Local News: Flood debris on beach; Damage estimates sought; New forest plan; Siuslaw Awards; Viking Wrestling

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Flood debris piling up on area beaches…

It’s a hobby that makes sense, especially for someone who lives on the Oregon Coast and is concerned about the environment.

Jack Hibbs – “I go down every day and pick up garbage on the beach.”

Jack Hibbs and his wife get their daily exercise and always take a garbage bag with them to pick up random litter and debris.  He said it used to be just a plastic grocery bag, now they both carry at least two larger trash bags.  Earlier this week when Hibbs walked near the North Jetty, he only made it about a quarter mile before both bags were filled.

Jack Hibbs – “I’m looking for help.  Since the flood there’s so much stuff, I’m overwhelmed.”

Recent flooding has pumped a huge amount of debris into the river… much of it flows out through the jetties, then is washed back up on area beaches.  Hibbs says the annual spring beach cleanup is too far away…

Jack Hibbs – “The beach pickup isn’t until March and by that time, I don’t know what will happen to all the debris.”

Hibbs’ suggestion… if you already go to the beach, take along a bag and pick up some trash.  If you haven’t been for a while, well… he says… now would be a good time to go.

Damage Estimates Sought By County

Lane County Emergency Managers are still gathering data about the amount of damage caused by last week’s storm and flooding.  Government agencies have provided them with cost estimates for repairing infrastructure and public buildings.  But, they’re also seeking information on the cost of repairs to primary residences and business.

The information will help Lane County Commissioners seek disaster assistance from the state and federal government.  An online registration has been set up for residents to report damages incurred since January 17th… that’s at lane-county-dot-org-slash- damages(lanecounty.org/damages).

Or, for those without internet access there’s a phone bank set up that will operate between noon and eight pm through Sunday… the number to call is 541-682-3977.

30-year Old Forest Plan Gets Update

For every national forest, there’s a local plan for how to manage it.  And, on Thursday, the top U.S. Agriculture Department officials outlined changes to the planning process that will affect more than 15-million acres in Oregon.  Now more than ever, they said, public lands are multiple use.  That means balancing multiple priorities according to agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack.

Tom Vilsack – “We think we can reduce the threat of catastrophic fires; we can address the bark beetle infestation and other pests that are causing some concern; and we believe we can absolutely improve the health of watersheds.  At the same time we’re doing all of this, we’re confident that we can produce jobs by supplying timber products to local mills.”

One goal of the new planning process, says Vilsack, is to preserve jobs in forest communities.  The guidelines haven’t been updated since 1982 and several previous attempts didn’t withstand court challenges.   The agency received more than 300-thousand comments on this forest planning rule, which goes into effect in March.

(Story and audio courtesy Oregon News Service)

Fifth Annual Siuslaw Awards

The celebration is gearing up for this evening’s fifth annual Siuslaw Awards.  Presented by the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce, the awards are intended to recognize excellence in customer service, appearance, community spirit and caring as well as honoring the Stu Johnston Business of the Year.  There are three nominees this year:  Ray Wells Incorporated, the Backstreet Gallery and Oregon Pacific Bank.  First Citizen Lisa Walter-Sedlacek and Future First Citizen John Johnson will also be recognized.

Siuslaw Wrestling

The North Bend Bulldogs came away with a 48-22 Far West Dual Meet win over the Siuslaw Vikings last night on the mats in North Bend. But, says Viking coach Neil Wartnik, if you take away the three weight classes that Siuslaw forfeited due to a lack of wrestlers, it was much closer.  Siuslaw won five of 11 contested matches, two of them by fall.  Edwin Vasquez escaped a predicament in the first round at 106 pounds and came back to win in the second.  Jesse Kuntz put on a “demolition demonstration”, winning by fall in the first round at 170.  Three other Vikings won by decision, Jason Graber at 132, Hayden Miles at 152 and Peter Tupua at 285.

Prep Basketball

Prep basketball scores last night, for the girls, Lowell downed the Lady Sailors 39-35.  The Devils came out on top 62-57 in the boys game.