Voters could be asked to renew jail levy; Scams target seniors; Gas prices slip down; Copper thieves disrupt 911 service in Coos County

Coast Radio News
Local News

County Commission taking steps to refer Jail Levy to voters

The Lane County Board of Commissioners held the first of two hearings yesterday on a proposal to refer a five-year special operating tax levy back to voters for renewal.  Since 2013 the levy has been supplying up to 55-cents per $1,000 of property tax value to the Sheriff’s office for jail and drug treatment services.

The current levy doesn’t expire until June 2018, but Lane County Sheriff Byron Trapp wants to ask voters for approval early to prevent any gaps in funding… or uncertainty.

Trapp’s predecessor, Florence Police Chief Tom Turner, testified in favor of the renewal saying – quote – “All of us will be safer with the continuation of this jail levy”.  He said the tax has reduced the number of inmates released back into the community without adequate intervention.  Those are people Turner says are most likely to re-offend.

Commissioners will hold another hearing this evening in Eugene at the Courthouse.  If they sign off on the deal it would be presented to voters in the May 15th election.

Be wary of scams targeting seniors

She knew it was likely a scam right away.  Jeannette Hanson… most people may know her as Woody… saw the caller ID on her phone and didn’t recognize the name so she was naturally skeptical when she picked it up to hear a recorded voice…

Jeannette Hanson – “To inform me that my medical wellness package was waiting for me.”

The call instructed her to press “1” and hold it… she didn’t.  She hung up and she suggests anyone else who gets a similar call to do the same.  Hanson said the call this week wasn’t the first she’s had and she fears she… and others her age… are being targeted.

Jeannette Hanson – “Well, it’s scary to get all of these calls.  (chuckle) One of the challenges of this maturing.”

In this case, it likely was a scam and by pressing “1” she may have unwittingly given authorization for a charge to her phone bill.  Or, at the very least, she may have been connected with a live person waiting to give her a high pressure attempt at getting banking or personal information.

Water and Light to headline Our Town

Dustin and Angie Herring have already sold their home of 12 years and most of their personal effects.  Other things, like the long time family dining room table, are in long term storage.  By this time next month the couple, along with their four kids aged six through 12, will be settled in their new home just outside Managua, Nicaragua.  That’s where they intend to share their faith and help impoverished residents get clean drinking water.  They’ve formed a non-profit group called Water and Light International to help them with that aim.

That’s just one segment on the February edition of Coast Radio’s Our Town.  It airs this afternoon from four to six on KCST, then again tomorrow on KCFM from ten am to noon.

Our Town this month also has several other topics including a segment with a South African geologist who will talk about the old art… or he would say science… of dowsing; a method used for centuries to help find water.

Metal thieves disrupt 911 service

For the fourth time this year in Coos County, metal thieves disrupted phone service by stealing phone lines off the pole.  Police say the thieves usually burn the insulation off of the wires and then sell the copper for scrap.

The latest incident was over the weekend in Lakeside, just south of Reedsport.  Thieves used a ladder to climb poles near the Lakeside Cemetery to steal about 400 feet of line.

The theft disrupted land-line phone service, including 9-1-1 service to the about 500 customers.

Frontier Telephone was able to reroute service and restore partial coverage.  The Coos County Sheriff’s Office then set up a special dispatch center at the Lakeside Library to handle emergency calls.

The Sheriff’s office said the estimated scrap value of the wire stolen was about $100… far less than the thousands of dollars of damage that was caused.

Gas prices edge back down

The average cash price for a gallon of regular gas in Florence slipped by three cents this past week and is currently at $2.34.  That’s just seven cents higher than the national average as measured by Triple-A and 18-cents lower than Oregon’s statewide average.

Marie Dodds with Triple-A of Oregon says retail prices are reversing the upward trend and have dropped in the past two weeks because of severe winter weather.  That’s reduced demand in many parts of the country.  She said supplies are also slightly higher than usual for this time of year.

Despite recent declines, Dodds said retail prices are running 40-to-50 cents a gallon higher than last year at this time.  In fact the average local cash price on February 1st, 2016 in Florence was $1.66 a gallon.  That’s 68-cents a gallon lower than this week’s local average.