COOS BAY — Marshfield High School is breaking into song on Valentine’s Day next week.
Band teacher Cameron Jerde is offering music grams all day Feb. 14 for students, something that he saw when he was in high school.
“My choir did this,” he said. “It’s easier with singers because of lyrics, but we’re playing the notes.”
Jerde’s student band has been practicing its repertoire of 30-second music grams, including the chorus of “Eight Days a Week” by the Beatles, “Ain’t No Mountain,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Isn’t She Lovely, and “My Girl and My Guy.”
“I take the music and make little quartets of instruments,” Jerde explained. “Then we sell them.”
The gram itself costs $5, which comes with a single rose, a little bag of chocolate or candy. Whoever buys the gram can include a written message. The gram will be played during classes throughout the day.
“We have some students buying them for crushes, which is cute, but other students are buying the grams just to embarrass a friend or to do something special for a teacher,” Jerde said. “We’ve got one student who is buying one for a friend for every single class period in the day so they keep getting embarrassed, so it’s all in good fun.”
Jerde purchased a total of 106 roses and has so far sold almost 30. The grams will be available for purchase for students up to the day before Valentine’s Day. Any extra roses or candy will be sold later.
“If everything gets sold, that’s a total of $530, which would go to pay for new band music, new uniforms for the marching band, out-of-state travel, new instruments,” Jerde said. “We’ve held a lot of fundraisers this year and I want to thank our community for being so generous and supportive.”
Students walking the halls expressed their excitement for next week's holiday. Junior Amanda Young hopes that anyone celebrating Valentine's Day puts thought into their gifts.
'"Don't give your significant other something you think other people would like," she said. "Give them what they would like. It's a great holiday because, though you can always do nice things for who you're with, this is nice because it's a day to celebrate who you're with."
Junior Scotty Neuharth suggests The World readers to do something special for their partners as well, even the classic dinner and a movie.
"The holidays are fun to spend with your friends and family, not just who you're with," added Hannah Storm, Marshfield sophomore.
Additional donations are welcome in either cash or in checks made out to the MHS Band. Both can be dropped off at Marshfield High School at 972 Ingersoll Avenue in Coos Bay.
SALEM (AP) — An Oregon state senator resigned after an investigation determined he had harassed women in the Capitol building with prolonged hugging, groping and other unwelcome physical contact.
Sen. Jeff Kruse, in a statement Thursday, remained defiant, indicating he was deprived of his rights and proclaiming his innocence. He said his resignation is effective March 15.
An investigative report released Tuesday said the long-time Republican senator from the former timber town of Roseburg had groped or gave lingering hugs to two female senators, two law students who used to work for him, Republican and non-partisan staffers, a former legislative aide and a lobbyist.
The report said the behavior had continued for years, despite warnings that he stop.
The investigation was one of many in statehouses nationwide following a wave of sexual misconduct allegations against men in power since an October expose of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein by the New York Times.
In Arizona, Republican state Rep. Don Shooter was voted out of office on Feb. 1 after sexual misconduct allegations, becoming the first state lawmaker in the U.S. to be expelled since the #MeToo movement gained steam.
Several Oregon politicians, including Gov. Kate Brown, had called for Kruse to leave the Legislature.
Sen. Sara Gelser, a Democrat who said she had been subjected to the unwanted physical contact for years, made a formal complaint last November, giving the #MeToo movement its highest-profile case in Oregon. Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward later made a similar complaint.
Gelser said that when she was sitting at her desk on the House floor in 2011, where she first served in the Legislature, Kruse leaned onto her back and put his hands and arms down her shoulders and across her breasts.
The 51-page report by investigator and employment law attorney Dian Rubanoff cited complaints by other women who weren't named.
A Senate panel had scheduled a hearing to determine whether to recommend expulsion or other sanctions, or take no action.
In his statement Kruse said: "For civil rights to be meaningful, there must be civil rights for all people, including the right to fundamental fairness for persons accused of harassment.
"I continue to deny these allegations and I regret that I will not have the opportunity to defend myself before the Senate Conduct Committee," he said.
He said he was resigning so his constituents could "receive the fullest representation they are due."
Kruse told the investigator that he believed his behavior was "instinctual" and that although he wanted to change, "It's not easy to change when you have been doing something for 67 years."
Senate President Peter Courtney said Kruse made the right decision.
"While Senator Kruse's resignation ends a difficult chapter for the Legislature, we cannot allow it to end this discussion," Courtney said. "We owe it to the courageous women who came forward to seize this moment."
Jackie Winters, the Senate Republican leader in the Legislature dominated by Democrats, thanked Kruse for his 22 years of service.
"As we move forward, we must work to provide a safe work environment for all," Winters said.
Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick praised the women who spoke up about harassment.
"Women showed incredible courage to come out with their experiences, and hopefully this will provide them with some comfort," the Democrat told reporters.
Kruse said he was proud of his accomplishments in health care and education.
"I look forward to returning to the wonderful community that has supported me for over two decades," he said.
Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson issued the following statement on the resignation of Senator Jeff Kruse:
“Senator Kruse did the right thing resigning yesterday. His decades-long record of public service is now tainted by his personal record of misconduct, and he has lost his ability to adequately represent his constituents. Sexual harassment and misconduct have no place in Oregon, especially among our elected leaders.
“No one should ever be made to feel unsafe or in danger in their place of work, nor should they ever fear retaliation if someone comes forward to report their abuser. I have already ordered a review of my office’s current policies to combat sexual misconduct as well as update training programs, and I call on the Legislature to pursue an aggressive culture change in this important area. Oregon deserves better.”
COQUILLE — A Bandon man was sentenced to 300 months (25 years) in prison on a charge of first-degree sodomy for performing sexual acts with a person under 12 years old.
According to Coos County District Attorney R. Paul Frasier, Sean Jeffrey Haga, 32, received the severe sentence from Coos County Circuit Court Judge Martin Stone under the provisions of Jessica's Law. Haga must serve every day of his sentence and will not be eligible for parole or any other form of early release, Frasier said.
The charges came to light as a result of a child pornography investigation initiated by the FBI in June 2016. At that time, Haga was arrested on federal child pornography charges. Those charges are still pending in federal court. Haga will soon be returned to the custody of federal authorities to continue that prosecution process.
At the time of his arrest, Haga was an employee of the Bandon School District. His employment with the BSD ended in 2016 after his arrest. Frasier said that the investigation has not developed any evidence that any other person or child was a victim of Haga.
COOS BAY — According to the Oregon Department of Transportation’s 2017 annual report, many of the bridges throughout Coos County are vulnerable to a seismic event.
“Our bridges are old, and most of them were built prior to the 1980s, when we stared thinking about seismic vulnerability and building for that,” ODOT’s bridge maintenance manager for South Western Oregon Bryan Mast said.
In the event of the Cascadia earthquake, most of the bridges in the county are likely to fail, leaving the populations in Coos County a mess of small disjointed islands.
“Based on the information we have, we’re looking at nearly 100 percent failure rate on the bridges ... if all those bridges were to fail, the county would look like chives on a baked potato. We’d all be cut off. A group of little islands,” Murphy said.
ODOT simply can’t afford to fix all the bridges in Coos County, at least not in any sort of immediate fashion. So, Mast is training ODOT crews in post-earthquake bridge inspection, as well as working to outfit all the ODOT offices in the area with satellite phones.
“We’re making sure we have sat phones at the different ODOT yards so that we have a communication link to our Emergency Operations Center in Roseburg ... we’re working on our conduit of information. That’s the best thing we can do right now is make sure that we have a communication plan and putting those pieces into place,”
Currently the ODOT yard in Coos Bay is only 5 feet above sea level. The Cascadia subduction zone is between 3 to 12 feet above sea level.
“As we move forward ODOT is trying to build a new facility here in Coos County that will bring us up out of the flood zone. We’re trying right now to figure out how to fund it," Mast said.
Mast hopes to start a sort of stockpile of materials like culvert pipes and piles of gravel at the new facility. The hope being that those supplies can be used to perform basic repairs to local bridges so that people can get to hospitals and other emergency services.
Coos County bridges are considered to be in the third tier of importance for ODOT.
“Most of Coos County is at ODOT’s lowest level of importance ... we’re kind of last on the list,” Murphy said.
ODOT’s plan is to make sure there is a path of bridges from Interstate 5 that are reinforced so that in an emergency situation supplies can be brought to the South Coast to aid afflicted areas.
State Highway 38 is the ODOT priority route into Coos Bay from I-5. Along Highway 38 there has been a lot of recent construction. Several bad culverts have been replaced along the road.
“We’re making sure that we have a chance to at least get supplies from I-5 down 38,” Mast said.
Highway 38 was chosen as the priority route because it follows the Umpqua River so closely that if there are landslides as the result of an earthquake the roads can be cleared by pushing the dirt over toward the river.
“Currently we’re doing everything we can ... I believe within the next 10 years we’ll see something going on around here,” Mast said.
According to ODOT, the Scottsburg Bridge along Highway 38 is in poor structural condition. It’s reported as having a low service life, and it’s listed as a scour critical bridge. Bridge scour is bridge material that has been eroded by abrasive, fast moving water.
“We’re in the design phase now to replace the Scottsburg Bridge,” Mast said.
Of the bridges on ODOT’s list of deficient bridges, the McCullough Bridge is the largest in our area. The McCullough Bridge is in good standing structurally, but it’s marked as vulnerable to seismic activity.
“The McCullough Bridge is a very tall, narrow bridge without seismic retrofitting at all. Will it be there? I don’t know, parts of it maybe,” Mast said.
If Cascadia hits before the ODOT completes the upgrades to their priority route it could be a long time before Coos County gets supplies from the outside world.
“In most areas you’re looking at a few days, but we could be looking at a lot longer than that. Without any way to drive in here they’re going to have to build a road all the way in,” Murphy said.
ODOT’s current project in Coos County is on Highway 42 just after it splits off from U.S. Highway 101. They are replacing a failing culvert. According to Mast, replacing the culvert will improve fish passage and open up the wetland to more fish. After that, they will be raising the overpass where Highway 42 goes over U.S. Highway 101.