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Rylee Young, Kaila Tripp crowned at Miss Coos County pageant

COOS BAY — Three young women were crowned Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd at the Hales Center for the Performing Arts and each walked away with scholarship money to help them further their educations.

Contributed photo by Tina Woodworth, Dream Big Photography 

Rylee Young was crowned Miss Coos County 2018 on Saturday night at the Hales Center for the Performing Arts.

In fact, more than $41,000 was awarded in cash and in-kind scholarship and tuition waivers among several of the 18 contestants - 12 Miss Coos County/Miss Pacific Shores and six Miss Coos County Outstanding Teens, according to Miss Coos County Executive Director Vicki Ericson. 

The three top winners — Miss Coos County Rylee Young, Miss Pacific Shores Kaila Tripp and Miss Coos County Outstanding Teen Alyssia Hutchings — will now advance to the Miss Oregon and Miss Oregon Outstanding Teen scholarship pageants, held in Seaside in June. 

Other Miss Coos County awards included Allie West, first runner-up; Mackenzie Basey, second runner-up; Caitlin Snuggerud, third runner-up; Amanda Merritt, fourth runner-up; Lily Bergstedt, Miss Congeniality; Kaila Tripp, Top Interview Award; tie between Hailey McDaniel and Caitlin Snuggerud for Top Lifestyle and Fitness Award.

Contributed photo by Tina Woodworth, Dream Big Photography 

Kaila Tripp is crowned the 2018 Miss Pacific Shores, a new title in the Miss Coos County Scholarship Pageant equal to that of Miss Coos County, on Saturday night at the Hales Center for the Performing Arts. 

Other Miss Coos County Outstanding Teen awards included Aryana Mill, first runner-up; Rylie Edwards, second runner-up; Aryana Mill, Miss Congeniality; and Aryana Mill, Top Interview Award. Miss Coos County Outstanding Princess is Syren Simington and Miss Pacific Shores Outstanding Princess is Tha'laya Edwards.

Tripp, 22, was awarded a new crown offered this year, Miss Pacific Shores, which, like Miss Coos County, comes with a one-year tuition waiver to Southwestern Oregon Community College and a $2,500 cash award.

Ericson said the new crown is equal in every way to the Miss Coos County crown and one each was awarded to the first- and second-place winners. It was created to give more young women the opportunity to compete for scholarships at the state level.

Ed Glazar, The World 

Miss Coos County contestants perform their opening act Saturday during the Miss Coos County Miss Pacific Shores scholarship program pageant on stage in the Hale Center at Southwestern Oregon Community College.

Contestants are scored from a private, 10-minute interview (25 percent); lifestyle and fitness (10 percent) in swimsuit (Miss) or athletic clothing (Teen); artistic expression in talent (30 percent); presence and poise in evening wear (15 percent); and an on-stage question (20 percent). 

In addition, each girl also gives many hours to her community service project but is not judged on that.

Tripp was born and raised in Coos Bay. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Oregon State University. She is working on a second degree, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She will use the Southwestern tuition waiver to finish up her nursing prerequisites and hopes this fall to be admitted to an accelerated BSN program. She eventually plans to work as a pediatric nurse practitioner in Coos Bay.

Contributed photo by Tina Woodworth, Dream Big Photography 

Miss Coos County 2018 contestants

"Being Miss Pacific Shores not only enables me to finish all the rest of those prerequisite classes at Southwestern for free, but enables me to start saving up the scholarships I won and any additional scholarships I have the potential to win at Miss Oregon, to be put towards a nursing program," Tripp said Sunday after the pageant.

Tripp won the title of Miss Coos County in 2015 and last year won the title of Miss Southern Gem 2017, so this summer will be her third trip to the Miss Oregon Scholarship Pageant.

"I choose to continue competing in this program ... because it has paid for the majority of my college education," Tripp said. "It took me three years to win the title of Miss Coos County 2015 and every year that I did not win, I still walked away with thousand of dollars in scholarships. I did not actually have to start paying for college myself until my senior year at Oregon State. And I still have a couple very expensive years of schooling ahead of me."

Tripp said she continues to compete because she has always wanted to be Miss Oregon.

