6 February 2013
No Tsunami Threat Posed by South Pacific Quake
An 8-point-oh magnitude undersea earthquake in the South Pacific posed no threat of a tsunami along the west coast of the United States. But, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, some areas could see changes in sea level for a day or two. The center issued the notice last night after a large quake was recorded in the Solomon Islands. A small local tsunami was generated by the quake which killed four people and damaged dozens of homes.
Meanwhile, along the Oregon Coast, officials are saying a 30-foot long fiberglass hulled boat, discovered on Gleneden Beach in Lincoln County, is likely debris from the March 2011 Japanese tsunami. Rick Boatner with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says it is believed to be a support vessel for a commercial fishing boat. He said 99-percent of the boat is covered in gooseneck barnacles which come from the open ocean. Boatner says scientists are confident the boat poses very little risk in terms of invasive species.
Our Town talks levy and Boys and Girls Club
Lane County Commissioners held off yesterday on a final approval of a 55-cents-per-thousand tax levy request for voters. It does appear that the delay is simply a formality at this point and voters are almost certain to be asked to approve the levy on the May 21st ballot. It would generate just under $14-million a year for five years… most of the money would pay for an additional 35 employees at the Lane County Jail and allow the Sheriff to open up another 120 beds for offenders.
Sheriff Tom Turner will talk about the levy request this afternoon on KCST’s Our Town from four to six pm. District Attorney Alex Gardner says his office won’t get any of the money, but his agency will benefit none-the-less. He’ll be on the air this afternoon as well.
Also on Our Town… outgoing Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Ken Gaylord and his replacement… Jonathan Hicks… will talk about the transition of power. Gaylord’s official last day on the job was last Friday, but he’ll return to the club on a part time basis to continue efforts to provide sustainable funding for the organization.
Gas Prices Jump Unexpectedly
Gas prices spiked significantly this week. In Florence, the bulk of the increase came Monday when prices began rising. The local average increased by 23-cents to $3.50. That’s still below the Oregon Average as measured by Triple-A… it jumped 17 cents a gallon to $3.51. The national average went up by the same amount and for the second week in a row it’s higher than the Oregon average; at $3.53.
The last time gas prices increased so rapidly was two years ago when violence in Northern Africa and the Middle East, specifically in Libya, sent crude oil prices skyrocketing in fear of a supply disruption. Marie Dodds with Triple-A says the current price surge is likely related to domestic supply concerns. She says wholesale prices on the west coast have risen dramatically as refineries undergo annual maintenance.
Bridge Lights Continue to Glow
Complaints from boaters about the decorative lights on the Siuslaw River Bridge nearly caused the plug to be pulled this week. Florence City Manager Jacque Betz fielded a call from a member of the Oregon Department of Transportation maintenance crew telling her the Coast Guard requested the lights be turned off because of the complaints. The city and ODOT teamed up four years ago to install the four decorative lights with the city paying nearly ten-thousand dollars. Betz reminded ODOT officials of that yesterday. Assistant District Manager Ramona Cline sent Betz an email informing her the lights would remain on, but provided no further explanation.