COOS BAY — A crowd placed hundreds of pinwheels around the grounds of the Kids’ HOPE Center in Coos Bay on Wednesday afternoon to kick off Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.
Every year, the HOPE Center puts out a pinwheel in the shrubs surrounding its building for each child abuse victim that the center assisted over the past year. This year, the center put out 412 colorful pinwheels.
“It’d be nice if we didn’t have to plant any pinwheels, but since we do have to plant pinwheels we are very lucky to have this wonderful center to take care of our children. We plant these pinwheels together as a community, because we need to continue to work together as a community to make children safe,” retired pediatrician and Chairperson of the Bay Area Health District Board of Directors board member Dr. Donna Rabin said.
The phrase “every child deserves a childhood,” seemed to solemnly echo among those in attendance recognizing Child Abuse Awareness Month.
“Every case speaks to you differently and every child’s story is so different and unique to them. As a parent with young children that are four and under it affects me differently than it did before I had kids. I see a number of faces in these pinwheels,” Kids’ HOPE Center Director JoAnne Shorb said
Before the pinwheels were placed, a speech was given by Rabin about the center and the importance of the pinwheels.
“The center is an amazing place. It provides a non-threatening friendly location where law enforcement and medical professionals can work together to interview, examine, and advocate for child abuse victims all under one roof,” Rabin said.
On April 28, the Kids’ HOPE Center will hold its closing ceremony for the prevention and awareness month. The ceremony is a Family Fun Day for kids at John Topits Park, with a 5K run and one mile fun run or walk.
“Everything at the event is totally free. There’s transportation provided and a free lunch. A lot of our community partners will come together for the event. There will be different booths with activities for kids and families to do,” Shorb said.
A number of teenagers from Bandon High School’s leadership class were out placing pinwheels. The school receives a grant each year from the Oregon Community Foundation that the students donate to a cause of their choosing. This year the students chose child abuse, and donated some of their grant money to the Kids’ HOPE Center.
Aside from the 412 pinwheels placed in front of the HOPE center there are also many businesses throughout Coos Bay and North Bend that have pinwheels and signs out for recognition. The pinwheel gardens were purchased by local businesses as a donation to the HOPE Center.
“Throughout town, especially along Highway 101 there are quite a bit of pinwheel gardens that people have purchased,” Shorb said.
Coos County District Attorney Paul Frasier was in attendance as well as other members of law enforcement to place pinwheels and show awareness for child abuse. Frasier played a crucial part in getting the Kids’ HOPE Center off the ground.
“When I became DA, our model was focused around getting a good forensic interview from the kid and go after the offender. We really were not concentrating on what we can do to help the kid. There are two types of models for centers in this country one is called the prosecution model which is what we had and the other is what’s called the medical model,” Frasier said.
One of the requirements for a child abuse intervention center to follow the medical model is that it be partnered with a hospital. So Bay Area Hospital took on that responsibility.
Since that partnership, the primary concern is the health of the child abuse victim, with prosecuting the offender being the next priority.
COOS BAY — The Bay Area is eager to welcome back the Lady Washington, the official tall ship of Washington State, April 11th – 17th in conjunction with Maritime Legacy Days, a celebration of our region’s seafaring and shipbuilding heritage. This living history experience will feature demonstrations of tall ship handling, sea shanty singing, maritime amusements and more.
In addition to the dockside vessel walk-on tours, April 11-15, and two-hour adventure sails and evening sails, April 12-15, events will include:
April 6th: Dress like a pirate for Coos Bay Wine Walk! Costume contest and shanty concert by Doo Dad Shanty Boys at Flappers Wine Bar in Old City Hall at 7 p.m.
April 12th: Sea Shanty Concert at 7 Devils Brewery by Doo Dad Shanty Boys at 7:30 pm. Proceeds go to Coos Bay Boat Building Center & Historical Seaport.
