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North Bend District thanks trade building sponsors
Dinner to be held next month; more sponsors welcome

NORTH BEND — The North Bend School District has three big tasks ahead of it in order to finish its new trade school building. The first is finalizing the last details of what the building will look like.

Earlier this month, North Bend High School Principal Bill Lucero, along with Vice Principal Jake Smith and architect Joe Slack with HGE visited different school districts to check out other trade buildings and curriculums. One of the schools included Benson Polytechnic High School in Portland.

“We’re close to finalizing what the building will look like,” Smith said. “The design of the building hinges on our financial situation.”

The district received a Career and Technical Education grant for $336,000, which is braided into CTE Measure 98 funds. Of those Measure 98 funds, the district plans on spending about $600,000, so in total about $1 million will be used to pay for the new trade building over two years.

The second and third tasks go hand-in-hand.

“We’ve been working on the curriculum, which depends on who we hire,” Smith said. “It depends on their skills for what we decide to spend on our curriculum.”

As for other progress being done on the new building, Slack is still drawing up plans but the district is meeting with him almost weekly. Lucero plans on getting permits to start building soon, though construction isn’t expected to start until spring.

The future North Bend Trade Center has been a dream of the district for years. In a previous interview, Lucero explained that the reason behind it is to create a trade program just as successful as the high school’s college bound program.

This way the high school can work with staff and community partners to together provide skills needed to gain employment beyond entry level jobs.

“We don’t want people to make $10 or $11 an hour, we want them to have a family-wage job,” Lucero told the school board, as The World reported in December. “We want to put kids in a field where they can have a family and earn a great wage and still stay around here. We want to build those trade programs so our students can be successful.”

The new building is expected to be built on the North Bend High School campus where two sheds already exist near the parking lot.

On Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. in the Hall of Champions, the district is hosting a dinner to not only thank local business sponsors for becoming partners in this endeavor, but to inform them on what has been done so far to make it a reality and ask for their participation.

“We want their input in what they want to see in our students the skills that would make them ready to go out in the trades and make them a useful employee, a higher level employee,” Lucero said. “We want them to use the skills the trade community sees as valuable.”

The dinner is to get business input on the curriculum the district is still developing.

“One suggestion for our business partners is to sponsor certain units of materials, so if there’s an electric company in town with surplus materials when they’re done with a job, this night is important for us to build that kind of relationship,” Smith said. “Our hope with this program is not just to build an academic program, but to prepare kids to work. We hope to establish apprenticeship programs that will lead to companies hiring people with skills. The benefit businesses gain is of qualified employees and we gain expertise or materials to keep our program going.”

The sponsor dinner next month will also showcase the district’s other CTE programs, including its famed culinary department headed by Chef Frank Murphy. Murphy plans on cooking a full course meal for guests, who are attending through invitation only.

“It will be an informative night,” Lucero said. “People will get to see some of the exciting things happening here.”

To become one of the business partners to the project, call the high school and ask for ether Lucero or Smith at 541-756-8328.

Commercial crabbers settle on price
Fishermen accepted Hallmark Fisheries' $2.75 per pound offer

CHARLESTON — Commercial crabbing finally settled on $2.75 per pound.

Scott Adams, general manager at Hallmark Fisheries in Charleston, told The World that’s what he offered to fishermen Jan. 10. He heard back a couple weeks later.

“The season was initially delayed back in December,” he said. “You have a lot of factors, including the ocean that changes every year to which areas have percentages you can fish in. It’s like raising a cow and killing it before it’s grown up, so we try to buy the crab or shrimp or fish when it’s ready to harvest.”

Adams also attributed the delay to the ongoing demoic acid testing.

“The state continues testing after already getting clear tests,” he said. “Port Orford will come in clear and open for normal crabbing, but yet (the state) will test again, which processors have to watch for because what if they find one crab and say they are 31 parts per million, meaning then we would have to do a recall. We’ve done this for over 50 years and never seen anyone get sick yet, but it hurts fishermen and processors.”

Adams said he has already eaten a few pieces of crab on Monday and can say, “It’s really nice crab. We really do try to give the best product we can, and fishermen do the same.”

Contributed photo by Tim Novotny 

A crabbing boat gets ready to head out from the Coos Bay/Charleston port on Jan. 22. 

Blue moon, supermoon, total lunar eclipse rolled into one (copy)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The moon is providing a rare triple treat this week.

On Wednesday, much of the world will get to see not only a blue moon and a supermoon, but also a total lunar eclipse, all rolled into one. There hasn't been a triple lineup like this since 1982 and the next won't occur until 2037.

The eclipse will be visible best in the western half of the U.S. and Canada before the moon sets early Wednesday morning, and across the Pacific into Asia as the moon rises Wednesday night into Thursday.

The U.S. East Coast will be out of luck; the moon will be setting just as the eclipse gets started. Europe and most of Africa and South America also will pretty much miss the show.

A blue moon is the second full moon in a month. A supermoon is a particularly close full or new moon, appearing somewhat brighter and bigger. A total lunar eclipse — or blood moon for its reddish tinge — has the moon completely bathed in Earth's shadow.

"I'm calling it the Super Bowl of moons," lunar scientist Noah Petro said Monday from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Others prefer "super blue blood moon."

Either way, it's guaranteed to impress, provided the skies are clear.

The moon will actually be closest to Earth today — just over 223,000 miles. That's about 1,500 miles farther than the supermoon Jan. 1. Midway through Wednesday's eclipse, the moon will be even farther away — 223,820 miles — but still within unofficial supermoon guidelines.

