Archive | June, 2013

Ethanol

Posted on 24 June 2013 by admin

Contributed by Gary Crum

Two college buddies were headed down the Eastern Seaboard, going to Florida for Spring Break.  At about 3 AM they pulled into an all-night gas station/convenience store for gas and to switch drivers.  The one who had been sleeping got out, paid for the gas, hit the restroom and bought a large coffee.  The one who had been driving was asleep when he got back to the car.
About two hours later the guy stirred a little when the sun shone through his window.  He looked again, woke up immediately and said to his buddy, “geez Billy Bob, you’re going the wrong way!”  Billy Bob replied, “yea, I know it, but we’re making such good time, I really hate to turn around.”
We’ve showed this Billy Bob stubbornness over the last fifty years in our foreign policy, which, while a high profile example of our stubborn nature, is far from the only example. We’re just as stubborn, perhaps even more so, as we deal with domestic issues. To me, the crowning example is our Billy Bob dedication to ethanol as a central feature of our energy policy…. wow, what a fiasco.
We entered the ethanol era with the best of intentions. We were going to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, lessen our total petroleum use, switch to a sustainable energy source and reduce our carbon footprint. It would have been a great idea…if only at least one of those things had been achieved. Unfortunately, none of them have and, for a little bonus, we’ve experienced huge and damaging unintended consequences as well.
One of the chief contentions was, of course, that substituting a 10% or even a 15% blend of ethanol into our gasoline would reduce our consumption of gasoline. The math was, at first blush, very simple. However, it was based on one very fallacious assumption…that a 90/10 gas/ethanol blend would yield the same mpg as 100% gasoline. This has, demonstrably, proven to not be the case.
Hundreds of carefully run studies comparing consumption have all shown the same thing: a gasoline/ethanol blend yields significantly lower mpg. Some studies have shown a 20% or more decrease. I, personally, switched from the 10% blend to 100% gasoline and my mpg in my Prius increased from an average of 42 mpg to averaging over 46 mpg.
So may I suggest that introducing that 10% ethanol into our gasoline has not decreased our consumption of gasoline AT ALL.  We’re still burning the same amount of gasoline; we’re just burning that 10% additional ethanol as well. Of course, this is not even considering the petroleum production needed to produce that ethanol…petroleum-based fertilizer to grow the corn, fuel to run the farming equipment, fuel to transport the corn to ethanol plants and energy to run those plants.  “Hey, Billy Bob, the sun’s shining in the wrong window!!!”
And, of course, without the introduction of ethanol actually decreasing our consumption of oil, those noble intentions…lessen dependence on foreign oil, switch to a sustainable resource, and reduce our carbon footprint simply cannot possibly be achieved.  Put, very succinctly, ETHANOL IS A NON-STARTER.
Moreover, the introduction of ethanol has presented several very serious unintended consequences. With federal subsidies prompting the switch, millions of acres that formerly produced traditional farm commodities (corn, soybeans and grains for human consumption and livestock feed) have been dedicated, instead, to growing corn for the ethanol industry. Consequently, the prices of these farm commodities have steeply risen and, of course, the cost of meat (dependent on corn and grain feed) has correspondingly risen. The ethanol industry has seriously disrupted the agricultural segment of our economy and inflated the cost of essential commodities.
We, as well, can’t ignore the damage that ethanol has imposed on engines and fuel systems that were not designed for it. Ethanol is a caustic substance and melts rubber fuel lines, seals and gaskets in machinery. Americans have incurred hundreds of millions (likely billions) of additional maintenance and repair costs because of the presence of ethanol in our fuel.
Of course there now exists a very powerful ethanol lobby comprised of those corporate entities reaping huge profits from its production. We’re still providing subsidies, still disrupting our food production systems, and still damaging the fuel systems of every engine burning ethanol. We’re still blithely driving in the wrong direction…wasting resources…wasting money…and becoming more and more entrenched in supporting the industry.
We’ve made a huge mistake and, it seems, we’re getting no closer to acknowledging and correcting it.  At some point we’ve got to convince Billy Bob to turn around.

Author’s note: If you feel I’m wrong in the above assessment, please respond with an opposing argument. I’ve yet to talk to anyone who still believes ethanol is a good move…I’d love to hear or read that supportive position. Thanks, Gary Crum

Comments (1)

wanted-poster-1200hi

The Hunt For D.B. Cooper: Searching For The Drop Zone

Posted on 24 June 2013 by admin

By Finn J.D. John
Thanksgiving Day of 1971 was a very unusual one for F.B.I. agent Ralph Himmelsbach. He spent it flying a grid pattern over southwest Washington in his Taylorcraft, staring at the ground.
Himmelsbach was hoping to spot a parachute canopy down there — a parachute that would mark the landing spot of the man who’d hijacked Northwest Orient Flight 305 the previous evening.
It was the beginning of the hunt for D.B. Cooper — a hunt that still continues to this day.

Looking For The Drop Zone

dropzonemap-1800
Investigators were already starting to zero in on the most likely spot for Cooper’s jump. A strange change in cabin pressure in the plane was reported at 8:13pm, and the working theory was that this was caused by Cooper jumping off the back stairs. (Investigators later confirmed this by having Marines drop a 220-pound weight off the back stairs of a 727 in flight, a duty that has to have tested the nerves even of U.S. Marines.) Based on the prevailing wind direction and the location of the plane at that moment, they came up with a diamond-shaped area in which Cooper probably landed.
So the next day, the search began in earnest. Law enforcement agencies, search-and-rescue units and county sheriff’s mounted posses collected at the Woodland police station and launched a grid search of the part of the target area.
A few days later, the searchers were joined by 400 soldiers from nearby Fort Lewis. But even so, they were probably a small minority of the people actually on the ground looking for Cooper.

Searchers Get Lots Of “Help”
Remember, this was Thanksgiving weekend. Virtually everyone in Oregon and Washington had the weekend off from work, and by the day after Thanksgiving thousands of locals knew exactly where authorities thought Cooper had landed. The news seemed to inspire a sudden mania for outdoor recreation. After all, chances seemed pretty good that Cooper had died in the attempt, which would mean somewhere in the hills of southwest Washington there was a monster bag of money just lying there, tied to a corpse, up for grabs.
“No one readily admitted to be looking for the ransom money,” Himmelsbach later wrote, “but many 1971-style gold rushers were tempted by the lure of a 21-pound package of $20 bills lying somewhere out there in the wilds, and were undaunted by the long odds.”
Time went by. The “gold-rushers” gave up and went home. The soldiers spent 18 days on their grid search through some of the most rugged country in the West, bivouacking each night in the field so they could pick up again the next day. They found the body of a hiker, who had broken his leg and died, and other searchers found the body of a murder victim — a college girl who’d disappeared a couple weeks before while hitchhiking. But of Cooper or his parachute or the money — nothing.
There were a couple red-hot leads that seemed to dissolve like a mirage upon first contact: a report of a big white thing floating in Lake Merwin that subsequently vanished, and a mysterious small aircraft taking off and landing by the light of someone’s car headlights near the drop zone. Nothing came of either one.

