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Ed Glazar, The World 

People watch competitors drag choker cables through an obstacle course during the White Cedar Days Loggers Shodeo in Powers.

White Cedar Days celebration wraps up Fourth of July festivities in Powers

POWERS — The city of Powers hosted its annual White Cedar Days event Saturday to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday and to honor this year’s theme, “Small Town America.”

Ed Glazar, The World 

People watch an axe throwing competition Saturday during the White Cedar Days Loggers Shodeo in Powers.

The citywide event began on Friday with a range of activities geared toward children, which included a kids parade and carnival. Powers Senior Activity Center Secretary Pat Moffett has been helping out with the annual event since she moved to Powers more than 30 years ago.

“Some of my favorite things about the event is the main parade and helping with the carnival,” said Moffett. “It’s really special to see the kids having a good time at the carnival and (parents) can bring them down here knowing they are safe and having fun. It speaks well for our little town.”

Moffett helped with this year’s fundraiser, a biscuits and gravy breakfast, hosted by the Senior Center and by selling tickets to the kids carnival, which took place at Bicentennial Park. The funds raised by the breakfast will go toward the Senior Center’s daily operations and facility maintenance.  

Ed Glazar, The World 

Brody Harless, 10, speeds through hay bales Saturday as people celebrate the annual White Cedar Days in Powers.

On Saturday, the main parade, a 5K & 10K run to Elk Creek Falls, a bread face-off contest as well as a logging competition were all held throughout town. New additions of a pie-baking contest and apple bobbing were also added to this year’s lineup.

The parade featured numerous local organizations, safety officials and residents from throughout the city. Former Powers Police Chief Rhett Davis was also named the parade’s grand marshal. Davis, who retired in December 2017, moved to the city in 1998 was recognized by the city for his service to the community.

Ed Glazar, The World 

Competitors drag choker cables through an obstacle course Saturday during the White Cedar Days Loggers Shodeo in Powers.

The Powers track and field team hosted the 5K and 10K run, which began at the corner of Second and Fir Streets, to raise funds for its program. The event also featured a two-day co-ed softball tournament at the Lions Softball Field. The Lioness Club served drinks and food during the games to raise funds for local scholarships and town projects.

Saturday’s list of activities wrapped up with the annual fireworks show, displayed over the County Park was sponsored by the Lions Club and put on by the city of Powers Fire Department.

Ed Glazar, The World 

People watch an axe throwing competition Saturday during the White Cedar Days Loggers Shodeo in Powers.

4 rescued from Thai cave; 9 remain inside

MAE SAI, Thailand — Four more of the boys trapped for over two weeks in a flooded cave in northern Thailand were brought out on Monday, an official said, bringing to eight the number extracted in a high-stakes rescue operation.

"The eighth person is out and the operation is done for today," Sitthichai Klangpattana, flag officer to Thailand's navy SEAL commander, told The Associated Press. "Four boys were brought out today."

He didn't comment on the health of the boys or how well the operation had gone.

On Sunday, when the high-risk rescue operation to rescue the 12 boys and their coach began, teams of divers brought out four of the boys but waited several hours before confirming their safe rescue.

After Monday's rescue effort, four boys and the coach were still inside the cave.

Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said earlier Monday that the second phase began at 11 a.m. and authorities "hope to hear good news in the next few hours."

"All conditions are still as good as they were yesterday," Narongsak told a news conference. "The boys' strength, the plan - today we are ready like before. And we will do it faster because we are afraid of the rain."

Authorities have been rushing to extract the boys, ages 11-16, and their coach from the cave as the annual monsoon bears down on the mountainous region in far northern Chiang Rai province. Workers have been laboring around the clock to pump water out of the cave, and authorities said Monday that heavy downpours overnight did not raise water levels inside.

The four boys pulled from the cave Sunday in an urgent and dangerous operation that involved them diving through the cave's dark, tight and twisting passages were happy and in good health, authorities said.

"This morning they said they were hungry and wanted to eat khao pad grapao," Narongsak said, referring to a Thai dish of meat fried with chili and basil and served over rice.

Still, the four were undergoing medical checks in a hospital in the provincial capital and were not yet allowed close contact with relatives due to fear of infections. Relatives were able to see them through a glass partition, the governor said.

The boys and their coach went exploring in the massive Tham Luang Nang Non cave on June 23 after a soccer practice, and were cut off when a rainstorm flooded the cave. A massive international search operation was launched and it took 10 days to locate the boys, who had taken shelter on a dry slope deep in the complex.

The search and rescue operation has riveted people both in Thailand and internationally, with journalists from across the globe traveling to this town along the border with Myanmar to report on the ordeal.

Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda had said early Monday that the same group of expert divers who took part in Sunday's rescue would return to extricate the others because they know the cave conditions and what to do. He had said fresh air tanks needed to be laid along the underwater route.

Authorities have said extracting the entire team from the cave could take up to four days, but Sunday's success raised hopes that it could be done faster.

Sunday's mission involved 13 foreign divers and five Thai navy SEALs. Two divers accompanied each of the boys, all of whom have been learning to dive only since July 2, when searchers found them.

