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Douglas County purchases Discovery Point RV Park

ROSEBURG — The Douglas County Commissioners Monday announced the purchase of Discovery Point RV Park in the Reedsport/Winchester Bay area.

This purchase will lead to increased revenues for the Douglas County Parks Department, according to a press release.

The sale closed March 22 and the county took over ownership on March 23. The total price for the 9.24 acre property, structures and RV operations is $1.8 million. Douglas County Parks received a $650,000 grant from Oregon Parks and Recreation Department’s local Government Grant Program. This program is derived from lottery funds and is dedicated to the expansion and improvement of outdoor recreation in Oregon. The remaining $ 1,150,000 is from county funds.

Commissioner Chris Boice, who is the commissioner liaison to the Douglas County Parks Department, commented, “In the counties current financial situation, the need to identify alternative revenue streams for county services is paramount. The tourism along the coastal section of Douglas County is a staple economic driver, and adding to our recreational offerings in that regard creates an additional opportunity to capture revenue from tourism to fund the county parks system. Potentially, it could lead to reduced dependency on parking fees in the future.”

The Parks Advisory Board voted at its last meeting to rename the park as, Umpqua Dunes RV Park. The county will to continue to operate the site as a recreational campground, but has plans for improvements to the property over time to enhance the recreational experience for users. They will be honoring all current reservations at the park and any new reservations can be made at the website: www.yourdcparks.com.

An official grand opening of Umpqua Dunes RV Park will take place on May 15. More details about the grand opening will come as the date approaches.

The project is part of a broader capital improvement plan for Douglas County Parks. The department is reinvesting usage fees in repairing and replacing park assets to ensure the outdoor recreational experiences remain for future generations. In 2016, the Douglas County Parks Department became self-sufficient and is reliant on user fees to operate and maintain the 43 developed parks, 23 boat ramps and nine campgrounds.


Njohnson / NICHOLAS A. JOHNSON The World 

A work crew preps the 93-year-old McAuley Hospital for demolition in the next few weeks.


Lee-wire
AP
White House disputes porn star's claim she was threatened (copy)

WASHINGTON — The White House on Monday disputed adult film star Stormy Daniels' claim that she was threatened to keep quiet over her alleged affair with Donald Trump and said the president continues to deny the relationship.

Daniels' detailed her allegations in a widely watched interview with "60 Minutes" that sparked new legal wrangling between attorneys for the porn star and the president's team. A lawyer for Michael Cohen, Trump's personal attorney, demanded that Daniels publicly apologize to his client for suggesting he was involved in her intimidation. Daniels responded by filing a revised federal lawsuit accusing Cohen of defamation.

Trump, who frequently takes on his foes in person and on social media, remained uncharacteristically quiet about the matter Monday. He sent a cryptic tweet saying "fake news" has "never been more voluminous or more inaccurate" but it was unclear what exactly he was referring to.

Instead, he left the denials to his White House staff. Spokesman Raj Shah declined to say whether the president had watched Daniels' interview, but said Trump did not believe any of the claims she made.

"The president strongly, clearly and has consistently denied these underlying claims, and the only person who's been inconsistent is the one making the claims," Shah said.

But Daniels was on Trump's mind this weekend in Palm Beach, Florida, where he had dinner Saturday night with Cohen at his Mar-a-Lago estate.

Trump, according to one person who spent time with him, told guests that Daniels now owes him $21 million for breaking her silence, and that every time she talks, she owes him a million more. Trump appeared in good spirits, laughing off the fact that Daniels will be bringing her "Making America Horny Again" strip show to a nearby venue next month, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to disclose private conversations.

Mar-a-Lago member Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax, told ABC Sunday that Trump told him "much of the Stormy Daniels stuff" is a "political hoax."

Trump returned to Washington on Sunday night, although first lady Melania Trump stayed behind in Florida. A spokeswoman for Mrs. Trump said she is "focused on being a mom and is quite enjoying spring break at Mar-a-Lago while working on future projects."

In her interview, Daniels said she'd slept with Trump once, shortly after Mrs. Trump gave birth to the president's youngest son. She also said that a man approached her in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011, when she was with her infant daughter, and threatened her with physical harm if she went public with her story.

In a letter late Sunday night, an attorney for Cohen demanded that Daniels publicly apologize to his client.

"In truth, Mr. Cohen had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any such person or incident, and does not even believe that any such person exists, or that such incident ever occurred," wrote Brent H. Blakely. He said Daniels and her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, should "cease and desist from making any further false and defamatory statements about my client."

Daniels, in the revised lawsuit she filed Monday, alleges Cohen made a false statement that damaged her reputation when he released a statement in February that intimated she was lying.

In a round of television interviews Monday morning, Avenatti said he was holding back certain details of the alleged affair, including the contents of a CD or DVD he tweeted a picture of last week, for strategic reasons. "It would make no sense for us to play our hand as to this issue and we're not going to do it right now," he said on NBC's "Today" show.

Daniels received a $130,000 payment days before the 2016 presidential election for her silence and has sought to invalidate a nondisclosure agreement she signed. Cohen has said he paid the $130,000 out of his own pocket while asserting Trump never had sex with the porn actress.

Previously, Cohen has said neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Daniels and he was not reimbursed for the payment.

