NORTH BEND — Local community member’s cheered loudly as they began counting down the final seconds left in the second round of the Oregon Coast Community Action’s first annual Iron Chef Benefit Fundraiser at the North Bend Community Center, Saturday.
The event featured three chefs from around Coos Bay to compete against one another in a cooking competition an effort to raise funds and awareness to the programs offered by ORCCA.
ORCCA development director, Sara Stephens said ORCCA helps over 38,000 residents each year with their programs and services. The South Coast Food Share program at ORCCA, which was founded 1965, provides hunger relief to residents in Coos and Curry counties and is part of the Oregon Food Bank Network all working together to help end food hunger. Stephens said it is the largest regional food bank on the South Coast.
“We focus on programs that are going to help alleviate poverty and create a community that is thriving for all people,” said Stephens. “Every fund we raise will go back to our organization to help support our programs.”
For its inaugural fundraiser, ORCCA decided to base their event off of a popular T.V. show known as Iron Chef, where contestants are expected to turn out well-rounded dishes with a few challenges thrown at them and a tight time restriction. Stephens said they gave each contestant the same box of ingredients, which turned out to be items commonly found in their emergency food boxes they hand out.
The contestants were given 30 minutes for their first round and about an hour for their second round. They were to incorporate a secret ingredient that was later revealed to be tuna and eggs. The contestants included Karen Owlsley of Restaurant O, John Beane of So It Goes Coffeehouse and Greg Marshall of the Elkhorn BBQ and Food Truck.
The judges for the event included Timm Slater from the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, Clay Rasley from Canard Labs and Emily Scotland of Waterfall Clinic. After scoring each dish based on overall taste and flavoring, presentation and creativity it was decided that Karen Owlsley was the night’s winner.
“I had a lot of fun,” said Owlsley. “It’s extremely important we all come together as a community and take care of each other.”
Owlsley said she thought hard and pulled from her experience and memories of cooking in the kitchen with her grandmother and mother to think of dishes to make. She presented a tuna wrap with peach salsa and a play on breakfast and Thanksgiving dish for her second.
The event also featured a range of silent auction items, ORCCA presented to visitors as another way to raise funds. Some of the items included a tuna fishing trip, jet boat ride and restaurant gift certificates. The event sold over 5,000 tickets and raised over $7,000 for their programs.
Executive director of ORRCA Mike Lehman said he hopes to have this fundraiser each year. He stressed the importance of getting the word out of all the programs ORCCA has to offer in addition to its food resources but to connect people to their range of services.
“We are looking for partnerships and collaborations,” said Lehman. “That’s really when we do our best work.”
COOS BAY — Windy conditions swept through downtown Coos Bay as families and science enthusiasts gathered around the boardwalk to participate in the Celebration of Oregon Science’s (COOS) second annual Science Fair and March. Advocates from around the county held on tightly to their signs as they began their march downtown in support of science education and awareness.
COOS is among hundreds of organizations throughout the United States this past weekend, joining in for the national “March for Science” rallies and events. The march, which began on Earth Day 2017 in Washington D.C., was created as a way to promote the importance of science and its role in our society, in reaction to the new presidential administration.
Todd Buchholz, a COOS member and event organizer, said the goal of Saturday’s event was to reach out to the community about the significance of science education and programs.
“Lately we’ve been disassociating ourselves from the scientific world around us, so I think it’s very important, particularly with kids, to get inquisitive and start thinking critically about science,” said Buchholz.
Attendees kicked off the event with the march, which circled around downtown Coos Bay and returned back to the boardwalk for the fair. Marchers Beth, Shawn and their 6-year old daughter, Tzipora were among the first to arrive with their signs ready.
“We’re out here to stand up for science,” said Beth. “We believe in climate change and we want to help and do the right thing.”
Beth said her hand-painted sign expressed her concern with the environment by stressing there is no plan B and no other planet to go to, if conditions were to worsen.
