Local News Digest – Social Security Cuts; Native American Taste; Florence Parks; Forest Roads

Coast Radio News
Local News

Social Security Cuts would have more sting along the Oregon Coast…

The smaller the town, the more sensitive its economy will be to any cuts to Social Security.  That’s the news in a study released this week by the Center for Rural Strategies.  Ohio State University economist Mark Partridge says rural America has a higher percentage of people who receive those benefits.


Mark Partridge – “I don’t want to necessarily say it would devastate communities, but I think small businesses, restaurants, grocery stores, hardware stores… all of those are going to feel some impact if a lot of their steady customers, the ones who spend their money locally, have less.” (click here to listen to quote)

According to the study, 19-percent of the population in Oregon’s metropolitan counties, including Lane County, received Social Security benefits in 2009.  Rural counties have a much higher concentration.  Douglas, Coos and Lincoln Counties had about 29-percent.  That makes any possible reductions that may come from the so-called Congressional Super Committee likely to have more of an impact on coastal areas.   (Audio and Assistance provided courtesy of Oregon News Service)

Florence Parks facing cutbacks

It’s estimated that Florence’s parks and recreation budget in the 2012-13 fiscal year would be cut by nearly half; a reduction of almost $130-thousand.  According to a report that will be delivered to the Florence City Council Monday evening, that would leave just one full time parks employee and no seasonal personnel.  City Recorder Kelli Weese says, in the report, the impact of those cuts would be to eliminate most of the landscape and field maintenance at parks.

Weese doesn’t anticipate any immediate parks closures because of the cutbacks, but says that the impacts of deferred maintenance would begin to take a toll on equipment and facilities, possibly leading to closures down the road. The city is proposing an aggressive volunteer program that would help offset the impacts of revenue cuts.

State Forest Roads reopening

Some of the roads in the Elliott State Forest southeast of Reedsport that were closed in September will reopen today.  Kevin Weeks with the Oregon Department of Forestry says some of the roads, including a main route… the 8100 road also known as West Fork Millicoma Road… will remain closed.  The department initially denied access to the roads earlier this fall because of increased traffic near timber operations.  Several protestors blocked one road and barricaded themselves in trees requiring law enforcement action to remove them.  Weeks said those activities have not occurred recently and a significant number of timber sales in the road closure area have already been completed.

Native American Cuisine on display

The third annual Taste of Native America and the Oregon Coast is set for this afternoon at Three Rivers Casino and Hotel.  Casino spokesman Rich Colton says a fifth Native American culinary team has been added to the competition which features a closed session this afternoon.  The competition opens to the public at four this afternoon and all teams will provide demonstrations and tastings of traditional and special dishes using coastal ingredients.  Admission it $5 or two cans of food… all of which will go to Florence Food Share.