Hot Tips From The Public
Almost immediately, people started calling the FBI with tips. Some of these were people who noticed neighbors suddenly spending lots of money; others were clearly just trying to make trouble for their personal enemies by reporting them. Investigators tried to check out each lead, but soon found themselves inundated.
And it got worse. Within a month or two, the volume of tips coming in to the FBI had gone up, and the quality had gone down. The legend of the cool-cat suit-jacketed skyjacker had fully blossomed, and many people were starting to think of him as a sort of folk hero — sticking it to The Man and getting away with it. People were writing songs, making T-shirts. Every half-drunk high roller flashing a roll of twenties at the local bar seemed to think it would be hilarious to pretend to be D.B. Cooper, and somebody at the bar would call the cops from a pay phone, and then Himmelsbach would get a call at 2am. And it happened again and again.
Typed-out letters signed “D.B. Cooper” started showing up at newspaper offices, and there may actually have been several different people writing them. In any case, they didn’t lead anywhere either.

Hot Tips From Crackpots
And then there were the funny ones — the tips called in by self-described psychics and paranormal investigators, and by straight-up nutters and swindlers. Himmelsbach remembers one who built a black box covered with dials and switches, which he claimed functioned as a sort of mechanical bloodhound (quite what the advantage was in a bloodhound with no legs and, as soon became obvious, a non-functioning nose, was never made clear). Another got Himmelsbach’s attention by claiming to be skilled in water-witching, but subsequently rang the loony bell by revealing that he did his dousing over a topo map on his coffee table before going out to a scene to dig.

But did they search the wrong place?
The soldiers and posses came back in the spring for another go, and again found nothing. Other searchers got involved as well. A man named John Banks, convinced that Cooper landed and drowned in Lake Merwin, made a deal with the insurance company and spent two years and $15,000 exploring the bottom of the lake in a little submarine. He, too, found nothing.
Then one day, late in the 1970s, Himmelsbach was talking about the case to an airline pilot who said he’d been in the air just behind the hijacked aircraft that night. The pilot chanced to remark on how nasty the weather was, with an 80-knot wind coming right out of the south.
The south. Not the west-southwest, but the south.
The news hit Himmelsbach like a rock. If true, that meant the FBI and its friends had spent the previous eight years meticulously looking in the wrong place.
But then, if the wind had shifted that way, wouldn’t the pilots of Flight 305 have noticed as well? Investigators were left wondering what to think.

Money In The Riverbank
Then, in 1980, a third-grade boy named Brian Ingram, digging a flat spot for a campfire by the Columbia River on a beach known as Tena Bar, stumbled across $5,800 in water-worn $20 bills — which were immediately confirmed as the bills from the skyjacking.
The cash was bound together with rotting rubber bands, and the corners were rounded off as if they’d been tumbling in the water for some time.
But they were found upstream from the jet’s flight path and upwind from where Cooper apparently jumped. How could they have gotten there? If dropped into the river, why didn’t they get separated? Did someone stash them there? Who knows?

What Really Happened?
So that’s what we’re left with: A tantalizing smattering of confusing and sometimes contradictory evidence — just enough to keep the intrepid D.B. Cooper sleuths busy for decades trying to solve the case.
So, what really happened to D.B. Cooper that night? There are at least five thoroughly thought-out, highly plausible theories. Then there are another dozen or so that, although not as robust, are highly appealing as stories. For the time being, though, the question is one big mystery.
But then, there are those of us who kind of like it that way.
Next week’s column will take a look at several of the most plausible theories about what happened to Cooper and the money.

(Sources: Himmelsbach, Ralph & al. NORJAK: The Investigation of D.B. Cooper. West Linn: Norjak Project, 1986; Gray, Geoffrey. Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper. New York: Crown, 2011; Porteous, Skipp & al. Into the Blast: The True Story of D.B. Cooper. Seattle: Adventure Books, 2010)
Finn J.D. John is an instructor at Oregon State University and the author of “Wicked Portland,” a book about the dark side of Oregon’s metropolis in the 1890s. He produces a daily podcast, reading archives from this column, at offbeatoregon.com/itunes. To contact him or suggest a topic: finn@offbeatoregon.com, @OffbeatOregon (on Twitter), or 541-357-2222.

wanted-poster-1200hi

Comments (2)

TIPS for Train Travel: UFF DA

TIPS for Train Travel: UFF DA

Posted on 24 June 2013 by admin

Noel B_ Ness

By Noel Ness
Thinking about a summer vacation?  TAKE A TRAIN TRIP! This is my 2nd column about rail travel, which is my favorite mode of travel.
I have 30-years experience riding the rails. In my younger days I rode coach. Now that I’m older, I ride in a sleeper car. It’s more comfortable than coach and more importantly, at least for me, one has privacy
If you’ve never taken a train trip, try a short trial run. Take a coach trip first, maybe a trip to Portland. The tracks parallel I-5. I always feel sorry for the folks driving on I-5 while I’m kicking back on the train. Make sure, at all costs, to avoid the Amtrak bus. Check with your ticket agent. You might want to board in Salem. The bus is Ok but you’ve paid good money to ride the rails, not the highway. Reserve your tickets far as advanced as possible, especially for a sleeper car. Folks use the train. Check out Amtrak discount options on www.Amtrak.com. Also check out Amtrak Guest Rewards. Both Albany and Eugene have Amtrak Stations.
In addition to self-service handcarts in a number of Amtrak stations, you can count on uniformed Red Caps to provide free baggage-handling assistance at many major stations. Amtrak recommends that you accept assistance from only uniformed Red Cap agents. All baggage handled by Red Cap is protected by a claim check. Amtrak helpers wear red caps and red vests. I asked a red cap, as he was driving us and our baggage to our sleeper car, why he wore red. He said “I don’t really know. Maybe so folks can see us better.” I felt like a total moron. Of course that’s why they wear red!
When riding coach bring a blanket, pillow, books, snacks (comfort food), tooth brush, tooth paste and other such items. Bringing someone’s hand to hold is also a nice touch. Ear plugs will assist with sleeping. I suggest smokers wear a nicotine patch. Smoke stops are few and far between.  Coach cars and sleeping cars have attendants. They are there to make you comfortable, answer questions, take dining car reservations and watch over you. Nice folks.
Walking through a train is a challenge. Trains buck, sway, twitch, shift, jerk and bounce.  Walking is especially challenging when you’re clipping along at 80-miles per hour through northern Montana and northern North Dakota. Walking normally is not an option on a moving train. You must always support yourself with at least one hand. The tops of coach seats, walls, hand rails. Please do not support yourself by placing your hand on the heads of coach passengers. This is frowned upon. I strongly suggest going to the bathroom or taking a shower should be only undertaken when the train is gliding, moving slow or has come to a complete stop. Men, let me speak to you from my heart. Every man on this planet is notorious for having bad aim when doing our business. Please, for the love of Pete, do not attempt to do your business while standing in the bathroom of a train going 80-miles per hour. This will only add conformation to our reputation as complete idiots.
The Sleeper Car: We always bring a small cooler into our sleeping car. Beer, wine and spirits are expensive on a train. It’s acceptable to bring, via the cooler, adult beverages to your sleeper car. Also bring condiments such as pepper, mustard, Tabasco, etc.  A container of moist hand wipes are a good thing to have. There are many sleeper car amenities such as bathrooms in your room, sinks and nearby showers. Remember showers are not advised at 80-miles an hour. A pot of coffee is always nearby (36-cups). Newspapers and ice, to refill your cooler, will be delivered by your attendant at certain station stops. Free champagne and wine has also appeared as perks for sleeper-car passengers.
Tipping a sleeper-car attendant is advised (30 bucks). I always tip at the start of the journey rather than the end. I just figure my attendant should know I appreciate what they do. Your attendant does everything for you. Such as luggage service, turn down your beds, change you sheets, convert your beds into seats, dining car reservations or will bring food to the privacy of your room.
Sleeper-car passengers also have access to special lounges in select stations where you can access the Internet, enjoy complimentary beverages, watch the news and even get assistance with your ticketing. Check those locations in advance.
There’s a sleeper car for the mobility impaired. It’s located on the lower level and has ample space for a wheel chair. If you need assistance with baggage moving through the station, a station-provided wheelchair or people mover is there for you.  Please let Amtrak know as far in advance as possible. This service is available at most staffed stations.
Sleeper-car passengers are allowed two carry-on bags per passenger. You are permitted to check one bag which will be stored in the baggage car. Some trains provide wine and cheese tasting plus movies in the lounge car. The National Park Service often offers educational programs on the area you are traveling through. Cell phone, please don’t aggravate the rest of us by constant yakking. Ladies please learn to lock the shower door. If I walk in on one more naked lady I’m going to start riding the train more often. UFFDA!
I strongly suggest you Google Amtrak. Everything and I mean everything you want to know about riding the rails in on their website. Be sure to also Google the “Amtrak Virtual Tour.” View the Dining Car, Family Bedroom, Sightseer Lounge, Roomette, Sleeping Car and Snack Bar/Lounge. All forms of travel have their ups and downs so when riding the rails “Bring Your Patience.” My friends, in closing may I say, if you’ve never ridden the rails, put it on your “Bucket List.”