Cave rescue experts have said they consider an underwater escape to be a last resort, especially with people untrained in diving.

The death Friday of a former Thai navy SEAL underscored the risks. The diver, the first fatality of the rescue effort, was working in a volunteer capacity and died on a mission to place air canisters along the passage to where the boys are, necessary for divers to safely travel the five- to six-hour route.

There were several concerns that prompted authorities to move forward with the plan to dive the boys out. One was that it was unknown how safe and dry the area where they had taken shelter would stay as Thailand's rainy season, which lasts until at least late October, picks up pace.

The other, and perhaps more worrying, was that oxygen levels in the complex were falling close to dangerous levels.

Students can now choose "non-binary" as a gender option
Coquille School District welcomes the change

COOS COUNTY — When classes reconvene in August, students now have the option to choose “non-binary” as a gender.

The Oregon Department of Education announced this change to be more inclusive following “a historic ruling by a Multnomah County Circuit Court judge in 2016 that allowed an (Army) veteran to identify as non-binary,” reported The Oregonian.

According to The Oregonian, this ruling gave Oregon the chance to become the first state to issue non-binary driver’s licenses, identification cards and birth certificates.

Locally, this news is being received with open arms at the Coquille School District. Superintendent Tim Sweeney told The World when he first heard of the change passed down from ODE in June, he said, “If that’s what makes students comfortable, we’ll be supportive.”

During the eight years he has been superintendent at district, there have been students who didn’t want to select male or female on their forms, but wanted to select non-binary.

“It was rare, we saw it three to five times,” he said. “But we’re flexible when it comes to that stuff. We’re here to support students, not make unnecessary hurdles.”

At the North Bend School District, Communications Specialist Brad Bixler sent The World a copy of one of the new forms for students. 

"To better support all students, North Bend School District updated our enrollment packet last spring to allow students the ability to select a non-binary gender option," Bixler wrote in the email. "This new form has a gender field that is now a fill in option. Students enter their gender of choice. Our school registrars then enter a student’s gender designation into our student database management software as male, female, or X."

Trump savors big reveal for court choice

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J. — A family separation crisis of his own making continues at the border. His Environmental Protection Agency chief just quit amid mounting scandals. And he's about to meet with an adversary accused of meddling in the 2016 election.

But President Donald Trump has every confidence that tonight, the nation's attention will be right where he wants it.

After more than a week of pitched speculation, Trump will go on prime-time television to reveal his choice to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, selecting a conservative designed to rally Republican voters in a midterm election year. And with that, the optics-obsessed president will be in his comfort zone — taking center stage in a massive show.

Trump said Sunday he was still deliberating his decision. 

"I'm very close to making a final decision. And I believe this person will do a great job," Trump said as he prepared to return to Washington from a weekend at his New Jersey golf club. Asked by reporters how many people were being considered, the president said: "Let's say it's the four people ... they're excellent, every one. You can't go wrong."

Trump tweeted later Sunday that he was looking forward to the announcement and said an "exceptional person will be chosen!"

While Trump didn't name the four, top contenders for the role have included federal appeals judges Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett and Thomas Hardiman. The White House has been preparing information materials on all four, who were part of a longer list of 25 names vetted by conservative groups.

Trump has not yet communicated a final choice, said a person familiar with his thinking who was not authorized to speak publicly. Trump has spent the weekend discussing his options with allies.

Nearly 18 months after Trump set in motion Justice Neil Gorsuch's nomination, the reality star-turned-president is more seasoned, more embittered and increasingly comfortable exerting his will over the machinery of government and his own staff. His upcoming "Supreme" show is the latest example of Trump's push to remake the federal bench with young conservative judges, a crusade he believes will energize GOP voters concerned about the state of the judiciary.

Trump is largely following the same playbook this time as when he successfully rolled out Gorsuch's nomination in January 2017. White House aides have strict instructions to keep information under wraps so Trump himself can make the big reveal. The president was gleeful when Gorsuch's name didn't leak out early.

"So was that a surprise?" Trump said, after announcing his decision.

Still, there are differences this time. In the last go-around, the White House relied heavily on outside consultants to push Gorsuch over the finish line. Despite a staff exodus that has left key vacancies across the West Wing, the White House this time is retaining more control over the nomination and confirmation processes. A war room of communications, legal and research staff has been assembled in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to promote and defend the nominee.

Trump has reveled in building up suspense in the days leading up to his speech, offering fragments of information here and there but strategically keeping the guessing game alive.

Speaking to reporters Thursday on Air Force One, Trump was coy.

"I don't want to say the four," he said. "But I have it down to four."

Past announcements of Supreme Court nominees were not made in prime time. President Barack Obama announced the selection of Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor from the White House during the day.

Theatrics aside, advisers stress that Trump's judicial selection process has been serious. He interviewed six top prospects and has been reviewing his options with lawmakers and outside advisers. In addition, Vice President Mike Pence met in person with Kethledge, Barrett and Kavanaugh, said a person familiar with the process who was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.