A few of the fair’s displays and information booths included those from the Southwestern Oregon Community College’s Physics Department, the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition and the Coos Watershed Association.
“We want people to think about science and the potential career or educational routes they can take,” said Buchholz.
The Oregon Institute of Marine Biology’s Charleston Marine Life Center was among the booths at the fair bringing with them an assortment of marine animals to showcase. Visitors were able to view three different species of sea stars, a range of sponges and sea anomies and even observe through a microscope baby squids still encased in their egg sacks.
“We’re just trying to share the marine life that’s around us and the things that get us excited and that we’re studying,” said Reyn Yoshioka, a second-year PhD student at the University of Oregon.
Seven-year-old Rhenner Stoker attended the event with her mom, Kristi, gave her seal of approval with a thumbs up as described the event and marine animals at the booth.
“It felt weird and squishy,” said Rhenner. “It was cool!”
Buchholz said it was wonderful seeing everyone come out to the event and how great the turnout became.
“What strikes me the most about the Coos Bay area is people’s willingness to come out and express their concern for their community, “said Buchholz. “It’s fantastic to see.”
COOS BAY — More money has been added to the Coos Bay School District's bond project.
An additional $6 million came in after the district went out and sold $40 million of the initial $59.9 million, which was approved by voters last November.
“This is a good thing,” said Candace McGowne, the district’s director of business services. “Getting this money from the sale of the first set of bonds reflects well on our finances.”
McGowne broke down the complicated process, explaining that before the district went to sell the bonds it first received its bond rating.
According to a press release, Standard and Poors Global – which provides credit ratings – assigned the district an A+ underlying rating and an AA+ long term rating. In short, the district did well.
“This happened due to several years of consistently strong financial performance and very strong ending fund balances,” McGowne said. “We had submitted information on our district and community, three years of financials which means audits, budgets, that kind of thing, as well as the process on how we build a budget.”
Part of why the district also received such a high rating was after it purchased insurance on the bonds through the Oregon’s School Bond Guaranty Program, “which made them even more attractive to investors,” the release said.
Once the bond rating is received, a statement is sent to investors before the bond sale in order for them to evaluate if the district is a safe investment or not.
“We started the sale at 7:30 a.m.,” McGowne said. “Coupled with us being a good investment and that stocks opened poorly – so if stocks are down, bonds are up – that worked in our favor. People wanted to invest in us that day because it was smart on their part.”
Because of this, the district came out with over $46.2 million, so an additional $6 million than what they started with.
“That means we can use that for the project,” she said. “We still have to meet the same guidelines, still have to spend 85 percent in three years, but we have more to spend.”
McGowne added that the district is aware that construction costs have increased since the initial project proposal, “so we hope to have more of a cushion from this.”
The projects include the demolition of the old Eastside school, which will become a new elementary school. It will become the home for students currently attending Blossom Gulch Elementary, which will be closed. Other projects include rebuilding most of the Harding Building, as well as improvement projects in Madison and Millicoma.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday defended his use of the phrase "Mission Accomplished" to describe a U.S.-led missile attack on Syria's chemical weapons program, even as his aides stressed continuing U.S. troop involvement and plans for new economic sanctions against Russia for enabling the government of Bashar Assad.
Stepping up the pressure on Syria's president, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley indicated the sanctions, to be announced today, would be aimed at sending a message to Russia, which she said has blocked six attempts by the U.N. Security Council to make it easier to investigate the use of chemical weapons.
"Everyone is going to feel it at this point," Haley said, warning of consequences for Assad's foreign allies.
"The international community will not allow chemical weapons to come back into our everyday life," she said. "The fact he was making this more normal and that Russia was covering this up, all that has got to stop."
Trump tweeted Sunday that the strike was "perfectly carried out" and that "the only way the Fake News Media could demean was by my use of the term 'Mission Accomplished.'" He added that he knew the media would "seize" on the phrase, but said it should be used often. "It is such a great Military term, it should be brought back," he wrote.
