Local News – Lane County Public Safety goes from worse to bad. Siuslaw History Class gets up close look; Former Nike Exec to speak in Reedsport; Aquarium celebrates 20.

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Things go from worse to bad for Lane County Public Safety…

Lane County Sheriff Tom Turner will only have to close 96 jail beds and lay off six patrol deputies and 15 corrections officers next month.  That’s because the Lane County Budget Committee made a last minute appropriation of $3.5 million to help backfill an estimated public safety shortfall of 15-million.  The money is coming from a variety of different programs, as well as from the road fund, and will mean more painful cuts for social services and more deferred road maintenance.

But, it will help the Sheriff provide more patrols than expected.  Instead of only six deputies sharing duties, there will be 16, but, they’ll only be available 16 hours a day.  The most severe cutbacks in the jail have been staved off, but they’re still drastic leaving a capacity of 151 jail beds… down 96.

District Attorney Alex Gardner will be able to keep the Medical Examiner’s office staffed, preserving two positions there; and he’ll also keep two prosecutors… but will still be eliminating a total of 13 positions.

The move by the budget committee wasn’t unanimous… two of the ten-member panel voted against it.  Peter Sorenson and Rob Handy were opposed to the restorations and are expected to vote against it again next week when the Lane County Commission takes final action.

Up Close Look at History

Students in Tyll (TILL) Parker’s U.S. History Class last week got an up close and personal look at a particularly low point in American History.  Eric Tanikawa’s Grandparents, along with his father and aunts, lived in the Sacramento area when Pearl Harbor was attacked.  Shortly after than they were uprooted, lost most of their possessions and were stripped of their citizenship… simply because they were Nisei or of Japanese ancestry.  Most of the family bounced from one internment camp to another, but his grandfather, a decorated World War One veteran, was recalled to active duty.  Tanikawa talked to the class about his family’s experiences.  Parker said it came at a very good time.

Tyll Parker – “We are in the middle of World War II.  And, we just had started in on the early stages and this just fit in perfectly with us talking about the experience of the Americans who were interned.  Nisei they may have been, but they were still Americans.”

Tanikawa’s Grandfather served in the Pacific Theater as a translator and much of his work was classified.  His unit recently received a congressional Gold Medal for their efforts… 65 years after the war.

Aquarium reaches milestone

A new exhibit is set to open this weekend at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport to mark that facility’s 20th anniversary.  “The Sea and Me” is a new children’s interactive exhibit aimed at four to ten year olds.  Kerry Carlin-Morgan, the aquarium’s Director of Education, says the exhibit puts kids in the middle of a simulated submarine, a fishing boat and on the beach to dig in the sand and touch some – quote – “really cool animals”.  The aquarium will celebrate their 20th anniversary over the weekend with face painting, behind the scenes tours and even sea lion kisses.  They’re open 9 to 6, seven days a week.

Former Nike Exec set to speak in Reedsport

Peter Ruppe (ROO-pee) graduated from Reedsport High School in 1975, the son of legendary Braves’ football coach and educator Rudy Ruppe, he went on to spend 27 years with Nike and was instrumental in development of much of that company’s basketball efforts, including the iconic Jordan brand.

After 27-years with Nike, Ruppe recently left to form his own company with Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.  It’s called Winforever.  He’ll speak at this evening’s annual Braves Boosters’ recognition program and present an award in his father’s name.  That ceremony is at the Pacific Auditorium at 6:30 PM.