"That is the dream I have had since I was a little girl and being able to present the culmination of six years of hard work onstage at Miss Oregon 2018, all while representing Coos County is a dream come true," she said. One of my biggest goals for this year is to compete and do well at Miss Oregon. I placed in the Top 10 last year and I hope to advance and improve on that placement this year.

Contributed photo by Tina Woodworth, Dream Big Photography 

Rylee Young, 17, a senior at North Bend High School, reacts to being crowned Miss Coos County 2018 on Saturday night.

"(I also) continue to compete in this program because it is so fun. I enjoy doing it. Some of my very best friends have been made through local competition and at Miss Oregon."

Tripp's 2018 platform - a community service each contestant must donate hours to and raise awareness of - was Better Together - A Community Centered Approach to Suicide Prevention. She sang "Good Morning Baltimore" from the musical "Hairspray." Tripp also was awarded the Deming Top Interview Award. She is the daughter of Todd and Susan Tripp of Coos Bay.

Young, 17, a senior at North Bend High School, was the 2016 Miss Coos County Outstanding Teen at age 15. Young's platform is the Girls Fight Like Girls Foundation promoting breast cancer awareness. Young sang "Il Dolce Suono" from the opera "Lucia de Lammermoor" for her talent. 

Miss Coos County 2018 scholarship awards

The Miss Coos County and Miss Pacific Shores Board of Directors congratulates all of the scholarship award winners from the competition on Feb. 17 and thanks the many donors for making those scholarships possible.

Young is the daughter of Jami Bridgham and Darin Loper and Josh and Heather Young. Her career ambitions are to obtain an osteopathic doctorate in holistic medicine as well as a degree in writing so she can become a published author. 

Hutchings, 16, is a junior at North Bend High School. She sang "Matchmaker" from "Fiddler on the Roof" for her talent. Her platform is The Ark Project for Homeless Youth and she hopes to earn a degree in criminal justice so she can have a career as an FBI field agent. 

Guests Saturday night included the reigning Miss Oregon Harley Emory, and Miss Oregon Outstanding Teen Emma Ellis, among other former and current crown holders from around the state. 

Outgoing 2017 Miss Coos County Brittany Crutchfield and and Miss Coos County Outstanding Teen Sammie Huffman, along with Miss Coos County Outstanding Princess Kiara West said their goodbyes prior to crowning their successors, thanking the community for a successful year.

Almost every young woman who has competed in Miss America qualifying events say they gained from the experience. Tripp is no exception.

Contributed photo by Tina Woodworth, Dream Big Photography 

Alyssia Hutchings, second from left, reacts after being named as the 2018 Miss Coos County Outstanding Teen on Saturday night.

"I started competing the Miss America Organization when I was a 17-year-old senior in high school," Tripp said. "I have grown up through this program and I will never be able to say enough good things about it or of all the blessings it has brought into my life. It has shaped me from an unpolished young girl to a confident young woman who embraces the blessings, trials and challenges that life brings.

"I truly believe that no matter if you win or lose, every girl walks away from our program with something, whether it be scholarship dollars, more confidence, more self esteem or new friendships. It took me three tries to win my first local, and I have always said that the years that I have spent without a crown on my head have been just as influential on the shaping of the woman I am today, as the years I have spent with the sparkly hat. I encourage every young girl I talk to to give Miss Coos County a shot, because there is no bad part about it. Everything gained is important."

"I am so excited to serve this community, because they have given me so much," Tripp added. "I encourage this community to use us as titleholders - we want to spend our year serving the community that supported us. Booking us can be done through our board of directors, and our wonderful executive directors, Vicki Ericson and Amee Springsteen."

The Miss Oregon Scholarship Pageant will be held June 27-30 at the Seaside Civic & Convention Center.

SWOCC hosts third annual Teddy Bear Toss

COOS BAY — This Saturday, Feb. 24, Southwestern Oregon Community College will be hosting a Teddy Bear Toss during halftime at the men’s Basketball game.

Attendees who bring a new teddy bear to the game to throw out onto the court at halftime will receive free admission.

At halftime the floor is cleared and the crowd will count down to the toss. Targets are set up on the floor of the gymnasium for more competitive teddy bear tossers.