Comments (1)

carshow IMG_0253

Cruising The Boulevard: Local Shop Hosts Wednesday Automobile Event

Posted on 24 June 2013 by admin

carshow IMG_0253

By Vera Westbrook
JUNCTION CITY – Reminiscent of the days when folks drove cars to a destination to hang out, a local auto shop is hosting a ‘cruise-in’ to give the automobile community an opportunity to drive downtown and share in a meet-and-greet on a nice summer evening.
On Wednesday nights from 5:30-9:30pm until the rainy season begins, a Hot Rod Cruise-in will be held at Top Flite Automotive on 490 Ivy St. on the main drag in Junction City, where car lovers are invited to park and socialize with other automobile enthusiasts.
Brothers Dave and Mike Adams have owned and operated their auto repair shop for 27 years now, and after cruising to other towns for years, Dave said, “I’ve got the perfect location; why not try to start something here in Junction City?” About twenty cars showed up the first night of the cruise-in on June 5.
Dave described the event like any other hobby. “A bunch of hot rodders get together and talk about their cars, and they talk about the things they’re going to do to them, the cars they want to buy and the things they want to sell,” he said. “It’s also great for people who don’t know much about cars, but like to look at nostalgic vehicles and hot rods.”
Hot rod lovers themselves, Dave and Mike have been sinking money into restoring nice vehicles for years. Dave’s trophy truck is a two-tone beige and eggshell white 1962 Chevy short wide pickup. “It’s not your typical old truck—it does a lot of things,” he said, with a back end that opens up like a dump truck, among other trick features.
Mike drives a two-tone tan and cream 1948 Divco milk truck that he turned into a pro-street hot rod with a super charger. “It looks real nostalgic like an old milk truck,” Dave said, “but it has big tires underneath it with a loud exhaust on it that sounds like a milk truck on steroids when he jumps on it.”
The cruise-in also aims to bring enough folks into town to support local businesses.
“People are invited to browse and look at cars and hopefully eat some hot dogs,” Dave said, with the brothers recently having opened their own drive-up hot dog stand called Top Dog, also on the corner of Fifth and Ivy. “I’m hoping this will become like the Function 4 Junction.”
“There’re really not enough of these hot rod events that go on through the short summer that we have,” Dave said. “Hopefully it will become something big like it used to be when we were teenagers. If the weather’s nice, we’ll be here.”
For more information, contact Top Flite Automotive on 490 Ivy St. in Junction City or call 541-998-3491.

Comments (0)

Kreth2

Honoring Service: Monroe Student Attends National Volunteer Conference

Posted on 24 June 2013 by admin

Kreth2
By Vera Westbrook
MONROE – One way to leave a mark on the world is by making a difference through service work.
Monroe High School 2011 graduate Quintin Kreth left his mark by being chosen from more than a thousand nominees for the ‘I am Oregon’ contest to become one of 11 winners recognized for their inspirational contributions to service.
The contest sponsored by the Meyer Memorial Trust—a foundation created by the late Fred G. Meyer of the Fred Meyer retail store corporation—sent the winners to Washington D.C. from June18-22 to attend the Points of Light annual 2013 Conference on Volunteering and Service—the largest assembly of volunteers and service leaders in the world, representing the government, corporate and nonprofit sectors.
“Volunteering is what everybody should be doing,” Kreth said, especially in rural communities. “That’s what I’m trying to do here—I’m trying to do my part.”
At the networking event filled with workshops and dinners, Kreth plans “to grow my volunteering skills and show off what volunteers in Oregon are doing.”
A Monroe resident his entire life, Kreth was awarded the honor of ‘inspirational Oregonian’ because of the multiple contributions he made to the community while striving to reach high personal goals.
In high school, Kreth was an Eagle Scout whose project was to re-landscape the Monroe High School parking lot. Meanwhile, Kreth rode the bus to the University of Oregon taking courses like honors calculus in the tenth grade. He was the only student in his graduating class of 35 that attended the UO, becoming the 2011 valedictorian.
Kreth also participated in service work outside of school, leading the first Ford Institute Leadership Program group in Monroe in 2010 that was responsible for hanging the banners around town.
Now 20, Kreth is still active academically and attends the UO Clark Honors College with plans to graduate in March 2014, when he’ll be awarded a double major bachelor of arts with honors in mathematics and also public policy, planning and (nonprofit) management.
Kreth’s recent political accomplishments include serving as delegate at the September 2012 Democratic National Convention, where he represented Oregon with 80 other democrats in Charlotte, NC.
“I was on the floor of the convention listening to speeches from all the congressmen, senators, the president and Bill Clinton,” Kreth said, and voting to nominate Barrack Obama as the democratic candidate for president.
He was also secretary to Oregon’s Democratic Fourth Congressional District and in March elected chair of the Rural Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon, where he’ll be managing the party’s messaging for rural folks by arguing for rural issues.
Kreth currently lives near the UO campus, but after graduation, he plans to move back home to Monroe with his mother and sister while seeking work and volunteering with the Democratic Party.

Comments (0)

