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Tribal grant expands fresh food donations

When you’re short of cash and the cupboard is bare, a box of canned goods or a sack of pinto beans is a godsend. But food bank fare can be a monotonous diet.

Clark Walworth, Special to The World 

Once collected by volunteer driver Steve Taylor, the fresh food will be distributed promptly to local food banks.

“Even if you’re living in poverty, you don’t want to eat the same thing every day,” said Sara Stephens, development director for Oregon Coast Community Action.

The solution is Fresh Alliance, a creative project backed this year by a Coquille Tribal Community Fund grant.

Operating as part of ORCCA’s Food Share program, Fresh Alliance collects expired baked goods, produce and other foods from markets each day. Those foods – past their sell-by dates but still safe and tasty – go to local food banks, providing nutrition and variety to hungry families.

Thanks to Fresh Alliance, a family’s food box might contain fresh strawberries, salad greens, pastries – even a T-bone steak or a salmon filet.

“The ability to provide that is amazing,” said Laura Hunter, who directs South Coast Food Share.

South Coast grocers donate abundantly to Fresh Alliance – more than 400,000 pounds of food in 2017 alone. The numbers could be even higher, but ORCCA’s capacity to process donations has limited the number of stores taking part.

This year, a $20,000 grant from the Coquille Tribal Community fund will let Fresh Alliance add local McKay’s Markets to its donor list.

McKay’s will join Fresh Alliance’s existing list of donor stores, which already encompasses Fred Meyer, Safeway, Walmart, Ray’s Food Place and Cash & Carry. The additional stores will let ORCCA supply many additional tons of fresh groceries to local food banks.

“We are delighted to support the Fresh Alliance expansion,” said Jackie Chambers, who coordinates the Tribal Fund. “Our local supermarkets have been generous partners in meeting local needs. This grant lets Food Share expand that collaboration and reduce food waste in our area.”

Along with nutrition, Fresh Alliance’s diverse offerings deliver a rare sense of luxury to food bank clients.

“I think many times we make assumptions about what people in poverty should be eating,” Stephens explained. “Who really wants to eat dried beans and stuff in a can all the time?”

She recalled a young mother in Coquille who had no cake for her 4-year-old daughter’s birthday. Her food bank had one on hand – already lavishly decorated in a girlish theme.

“She just had tears in her eyes because they were going to be able to have that cake for her kiddo,” Stephens said.

Fresh Alliance is one of 57 organizations sharing more than $290,000 in Coquille Tribal Community Fund grants this year. Twenty-three of those programs, including Food Share, fall into the fund’s Health category, accounting for more than $130,000 of the total.

The Tribal Fund has distributed more than $6.1 million since 2001. This year’s grantees will be announced in groups over the next several days. The grants will be presented at a luncheon on Friday, March 2.

Want to Help?

Starting in late March, ORCCA’s Fresh Alliance program will need a new volunteer driver – or maybe two. If you’d like to donate your time, you’ll need to be over 21 with a good driving record. No commercial driver’s license is required, but experience handling a box truck is preferred. Some knowledge of food safety would be a plus.

To learn more, contact Laura Hunter at South Coast Food Share, 541-435-7097, or


Coquille businessman arrested on sex abuse charges

COQUILLE — A Coquille businessman, who was being sought by Bandon police for alleged sex crimes, is in custody and being transported back to Coos County, according to the Bandon Police Department.

On Thursday, the Coos County District Attorney's Office issued a warrant for the arrest of Paul Arthur Jackson, 71, of Coquille, in connection with five alleged sex crimes.

On Tuesday, the DA's office received information from a family member that Jackson may have fled to Idaho or California. On Thursday afternoon, Jackson was located in Medford and taken into custody, and transported back to Coos County on Friday, according to the Bandon Police Department.

According to the DA's office, Jackson is being charged with:

  • Sodomy in the first degree
  • Sodomy in the second degree
  • Sexual abuse in the first degree
  • A second charge of sexual abuse in the first degree
  • Incest

According to the DA's office, the crimes occurred between Jan. 1, 2015 and Feb. 20, 2018. There is only one victim involved with this case and it is a child relative, according to the District Attorney's Office. The case is being investigated by the Bandon Police Department.

Jackson is the owner of the Rolling Pin Restaurant, formerly Figaro's Pizza, in Coquille. In June, 2015, Jackson was arrested on charges of third-degree sexual abuse and sexual harassment. At that time, an employee accused Jackson of alleged unwanted contact with several female employees who worked for him. The outcome of that case is not known.

