The people in Japan have been resilient since experiencing the worst natural disaster and human tragedy in their history. In the last 12 months they’ve dealt with the aftermath of the combination of a 9-point-oh quake, tsunami and nuclear melt down that left thousands dead and caused millions of dollars in damage. In Oregon, officials are preparing to deal with an aftermath of a different sort; an estimated 25-million tons of debris. Nancy Wallace, the director of the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration’s Marine Debris Program says there’s been quite a buzz about the debris, most of it unrealistic. She says there is no real scientific estimate of just how much of the debris that was washed into the sea is still afloat. Wallace said the debris will not arrive in a large ‘mass’, but rather in bits and pieces. She also said it is highly unlikely that there is any radioactivity present… and… while it may be gut-wrenching to imagine, she says, there is almost “zero chance human remains” will be mixed in. Wallace says scientists are tracking the debris and have produced a computer model that has projected a gradual increase in debris washing up on the Oregon Coast during 2013… .and curiously enough debris isn’t expected to begin arriving in Hawai’I until a year later.
The Oregon Legislature took several actions last week before adjournment aimed at helping cash-strapped counties meet their required missions without danger of violating state laws. One of those requirements mandated specific staffing levels in order to be eligible for state funding. Counties, such as Curry and Lane, had asked for the exceptions to allow them to reduce staffing and create efficiencies while still receiving the state cash. The legislature agreed and approved HB 4177 that reduces the limits by 15-percent… but for only one year.
Members of the Central Oregon Coast Amateur Radio Club recently celebrated the 27th anniversary of the group. The non-profit organization works to promote amateur radio operation for a variety of reasons. They operate a radio ‘repeater’ facility on Herman Peak, north of Florence that allows club members to communicate up and down the coast as well as into the Willamette Valley. A key cadre of volunteers works closely with emergency services operators to ensure communications in the event of a disaster. The club meets every Wednesday morning at Bliss Restaurant at 8 AM… then again every evening on the air at seven PM.