Changing Industrial Code: Local Church Submits Site Plan For Resort Property

Changing Industrial Code: Local Church Submits Site Plan For Resort Property

Posted on 24 June 2013 by admin

Ron Ritchie
By Vera Westbrook
HARRISBURG – The Planning Commission met on June 18 with two topics of local interest on the agenda: the matter of a site plan request submitted by Life Bible Church for the River Bend Resort property on Peoria Road, and an amendment to the city’s heavy industrial zoning ordinance.
Life Bible representative Ron Ritchie and attorney Nick Klingensmith also attended the meeting where they reported before the Commission that the proposed site plan met the required criteria for approval, which must be completed before occupancy.
The proposed development included construction of a 24,000-square-foot church, removal of 55 RV parking spaces, and continued use of the existing facilities as originally approved with a focus on church activities. The request also proposed completing the unfinished third floor of the motel and reorganizing parking, leaving 54 RV spaces and 20 motel rooms for use by the traveling public.
Discussion of the transportation impact analysis criterion compared trip generation estimates for the current and proposed uses at the resort. Klingensmith presented evidence suggesting that the proposed church uses at the resort would have less transportation system impact than the existing approved resort uses.
City Administrator Brian Latta recommended that the site plan request be approved with conditions. One specific condition is that Linn County review the trip generation report, since Peoria Road is under county jurisdiction. The condition would be satisfied once the transportation impacts have been adequately evaluated and addressed.
The Planning Commission approved Life Bible’s conditional use permit, subject to the conditions of approval. The approval is based on the findings and conclusions presented in the staff report and the findings and conclusions made during deliberations of the request.
Also at the meeting, the Planning Commission discussed amending the zoning ordinance to change M-2 heavy industrial zone language. The proposed language would affect the permitted uses in the zone. The language change would be from ‘any other use’ to ‘any other industrial use.’ Latta also recommended defining ‘industrial’ as well as adding residential and commercial definitions to the ordinance.
Life Bible representatives raised concerns that the inclusion of the word ‘industrial’ to the current code would classify any uses that are not industrial as nonconforming uses, which could cause the church problems in the future.
Klingensmith requested that the Planning Commission consider adding language that allowed pre-existing nonindustrial uses approved before the M-2 language change to not be considered nonconforming uses, thereby giving the property owner—in this case the church— the authorization to continue using the property as a permitted use.
Consistent with City Council direction, the Planning Commission recommended the City Council approve the insertion of the word ‘industrial’ as presented by staff in M-2 code, with the additional recommendation of inserting language to address nonconforming uses created by the amendment of this ordinance.

Comments (0)

Butik 1

Culture Year-Round: Little Scandinavia Klassisk Butik Holds Grand Opening

Posted on 18 June 2013 by admin

Butik 1

By Vera Westbrook
JUNCTION CITY – Renowned for its Scandinavian heritage, Junction City will now host a downtown shop with plans to promote cultural tradition all year long.
The Little Scandinavia Klassisk Butik will hold a grand opening for the local community from 10am to 2pm this Saturday, June 22, at its new location on the corner of Greenwood Street and West Sixth Avenue, where Scandinavian arts and crafts as well as goods from other ethnicities will accent the town.
Folks are invited to drop in and familiarize themselves with the store at the grand opening while sharing in traditional Scandinavian lingonberry muffins and jam along with coffee and tea. The shop’s proprietors are two local couples: Duane and Claire Edmondson, and David and Melanie Vaughn.
The store retains local culture by calling itself ‘Little Scandinavia,’ derived from the originally proposed name for the Scandinavian Festival in 1961, combined with the Swedish words of klassisk butik, meaning classic boutique.
“We have three brokers that have given us materials to display in the shop,” Duane said, including Scandinavian articles and artifacts. “People can purchase them on site or they can place orders,” as the store will have an office with computers and catalogs available for patrons to order items from within the shop.
Fabric will also be on display and jobs will be created for local seamstresses to sew traditional costumes for individuals performing with dance groups all over the western states and Canada. The shop also plans to delve into direct marketing and catalog sales along with Internet and mail order sales.
“Over time we will vend to other festivals around the country like the Celtic Festival and the October Fest up in Portland,” Duane said, expanding the Scandinavian boutique to include costumes of other cultures. “There’s a festival going on every week all over the country.”
Visit the grand opening this Saturday between 10am and 2pm at 225 W. 6th Ave. to peruse catalogs and become familiar with the available wares. The shop shares space with The Tribune News office and will be open Monday through Saturday from 9-5 with hours subject to change.
For more information, contact Duane Edmondson at 541-338-6233.

Comments (0)

Our Train Trip: UFF DA!

Posted on 18 June 2013 by admin

By Noel Ness
I will now begin a series of thrilling and yet informative columns that will cover our vacation back to southwestern Minnesota (the old sod). You will read super exciting stories about our train trip and will learn everything you need to know about riding the rails.
On a train the panorama of America is as close as your window. Fields of wheat, corn, alfalfa, soybeans, cattle, small towns – and you are sitting in your comfy coach seat or comfortable sleeper car seat watching the wonderment of it all.
All modes of travel present their own problems. And, all modes of travel require flexibility, adaptation, patience and above all a sense of humor.

Flying: I envision hell as having to spend eternity in an airport terminal or flying at 35,000 feet in a metal tube packed in like human sardines. And if you get some real sardines served, you count yourself lucky.

Car: Let’s cope with road construction, inclement weather, getting lost, roadside food, spendy lodging and out-of-this-world gas prices.

Cruise: How many times have you heard about folks becoming ill on cruises? Cruise ships also stall at sea and some sink e.g. Titanic.

Bus: See below.

Our train trip began by us boarding an Amtrak bus in Eugene, Oregon, and yes, Amtrak has buses. Two hours later we got off the bus in Portland, Oregon. I started hearing disturbing rumors. A freight train had derailed on the tracks ahead. I was sorely vexed to discover the rumor was true. The bus driver yelled, “Back on the bus,” and off we went on an 8-hour bus ride from Portland to Spokane, Washington. I wept, wailed, gashed my teeth and rent my garments. The start of our train trip had morphed into a 10-hour bus ride. UFF DA!
But then as our bus pulled into the Spokane train station we saw our train, the majestic “Empire Builder,” a beautiful sight indeed. We boarded, climbed into our sleeping berths and headed east back to our holy land, Minnesota. I noticed, as we were boarding, an Amish couple. They were dressed in black. I think they were Amish they might have been Goths. But I digress.
The next morning we passed through the wonderment that is Glacier National Park and then entered the hinterlands of north western Montana, Hinterlands, German, from hinter + land. First Known Use: 1890.
Synonyms: backcountry, backland(s), backwoods, bush, frontier, outback, outlands, up-country, boondocks, sticks, country, countryside. Yep, that’s Montana.
While riding the rails through northwestern Montana, I noticed an old wood fence, one horse and stacks of baled hay. I’m not sure but I think I caught a glimpse of an abandoned building, probably just wishful thinking. We did pass through a “Stick Plumb” of a village called Blackfoot. A Stick Plumb is a town so small that when you’re driving through it and roll down your window to stick your head out to look around you’re plumb past it. We also passed through Havre, Montana. The name Havre originated because of a fight between two cowboys over a saloon girl. One cowboy was getting bested; he threw up his hands and said, “You can Have Her.” My friends, that’s a true story. You know old Noel would never steer you wrong. All righty then lets press on.
Amtrak folks are a friendly and interesting bunch, a combination of old folks, young folks and families with kids. One does hear complaints about delays, etc. We riders of the rails are a hearty bunch of intrepid travelers. We complain with a smile on our face, roll with the punches and always expect the unexpected.
If you’re thinking about taking a train trip, google “Amtrak.com.” You can take a virtual tour of the train. Check out Trip Planning, Travel Checklist, Seating Options, Sleeping Options, Baggage Policy, At the Station, Routes, Meals and Dining. You can even buy your ticket on-line.
And if you hear an announcement about a Trails and Rails Lecture, be sure to attend. Trails & Rails is an innovative partnership program between the National Park Service and Amtrak. This program provides rail passengers with educational opportunities that foster an appreciation of a selected region‘s natural and cultural heritage; it promotes National Park Service areas and provides a value-added service to encourage train ridership. It also renews the long tradition of associating railroads with National Parks. And when they announce the wine and cheese tasting get together, take them up on it.
On our way from St. Paul’s Midway Station to the wife’s family farm 5 miles north of Ghent, we stopped for lunch at Kathy’s Place in Sacred Heart. The wife ordered a salad and I ordered a roast beef commercial. While waiting for our vittles, I noticed a customer get up from his table and walk into the area where the cashier was. A few moments later he walked by our table with a fly swatter. My friends I’ve been in a lot of cafes over the years but the fly swatter. Well, that was a first.

