Local News: Legislature Striving for Completion; Japanese Debris; Marine Storm Warnings; Local Sports

Coast Radio News
Local News

Oregon Legislature making final push…

Oregon lawmakers will make one final push this week to find an agreement that would allow all of them to declare victory and leave Salem before Wednesday’s self-imposed deadline.  With the budget and Governor John Kitzhaber’s Medicaid reform plan all but crossed off the list, the focus turns squarely to other issues… a health insurance exchange; Kitzhaber’s education initiatives; and Republican efforts to increase logging and take more water from the Columbia River.  Foreclosure legislation and construction bonds are also in the mix this week as well.

A budget compromise hammered out last week left funding in place for seniors who get long-term care either in or out of their home.  The deal does reduce state funding for the program, but not by reducing payments to caregivers.

While it remains technically feasible to adjourn the session on Wednesday, the deadline is looking increasingly pessimistic.  The state Constitution allows lawmakers to stay for another week, and even longer than that if they can muster a bipartisan vote.

Cascades Could Get Up To Two Feet Of Snow

Another strong winter storm is expected tomorrow.  Forecasters say it will bring high winds and low snow levels in Western Oregon.  Beginning Tuesday afternoon along the coast between Florence and Astoria, south winds are expected to gust as high as 70 miles an hour.  The winter storm is also expected to bring a considerable amount of precipitation.  Along the coast that will likely fall as rain, but in higher elevations it will mean plenty of snow… as much as two feet in the Cascades and several inches in coastal mountains.

126 Closed Briefly Early Saturday

Friday’s high winds that swept through Western Oregon knocked down a fence near Elmira allowing a herd of cattle at a meat processing plant to scatter.  They wound up on Highway 126 near Fern Ridge Reservoir where four of them wound up being struck by cars and killed.  The road was closed for a couple of hours in the early morning hours of Saturday while the remaining cattle were rounded up.

Japanese Debris Not Likely Radioactive

With the first anniversary of the March 2011 disaster in Japan nearing, a lot of attention has been placed on the debris that is expected to begin washing up on U.S. shores.  One question often asked is whether or not it will pose a radiation risk. According to Kathryn Higley, professor and head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics at Oregon State University the simple answer is no.

She and other experts at the university have researched the issue after the meltdown of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.  They say the minor amounts of radioactive material in the debris field scattered across the ocean will have long since dissipated, decayed or been washed away.

However, she adds, that doesn’t mean that all of the debris that makes it to the Pacific Coast will be harmless.  Higley says the tsunami inundated several industrial areas and no doubt swept up things like bottled chemicals or other toxic materials.  The bulk of the Japanese debris is not expected to begin appearing on Oregon and Washington beaches until later this year or in early 2013..

Taking a look at Coast Radio Sports…

Siuslaw’s Sonny Tupua is reportedly the only Viking to ever bring home a trophy from the state wrestling tournament three years running.  Tupua went into the OSAA finals as the number three seed Friday.  He came away with the 2nd place trophy at 220 pounds Saturday night, losing to number seeded Travis Williams of Madras.  Two other Siuslaw wrestlers were at the tournament but did not place.  Peter Tupua competed at 285 pounds; Jesse Kuntz at 170.

On the basketball court… the number three ranked Mazama Vikings jumped out to an early lead over the Siuslaw Vikings in a girls regional play-in game Friday night in Klamath Falls.  Mazama came out on top 58 – 22.  Three other Far West Girls teams were in action over the weekend.  Douglas fell to Henley 68- 32; Brookings-Harbor beat Klamath Union 37 – 26 and #2 ranked Sutherlin beat Phoenix 48-37.

There were four boys Far West Teams in action as well.  North Bend downed Klamath Union 63-48.  Mazama ran past South Umpqua 82-50; Phoenix beat Sutherlin 84-55 and it was North Valley over Brookings-Harbor 80-58.

In the Pac-12 it was a close one in Corvallis as the Oregon Ducks held on for a one-point, 74-73 victory over Oregon State.  The Beavers came back from a 10-point deficit late in the game to threaten, but Olo Ashaolu made one of two free throws with 9.9 seconds left to help lift Oregon to the win.  Garrett Sim had a season high 25 points, Ashaolu and DeVoe Joseph each had 16 points for Oregon.  Ahmad Starks led the Beavers with 18.