During Monday's briefing, Shah said neither the White House nor Trump had violated campaign finance laws that restrict political contributions.

"The White House didn't engage in any wrongdoing," Shah said of Trump's behavior, adding that there was "nothing to corroborate" Daniels' intimidation claims.

In the interview, Daniels described a sexual encounter with Trump that began with him talking about himself and showing her an issue of a magazine with his picture on the cover.

She said she ordered him to drop his pants and, in a playful manner, "I just gave him a couple swats." At one point she said he told her: "Wow, you — you are special. You remind me of my daughter."

The interview gave "60 Minutes" its biggest audience in a decade, with slightly more than 22 million viewers tuning in, according to Nielsen Co. estimates.


Lee-wire
AP
US, allies band together to expel Russians over spy case (copy)

WASHINGTON — From Washington to Warsaw, Western nations banded together Monday to expel more than 100 Russian diplomats they accused of being spies, punishing Moscow for its alleged poisoning of an ex-intelligence officer in Britain.

President Donald Trump, under constant political heat for his reluctance to challenge Russia, ordered 60 of its diplomats out of the U.S. — all of them spies, the White House said. The United States called it the largest expulsion of Russian spies in American history, and also shuttered Russia's consulate in Seattle, deeming it a counterintelligence threat.

All told, at least 21 countries have ousted more than 135 Russians, including 23 kicked out earlier by the U.K.

"Together we have sent a message that we will not tolerate Russia's continued attempts to flout international law and undermine our values," British Prime Minister Theresa May told Parliament.

The American moves illustrated an increased willingness by Trump's administration to push back on the Kremlin, even as the president himself steadfastly avoids challenging Russian President Vladimir Putin personally or directly. Less than a week ago, Trump congratulated Putin for his re-election but didn't raise the March 4 spy poisoning, Russia's alleged election-meddling in the U.S. or its own tainted voting process, prompting dismayed critiques even from Trump's fellow Republicans.

In a choreographed show of trans-Atlantic unity, the U.S. and European allies carefully timed their announcements for maximum effect.

Within a few hours, at least 16 European Union nations expelled Russians, with more likely to follow. Germany, Poland and France each said it planned to boot four Russian diplomats, the Czech Republic and Lithuania ousted three, and Italy and Australia expelled two. Canada also took action, kicking out four Russians and denying three who have applied to enter the country.

The list included nations in Russia's backyard that have perhaps the most at stake. Ukraine, a non-EU country with its own conflicts with Moscow, was expelling 13 Russians. All three Baltic states said they would make diplomats leave.

Almost all of the countries said publicly that those being expelled actually were Russians intelligence operatives working under diplomatic cover.

Moscow threatened retaliation of the tit-for-tat variety, suggesting it would kick out an equal number of foreign diplomats. Russia's Embassy in Washington responded to the Seattle consulate closure by asking its Twitter followers to "vote" which U.S. consulate should be shuttered in turn: St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg or Vladivostok.

"This is an attempt on the lives of Russian citizens on the territory of Great Britain," Russia's Foreign Ministry said. "It goes without saying that this unfriendly move by this group of countries will not go unnoticed."

Yet it was unclear whether the expulsions, which may be inconvenient for Moscow but don't take aim at its economy, would be enough to alter Putin's behavior.

"There is no actual deterrence and squeeze," said James Nixey, head of the Russia program at think-tank Chatham House. "There is, so far, no cyber-response, no financial response."

Still, the dueling allegations added to a serious escalation of tension and distrust between Russia and the West, intensified most recently by a bizarre poisoning this month that evoked the spy-vs.-spy rivalries of the Cold War.

Britain has accused Moscow of using the Soviet-developed nerve agent Novichok to poison Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer convicted of spying for the U.K., and his daughter, Yulia, on British soil. The two remain in critical condition and unconscious. The U.S., France and Germany have agreed it's highly likely Russia was responsible. Russia has denied responsibility, while accusing Britain of leading a global charge against it without proof.

The expulsions came with a chorus of condemnation for the Kremlin — for the poisoning, Russian spying and other Western grievances. Poland's Foreign Minister, Jacek Czaputowicz, called it "the right response to the unfriendly, aggressive actions of Russia." In the Czech Republic, where Russian officials have claimed the poison may have originated, Prime Minister Andrej Babis dismissed that allegation as "an utter lie."

And the United States warned of an "unacceptably high" number of Russian spies in the U.S., describing them as a national security threat. Among the 60 Russians expelled were a dozen posted to Russia's mission to the United Nations who senior U.S. officials said were engaged in "aggressive collection" of intelligence on American soil.

"When we see these espionage tactics that are taking place right here at the heart of the U.N., we can't have that," said Nikki Haley, Trump's envoy to the U.N.

In Washington, Russia's ambassador was summoned early in the morning and told his diplomats have one week to leave the U.S. and must evacuate the Consulate General in Seattle by Monday. Located on the 25th floor of a large, downtown office building, the consulate is a particular counter-intelligence concern because of its close proximity to a U.S. submarine base and a Boeing Co. facility, said U.S. officials.

The officials said they estimated Russia had roughly 100 intelligence officials in the U.S., suggesting that dozens will remain even after the 60 are expelled. The officials weren't authorized to be identified by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.