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Coos Bay man killed in Highway 42 head-on crash

COOS BAY — A Coos Bay man was killed Thursday night in a head-on accident on Highway 42 at milepost 22.

A Coos Bay man was killed in a Thursday night head-on crash on Highway 42 near milepost 22.

About 5:45 p.m., Oregon State Police Troopers from Coos Bay Area Command and emergency personnel responded to a two-vehicle head-on collision near milepost 22 on State Route 42.

Preliminary investigation revealed, a white Nissan Frontier, operated by Garrison Chance Demain, 22, of Coquille, was traveling westbound on Highway 42 near milepost 22, for reasons still under investigation, crossed the center-line and collided into an eastbound red Ford Escape, operated by Kathy Ann Hebert, 57, of Myrtle Point. The passenger of the Ford, Daniel Thomas McCutcheon, 51, of Coos Bay, was pronounced deceased at the scene. Demain was transported to the Coquille Valley Hospital for treatment and Hebert was transported to the Bay Area Hospital for treatment and later transferred to Oregon Health and Science University by Air Ambulance.

The OSP was assisted by the Coos County Sheriff's Office, Myrtle Point Police Department, Myrtle Point Fire Department, Myrtle Point Ambulance, Bridge Fire Department, North Bend Police Department, Coquille Police Department, and Oregon Department of Transportation. State Route 42 was closed for five hours following the crash.

Speed, alcohol use and reckless driving are being investigated as possible contributing factors in the crash.

The investigation is ongoing. Witnesses were identified as having observed the Nissan Frontier eastbound on Highway 42 prior to the crash. It is believed that other witnesses, who may have observed the Nissan's driving behavior before the crash, may have left the scene prior to speaking with an investigator. Police are requesting anyone who witnessed the crash or the Nissan's driving prior to the crash to contact the Oregon State Police Southern Command Dispatch Center at 541-269-5000 and refer to OSP case #SP18077185.

Coos History Museum hosts new exhibit on native american military members

COOS BAY — A new exhibit premiered at the Coos History Museum on Thursday afternoon to honor Native Americans who served in the U.S. armed forces.

Ed Glazar, The World 

The Nasomah Singer of the Coquille Indian Tribe sing Thursday before an opening at the Coos County Museum.

The traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, titled Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces, details the involvement of Native Americans who served in the U.S. military in every U.S. conflict dating back to the Revolutionary War.

Coos History Museum director Susan Tissot said, “The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian put this exhibit together. It has a national focus.”

The exhibit will run from March 2 to April 29.

Thursday’s opening reception for the Patriot Nations exhibit saw around 100 attendees.

Drumming and song from the Coquille tribe’s Nasomah Singers opened the reception. The singers were followed by a posting of the colors ceremony performed by the United States Honor Guard.

After the performance, an invocation was given by Chief Warren Brainard of the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians.

Ed Glazar, The World 

People browse the newest exhibit at its opening Thursday at the Coos History Museum. "Patriot Nation: Native Americans in Our Nation's Armed Forces" was produced by the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. It will run through April 29 at the museum.

The Invocation was followed by a quick speech by Chief Don Ivy of the Coquille Tribe.

“One of the things that the Coquille tribe wanted to accomplish in its contribution to the museum was to have a facility locally here that we could bring other exhibits to from other museums. This is the first demonstration of that,” Ivy said.  

Members of the Tribal Council for both the Confederated Tribes and the Coquille tribe were in attendance.

Coos History Museum is housing the Patriot Nations exhibit upstairs in its mezzanine gallery. Detailed posters line the sides of the gallery and discuss Native American Heroes like Ira Hayes, and the Navajo Code Talkers.

“All the issues the exhibit talks about like why Native Americans served is very relevant to the whole country. We just felt it was really important to get people to think about who is in the community and what experiences they might bring to the community,” Tissot said.

To localize the exhibits message the Coquille and Confederated Tribes each created their own posters that sit at the front of the gallery and highlight local Native Americans who have served in the military. The Coquille Tribe’s poster feature 29 local Native American veterans, 15 of the names were accompanied with the picture. On the Confederated Tribes poster there are a total of 42 local Native American veterans shown.

“It’s important to help people understand there were a lot of Native Americans who served in the U.S. military, this is not a new thing,” Tissot said.

According to Tissot, the exhibit will change throughout the month. Some of the information that is currently up will be replaced with different information throughout the two months it’s being shown.

“This is a traveling museum from the Smithsonian. It’s here because we meet the standards and criteria and that’s what we wanted to accomplish. That’s what the tribe committed itself to. Being a partner with the community allows us to celebrate the community in a bigger way,” Ivy said.

