Local News – Chowder Blues and Brews; Wave Energy Research; Honor Flight of Oregon

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Local News

Friday, September 21, 2012

This weekend is all about the music…

For nearly all of the past 16 years there’s been a common denominator at the annual Chowder Blues and Brews Festival…

Cal Applebee – “Our own local favorite KUSH.  I think they’ve been at the Chowder Blues and Brews Festival for 12 or 15 years.  I mean, just a phenomenal group, huge following, they really get the joint hopping.”

Chamber of Commerce Executive Cal Applebee says typically the KUSH band opens the festival, taking the stage for the first set on Friday night.  This year, they’ll be the Friday headliner, taking stage at eight PM after the Coos Bay based jazz/blues trio Coup De Bop.  Saturday, local musician David Wiegan starts the music at 1:30, followed by Heavy Chevy, the Bigfoot Blues Band and then Saturday night headliner Michael Tracey and the Hi-Tones.

The doors at the Florence Events Center open at five this evening… then again tomorrow at one pm.

The music is important, but the food portion of this weekend’s Chowder Blues and Brews will take center stage tomorrow afternoon.

Cal Applebee – “We have a professional chowder cookoff this year at one o’clock… and… we added an amateur class.”

A half-dozen professional entries will be evaluated tomorrow morning by a panel of judges; then the public tasting is set for one pm.  New this year:  That amateur class with five entries.  Winners for both categories will be announced on stage at 3:45 on stage at the festival.

Wave Energy Research

The communities of Newport and Reedsport are the two finalists for the location of an $8-million testing facility that will help determine the commercial viability of wave generated electricity.  The Pacific Marine Energy Center will be built and operated by researchers at Oregon State University.

Belinda Batten, a professor and the director of the National Marine Renewable Energy Center at OSU said the two locations offer several advantages.  Officials say completion of the center will likely take several years, but when it’s done it will provide jobs and economic growth while attracting researchers from all over the world.

Honor Flight

In 2004, the World War II Memorial on the mall in Washington DC opened to the public and then millions of people have visited every year.  But, says Mike Pungercar, time is running out for the ones the memorial is dedicated to.

Mike Pungercar – “Well time is critical.  All these veterans from World War Two are in their mid 80s to mid 90s.  Those that are healthy enough to make a trip three nights away from home, four days total… “

Pungercar is the project manager for the South Willamette Valley Honor Flight, a national group that came together six years ago with the goal of helping all World War II veterans visit the site at least once.  53 vets from Lane, Linn, Lincoln and Benton Counties are scheduled to go next month, but Pungercar says some may not make it.

Mike Pungercar – “That’s the reality of it.  I had seven veterans that were scheduled to go in October.  Actually five of them have called back because of health reasons, two of them have passed away.  That’s one of the hard things in working with this program is the reality that there’s going to be a number of veterans that we have applications for that aren’t going make it.”

He has a waiting list of at least another 50 eligible veterans, six of those from the Florence area, but the next tour isn’t set to go until next summer.

It’s also contingent on fundraising as the journey is provided at no cost.  Information on how to donate, or apply for a spot are available at www.honorflightoforegon.org.