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Ground is broken for the new Winter Lakes schoolhouse in Coquille
"We saw the possibilities"

COQUILLE — In almost 240 days from now, the Coquille School District will have a brand new Winter Lakes schoolhouse and district trade building.

On Monday, the district broke ground where the construction will soon take place. Superintendent Tim Sweeney showed guests at the ground breaking ceremony where parts of the new school will stand in place of the old Granite Plus building.

Jillian Ward / JILLIAN WARD The World 

Superintendent Tim Sweeney shows where future Winter Lakes classrooms and cafeteria will stand after construction of the new school is finished.

“When we started this, we thought if we had 50 students at Winter Lakes and could get 20 of those to get a GED, we would be highly successful,” Sweeney told The World, looking back at how the district’s alternative school got started. “We have 350 students now and get 68 percent to graduate.”

As he put it, Winter Lakes gives students feeling disenfranchised with the traditional school setting a way to graduate early or recover credits.

“Last year, we had four get their Associate’s Degrees when they graduated,” he said. “When this new building is finished, it will feel like Winter Lakes is more part of the district. The growth we’ve seen at the school is stunning and we’re happy and excited to be here.”

Sweeney explained that the new school will be completed so quickly because it is small. The new school will have eight classrooms, an office and a cafeteria. Not only that, but the total project is costing the district close to $5 million.

“For a school, that is a bargain,” Sweeney said.

 Winter Lakes Principal Tony Jones stood in the doorway of the old Granite Plus building and said, “It’s been a long time coming.”

“We’ve done a lot of planning,” he said. “Each step makes it more real.”

Not only will the new site be a brick and mortar school for Winter Lakes, but will also hold the new trade building for the district. It will house construction, as well as cosmetology programs for students.

Jillian Ward / JILLIAN WARD The World 

Superintendent Tim Sweeney stands with Winter Lakes Principal Tony Jones at the site of the new Winter Lakes school on Monday before the ground breaking ceremony.

“Measure 98 funds let us do cosmetology,” Jones said. “We started with our school board with the idea and then our administration teams, making visits around the state to see what other districts are doing. We saw the possibilities and once we get up and going then local students will benefit.”

As part of the trade program, the district purchased two caterpillar construction simulators. One is a front loader, while the other is an excavator.

“It’s just like sitting in the real thing,” Sweeney said. “You push the joystick forward, it moves forward. You put a load into the scoop and feel the weight shift.”

The district used Measure 98 funds and bought both under $100,000. Once students have been certified from using the simulators, they will use an excavator to dig four-foot by four-foot holes and fill them up.

Jillian Ward / JILLIAN WARD The World 

Superintendent Tim Sweeney stands before mock-ups of what the new Winter Lakes school will look like once construction is complete in September.

“We’re working with Umpqua Community College to get a commercial driver’s license,” he said. “A student who gets through the program at 18 years old would, in theory, be job ready.”

As always, Sweeney grinned and said, “It’s a good time to be in Coquille.”

Full moon rises tides in the bay

COOS BAY — With the full moon on Sunday, Coos Bay is experiencing king tides that, coupled with a recent storm surge, are raising water levels to noticeably different heights than usual.

King tides generally extend tides about 2.5 feet further than normal, and much further if there is a storm or swell.

Nicholas Johnson / NICHOLAS A. JOHNSON The World 

A bridge connecting a floating dock to shore usually sits at about a 45 degree angle, but the higher tides brought the span nearly level on Monday.

Our current king tide began on Saturday and will last through Tuesday. According to the National Weather Service we will have one more round of king tides this winter, Feb. 18-19.

The other time of year many places experience high tides are in the spring, when the sun and moon pull the tides from opposite sides of the earth. King tides occur similarly, with the sun and moon pulling on opposite sides of the earth, the difference being that the moon is at its closest to the earth during the winter. During these times the moon appears larger in the sky and is appropriately called a super moon.

Storm drains down on Front Street could be seen bubbling out water at high tide Monday afternoon. Bridges connecting floating docks to shore that usually sit at 45 degree angles were practically level.

Nicholas Johnson / NICHOLAS A. JOHNSON The World 

Coos History Museum sees raising tides as a result of seasonal king tides. 

