Rhody Fest Security; Coastal Wind Power; Lane County Inmates Walk During Press Conference; Former Florence Resident Talks about Marathon Bombings

Coast Radio News
Local News

22 April 2013

Rhody Security Precautions Will Remain Relatively Normal

The activities and size of crowd for the annual Rhododendron Festival aren’t the same as the Boston Marathon.  But that doesn’t mean public safety officials in Florence will be doing anything different this year.  Police Chief Ray Gutierrez says they’re all aware of an increased concern for safety and security… but that’s been the focus for several years already.

Ray Gutierrez – “We’re always cautious when it comes to something left out, and it’s kind of… kind of looks out of place.”

With thousands of extra visitors in town, anything out of the ordinary will definitely draw the attention of officers.  His biggest concern heading into the May 16th Festival is just how much outside help he’ll have from other police agencies.  Last year, Lane County Sheriff Tom Turner did not provide any additional patrols.  That stretched Florence police officers thinner than ever.  Gutierrez said he’s planning on asking Turner to reconsider this year.

Lane Jail Inmates Walk During Press Conference

Sixteen Lane County inmates walked free in the middle of a press conference Friday, part of a campaign event designed to emphasize the need for more money at the jail.

The inmates scrambled to get away from attending news crews and photographers, going so far as to jump through bushes.

Sheriff Tom Turner says the releases, sometimes as many as a hundred, are done “every day” because of shortages and budget cuts.

The closed beds force jailers to release people accused of crimes, but not tried, as well as those who have been convicted of crimes before they have served their full sentences.

Many of those released before trial never show up for their court dates.

The levy vote is May 21.

Coastal Wind Power Proposed

A Washington company intends to moor five wind turbines off the Oregon coast, and hopes the project dovetails with a separate proposal for liquefied natural gas.

The Coos Bay World reports reluctant fishermen on the southern Oregon coast agreed after six months to support Seattle-based Principle Power’s plans for a 30-megawatt wind energy flotilla off the waters of Coos Bay.

The company plans to anchor its proposed wind farm beyond the three-mile limit, outside of state jurisdiction and under federal law. The wind energy platforms would be anchored in about 1,000 feet of water.

The company received a $4 million grant from the Department of Energy in March. The initial grant could expand to as much as $47 million.

Former Florence Resident Talks About Boston Bombings

A former Florence resident with several ties to the area has been living and working in Boston for the past 15 years.  Dr. Thomas Dodson is an oral surgeon.  He was one of the few area residents working last Monday on Patriot’s Day.  That work place was soon to become a bustle of activity.

Dr. Thomas Dodson was on duty at Massachusetts General Hospital at the time of the Marathon bombings.
Dr. Thomas Dodson was on duty at Massachusetts General Hospital at the time of the Marathon bombings.

Tom Dodson – “Massachusetts General Hospital, which is one of the level one trauma centers in the city.”

He heard word of the bombs going off, but it didn’t sink in immediately.

Tom Dodson – “But, but you don’t know how bad it is.”

He and other hospital staff members instantly went into emergency mode.  But being an oral surgeon he didn’t provide much direct care as the majority of injuries were to lower extremities.  It did give him time to dwell on things.

Tom Dodson – “My first gut reaction is this terrible terrorist.  We ought to vivisect them.  But now that I know who they are it just seems tragic that what appears to be previously normal kids that somehow got sucked into something that they… I don’t know… spun out of control.”

Does he think the bombings will have a long term impact?

Tom Dodson – “No… I mean I think they will run the marathon next year with as much vigor and enthusiasm as they’ve done this year with presumably a more dedicated and larger police presence than they have in the past.  But that shouldn’t dampen things too much.”

Dr. Dodson is a 1975 Graduate of Siuslaw High School as well as University of Oregon, class of ’79.  He still has a considerable amount of family in the area.