Trump tweeted "Mission Accomplished" on Saturday after U.S., French and British warplanes and ships launched more than 100 missiles nearly unopposed by Syrian air defenses. While he declared success, the Pentagon said the pummeling of three chemical-related facilities left enough others intact to enable the Assad government to use banned weapons against civilians if it chooses.
His choice of words recalled a similar claim associated with President George W. Bush following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Bush addressed sailors aboard a Navy ship in May 2003 alongside a "Mission Accomplished" banner, just weeks before it became apparent that Iraqis had organized an insurgency that would tie down U.S. forces for years.
Later Sunday, Trump sent a letter to congressional leaders informing them in writing of his decision to order the strike. Under the War Powers Resolution, the president must keep Congress informed of such actions.
Haley made clear the United States won't be pulling troops out of Syria right away, saying U.S. involvement there "is not done."
Haley said the three U.S. goals for accomplishing its mission are making sure chemical weapons are not used in a way that could harm U.S. national interests, defeating the Islamic State group and having a good vantage point to watch what Iran is doing.
"We're not going to leave until we know we've accomplished those things," she said.
Haley said the joint military strike "put a heavy blow into their chemical weapons program, setting them back years" and reiterated that if Assad uses poison gas again, "the United States is locked and loaded."
French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday that France wants to launch a diplomatic initiative over Syria that would include Western powers, Russia and Turkey. Speaking on French television BFM and online site Mediapart, Macron stressed that the French diplomacy is able to talk with Iran, Russia and Turkey on one side and to the United States on the other side.
He said, "Ten days ago, President Trump wanted to withdraw from Syria. We convinced him to remain."
Asked about Macron's comments, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders stressed that Trump's plans for the region have not changed. In a statement, she said: "The U.S. mission has not changed — the President has been clear that he wants U.S. forces to come home as quickly as possible."
The nighttime assault on Syria was carefully limited to minimize civilian casualties and avoid direct conflict with Russia, but confusion arose over the extent to which Washington warned Moscow in advance. The Pentagon said it gave no explicit warning. The U.S. ambassador in Moscow, John Huntsman, said in a video, "Before we took action, the United States communicated with" Russia to "reduce the danger of any Russian or civilian casualties."
Russia has military forces, including air defenses, in several areas of Syria to support Assad in his long war against anti-government rebels.
Russia and Iran called the use of force by the United States and its French and British allies a "military crime" and "act of aggression." The U.N. Security Council rejected a Russian resolution calling for condemnation of the "aggression" by the three Western allies.
Assad denies he has used chemical weapons, and the Trump administration has yet to present hard evidence of what it says precipitated the allied missiles attack: a chlorine gas attack on civilians April 7 in Douma. The U.S. says it suspects that sarin gas also was used.
"Good souls will not be humiliated," Assad tweeted while hundreds of Syrians gathered in Damascus, the capital, where they flashed victory signs and waved flags in scenes of defiance after the early morning barrage.
The strikes "successfully hit every target," said Dana W. White, the chief Pentagon spokeswoman. The military said there were three targets: the Barzah chemical weapons research and development site in the Damascus area, a chemical weapons storage facility near Homs and a chemical weapons "bunker" a few miles from the second target.
Meanwhile, The leaders of Russia, Iran and the Hezbollah group in Lebanon said Sunday that Western airstrikes on their ally, Syria, have complicated prospects for a political settlement to the country's seven-year conflict.
A day after the U.S., Britain and France bombarded sites they said were linked to a chemical weapons program, Assad appeared briefly on state TV, seemingly unfazed by the military action — and even reportedly in high spirits.
Assad told a group of visiting Russian lawmakers that the strikes were accompanied by a campaign of "lies and misinformation" against Syria and Russia in the U.N. Security Council.
Moscow and Damascus are waging the same "battles" against terrorism and "to protect international law based on respect of the sovereignty of countries and the wills of people," Assad said in comments carried by state media, an apparent jab at the three Western allies.