracting these predator birds like the crows and jays.” She recommends that any forest users, recreational, gatherers, hunters and hikers should pack out all of their trash to better protect the forest and unintentionally harming wildlife.

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Newport Aquatic Center Gets $300,000 Donation

By Kiera Morgan

An artist’s concept drawing of the Newport Recreation Center and the proposed Aquatic Center on the right. The city this week awarded the contract to Pavilion Construction Inc. of Portland to build the aquatic center. (Courtesy City of Newport)

An artist’s concept drawing of the Newport Recreation Center and the proposed Aquatic Center on the right. The city this week awarded the contract to Pavilion Construction Inc. of Portland to build the aquatic center. (Courtesy City of Newport)

The city of Newport got an unexpected and pleasant surprise recently in the form of a gift of a donation from the Doerfler Family Trust of $300,000 to help with the building of the Newport Aquatic Center with $25,000 set aside to provide scholarships. According to Jim Protiva, Newport Parks director the trust was set up to do good things for the community and the family felt that the pool project fit the criteria for the donation. Protiva said the money will help the city to accomplish the vision and the plan that the city initially wanted to do. Jim said construction of the aquatic center is going very well.

Jim said they excavated out a lot of the fill and removed it from the area and replaced it with sand from the NOAA dredgings, which will create a more solid foundation. He said they still have a lot of sewer and utility work that is taking place. Protiva said one of the issues was fixing problems from the past. One of those problems that had to be dealt with was the sewer connections from the rec center to the 2nd street sewer line. With the construction they were able to re-route the rec center sewer lines to connect further down the hill. There is hope that with this change the at the rec center will no longer flood. Construction is slated to be completed later this year.

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Paperwork Signed For New Hospital In Lincoln City

Pictured, from left, are Dr. Lesley Ogden, representing Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital, and NLHD board  > members David Hess (standing), Terry Buggenhagen and Mike Holden.

Pictured, from left, are Dr. Lesley Ogden, representing Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital, and NLHD board members David Hess (standing), Terry Buggenhagen and Mike Holden.

An important step toward building a new hospital in Lincoln City was taken on Feb. 3, when the property transaction between Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital (SNLH), Samaritan Health Services (SHS) and the North Lincoln Health District (NLHD) was completed. This action formalizes the intent outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed last September by each of the three entities. In the MOU, the health district agreed to transfer ownership of its hospital facilities and real properties to Samaritan. In turn, Samaritan agreed to construct a new hospital on the existing campus.

“I am thrilled that the property transaction is completed so we can now begin planning and designing our new hospital campus,” said SNLH Chief Executive Officer Lesley Ogden, MD. “Our goal is not only to have a hospital that offers flexible and efficient work space for staff and comfortable surroundings for patients, but to also create a hospital campus that seamlessly integrates outpatient and inpatient services.” NLHD Board Chairman Terry Buggenhagen agreed that the closing is a pivotal moment.

“This transaction provides a path for Samaritan to design and construct a new hospital on the current campus,” Buggenhagen said. “We are confident that Samaritan can provide a new hospital with appropriate services respecting the needs of the community, advances in technology and medicine, and efficiency developments in design and operation. The new facility will also help our community recruit and retain high-quality physicians and other health professionals.” Continue reading

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Pump Station Overflow Problems Continue

Big Creek Pump StationOn February 6, 2016, due to a clogged pump and the bypass pump failing to start, the City of Newport’s wastewater personnel observed 48th St. pump station spilling raw sewage into a creek at approximately 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM. The spill rate was approximately 5 gallons per minute with an estimated spill of 300 gallons. The sewage overflowed from the pump station into the creek, which flows across the beach and into the ocean. OERS was notified and samples will be taken to ensure fecal levels return to normal.

The 48th Street Pump Station is currently being served by a backup diesel pump while the main pumps are being rebuilt. One pump is already in place and the second should be reinstalled later this week. City crews are also arranging to have the debris pumped from the wet well to help reduce future plugging issues. Signs warning of the sewage overflows are posted at the affected areas. Contact with water contaminated with bacteria can increase the risk of disease. Please avoid contact with these waterbodies until further notice.

Please contact the City of Newport Public Works at 541-574-3366 with any questions.

Information provided by City of Newport

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February 9, 2016 · 2:34 pm

Concerns Over Food Sources For Whales

scientist tagging whalesThe eastern gray whales that commonly appear along the West Coast of the United States seemingly have recovered from over-hunting with new protective guidelines established in the 1970s. Their counterparts across the ocean – western gray whales – have not fared as well.

Some scientists believe that a lack of prey may be a limiting factor in the recovery of western gray whales, which number fewer than 200 in their feeding area near Russia’s Sakhalin Island. For years, researchers were unable to assess the growth of whale prey in the region because of the remote location, inaccessible conditions of winter ice cover, and the rugged weather that prevented winter sampling.

However, researchers from Russia and the United States studied an inch-long crustacean, Ampelisca eschrichtii, an amphipod that is a favorite food of the western gray whale, in samples that were collected from the Sakhalin Shelf between late spring and early fall over six years between 2002 and 2013. The research team found enough information in the limited samples to assess the missing winter-life history of these amphipods and to document their great abundance and production.

Their results were published this week in the journal PLOS ONE.

“The Sakhalin Shelf could be the richest gray whale feeding area in the world,” said John Chapman, a co-author who works at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon. “But this discovery includes some surprises, still surrounded by mystery.”

One such mystery was the discovery that Ampelisca eschrichtii are simply too abundant to be threatened by over-consumption by western gray whales. If that is the case, the researchers say, why aren’t western gray whales rebounding like their eastern gray counterparts when food is plentiful and protections are in place?

“That’s really the enigma,” Chapman said. “Access to prey could be limited by an unsuitable benthic community or by unsuitable sediments. The whales’ benefits from the rich food source could also be limited by the distance and energetic costs of their trans-Pacific migration to reach it.” Continue reading

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