The stuffed animals will be collected and donated to Bay Area Hospital’s Pediatric Unit, the Kids’ Hope Center, and the Child Abuse Center for Coos County.

“We do this so that every child that comes in to our Kids’ Hope Center that has an issue gets something to take home. If they have siblings we also give them a stuffed animal or toy to take home,” Bay Area Hospital Chief Development Officer Barbra Bauder said.

This is the third year the SWOCC is hosting a Teddy Bear Toss to benefit Bay Area Hospital. SWOCC’s Junior Chamber of Commerce organizes the event with Bay Area Hospital.

“It’s a really good opportunity for us and the community to help out kids who are going through hard times,” Junior Chamber of Commerce president Danielle Nelson

Bears provide anxiety relief and comfort the hospitals youngest patients while they receive treatment and other services.

“It’s a comfortable gift to give children who are expecting medical care,” Bauder said.  

Last year’s toss event organizers hoped to collect 300 stuffed animals, but to their surprise received almost 400.

“We’re aiming for over 400 this year,” Bauder said.

The SWOCC Lakers will be playing at home in the Prosper Hall Gym against the Chemeketa Community College Storm.

If you would like to donate a new teddy bear or stuffed animal, but can’t make the basketball game there are donation bin located at the Charleston Marina, and Banner Banks. Stuffed toy donations can also be brought directly to Bay Area Hospital.

“Putting together this event I’ve learned how important it is to connect with your community,” Nelson said.

Trump plan: Less health insurance for lower premiums

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration Tuesday spelled out a plan to lower the cost of health insurance: give consumers the option of buying less coverage in exchange for reduced premiums.

The proposed regulations would expand an alternative to the comprehensive medical plans required under former President Barack Obama's health law. Individuals could buy so-called "short-term" policies for up to 12 months. But the coverage would omit key consumer protections and offer fewer benefits, making it unattractive for older people or those with health problems.

The plans would come with a disclaimer that they don't meet the Affordable Care Act's safeguards, such as guaranteed coverage, 10 broad classes of benefits, and limits on how much older adults have to pay. Insurers could also charge more if a consumer's medical history discloses health problems.

Nonetheless, administration officials said they believe the short-term option will be welcomed by people who need an individual health insurance policy but don't qualify for the ACA's income-based subsidies.

Those in this largely middle-class crowd make too much for subsidies and have absorbed years of price hikes. Some say they now face monthly, mortgage-size payments of well over $1,000 for health insurance. Then they usually have to pay a deductible of several thousand dollars. Research indicates the uninsured rate among these customers is growing.

"If you are not subsidized, the options can be really unaffordable for folks," Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters. The administration estimates monthly premiums for a short-term plan could be about than one-third of what a comprehensive policy costs.

Democrats swiftly branded it a return to "junk insurance," and the main insurance industry lobbying group said it was concerned the Trump plan could divide the healthy from the sick in the market and make it more expensive to cover those with health problems.

Democrats say the solution is to increase government subsidies, so that more middle-class people will be eligible for taxpayer assistance to buy comprehensive coverage. The Obama administration had limited short-term plans to periods of no longer than three months, making them impractical for many consumers.

"We shouldn't be in the business of providing people with worse care," said Sam Berger, a former Obama aide now with the liberal Center for American Progress. "What we should be focusing on is finding ways of reducing the cost of high-quality care."

Trump administration officials reject the notion that they're trying to undermine the ACA. Instead, they say they are trying to make things more workable for people who are not being helped by the health law.

The administration estimates that only about 100,000 to 200,000 people will drop coverage they now have under the ACA and switch to cheaper short-term policies. They also say they expect short-term plans could attract many people among the estimated 28 million who remain uninsured.

"What we see right now is that there are healthy people sitting on the sidelines without coverage, and this is an opportunity to provide them with coverage," said Seema Verma, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which also administers the Obama-era health law.

A government economic analysis that accompanied the proposal forecast a moderate increase in premiums among customers sticking with their ACA plans through Because subsidies are tied to the cost of premiums, taxpayers would end up spending more.

Administration officials said there's no final decision on whether consumers will have a legal right to renew coverage under one of the new short-term plans.

One major health insurance company, United Healthcare, is already positioning itself to market short-term plans.

