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Drinking for a cause

COOS BAY — Area residents gathered at 7 Devils Brewing Co. on Tuesday afternoon to drink a glass, or two, to help those affected by the Chetco Bar Fire and Hurricane Harvey.

7 Devils Owner Carmen Matthews said the fundraiser was organized with the idea that there are disasters occurring both in Coos Bay's backyard and beyond. That, and it was a fun way for the community to band together.

“Just watching things kind of go down around us we just wanted to make sure that we had a way to help even though we’re not directly in the line of fire or in the disaster area,” Matthews said.

The brewery, usually closed on Tuesdays, was packed Tuesday.

“We wanted to try to get as many people coming out as they're on their way to, hopefully, the Music on the Bay, and give them a place to wet their whistle and maybe get a bite to eat and do a little donation at the same time,” Matthews said.

Rick Cooper, President of North Bend Professional Firefighters, said he helped teach the Oregon National Guardsmen before they were deployed to the Chetco Bar Fire.

After a long day of teaching in Salem, he was talking with a group of guys about the devastation from the fires.

“Coming home I was thinking ‘man what can we do as an association to help those people?’” Cooper said.

So, he got in contact with 7 Devils owners Annie Pollard and Matthews.

The pair was on board with the fundraiser, donating all of the breweries sales to both the United Way of Greater Houston and the Humbold Foundation Victims of the Chetco Bar Fire Fund.

Employees and live bands donated their time as well.

Carly Otis was one of the employees who volunteered her time.

“It was just the right thing to do and I have the time to spare,” Otis said.

Outside, there was also a donation table where patrons could choose which charity they wanted to donate to.

Marcia Hart, Executive Director of United Way of Southwestern Oregon, was manning the donation table.

She said the community is incredibly helpful.

“7 Devils is just awesome that they stepped up,” Hart said.

Matthews said he hopes that the event shows that victims are being supported, even from as far away as Coos Bay.

“These unexpected events really make it hard for people to, as a whole community, bounce back at hopefully a sustainable rate,” Matthews said, “We’re hoping that even though this is just a small fundraiser we're able to show them that they have support even if it’s not right in front of them.”

New teacher is reinvigorating the art program
For the first time in years, art classes at Marshfield are full

COOS BAY – In the art room at Marshfield High School, cabinets are filled with dusty remnants from discontinued jewelry and photography classes.

When art teacher Heidi Ositis took the job, she didn't realize she was walking into a dying program. Now she is bringing it back to life, leading six packed classes. Some of her courses have over 30 students, meanwhile she is still surprised she even got hired.

“I didn't think I was going to get the job when I did my interview,” Ositis remembered. “I didn't ask the right questions and just came back with the attitude that since I'm not going to get it, I'll just be me, and that's when I got it.”

Principal Travis Howard said that after just the first two days of school, kids were clamoring to be in her classes and that she is “reinvigorating the program.”

Hearing that intimidated Ositis.

“That's a high bar to reach and surpass,” she said. “I'm scared, but it's a good fear. We're building something great here.”

After being hired, Ositis went to the school counselor and begged her to stock every art class with as many students possible. If they wanted to drop them later, they could, but it gave her a chance to show them what they'd be missing if they did.

“In my classes I stress self-regulated learning strategies, which means students are encouraged to get up and get their own pencils,” she said. “I want them to have the experience of creating their own time restraints. As they do this, they will become more self-sufficient and build confidence in their art.”

In fact, Ositis is working on an action research project for her grad school thesis at Western Oregon University. The thesis follows the theory that art programs have this aspect to them that can't be found in other classes, which is self-regulation.

“I want to build that into this program so it is a major facet,” she said. “That way when I have an advanced class, these students can be self-sufficient and invested in their own work. These are skills they can take with them everywhere.”

So far, Ositis has noticed students willing to think outside the box and push themselves on projects. Though she is starting everyone out on basic lessons, she plans on increasing the complexities of those projects as the year goes on. Often in art classes, students will repeat courses. For them, she also plans on giving them separate projects that are more challenging to keep them engaged and broaden their perspective on art.

Currently, her classes include basic design, prep, homeroom, creative art, intro to drawing, painting, and ceramics. However, Ositis is also working to bring back Marshfield's AP Art classes.

“We used to have college credit courses through SWOCC (Southwestern Oregon Community College),” she said. “I'm going into the application process now in order to get that college credit for some kids. It will take a couple years to get that done, but it's being worked on.”

Ositis gained her passion for teaching after working with adjudicated youth, but said since working at Marshfield, she finds high school students more challenging.

“High school kids run more of a gambit, and I enjoy the challenge,” she said. “I appreciate that I was hired, that the school is taking a chance on me. I hope I don't disappoint anyone.”

Marshfield Pioneer Cemetery to join statewide event
Volunteers needed to help with the clean-up

COOS BAY – Volunteers are being sought to help clean up the historic Marshfield Pioneer Cemetery on Friday, Sept. 22.

“We are participating in the first Statewide Historic Cemetery Clean-up,” said Cricket Soules, Pioneer Cemetery volunteer.

The event is being sponsored by SOLVE and the ODPR Historic Cemeteries Commission. Many of these cemeteries are from the 1800s and need help to clear out invasive species, debris, and care for headstones. At the Marshfield Pioneer Cemetery, Soules said attention will particularly be paid on headstones of people involved in the maritime industry or who served during WWI.

“Our new fence is nearing completion too, although we still need to raise some funds to pay for the remaining section,” Soules said, referring to the fence being put up around the cemetery. “The U.S. Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team has been helping with many of the 'heavy lifting' jobs to restore some of the monuments, but we can always use more help as well as additional information that relatives are willing to share.”

The clean-up runs from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“At 4:30 p.m., join us to appreciate the progress that has been made in erecting the new fence as we toast the accomplishments of our volunteers and sponsors with root beer floats,” Soules said.

To help finish the new fence, a dedicated account has been set up to take donations at Marshfield High School. To donate, call the school at 541-267-1405.

Advance registration for the clean-up can be done at