Local News: Costs Increasing; Read for the Need; Coos Tsunami Drill; Cell Phone Scams

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Local News

The cost of living in Florence is going to be going up July First…

The cost of providing services to residents has gone up and that means local government needs more revenue.  The Florence City Council will be taking action on the budget for the coming year and that means they’ll be doing more than finalizing spending amounts.  They’ll also be adjusting sources of revenue to be sure there’s enough cash to cover that spending.

Increased garbage rates were already approved earlier this spring, but Monday night the council will be looking at finalizing increases in monthly water and sewer rates, water meter hookup fees, adding a new street maintenance fee, and adjustments to the Systems Development Charges.  The cost of entertainment and special events will be changing as well… a new fee schedule for rental fees and ticketing charges at the Florence Events Center are up for consideration.  Officials say the increases are based on the actual cost to provide the services.

Read for the Need

Taylor Graham says it looks like there’ll be more books for tomorrow and Sunday’s “Read for the Need” book sale than ever before.  The 14-year old Graham and a cadre of volunteers are putting the finishing touches on the seventh book sale to benefit hungry folks in Lane County.  When the doors open tomorrow at nine at the Elementary School there will be more than 30-thousand volumes to choose from.

Graham says top titles such as The Hunger Games and other top fiction selections will be there along with books on gardening, games, cooking and “how-to” do just about anything.  Proceeds from the sale go to Florence Food Share.  Doors are open at the elementary school gym tomorrow from nine to five, then again Sunday from nine until two.

Coos Tsunami Drill

Inspired by last year’s March 11th Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami public safety officials in Coos County thought it was past time for an area-wide evacuation drill.  After weeks of community meetings and advertising and days of going door to door to spread the word… the simulated alarm went out at five minutes before two yesterday afternoon in Coos Bay, North Bend and Charleston.  One elementary school in downtown Coos Bay, Blossom Gulch, was of particular interest to officials because it lies in the inundation zone in downtown Coos Bay.  Principal Jodi O’Mara said things went very smoothly.

Jodi O’Mara – “We had about 360 kids, about 45 staff members, about 20 parents that were here volunteering in the building.  It took us less than 15 minutes to evacuate the approximate half mile, three-quarters of a mile up to Marshfield High School.”

She said she was pleased with the results…

Jodi O’Mara – “The kids didn’t seem scared or nervous, they just followed the instructions and walked up to the high school and I thought the drill went great.”

Participation throughout the rest of Coos Bay and North Bend wasn’t as strong, but there was enough of a turnout to give officials a good idea of how things would go in the event of a real tsunami warning.

Cell Phone Scammers

Identity thieves and scammers have used all manner of methods to get information and ultimately cash from their victims.  Now, says Attorney General John Kroger, they’re even using your cell phone.  Kroger says his office has been receiving reports of unsolicited text messages, many of which claim the recipient has won a gift card from one of several national retailers.  Many of those offers are false and contain malware or viruses that can infect your phone and steal personal information.  Kroger says you can protect yourself by following some simple steps… don’t click on links in unsolicited text messages; don’t reply to them… even if there’s a link to request no more messages in the future.


A Consumer Protection Alert from Oregon Attorney General John Kroger

Consumer Protection Hotline: 1-877-877-9392 www.oregonattorneygeneral.gov/consumer

Look up consumer complaints about businesses online:


Oregon Attorney General John Kroger warns Oregonians not to open unsolicited text messages. Similar to “Phishing” email scams, many of these electronic messages contain malware and viruses designed to infect your phone and steal personal information.  Common examples include messages claiming you have “won” a gift card for Walmart, Best Buy, Apple and other national retailers.

Protect yourself from text message scams by heeding the following advice:

Do not click on links contained in unsolicited text messages.

Do not reply to unsolicited texts. Regardless if the text suggests you can end receipt by sending a “STOP” message, doing so only confirms the message was sent to a live phone and may result in unauthorized third party charges to your wireless statement.

Learn more about third-party billing.

Contact your cell carrier. Most providers have specific instructions to report SMS (text) SPAM, block numbers and in some cases websites.

Register all your phones, including wireless with the Do Not Call List. Text messages sent to phones on the Do Not Call list are in violation of the law and can be reported to either the Federal Trade Commission or Federal Communications Commission.

Discuss text scams with all members of your family who have cell phones.

Be wary of any messages, emails, texts, voice mails, etc. that claim you’ve won a prize out of the blue. Learn more about sweepstakes and prize offers.

Never give your credit card, Social Security or bank account numbers to claim “prizes,” sign up for free trials or cover related shipping costs.
Check your bank, credit card AND wireless phone statements on a regular basis to detect suspicious charges.

The Oregon Department of Justice is committed to protecting the marketplace from fraud and scams. If you or someone you know has concerns about an internet retailer or purchase, call the Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline for help at 1-877-877-9392 or file a complaint online.