Driving Instructors Needed; Support Grows for Local Coast Guard Station; More Details Emerge on Capsized Boat; Port Seeks Dredging Contract; Roblan Stands Against Coastal Drilling

Driving Instructors Needed

Lane County and specifically Florence/Mapleton Area is in great need of ODOT certified driving instructors.  Rob Griffes is the only ODOT certified instructor in the area and he says that he is capped out on the number of students that he can accept.  Griffes offers 2 programs per year and can instruct 18 students per class, which theoretically leaves a couple hundred students without the ability for local driving instruction.  ODOT numbers out show that 91 percent of crashes involving young drivers occur to those who have not had a driver education course.

“There is risk every time we go out and drive in fact driving is probably one of the highest risk activities that we happily give our kids the key to the car and tell them to go out and enjoy.”

Sherrie Bandy with the Lane Education Service District says the first step in solving the problem is getting instructors trained.

“ODOT has several driver education instructor courses throughout the year most of them take place over 9 weekend and their schedule is on Western Oregon University’s website, they are the entity that does the teaching.”

The course is a $1500.00 dollar course but the tab is picked up by the Oregon Department of Transportation.  Only about 100 dollars in materials costs are required.

Support Grows for Local Coast Guard Station

A tip sheet that recommended Coast Guard employees use baby sitting, garage sales, and secret shopping as a means to create money during the government shutdown has been taken down from their website.  Coast Guard employees are affected by the current government shutdown, but the list of recommendations, according to a Coast Guard spokesman, does not reflect the efforts being made to support its employees.  The status of Coast Guard pay is unclear as the Coast Guard is under the direction of Homeland Security which is affected by the shutdown.   Here at home, Mayor Joe Henry is drumming up support for the Coast Guard.  Mayor Henry has reached out to Arnie Roblan, Ron Wyden, Peter DeFazio, Jeff Merkley to discern the status of our local Coast Guard station and to see what resources are available.  An outpouring of support is already beginning to flow as community members as well as Florence Food Share, the Salvation Army, and the Florence area chamber of commerce are planning on how they can add support.  Florence became a “Coast Guard City” in August of 2017.

More Details Emerge on Capsized Boat

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard is planning a full investigation into the capsizing of a boat in Newport that cost the lives of three commercial fishermen.  The Mary B II, a 42 foot vessel, loaded with crab, capsized while being escorted over the bar in Newport in 14-16 foot waves.  Two fishermen were tossed overboard and the third was located in the hull of the craft.  One crewman was recovered in the water an hour and a half after the incident, the second crewman washed ashore.  The Mary B II had been out to sea for three days crabbing before attempting to return to port.

Port Seeks Dredging Contract

The Port of Siuslaw is soliciting proposals for the dredging of the ports commercial basin, sport boat moorage basin, transient dock and public launch ramp.  Submissions by qualified bidders have until the 15th to complete the process.

Roblan Stands Against Coastal Drilling

Senator Arnie Roblan joins the effort to stop offshore drilling along the Oregon Coast.  Roblan says that experimental drilling will negatively affect jobs critical to our fishing industry and tourism.  Roblan is a proponent of finding alternative clean energy sources, such as wave energy, and begin the move away from fossil fuels.