Murder Hornet?  Maybe Not.; North Bend Seeks Portland Hub; Gas Prices

Murder Hornet?  Maybe Not.

Florence resident Debbie Todd was on her way back into town last Wednesday from property on Upper North Fork Road and had come to the stop sign at milepost 12.  It was quite warm and her windows were down when a very large bug flew into the car.  She said it was big, at least two inches long, and rather fierce looking.

“I’ve never seen a wasp that big; I’ve seen other bugs that big, but not a wasp.  And it looked very strange.  It had a red head, and it was red on part of the back section of its body and the rest was yellow and black.  It was very frightening looking.”

Todd got out of her car quickly and waited for the bug to fly off.  She thought it resembled something she had seen on a nature program about an invasive species found a few years ago in Washington State: The Asian Hornet.  Todd sent emails with her description of the creature along with a photo she had found online of what the bug looked like to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, as well as the Oregon Department of Agriculture.  Dr. Jessica Rendon, an entomologist with the ag department’s insect pest prevention management program responded, saying that without a photo it would be – quote– “tricky to pinpoint its identity”. But said instead that it was likely a large sawfly, a native species that can resemble a hornet.

“And she said, you know, we don’t think it’s a big deal. We’ve never seen any of those Asian Hornets in Oregon.”

Rendon did urge Todd to continue to be on the lookout and report any further sightings. Coast Radio News has reached out to Dr. Rendon for comment but she has not responded yet.

North Bend Seeks Portland Hub

The governing board of the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport in North Bend has “given its blessing” to contract with an aviation consultant to facilitate a possible expansion of service between the south coast and Portland.   Flights to and from Portland were discontinued more than a decade ago and Jack Penning of Volaire Aviation told Airport District commissioners they’ll need to create an “incentivized plan” to restart it.  He cited two factors making it more difficult.  The first is a shortage of pilots and the second is the cost to provide the service.   Penning told commissioners that other small regional airports have been successful by providing incentives like minimum revenue guarantees.  The airport does have access to a federal grant to assist in securing the Portland service he said, but he urged adding more funding and services to – quote — “Sweeten the deal”.  O-T-H has regular service to and from San Francisco and Denver.

Gas Prices

The national price of a gallon of regular gas rose slightly this past week, but Oregon did not.  Oregon followed 20 other states in a decline with Oregon having a one cent dip.  States that showed an increase was minimal. Demand has increased over the past week along with the price of a barrel of crude according to Marie Dodds with AAA Oregon.  but it did not seem to affect the prices along the coast. A gallon of regular here in Florence is costing on average $3.76 a gallon.  Dodds says the 4th of July holiday looks to break records for travel with almost 900,000 Oregonians planning travel more than 50 miles from home.