Local News – Heavy Rains; Coal Trains; Welcome Home Viet Nam Vets; and Greener Awards

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Local News

It may be best to just rent a few movies and stay inside for a few days.

Heavy rains and occasional high winds remain in the forecast for the Central Oregon Coast for at least the next few days… and the outlook beyond that is every bit as gloomy.

A high wind warning for south winds gusting to 50 miles an hour is slated to expire at nine this morning, but strong winds are forecast to continue through the day as they subside.

Heavy rains are in the forecast as well for today and tomorrow, bringing concerns of possible flooding.  The Coquille River in Coos County is expected to exceed its banks.  There is a potential for flooding on the Siuslaw River, but projections show the water level cresting well below minor flood stage by early Sunday morning.  That could change, however, as heavy rains continue.

The weather forecast statewide has prompted transportation officials to extend the studded tire season in Oregon.  Motorists now have until April 9th to have them removed.

Records Request Sparks Legal Fight

A legal battle is shaping up in Coos County over a proposal that could eventually lead to mile-long coal trains running through Western Lane and Douglas Counties.  The Oregon International Port of Coos Bay has been conducting confidential negotiations for a coal export terminal.  Rail cars would transport the coal from Montana to an ocean terminal on the North Spit.

The initial public records request by the Sierra Club was met with an estimated cost of $16-thousand.  Port officials said the records would have to be first reviewed by an attorney to ensure confidentiality.  Coos County District Attorney R. Paul Frasier sided with the Sierra Club and told the port the charge was excessive.  Port officials have said they will appeal to the courts.

Florence Greener Awards

Earth Day will be observed in April, City Manager Jacque Betz says the City Council will honor businesses and organizations again this year that make efforts to be sustainable.  Encouraging environmental awareness is the goal of the “Greener Florence Award Program”.

Jacque Betz – “That is for businesses or services which have made a significant effort towards improving their recycling, their use and composting.”

Betz says the awards are open to any business in the area… not just those inside city limits.

Jacque Betz – “There is a nomination form on our website.  You can access the information there.  The deadline is April 4th.”

The Real Food Coop was recognized last year as the “top business achiever’.

Welcome Home

Viet Nam era veterans will be officially welcomed home tomorrow in Oregon.  Senate Bill 74 establishes March 30th of each year as “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day”.

Local backers of the Oregon Coast Military Heritage Museum are joining in that message as well.  Museum president Sam Spayd says it’s “only fitting” that his organization join in and celebrate the message.  As a Viet Nam era vet himself he called it “comforting” to realize that so many years later society is willing to welcome vets home and thank them for the service provided to their nation.