Comments (0)

Interior of Monroe Library

Monroe Library Open House a Huge Success

Posted on 18 June 2013 by admin

Community Library Specialists, MonroeMONROE – Saturday, June 8 saw a flurry of activity at Monroe’s new library, as patrons and guests gathered for an Open House. Extension Librarians Ashley Hall and Lisa Stout from the Philomath Library hosted the event showcasing the beautiful new building, located at 380 N. 5th St, Monroe.
Lori Pelkey, Community Library Specialist for Monroe, said about 500-600 people came through the library’s doors to enjoy refreshments and music. “The place was packed. It was awesome,” said Pelkey. “Cross Over,” a local Benton County band, provided music and had the patrons and librarians dancing. The drummer, Bill Patton, was the civil engineer on the library project. Also enjoying the event was Community Library Specialist Alison Gavin. Gavin is the only addition in personnel to the new library. “We like to inspire people to volunteer,” said Gavin.
If you missed the Open House, you can visit the library at the following days & times: Mondays, 1:30-4:30pm; Tuesdays, 10am-4:30pm; Wednesdays, 3-8pm; Thursdays, 10am-4:30pm; Saturdays, 10am-3:00pm. For more information, call 541-847-5174.Interior of Monroe Library

Comments (0)

Melissa Bowers 1

City Approves Budget: State Hospital Moves Forward With Employment Strategies

Posted on 18 June 2013 by admin

Melissa Bowers 1
By Vera Westbrook
JUNCTION CITY – Interim City Administrator Melissa Bowers has officially accepted the position as permanent city administrator for Junction City beginning June 12. She started her new job running, already having addressed the city’s budget, the topic of discussion at a June 11 public hearing.
“We have never had a budget that has been as well written, easy to understand and easy to follow as this budget,” said budget committee member Dale Rowe at the hearing, commending Bowers and Finance Director Mike Crocker for recent work.
Although pleased with the format, Rowe was not pleased with the content. He pointed out that the budget committee failed to fulfill its policy of balancing the budget this year, leaving the budget in the red.
“That means we are planning to spend $282,400 more dollars than we are taking in,” he said, raising the deficit by 419 percent over last year’s deficit of $54,000. Rowe requested that the Council reject the budget and reconvene the budget committee to balance the budget this year.
“For state law standard, the budget is balanced,” Bowers clarified for the record. “The discussion we’re having applies to our local policy and what that means in terms of a balanced budget.”
“This is something that is very fixable,” Councilor Herb Christensen said, but impossible to fix this year.
“I voted in favor of this budget as a way to get us to the next step and give the new administration time to do the right thing,” budget committee chair and city councilor Bill DiMarco said.
Councilor Karen Leach said she saw a promising future for city budget reform, beginning with work sessions scheduled for July and September. Agreeing with Leach, Bowers is confident that the budget committee and city staff will complete work to satisfy local policies to balance the budget during future work sessions.
Following the hearing on June 11, the Council adopted a total appropriated city budget for fiscal year 2013-14 at $16,322,000—slightly lower than last year’s budget.
State hospital administrator Jodie Jones also attended the meeting with news about state hospital funding.
Jones appeared before the State Legislature’s Ways and Means Committee on May 31 to request approval for the remaining JC state hospital funds, and reported no resistance.
“It met with no questions, no concerns or no one opposing it,” Jones said. “So at this point they will consider ours with all the other requests for bonds,” scheduled to go on sale during October of this year. “We currently have funding that will take us through that time, so we are OK.”
The project is now waiting for the final bond bill to be approved in June with a final signing session scheduled between June 28 and July 3. With finances in order, the state hospital human resources department will now begin moving forward with employment strategies.
“We want to start holding job fairs,” Jones said, since starting in August, “we are looking to hire about 200 folks over the next six months to begin working in Salem with the anticipation of transferring to Junction City.”
Bowers will be working with Jones to organize the first job fair scheduled for July.

Comments (0)

variety-of-ice-cream-vert

Food And Fun At The Station: Fire Department Hosts Ice Cream Social And Honors Retirees

Posted on 18 June 2013 by admin

variety-of-ice-cream-vertBy Vera Westbrook
MONROE – With the onset of summer, the time is right to cool off while getting to know your local fire department during an ice cream social open to the public from noon to 4pm on Sunday, June 23, at the fire station in Monroe.
The event will also host an open house and retirement party for several volunteer firefighters: Captain Tim Eastridge from Station #1 in Monroe, Captain Ron Thompson from Station #2 in Alpine and Steve Fanger, also from Station #2.
“We thought we would open the station and have people come and wish them well, as they have affected many people’s lives over the years they’ve been here,” said Fire Chief Rick Smith.
While indulging in complimentary refreshments, visitors can peruse old photographs and tour the station. Kids are also invited and will get a chance to pump water out of trucks. Volunteers will also familiarize guests with medical equipment and give demonstrations of firefighting tools.
The community will meet the station’s 25 volunteers and their families while wishing farewell to the retirees. “We want to give them a real nice send off,” Smith said. Here’s a bit of information about the retirees.
Captain Tim Eastridge has volunteered as a firefighter with the department since 1979. Tim found time to help the community while working at local dairies as a pasteurizer. His son, Eric, also volunteers as a firefighter in Monroe.
“Tim has been through and seen a whole lot of things, having positively affected many people’s lives,” Smith said.
Captain Ron Thompson has been both a volunteer firefighter and an emergency medical technician (EMT) for the Monroe fire department since 1984. Ron worked rotating shifts at a paper mill in Halsey, so he often volunteered his services during the day while others worked at day jobs.
“Ron was instrumental in keeping the Alpine station open and going for a number of years,” Smith said.
The third retiree is Steve Fanger who also joined the department in 1984 and volunteered as a firefighter in Alpine. Steve stayed active as a volunteer while working various jobs including construction and long haul truck driving. Fanger’s daughter and a son-in-law also volunteer for the Monroe fire department, upholding a family tradition.
With several positions now open, the station is currently recruiting volunteers and accepting applications until the end of June for a three-month firefighting academy offered by the Linn-Benton Fire Training Council beginning in fall.
After learning basic firefighting skills, volunteers can expand their knowledge to include other specialties such as emergency medicine, water rescue, high-angle rope rescue and HAZMAT.
“We have a lot of people that step up and fill the roles that need to be filled when somebody calls 911,” Smith said. “The community is lucky to have people that want to fulfill that need.”
For more information contact the Monroe fire department at 541-847-5170, or stop by the station at 680 Commercial St. in Monroe.