Anyone with information about this case or Jackson is asked to contact the Bandon Police Department.

After school shooting, Florida leaders propose new gun laws

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida's governor announced plans Friday to put more armed guards in schools and to make it harder for young adults and some with mental illness to buy guns, responding to days of intense lobbying from survivors of last week's shooting at a Florida high school.

Gov. Rick Scott unveiled his school safety proposals as teachers returned for the first time to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School since the shooting nine days ago that killed 17 people. While criticized by some as not going far enough, the measures were significant in a state that hasn't passed any type of gun control since Republicans took control of state government in 1999.

The shooting sparked an intense push to restrict access to assault rifles fueled by student activists who swarmed the state Capitol demanding concrete gun control measures.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump told conservatives Friday that even Second Amendment supporters can get behind steps to fight gun violence in schools, offering a red-meat call for arming teachers and suggesting they would be more likely to protect students than a security guard who "doesn't love the children."

Trump tailored his talking points Friday to his conservative audience, pushing the idea of arming some teachers who are "gun-adept people" but making no mention of another proposal he's advanced in recent days that is opposed by the National Rifle Association: increasing the minimum age for buying assault rifles from 18 to 21.

However, "I am totally against arming teachers," Broward schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said. "They have a challenging job as it is."

Scott, a Republican widely expected to run for the Senate, outlined his plan at a Tallahassee news conference. In addition to banning firearm sales to anyone younger than 21, the governor called for a trained law enforcement officer for every school — and one for every 1,000 students at larger schools — by the time the fall 2018 school year begins.

Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, which has more than 3,000 students, had one armed resource officer who never entered the building under attack while a gunman was shooting people inside, officials said.

That failure was compounded by confusion about what was being shown to police on school security cameras the day of the shooting and the lack of meaningful response to reports to the FBI and local police that 19-year-old suspect Nikolas Cruz might become violent, had guns and possibly would attack a school.

Trump said the armed officer who failed to confront the gunman in last week's school shooting in Parkland, Florida, was either a "coward" or "didn't react properly under pressure."

"He was not a credit to law enforcement," Trump told the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Florida's House speaker called it an "abject breakdown at all levels." Cruz is jailed on 17 counts of murder and has confessed to the shootings, investigators say.

A woman close to Cruz warned the FBI on Jan. 5 that he had rifles and said, "I know he is going to explode," according to a transcript of the tip to the FBI's call center, which was obtained Friday by The Associated Press. The FBI has acknowledged it failed to investigate the tip. The woman described Cruz's short temper and said he had the "mental capacity of a 12 to 14 year old." She said Cruz posted pictures of weapons on social media and he wrote, "I want to kill people."

Among other things, the governor's $500 million plan would create a "violent threat restraining order" that would let a court prohibit a violent or mentally ill person from purchasing or possessing a firearm or any other weapon under certain circumstances.

The proposal would also strengthen gun purchase and possession restrictions for mentally ill people under the state's Baker Act, which allows someone to be involuntarily hospitalized for up to 72 hours. Scott is seeking $50 million for initiatives that include expanding mental health services by providing counseling, crisis management and other mental health services for youth and young adults.

"No one with mental issues should have access to a gun. It is common sense. It for their own best interest, much less the best interest of our communities," Scott said.

The governor's plan made no mention of arming teachers on school grounds

However, the Legislature's Republican leadership proposed letting teachers carry a gun if they have had law enforcement training. The legislators' plan also calls for a three-day waiting period for most gun purchases, with exceptions.

Democrats said neither plan goes far enough.

"Unfortunately, both plans omit a third, critically important piece of legislation Democrats have been and continue to push for: a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines," said state Senate Democratic Leader Oscar Braynon. He added that recent mass shootings show that "so long as these high powered weapons of war remain available for purchase these killings will continue."

Talia Rumsky, a 16-year-old Stoneman Douglas High student who was at school during the shooting, was among those who traveled to Tallahassee on Wednesday to lobby lawmakers about gun control.

She said Scott's plan to make it illegal for anyone younger than 21 to buy a gun is a start, but said she doesn't think it goes far enough.

"This is a great first step and we appreciate it," the sophomore said. "But it's not enough, and we're going to make sure they know it's not enough and is not solving our problems."

Ed Glazar, The World 

Coquille sophomore Carlee GeDeros fires a pass during a 3A playoff game Friday against Warrenton at Coquille High School