April 13th: Live music at So It Goes Coffee House by Finnavara and the Nor’Westers beginning at 5 p.m.
April 14th: Boardwalk activities with treasure hunt, displays by Coos Bay Boat Building Center, and the Coos Bay March for Science. And maybe there will be mermaids …
Call 1-800-200-5239 for sail tickets and information. A ticket is not required for vessel walk-on tours.
For more detailed information, look inside Thursday's edition for this week's South Coast Beat.
COQUILLE — After hearing from all county departments, the Coos County Budget Committee met Tuesday afternoon for presumably the last time this fiscal year.
Entering the hearings the county was 10 percent over budget which equates to roughly $2.3 million. This was the first year that the county was not expecting to receive federal Secure Rural School funds.
To the county’s benefit, Secure Rural Schools was extended for the next two years. While the funds won’t be received until May the county estimates their share to be $757,000.
“Getting the extension on Secure Rural Schools is what really made the difference. We couldn’t have come up with that extra $757,000," Commissioner Melissa Cribbins said.
Before the county knew Secure Rural Schools would be extended it requested all of its general fund departments present a budget to the committee with a 10 percent cut. Many of the departments would have been rendered non-functional. Compromises were made, and the budget committee cut a total of $510,000 from general fund departments. The committee made a point not to cut any personnel.
“I think we see on a day-to-day basis what cutting staff in different departments will do, because we interact with these people on a daily basis. The county has great dedicated people on staff and the fact that we can keep these people means that our citizens can get a better quality of care when they come in,” Cribbins said.
According to Commissioner John Sweet, since large county budget cuts in 2007, the number of people employed by the county has gone from over 500 to just over 300.
“There’s not a lot of fat to be cut if any when it comes to our staff. If we had cut positions I think that the county citizens would have suffered, and we didn’t want that to happen,” Sweet said.
Only the county’s IT department was able to make a full 10 percent cut. All others cut were cut wherever possible without cutting staff.
The remaining $700,000 that the county had to put into the general fund to get a balanced budget came from the parks department, and the elimination of several solid waste department projects that were planned for the next fiscal year.
“We reduced the number of projects that solid waste will be doing this year. We weren’t sure that they could complete them all anyway. They had a bunch of capital projects and it was enough to balance our budget,” Cribbins said.
Heading into Tuesday’s budget hearing the county’s share of the Secure Rural Schools Fund had gone up from Monday’s estimate. The new estimate was for $950,000, but it was later found that the original estimate of $757,000 was more accurate. The $950,000 estimate is what was used to balance the budget, so the budget is still technically $200,000 out of balance.
It is the hope of the budget committee that the county will find a way to come up with the remaining $200,000, but if not the money will likely come out of the forest reserve funds. One hope is that revenue from property taxes will cover the remaining deficit.
With Secure Rural Schools only being extended for the next two years the county has started looking for new ways to bring in revenue.
“We are in the middle of a lawsuit on the forest trust lands that could result in more lands coming back to the county. That would add another 7,000 acres to our forest. We’re actively working on buying forest lands. We just purchased 130 acres a few days ago,” Cribbins said.
The budget committee is made up of the three county commissioners as well as three county citizens. After the budget committee reaches a balanced budget, the three citizens then meet as the compensation committee.
The compensation committee decides whether or not the county’s elected officials will receive raises. Commissioners did not receive a raise this year. The last time the commissioners were given a raise was in 2015.
The Sheriff’s salary was raised by around 6 percent. Oregon state law requires that Sheriff earn at least a dollar more than his highest paid officer. Over the past year one of the Sheriff’s captains received a raise for his years of service to the office, and was making more than the Sheriff.
The budget will continue to be negotiated until it is adopted in late May.
WASHINGTON — The world's two biggest economies stand at the edge of the most perilous trade conflict since World War II. Yet there's still time to pull back from the brink.