Comments (0)

Schools See More Funds: Booster Club Seeks Members To Help With Athletics

Schools See More Funds: Booster Club Seeks Members To Help With Athletics

Posted on 18 June 2013 by admin

IMG_9274
By Vera Westbrook
HARRISBURG – The Harrisburg School District announced revenue increases that will maintain and add teaching positions during the 2013-14 school year.
“The Board has the rare pleasure of having received some extra dollars,” said school district business manager Debbie Darst at a June 10 budget meeting.
The $304,800 revenue increase for the 2013-14 school year resulted from a state legislative reduction in PERS (Public Employees Retirement System) rates and from additional revenue adjustments made to previous school years.
This increase will address concerns voiced at previous budget meetings about district plans to eliminate one Life Skills teaching position at the elementary school, leaving only one instructor to teach two classrooms in 2013-14.
In response to those concerns, the budget committee previously decided to keep a second part-time teacher supported by smaller district-wide cuts that amounted to nearly $30,000. (One teacher costs about $60,000 per year.)
The recent additional dollars will now increase the second Life Skills teaching position at the elementary school back to its original full-time position and also add another full-time fifth grade teaching position at the middle school to accommodate a larger incoming class. Adding a furlough day at $26,000 is also now on the table.
The audience applauded the Board of Directors as it adopted a total budget of $9,373,644 for the 2013-14 school year. Any additional funds provided by the State Legislature before it adjourns in June will be added to the budget’s Ending Fund Balance.
School district board of directors’ election results were also announced, with Wayne Swango in position one, Randy Klemm in position 4 and Shelly Watson in position 5. Watson will replace board member Lane Borchers who will step down after serving the district for eight years.
Also at the meeting, parent Jan Malpass presented the board with a Harrisburg High School Booster Club update. The Booster Club is a nonprofit organization that supports high school athletics.
Every year, the Booster Club launches the school year with an Eaglemania fundraiser occurring at the first home football game, hosting a barbecue with door prizes. The club continues helping with athletics during the year by operating the football season concession stand, one of the club’s biggest fundraisers.
The club’s biggest expenditure last year was replacing the wrestling mats. It offered graduates a $500 scholarship and is responsible for advertising signage at athletic events as well as selling athletic apparel. Club funds also update concession stand equipment.
“Our main focus last year was to spur a membership drive,” Malpass said, encouraging future parents to step forward to continue the organization next year, since many members plan to retire.
For those interested in helping high school athletics, visit the Booster Club at its monthly meetings at 7:30pm on the first Monday of the month at the high school’s multi-purpose room except during the months of July and September. The next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 5.

Comments (0)

Weeds & tall grass

Eliminating Tall Grass Nuisances

Posted on 10 June 2013 by admin

Weeds & tall grass
It is the time of year when city employees are on the lookout for grasses and weeds that have gotten too tall. Grass and weeds over 10” in height are big enough to start generating seeds that can spread into neighbors yards, planting strips, and anywhere else they are generally not wanted.  Once the weather starts drying them out, they become a fire hazard too. Plus, if you‘ve ever had to sell or refinance a home, assessors will take a look at your neighborhood. Properties with overly tall vegetation tend to bring down values for the entire neighborhood.
Property owners in Junction City, Harrisburg, and Monroe are required by city ordinances to eliminate weeds, thistles, briars, or grass exceeding 10 inches in height on their property or in the public way abutting their property, or the City may abate such nuisance and the property owner fined.  For example, in Monroe the fine can be up to $100. Junction City calculates the total amount incurred by the city based on the record of expense and labor hours, plus a charge of $10 or 10% of the total amount incurred (whichever is the greater) for administrative overhead.  Harrisburg can charge nuisance abatements at $60 an hour, with administrative charges and charges for equipment. Unpaid abatement bills can become a lien on the property.
Offending property owners are notified in a variety of ways. The past year in Monroe, Chief Smith has done the local review for the city, which then sends out notices to those individuals in violation, giving them 10 days to take care of the problem. “Otherwise we respond to neighbor complaints or city staff as we drive through town and note problems,” stated Jim Minard, Chief Operating Officer for Monroe.
Junction City sends a 10-day written notice of violation to the persons responsible for the nuisances.
Harrisburg Public Works generally starts sending out notices in April. Occupants are given 15 days to take care of the tall grass and weeds. The City of Harrisburg is willing to work with property owners, so call 541-995-6655 to let them know you are working on a solution.

Comments (0)

pulpart-argosy-360912-900

The D.B. Cooper Skyjacking Legend Took Flight Out Of PDX

Posted on 10 June 2013 by admin

pulpart-argosy-360912-900
By Finn J.D. John
It’s the day before Thanksgiving, 1971. A slender, bland-looking man in a business suit several years out of style strolls up to the ticket counter at Northwest Orient Airlines in Portland and buys a single one-way ticket on Flight 305, bound for Seattle, paying for it with a $20 bill. The agent asks for his name.
“Dan Cooper,” he says. “That’s a 727, isn’t it?”
Yes, he’s told; that’s right, it is.
Once settled into his seat in the smoking section, Dan Cooper fires up a Raleigh, flags down stewardess Florence Schaffner, and orders a drink: Bourbon and Seven. He pays for it with another twenty.

The Plane Takes Off.
When Florence comes back with his change, he hands her an envelope. This happens a lot to stewardesses in 1971, when airlines actually competed in part on the sexiness of their stewardesses. Usually they’re either love notes or straight-up propositions. It could just be a name and phone number. It could be an invitation to consummate a “business transaction.”  She doesn’t know and doesn’t care; she couldn’t be less interested. She drops the note in her purse and moves on.
“Miss,” he calls after her. “I think you’d better have a look at that note.”
She looks. Here’s what it says:
“I have a bomb here and I want you to sit by me.”
Florence walks back to his row and sits down. He shows her the bomb. It’s in his briefcase, five or six long red things that are either dynamite or road flares, and a tangle of wires, and a battery. He tells her it will go off if he touches a wire to the battery. They’re at about 1,000  feet and climbing. She’s not about to call his bluff.
The man has Florence take dictation, with his demands. He wants $200,000 in “unmarked American currency” in a knapsack. He wants four parachutes — two back chutes and two chest chutes. He wants a fuel truck on the ground at Seattle and food for the flight crew, because it’s going to be a long night for them.
Then Florence takes the note up to the captain’s cabin. While she’s doing this, the other stewardess, Tina Mucklow, picks up the plane’s intercom — they call it the “interphone” — and alerts the cockpit that the plane is being jacked. The hijacker is starting to look more nervous. He gets out a pair of sunglasses and puts them on.
Up in in the cockpit, Florence hands over the note. She describes the guy as mid-40s, brown eyes, short black hair, olive complexion. The captain asks her to sit in the jumpseat with the headphones on and take notes of everything that happens — the plane doesn’t have a recording system, except the “black box,” which is on a 30-minute loop. If the plane blows up, the captain wants there to be some record of what happened.
Back in his seat, the hijacker is getting visibly nervous, watching for Florence to return. Tina, the other stewardess, starts worrying that he might panic and destroy them all, so she walks over and sits down next to him — taking Florence’s place. So he asks her to get on the “interphone” — he used the actual term, somewhat to her surprise, since most passengers called it something else, like “the phone” or “the intercom” — and relay messages for him.
The captain assures the hijacker, through Tina, that all the demands would be met, and turns on the “Fasten Seat Belts” sign to discourage passengers from milling around.
A few minutes later, the senior stewardess tries to rescue Tina by asking her to go fetch a pack of playing cards. The hijacker interrupts: “Never mind about the playing cards. Go back to your station.” Again, he’s talking like an insider — somebody who knows how a passenger airliner works.
Northwest Orient Flight 305 is a short flight: only a half hour. They’d be ready to land in Seattle long before the parachutes and money are ready. So the hijacker orders the captain to fly a holding pattern until all is ready.
This plan is making the stewardesses very nervous; they’re a bit afraid that the longer the plane is in the air, the more likely the passengers are to figure out what’s going on, and that one of them will decide to be a hero and get them all killed. Specifically, they’re worried about the burly college man sitting across the aisle from the hijacker shooting occasional hostile glances at him. The college man, as it turned out, was getting more and more annoyed because the cute blonde stewardess, whom he would have liked to get to know better, was just sitting there next to this old, poorly dressed nobody.
The captain gets on the speakers and tells everyone the plane is experiencing a minor mechanical problem and will be circling to burn off some excess fuel as a precautionary measure. This can’t have been particularly reassuring. He also invites them to move forward in the airplane, into First Class if possible, and most people take him up on it. The college man does not.
The plane circles for some time while the airline people scramble to get the parachutes and money together. They’re having trouble with this; after all, it’s after business hours on the day before Thanksgiving. The hijacker is getting more and more agitated as the minutes tick by.
Finally, two hours into a half-hour flight, the plane is ready to land. The hijacker has some final instructions: He wants the fuel truck, vehicle with his money, and the “airstairs” at the 10 o’clock position so he can see them from his window. Tina notices that again, he’s talking like an airline man — calling the “airstairs” by the industry-standard term.
The hijacker sends Tina out to get the money, which she drags back — twenty pounds of $20 bills. It’s not in a knapsack, which causes the hijacker to get a little annoyed, but he lets the passengers go anyway.
Of course, the passengers are immediately corralled and hustled down to a debriefing room to be inventoried and checked against the list of folks who boarded the plane. There are 35 of them. Everyone on the list is there except one: Dan Cooper.
Meanwhile, back on the airplane, Dan Cooper himself is busy inspecting his loot and chutes, and making plans. We’ll talk about how those plans went down in next week’s column.
(Sources: Gray, Geoffrey. Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper. New York: Crown, 2011; Himmelsbach, Ralph & al. Norjak: The Investigation of D.B. Cooper. Portland: Norjak Project, 1986)
Finn J.D. John is an instructor at Oregon State University and the author of “Wicked Portland,” a book about the dark side of Oregon’s metropolis in the 1890s. He produces a daily podcast, reading archives from this column, at offbeatoregon.com/itunes. To contact him or suggest a topic: finn@offbeatoregon.com, @OffbeatOregon (on Twitter), or 541-357-2222.

