Mail Theft Suspects in Custody; Annual Beach Cleanup; Gas Prices; Managing Forests

Mail Theft Suspects in Custody

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office has released information on two suspects that were arrested in connection with mail theft in the Mapleton Area.  Matthew Curtis Berkner Sr. and Daniel Kenneth Frye were arrested in Florence on February 28th on charges unrelated to the mail theft.  Information from the Mapleton Community helped in identifying and apprehending the two men.  After a news report several more victims of mail theft came to light and assisted in identifying the suspects.  The men are being held in the Lane County Jail with charges of Unlawful Entry into a Motor Vehicle, Theft 1, Criminal Mischief 2, and Theft 3. They could face additional Federal charges by US Postal inspectors.  Law enforcement recommends that people consider installing locking mailboxes and check mail regularly.

Annual Beach Cleanup

The annual Earth Day “Oregon Spring Cleanup” is coming up next month and Solve, the statewide non-profit with the goal of bringing people together to improve our environment is seeking volunteers.  A variety of different events will take place across the state between April 13th and the 22nd, but the majority will be on Saturday, April 20th.  That’s the day of the annual Spring Beach Cleanup.   Already there are 16 different sites on the Oregon Coast between Bandon and Seaside with groups registered to get together and clean the beaches.   There is a group organizing a cleanup on the beach south of the Siuslaw River Entrance.  Another will work on cleaning the Sparrow Park area on the north bank of the Umpqua.  Groups or individuals interested in signing up to sponsor an event can go to the Solve Oregon website:

Gas Prices

The cost of travel continues to rise as prices at the pump jump another 8 cents this past week in Oregon. The Columbia River lock closure is still affecting pricing as ships containing fuel cannot move through to offload their cargo.  The closure is causing shortages around the pacific northwest . Marie Dodds with AAA Oregon says the good news is that refineries have been able to up production as the switch to summer fuels nears completion.  Dodds says year over year data shows an increase in travel after the change to Daylight Savings Time.  Here along the Florence coast the price of fuel has risen another 10 cents per gallon and is now at an average $3.79 for regular.

Managing Forests

The U-S Forest Service has announced its intention to update a thirty-year-old plan for managing forests in the Northwest. The agency has issued a Notice of Intent to amend the Northwest Forest Plan. The plan covers management for 19 million acres of forest in California, Oregon and Washington and was adopted in 1994, but hasn’t changed since. Watershed Research and Training Center head Nick Goulette says the plan needs improving, especially as climate impacts on the region increase.

“It really requires active management to protect the remaining old trees and to really work with fire as a natural process. The plan didn’t do a good job of understanding the sort of real diversity of forests.”

Goulette says despite the need for improvements, the plan has largely been successful at conserving habitat. A draft Environmental Impact Statement on the updated plan is expected by June.