Tsunami debris? Handy in more hot water; Council to preapprove grant apps; Consumer complaints

18 March 2013

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Local News

More Possible Tsunami Debris

A 24-foot non-motorized boat was pulled from the surf north of Florence Thursday evening.  Officials say they don’t know for sure where it came from, but the vessel showed signs that it had been adrift for a considerable length of time.  It also bore what appeared to be a registration plaque with Japanese characters on it.

Japanese characters on a derelict 24-foot boat found on the Oregon Coast March 14th, 2013 point to the vessel's probable source. (Bob Sneddon)
Japanese characters on a derelict 24-foot boat found on the Oregon Coast March 14th, 2013 point to the vessel’s probable source. (Bob Sneddon)

The boat, spotted by volunteers with the Surfrider Foundation Thursday morning near Muriel O. Ponsler Wayside, 13 miles north of Florence was removed that evening by a crew from Leisure Acres Excavating of Florence.

It was also covered in a blanket of gooseneck barnacles, mussels, seaweeds and other marine organisms.  Many of which, says Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Steve Rumrill, are native to this area of the Pacific Ocean.  Others, however, are suspected to be non-native.  Samples were taken and sent to Oregon State University for identification.

Although it appears the boat was debris from the March 2011 tsunami, officials say the precise origin is unknown.

Handy in more hot water

Former Commissioner Rob Handy lost another round in an ongoing battle against Lane County.  As a result, the amount of money he owes Lane County for legal bills has grown by $7-thousand.

The former North Eugene Commissioner already owed the County for legal fees incurred when a Coos County Judge determined that he and South Eugene Commissioner Peter Sorenson acted improperly in 2009.  Handy’s legal woes deepened last spring when he solicited assistance from constituents to help pay off his $20-thousand portion of the debt.

An ethics complaint was made public just prior to the election and Handy charged other members of the board with violating open meetings laws in the process.

He lost his reelection bid, filed an ethics violation complaint and sued for access to public records he claimed had been denied.

Coos County Circuit Court Judge Richard Barron rejected the claims and ruled in the county’s favor.  He also ordered Handy to pay the county’s legal fees in the latest suit…

Pre-approval Expected for Grant Apps

The Florence City Council is expected to give the go-ahead this evening to organizers of the 2014 Winter Folk Festival to apply for… and subsequently receive… grant money to help underwrite next year’s festival.

The move will provide blanket authorization for the Friends of the Events Center, eliminating the need to bring each individual request to the council.

The group organizes the annual folk festival that provides music education for as many as 900 elementary school students in the mid-coast area.  They also organize and present the annual Celebrate Arts Show.

A variety of local and regional grant applications will be made to underwrite both events.  The council meets this evening at city hall.

Consumer Complaints

The Oregon Department of Justice received nearly 12-thousand consumer complaints last year.  Most of those were about out-of-state telemarketers.

But, of the businesses based in Oregon… most of the complaints centered on used-car dealers.  They ranged from failure to disclose previous damage to failure to provide a title… and the inability of vehicles to meet emission standards.

Two other categories, though, were dominated by single businesses.  The now defunct Hollywood Video chain was the source of several complaints as was Beaverton based Universal Timeshare Resellers.