Comments (0)

Public Works places planters 02

Flowers for Downtown Junction City

Posted on 10 June 2013 by admin

Public Works places planters 02
JUNCTION CITY – Junction City’s Public Works employees were hard at work Wednesday morning, June 5, placing decorative pots filled with flowers along w. 6th Avenue between Ivy and Front Streets. Five new benches are also being added along the street.
The idea for the planters and benches began 1½ years ago with the formation of the Design Committee, headed by JC City Councilor Bill DiMarco. The Design Committee established about 50 projects to beautify the city and make it more welcoming, with planters being a high priority. The goal was to create a big impact which can be expanded in future years.
After researching what kinds of planters other cities have used, the committee chose locally manufactured large pots from Don’s Statuary of Monroe. The city then put out a request for proposals to local groups, landscapers and nurseries. Habitat Youth won the bid to plant and tend the pots. Nine youth volunteers planted 30 pots and will be responsible for their watering and upkeep until the end of October, under the supervision of project director Walter Holt. Habitat Youth is a group of local volunteers, ages 8 – 97, who fund-raise year-round for Junction City-Harrisburg-Monroe Habitat for Humanity.
The pots feature colorful annuals, with an evergreen in the center that will provide color throughout the winter months. Decker Nursery, the Grateful Gardener, River’s Edge Nursery and Peoria Gardens donated some of the plants for the pots, with Habitat Youth purchasing the rest.
The planter and bench project was funded by the Rural Tourism Marketing Program grant that the city receives each year.

Comments (0)

HART Center best check

H.A.R.T.’s Summer Activities receive a $500 mini grant from Linn County Cultural Coalition

Posted on 10 June 2013 by admin

HART Center best check

Submitted by Peggy Purkerson, Director

HARRISBURG – The H.A.R.T. Family Resource Center applied to the Linn County Cultural Coalition to help fund the Summer Activities program and were awarded $500. This grant will help H.A.R.T. provide Harrisburg with a full summer’s worth of enriching, exciting and fun camps and field trips.
Unfortunately, the school district was unable to help H.A.R.T. with bus service for their field trips this summer. H.A.R.T. is still in need of donations to make their trips affordable.
Here is H.A.R.T.’s summer day camp schedule.  Be sure to check it out:
June 18 & 19 – Babysitter Training
July 8-11 – Summer Preschool
July 15 -18 – Fiber Arts and Jewelry
July 23-25 – Solar Car Racers
July 29-Aug 1 Survivor ~Harrisburg I Camp
Aug 5-8 – Survivor ~Harrisburg II, for those who attended last year’s Survivor Harrisburg camp
Aug 12-15 – Water Color & Basic Art
H.A.R.T. offers family field trips to Corvallis Swim Center.
Camps are $5-$15 per week; be sure to check registration brochure for more details.  Registrations are now available.
H.A.R.T. will again have opportunities for older youth to be summer assistants. For more information about camps, our summer assistant program or to donate to this popular activity or to provide scholarships for youth who cannot afford to participate, call H.A.R.T. at 541-995-7700, or visit our website www.hartfamilyresourcecenter.org or email ppurkerson@ci.harrisburg.or.us

Comments (0)

SKMBT_C35313060709490

The Track Is Back: Local Youths Find A Niche In Motocross

Posted on 10 June 2013 by admin

SKMBT_C35313060709490By Vera Westbrook
TRI-COUNTY – With the resurgence of a local racetrack, several middle-school boys have seized the opportunity to improve their motocross skills and race.
In the area for nearly fifty years, the Territorial Motocross Park came out of a short hiatus in January with new owners and a new name: Eugene MX. The track is located on Territorial Road near the elementary school and is open to the public.
“It’s back alive with Mike Miller running it,” said Ken Jamieson of Junction City Muffler who appreciates driving his son, Mitchell, a short five miles to the track. “It’s been a good time—the kids and parents are into it.”
This family-oriented park provides an additional source of local entertainment with several tracks available for riders of all ages and all levels of difficulty on all sizes of dirt bikes from 50cc to 450cc. The track is also challenging with doubles, triples, whoops, staircases and big uphills and downhills.
Since the track opened in January, Ken’s son and three other boys have been practicing several nights a week and then racing on weekends, reaching faster speeds each week.
Track owner Mike Miller from Springfield is a racer himself and father to motocross champion ‘Mad Max’ Miller, a fourth grader who recently won four AMA (American Motorcyclist Association) national motocross titles. Mad Max has been racing in competitions across the U.S. for several years now at places like the world class Loretta Lynn motocross track in Tennessee.
“He’s the fastest kid on a 65cc in the nation,” Ken said. “It’s been fortunate for us and our kids to hang out and race with him—the kids look up to him.” The Miller family enjoys interacting with other racers on the track, as does local racing legend Skeet Hise, who’s seen racing and prepping the track.
Once the track opened, “we all went out and got bikes, got the kids suited up with the best neck braces, knee braces, pants and boots—they look like they are ready to go Gladiator jousting,” Ken said.
Amazed by the progress the boys have made in a short time, Ken said, “We finished out our season at Eugene MX—we did about four races, and now we’re going to Albany MX and racing with those guys.” The team is also drawing in local sponsors like JC Muffler Shop, Dari Mart, OrCal, Langdon Farms and MotoGear.
“These kids try so hard. Last week at Albany we were running third and fourth. Both our boys went down in the whoop section,” Ken said. “It’s a pretty tough competition with about 10 to 15 riders on the track at the same time.”
Ken believes motocross is a great form of family fun. “It’s been awesome for me to get to know each and every kid and their parents,” Ken said. Ken also comes from a racing family, with Mitchell a third generation motorcycle racer. “When my dad sees his grandson racing, it just fires him up!”
The racing team is made up of the following fifth and sixth graders between the ages of 11 and 13 who attend Oaklea and Harrisburg middle schools: Skyler Guth, Cameron Horn, Mitchell Jamieson and Wyatt Perry. The boys also play football together at school, “but right now they are all into motocross and they’re all really fast,” Ken said.
Safety and fun are important, as is competition, Ken said. “We’ve been on the podium about three times,” he said, but he expects the kids to be winning more often after a little more practice.

