Personal wipes equal problem in the pipes; Energy assistance program; Set your clocks back; Exploding whale engineer passes away

Coast Radio News
Local News

1 November 2013

Personal hygiene can cause problems in the pipes

The old saying goes… just because you can… doesn’t mean you should.

Florence Public Works Director Mike Miller is a firm believer in that adage.

City waste water employees have had to deal with a wide variety of things clogging sewer pipes and pump stations over the years.  Grease, cornstarch, packing peanuts and even old blue jeans have been found balled up and clogging the system.

But a new enemy has been appearing recently:  Flushable personal hygiene wipes.

Miller says such items may promise a “shower fresh feeling” for consumers, but they leave sewer workers feeling much less so.

The wipes can get snagged in the collection system, possibly causing overflows and even damaging equipment.

Miller says “flushable” wipes have become so popular sewer systems in cities across the country are experiencing problems with them and they are working hard to get the word out about the hazards.

Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance

Federal funding for a program that provides one-time assistance for low income and senior households has still not been released, but registration will still begin today.

Mary Ellen Bennett, the Lane County coordinator for the program says two agencies in the Florence area will be taking signups for the Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program.

Residents aged 60 or older can call Florence Senior Connections at 902-9430.  Households without a senior that qualify should call Siuslaw Outreach Services.

In order to qualify, a household’s current gross monthly income must be at or below 60-percent of Oregon’s median income level… that means for a family of four, a gross income of just under $3500 would qualify.

Bennett says if you qualify and you don’t make the waiting list this time, agencies may take additional names on the first of each month through the winter… or as long as funding lasts.

Check your clocks and your smoke detectors

Daylight savings time comes to a close early Sunday morning.  That means it’s time to go through the house and reset all your clocks before going to bed tomorrow night.

Set them back one hour.

Siuslaw Valley Fire Marshall Sean Barrett says while you’re at it you should test the smoke detectors in your house.

Many newer detectors have a ten-year battery so they don’t need to be replaced as often, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t periodically check them out to make sure they’re working properly.

Barrett says a properly working smoke detector can be… and has been… a lifesaver.

Whale Exploder Passes Away

The Oregon highway engineer who’s 1970 decision to use a half-ton of dynamite to blast a dead whale into bits and became an internet sensation along the way has died.

George Thomas Thornton was 84, he died Sunday in Medford.

In November 1970, the highly respected engineer got the call to help remove a 45-foot long sperm whale from the beach south of the Siuslaw River Entrance.  His intention was to use the dynamite to break down the whale into tiny pieces, allowing crabs, seagulls and other scavengers to clean up the mess didn’t quite work out as planned.

The blast didn’t direct the debris out to sea as hoped, but instead left spectators awash in stinky, decomposing flesh.

One large chunk flew over the seawall and landed on top of a fairly new car in the parking lot on South Jetty Road, flattening the vehicle.