Coos History Museum will be featuring several traveling exhibits in the following months including, a photo series on Oregon female veterans called I’m not Invisible, a Coast Guard painting exhibit, and an exhibit on the tattoos of veterans and the meanings behind them.

Public safety funding concludes preliminary budget hearings

COQUILLE -- Coos County’s public safety officials addressed the Coos County Board of Commissioners on Thursday for the last round of preliminary budget hearings.

The Coos County Sheriff’s Office breaks its budget down into several facets, the two biggest being its expenses for deterring crime, and its budget to run the jail. The proposed cost to fund the jail for fiscal year 2018-2019 is $5.8 million dollars. The remaining budget proposal to run all other duties in the CCSO is $4.8 million.

Some questions from from county commissioners were asked about the sheriff’s office proposed purchase of a new radio system. While commissioners were not opposed to updating the failing radio equipment, they aren’t sure how the county can afford the $1.9 million price tag.  

“I don’t dispute that this is a good idea, I just don’t know how we’re going to pay for it,” Commissioner Mellissa Cribbins said.

The Board approved a propagation study in a work session last month to get more exact estimates on the cost to replace the radio system. Estimates before the study were $1.3 million, after the study that estimate rose by around $600,000.

Replacing the radio system falls under the 911/ dispatch section of the sheriff’s office budget. Dispatch is also asking for new consoles for the dispatch center.

The current dispatch workstation consoles are over 20 years old. Dispatch argued that because the consoles are daisy-chained together and can’t be reconfigured, they are inefficient for sharing work between two dispatchers on opposite sides of the circle as dispatchers are physically plugged into their console. The cost to replace the consoles is $4,940.

The LNG Security Division has its own budget allocation in the sheriff’s office budget. It is important to note that no general fund dollars are used to fund the LNG Security Division. People who are hired through the $3 million LNG planning budget, funded by Jordan Cove, will patrol the community as deputies.

When, and if, the LNG Jordan Cove facility is completed, those deputies will become security for that facility and the number of deputies will return to what they were in 2017.  The LNG Division will attempt to hire 14 staff members over the next fiscal year.  

The Coos County Jail now has staff for two pods and can provide 98 beds to lodge local offenders. However, they still have four vacant positions they’ve budgeted for this coming fiscal year.

According to the sheriff's office, since the second pod opened at midnight March 1, the jail is already two-thirds full.

Community Corrections is the county’s parole and probation office. Although it is a state funded entity, it's still required to report its purposed budget to the county, as it does contribute to the general fund.

The department contributes $1.2 million to the county’s general fund in exchange for county services. Community Corrections has been paying for probation and parole beds in the jail that the sheriff’s office isn’t wasn’t always able to provide due to limited space. So the department was very happy to hear that another pod had opened.

“If the jail stays at 98 beds, Community Corrections will pay the full amount budgeted for fiscal year 2018-2019. However, if the jail beds drop to 49 Community Corrections will move to a pay-as-you-go system for sanction beds,” Community Corrections Business Manager Kelly Church said.

Official budget committee hearings will begin March 15, after each department’s budget is analyzed and adjusted.

Coos County Treasurer Megan Simms’s early estimate is that the county will be $1.5 million over budget.

Bi-Mart, Walmart, Fred Meyer raise age limit to buy firearms to 21

COOS BAY — Bi-Mart said Thursday it would not sell firearms to customers under the age of 21, joining three other regional retail chains that have changed their sales policies in the wake of the fatal shootings in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.

In a press release, the company stated, "... Bi-Mart and Cascade Farm and Outdoor stores, a division of Bi-Mart, will only sell guns and ammunition to those 21 or older that meet state and federal requirements for purchasing firearms.

Bi-Mart joins Dicks Sporting Goods, Wal-Mart and The Kroger Company, which is the parent organization for Fred Meyer, in raising the age limit to 21 for buying guns.

The release says the company has not sold and will not sell AK or AR platform-style rifles, bump stocks or high-capacity magazines for those firearms.

In its statement, Bi-Mart went on to say, "In recent weeks we, along with many members and our neighbors in retail, have paid close attention to the national discussion regarding firearm sales. Joining in that discussion — we support the responsible sale and use of firearms.

"Our goal is to support responsible firearm use and make a positive contribution to the local, regional and national discussion of this issue. Our policies have always been a reflection of our values at Bi-Mart — we will continue to make choices based on what we think is best for our members and the communities we serve."