But others in the industry see them as a niche product for people in life transitions, like being in-between jobs, moving to another state, or retiring before Medicare kicks in.

"I certainly wouldn't recommend them to someone receiving a significant subsidy or who has ongoing health issues, but there are certain times and certain places where it makes sense," said Jeff Smedsrud, an insurance entrepreneur whose companies sell short-term plans.

Consumer advocates say customers should read the fine print carefully to make sure the plan will cover their expected bills.

The administration's proposal will be open for public comment for 60 days. Plans would be on the market later this year.

However, short-term coverage won't count as qualifying coverage under the Obama health law for 2018. That means consumers with such plans would legally be considered uninsured, putting them at risk of fines. That wouldn't be a problem next year, when repeal of the ACA requirement that most Americans have coverage takes effect.

Tuesday's proposal follows another administration regulation that would allow groups to offer "association" health plans also exempt from ACA requirements to small businesses and sole proprietors. Having failed to repeal "Obamacare," Trump is now chipping away at it through regulations and waivers.

The plan doesn't affect people with job-based coverage, still the mainstay for workers and their families.

Kirsty Wigglesworth 

United States' Jessica Diggins, left, and Kikkan Randall celebrate after winning the gold medal in the women's team sprint freestyle cross-country skiing final at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Coos Bay police union adjusts bargaining agreement

COOS BAY — The Coos Bay City Council on Tuesday approved an updated bargaining agreement with the Coos Bay Police Officers Association.

The Coos Bay Police Officers Association is Coos Bay’s local police officer’s union. They meet with the city manager every three years to readjust its contract before bringing their new offer to the city council to vote on.

Coos Bay City Manager Rodger Craddock said, “We’ve been working under the public employee bargaining act to find some agreeable terms. We’ve met a number of times over the last several months to work through this.

Coos Bay Police Officers Association asked for an additional two hours of time off per year.

According to Craddock the traditional work cycle is around 2,080 hours per year, but Coos Bay patrol officers currently work around 110 hours more than that. The average officer works four 12-hour shifts, including two day shifts and two 12-hour night shifts before receiving four days off, provided they don’t have court dates to attend.

“Because of their weekly cycle they actually work more hours. Currently we compensate them for most of that, but we’re missing two hours,” Craddock said.

Another issue of great concern to the association was compensation for court appearances that fall on an officer’s vacation. Other cities give officers double time if they are subpoenaed to court during an approved vacation. Coos Bay does not currently do this for its officers.  

“It does happen on occasion, and they don’t get an opportunity to say no. They’re commanded to appear,” Craddock said.

During the negotiations it happened that an officer was out of state on vacation and was forced to come back to provide testimony to a grand jury. So a point was made to include this in the new agreement.

The city decided in negotiations that it would like to change the way it contributes to the police health savings account. Instead of paying a lump sum at the beginning of the year the city would now pay into that account monthly. The being if an officer still on probation does not pass the city does not want to compensate the employee for money they didn’t earn.

Currently when an officer gets hurt on the job, the city compensates them for 90 days, other unions in the state in similar jurisdictions offer their officers 180 days of compensation. Coos Bay Police asked to update the agreement to 180 days.

Probably the biggest change was a 3 percent cost of living raise for the first year of the three-year agreement.

“Years two and three we have no idea what will happen. We generally negotiate the range. We’ll say we’ll give you a two percent based on what the consumer price index is. This is all based on cost of living increases and is not an official raise,” Craddock said.

One of the first things considered when reworking any of the city’s bargaining agreements whether they’re with police, fire, or other city workers is how Coos Bay compensates its workers compared to similar jurisdictions in the state.

“Those are jurisdictions that are of a similar size, and similar demographics as we have. We try not to compare ourselves to large metro areas because they pay much higher wages and that’s really not a fair comparison,” Craddock said.

There are 32 members of the Coos Bay Police Officers Association. The new agreement is for 2019 through 2021. The total fist year's cost of compensation will be totaled at $118,000 more in compensation from the city. Years two and three range anywhere from $81,000 to $162,000 annually.

Coos Bay Police Chief Gary McCullough said, “It was a good compromise for both parts. I think the police force and the city can benefit from this agreement.”