Comments (0)

DSC00170

Do It Yourself: Local Quarry Assists With Summer Projects

Posted on 10 June 2013 by admin

DSC00170
By Vera Westbrook
TRI-COUNTY – The days of postponing projects because of rain are over. For outdoor work and improvements, it’s prime time for land stewards to consider Conser Quarry for their rock and heavy equipment needs.
Founded by John and Margaret Conser, the Junction City quarry located on Ferguson Road has been assisting the tri-county area with building and outdoor projects since the 1940s. After the couple retired, George and Marian Tracer took over the business in 1964, keeping the original name.
The Tracers are a local couple with George born in Junction City and Marian coming to the area from Iowa. The couple had four kids, with their daughter, Kathy, taking an interest in the business.
“I’ve been around here all my life,” Kathy says.
After the Tracers retired in the 1990s, Kathy and her husband, Don Kling, took over the business with help from her folks until about five years ago. Today, the Klings run the business themselves, keeping it in the family with help from Kathy’s son, Trever, and daughter, Traci. A staff of seven including family members keeps the Conser hometown appeal by personally serving the public.
“We deliver rock and we fix people’s driveways or parking areas,” Kathy says, describing some of the services Conser provides. “We also have building stones for people to pick through,” for those seeking a desired size and shape for creative rock work in fire pits, fireplaces and flower beds.
An onsite rock crusher produces crushed basalt ranging in eight sizes from three-eighths to six inches, available in both ‘minus’ and ‘open.’ These sizes are commonly used on roadways and building pads and can be delivered by truck in loads of 10-12 yards or 20-24 yards.
“Folks can also haul the rock themselves,” Kathy says.
Aside from crushed rock, Conser staff provides expert assistance with heavy equipment operation and rental along with rock craftsmanship. “My son likes to make rock walls and water features,” Kathy says. He also operates equipment like excavators for use on roads and building sites.
Uses for rock around the home include landscaping, drainage, filling potholes and supporting raised flowerbeds. Heavy equipment services provided by Conser include preparing home pads, digging out sites for buildings and parking areas, backfilling ditches and foundations, and grading driveways.
Call Conser Quarry for more information at 541-998.- 493 on M-F from 7am-4:30pm and on Saturdays from 7am-noon, or drop by the quarry on 27387 Ferguson Rd.

Comments (0)

Utility Worker Mistaken For Gunman

Utility Worker Mistaken For Gunman

Posted on 10 June 2013 by admin

Screen Shot 2013-06-06 at 12.46.21 PM
By Vera Westbrook
JUNCTION CITY – A fifth grader’s report of a person wearing a yellow slicker and armed with a gun near campus on May 18 turned out to be a utility locating company employee seeking a sewer leak.
The worker was part of an emergency crew that responded to a report about a leak at the intersection of 13th Avenue and Rose Street. Public Works Director Jason Knope presented the following incident details at a recent city council meeting.
After receiving the initial report near 7am, city employees arrived on the scene and determined that the leak was a 16-inch sewer pressure force main leak and not a water leak. Force mains are pipelines that convey wastewater under pressure from a lower to higher elevation with the help of a pump. The pipe was first installed in the 1960s.
The repair crew was immediately mobilized and the public was notified, as were state and local agencies. The utility crew arrived on the scene by 7:20am and spent several hours attempting to locate the break in the pipe.
“Unfortunately, our maps weren’t correct,” Knope said, making the pipeline difficult to locate, with the break found by 9:15am.
The broken pipe was completely exposed and ready for replacement by 11:30am, shutting down four pump stations and impacting four others. The stations were offline from about 11:45am to 1:30pm. The pipe was replaced with most of the excavation hole filled by 3:30pm. The road was then repaired and opened to traffic by 11:30pm.
The cost of the incident was estimated at $33,918, which included replacing 10 feet of 16-inch sewer force main line and repairing 3,000 square feet of roadway.
In response to the false gunman report, the JC School District requested to be notified about future pipeline breaks.
“It wasn’t on school property, but it definitely impacted the school,” Knope said. “Now we have expanded our contact list to include key personnel within the school, whether or not it is on school property,” aside from calling the front desk.
The utility locating company was also contacted about holding better conversations with folks near schools during locating emergencies, reminding employees to “think like a fifth grader when you’re in those areas, as things get blown out of proportion rather rapidly,” Knope said.
The incident was reported to the Department of Environmental Quality, but fortunately the contamination was contained onsite without affecting local wetlands. The DEQ was pleased with the city’s efficiency in handling the incident.
This being the third incident within 18 months, the city may need to address the prevention of similar spills in the future since such sanitary sewer overflows are technically prohibited. The DEQ could take enforcement action should it decide the city is not being responsive to the issue.
Also at the meeting, the Council decided to offer the city administrator position to Interim City Administrator Melissa Bowers. Bowers said she would consider taking the position pending contract negotiations.Screen Shot 2013-06-06 at 12.46.31 PM

Comments (0)

image002

Hepatitis A Outbreak Linked to Frozen Berry Product; Lane County Residents Potentially At Risk

Posted on 05 June 2013 by admin

image002Nearly 40 cases of Hepatitis A cases in western states with onsets since April 29 have been linked to consumption of “Townsend Organic Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend” frozen berries, which were sold exclusively at Costco stores. This is a blend of frozen cherries, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, raspberries, and strawberries, commonly used to make smoothies, etc. To date, no human cases have been confirmed in Oregon, but counties are getting reports of illness that deserve follow-up.
The Townsend product was blended and packaged in Fairview, Oregon, and sold in 3-lb. bags. Some consumers might open a bag and sample from it over a period of several weeks or more. Recent consumption could be from bags purchased weeks or months previously.
Costco removed this product from their shelves last week and has robo-called all consumers who bought the product “recently”.
The number of cases associated with the outbreak will likely increase because Hepatitis A takes an average of 28 days (range 15–50 days) to become ill after exposure (e.g., eating a contaminated product). Currently, 75 bags (the most of any Oregon county) have been sold in Lane County.
Lane County Public Health is recommending that persons who have consumed these berries within the past 14 days should consult their health care provider.
Hepatitis A is an acute infectious disease of the liver caused by the Hepatitis A virus (an RNA virus).  It is usually spread by the fecal-oral route via ingestion of contaminated food or water but can also be spread through direct contact with an infectious person. The time between infection and the appearance of the symptoms is between two and six weeks with an average incubation period of 28 days.

Early symptoms of hepatitis A infection can be mistaken for influenza, but some sufferers, especially children, exhibit no symptoms at all.

Symptoms usually last less than 2 months, although some people can be ill for as long as 6 months.  Symptoms include:
·         Fatigue
·         Fever
·         Nausea
·         Appetite loss
·         Jaundice, a yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes due to hyperbilirubinemia
·         Dark amber colored urine
·         Clay-colored feces

 

UPDATE!

As of 3 PM, the official number of units sold in Lane County is up from 75 to 605 bags of berries. This number was reached after an in-depth look at Costco’s sales going back 3 weeks.

Comments (0)

Advertise Here

Advertise Here