While a supermoon is considered less serious and scientific than an eclipse, it represents a chance to encourage people to start looking at the moon, according to Petro.

"I'm a lunar scientist. I love the moon. I want to advocate for the moon," he said.

Throw in a blue moon, and "that's too good of an opportunity to pass," according to Petro.

As the sun lines up perfectly with the Earth and then moon for the eclipse, scientists will make observations from a telescope in Hawaii, while also collecting data from NASA's moon-circling Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, launched in 2009.

Just like the total solar eclipse in the U.S. last August cooled the Earth's surface, a lunar eclipse cools the moon's surface. It's this abrupt cooling — from the heat of direct sunlight to essentially a deep freeze — that researchers will be studying.

Totality will last more than an hour.

"The moon is one of the most amazing objects in our solar system," Petro said. "It really is the key to understanding the solar system, through interpreting the geology and surface of the moon."

NASA plans to provide a live stream of the moon from telescopes in California and Arizona, beginning at 5:30 a.m. EST.

Republicans vote to release classified memo on Russia probe

WASHINGTON — Brushing aside opposition from the Justice Department, Republicans on the House intelligence committee voted to release a classified memo that purports to show improper use of surveillance by the FBI and the Justice Department in the Russia investigation.

The four-page memo has become a political flashpoint, with President Donald Trump and many Republicans pushing for its release and suggesting that some in the Justice Department and FBI have conspired against the president.

The memo was written by Republicans on the committee, led by chairman Rep. Devin Nunes of California, a close Trump ally who has become a fierce critic of the FBI and the Justice Department. Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election and whether Trump's campaign was involved.

Republicans have said the memo reveals grave concerns about abuses of the government surveillance powers in the Russia investigation. Democrats have called it a selectively edited group of GOP talking points that attempt to distract from the committee's own investigation into Russian meddling.

The vote Monday to release the memo is an unprecedented move by the committee, which typically goes out of its way to protect classified information in the interest of protecting intelligence sources and methods. The memo was delivered by courier to the White House on Monday evening. Trump now has five days to object to its release by the committee.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told "Fox and Friends" that the memo will be reviewed Tuesday. The White House said late Monday that Trump would meet with his national security team and White House counsel to discuss the memo in the coming days.

Republicans said they are confident the release won't harm national security. They also said they would not release the underlying intelligence that informed the memo.

"You'll see for yourself that it's not necessary," said Texas Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas, who's leading the House's Russia investigation.

But Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said the panel had "crossed a deeply regrettable line."

"Today this committee voted to put the president's personal interests, perhaps their own political interest, above the national interest," he said, noting that the memo's release could compromise intelligence sources and methods.

While Trump's White House signaled he would likely support the Republican memo's release, his Justice Department has voiced concerns.

In a letter to Nunes last week, Justice officials said releasing the classified memo could be "extraordinarily reckless" and asked to review it. Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd suggested that releasing classified information could damage the United States' relationship with other countries with which it shares intelligence.

After those complaints, FBI Director Christopher Wray reviewed the memo over the weekend.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who was with Wray when he reviewed the memo, said the FBI director did not raise any national security concerns with him. Gowdy said the memo doesn't reveal any intelligence methods but it does reveal "one source."

But Schiff said Wray told him Monday that the review didn't satisfy his concerns about the memo's release. Wray wanted to brief the committee about FBI and Justice Department concerns ahead of any release, a request committee Republicans blocked, Schiff said.

The FBI did not respond to a request for comment Monday evening.

Privately, Trump has been fuming over the Justice Department's opposition to releasing the memo, according to an administration official not authorized to discuss private conversations and speaking on condition of anonymity.

At the behest of Trump, White House chief of staff John Kelly and other White House officials contacted Justice Department officials in the past week to convey the president's displeasure with the department's leadership on the issue specifically, the official said. In a series of calls, Kelly urged the Justice officials to do more within the bounds of the law to get the memo out, the official said.

It is still unclear exactly when or how the memo will be released.

Conaway said the memo could be released within the five-day window if Trump signals his approval for releasing it. But committee rules don't address how that approval must be given — or what happens if it comes in the form of a tweet.

Some Republican senators have said they don't want to release the memo, and Democrats have pushed back on Republican criticism of the FBI, saying it is an attempt to discredit Mueller's investigation. The probe has already resulted in charges against four of Trump's former campaign advisers and has recently moved closer to Trump's inner circle.

"They will trample on anything to protect the White House at this point in time," said Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., of the Republican move to release the memo.

Late Monday, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi blamed House Speaker Paul Ryan, who oversees the intelligence panel and has deferred to Nunes, whom she called a "stooge." She said on CNN that Ryan is allowing the release of a "false memo based on a false premise."

In response, Democrats on the panel have put together their own memo. On Monday, the committee voted to make the Democratic memo available to all House members — but not the public. Conaway said he was open to making it public after House members have a chance to review it.

The fate of the Nunes memo is only the latest flashpoint in the contentious relationship between Trump and the Justice Department.

Trump has frequently raged at Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia probe, a move the president believes was disloyal and led to the appointment of Mueller.

Separately Monday, Schiff and Conaway said former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon will appear for a closed-door interview Wednesday.

Bannon was interviewed by the committee earlier this month but refused to answer questions about his time in the Trump administration at the direction of the White House counsel's office. Bannon served on Trump's campaign and was the chief strategist in the White House until he left in August.

Bannon's refusal drew a subpoena from Nunes seeking to compel him to answer the committee's questions.

On Monday, Conaway said, "I expect our subpoena will be complied with."