Financial markets bounced up and down Wednesday over the brewing U.S.-China trade war after Beijing and Washington proposed tariffs on $50 billion worth of each other's products in a battle over the aggressive tactics China employs to develop its high-tech industries.
"The risks of escalation are clear," Adam Slater, global economist at Oxford Economics, wrote in a research note. "Threats to the U.S.-China relationship are the most dangerous for global growth."
There's time for the two countries to resolve the dispute through negotiations in the coming weeks. The United States will not tax 1,300 Chinese imports — from hearing aids to flamethrowers — until it has spent weeks collecting public comments. It's likely to get an earful from American farmers and businesses that want to avoid a trade war at all costs.
Also, China did not say when it would impose tariffs on 106 U.S. products, including soybeans and small aircraft, and it announced it is challenging America's import duties at the World Trade Organization.
Lawrence Kudlow, the top White House economic adviser, sought to ease fears of a deepening trade conflict with China, telling reporters that the tariffs the U.S. announced Tuesday are "potentially" just a negotiating ploy.
"We're very lucky that we have the best negotiator at the table in the president, and we're going to go through that process," said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. "It will be a couple months before tariffs on either side would go into effect and be implemented, and we're hopeful that China will do the right thing."
The prospect of a negotiated end to the dispute calmed nerves on Wall Street. After plunging in early trading, the Dow Jones industrial average ended up rising 231 points, or nearly 1 percent, to 24,264.
The sanctions standoff started last month when the United States slapped tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. On Monday, China countered by announcing tariffs on $3 billion worth of U.S. products. The next day, the United States proposed the $50 billion in duties on Chinese imports, and Beijing lashed back within hours with a threat of further tariffs of its own.
Things could easily escalate. The U.S. Treasury is working on plans to restrict Chinese technology investments in the United States. And there's talk that the U.S. could also put limits on visas for Chinese who want to visit or study in this country.
For its part, China conspicuously left large aircraft off its sanctions list Wednesday, suggesting it is reserving the option to target Boeing if relations deteriorate further.
Douglas Irwin, a Dartmouth College economist who has just written a history of U.S. trade policy, said the tit-for-tat tariffs are shaping up as the biggest trade battle since World War II.
"It's huge," he said.
In 1987, the Reagan administration triggered shockwaves by slapping tariffs on just $300 million worth of Japanese imports — that's million with an "m'' — in a dispute over the semiconductor industry. Those tariffs covered less than 1 percent of Japanese imports at the time.
The tariffs the U.S. unveiled Tuesday apply to nearly 10 percent of Chinese goods imports of $506 billion.
And during the dispute three decades ago, Japan, a close U.S. ally, chose not to retaliate. It eventually gave in to U.S. demands.
"What we've seen with China is very different," Irwin said. "When the steel tariffs went in — boom, they came back with retaliation. ... They were not going to take it lying down."
Making matters trickier, the dispute over Chinese technology policy strikes at the heart of Beijing's ambitions to become the global leader in cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence and quantum computing.
In August, President Donald Trump ordered the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to investigate China's tech policies, particularly longstanding allegations that it coerces U.S. companies into handing over sensitive technology to gain access to the Chinese market. The tariffs proposed Tuesday were the result of that investigation.
The U.S. also accuses China of treating U.S. companies unfairly when they try to do business there and of encouraging Chinese hackers to break into U.S. corporate computer systems and steal trade secrets.
The Trump administration is coming under intense pressure to de-escalate the dispute. American farmers, who disproportionately supported Trump in the 2016 election, are especially outspoken in seeking trade peace. After all, China buys nearly 60 percent of American soybean exports.
"American farmers are waking up this morning to the prospect of a 25 percent tax on exports that help sustain their farming operations," said former U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, co-chair of Farmers for Free Trade. "We urge the administration to reconsider escalating this trade war."
Some analysts predict Beijing will ultimately yield to U.S. demands because it relies far more heavily on the U.S. market than American businesses rely on China's.