The new Coos Bay Village was not breached by the bay at high tide, likely because of the work being done to that plot to prepare it for development.

Most affected by king tides are areas along the shore that are eroded areas like the parking lot at Sunset Bay State Park, where asphalt has been washed out by the tides already.

Often king tides are most harmful when people are out on the jetties during high tide. People will sometimes get caught in what’s known as a sneaker waves.

No evidence found to substantiate shots fired at Bay Area Hospital
Hospital was put into lockdown for almost 15 minutes after shots were heard in the back parking lot

COOS BAY — Bay Area Hospital ended a temporary partial lockdown this morning.

The Coos Bay Police Department first received report that a shot had been fired in the area at 8:52 a.m. This was after the hospital went into heightened security when shots were heard in the back parking lot, according to Director of Nursing Operations Liesl Peterson.

“To protect our staff and patients, we went into a locked situation where we investigated and where people were safe and not walking into danger,” Peterson told The World shortly after the lockdown was lifted.

The shots were first heard at the hospital between 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. Peterson said that BAH remained in lockdown status for approximately 15 minutes.

“When we responded, we had five officers, along with deputy sheriffs, who responded to check the parking lot,” said Sgt. Hugo Hatzel with the Coos Bay Police Department. “We checked the area, checked all the vehicles, checked the vehicles on foot and as we responded the hospital advised that they went on partial lockdown.”

Peterson said when the hospital goes into lockdown, external doors are locked and people are kept inside while the situation is investigated. Because it was a partial lockdown, patients were still able to present for care.

Chief Nursing Officer Regina Rose said in her three years at BAH, this was the first lockdown she has seen.

“We called Coos Bay Police and communicated with our EMS so they knew what to do during the lockdown,” Rose said.

The Coos Bay Police Department patrolled the area and remained nearby even after the lockdown was lifted.

“Staff and visitor safety is a top priority,” Peterson said. “We would respond like this every time until we knew it was clear.”

Hatzel said that he and the other law enforcement officers didn’t find anything to substantiate that a shot had been fired.

“It is possible a shot was fired or there was another reason that loud noise was heard,” he said. “There is no other reason to take further action.”

Trump's solution hangs in limbo

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's proposal to break through the budget deadlock appeared to be gaining little traction Monday, as another missed paycheck loomed for hundreds of thousands of workers and the partial federal shutdown stretched into its fifth week.

Despite the fanfare of the president's announcement, voting in Congress was not expected to unfold until later in the week. Even then it seemed doubtful that legislation based on Trump's plan had any chance of swiftly passing the Senate. Republicans hold a 53-47 majority but would need Democrats to reach the usual 60-vote threshold for bills to advance.

Not a single Democrat publicly expressed support for the deal in the 48 hours since Trump announced it. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer's office reiterated Monday they that are unwilling to negotiate any border security funding until Trump re-opens the government.

"Nothing has changed with the latest Republican offer," said Schumer spokesman Justin Goodman. "President Trump and Senate Republicans are still saying: 'Support my plan or the government stays shut.' That isn't a compromise or a negotiation — it's simply more hostage taking."

While the House and Senate are scheduled to be back in session today, no votes have been scheduled so far on Trump's plan. Senators, who will be given 24-hour notice ahead of voting, have yet to be recalled to Washington.

McConnell spokesman David Popp said Monday that the GOP leader "will move" to voting on consideration of the president's proposal "this week."

Trump, who on Sunday lashed out at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, accusing her of acting "irrationally," continued to single her out on Twitter.

"If Nancy Pelosi thinks that Walls are "immoral," why isn't she requesting that we take down all of the existing Walls between the U.S. and Mexico," he wrote Monday. "Let millions of unchecked 'strangers' just flow into the U.S."

House Democrats this week are pushing ahead with voting on their own legislation to re-open the government and add $1 billion for border security —including 75 more immigration judges and infrastructure improvements — but no funding for the wall.

Trump later tweeted: "Democrats are kidding themselves (they don't really believe it!) if they say you can stop Crime, Drugs, Human Trafficking and Caravans without a Wall or Steel Barrier. Stop playing games and give America the Security it deserves. A Humanitarian Crisis!"

Trump on Saturday offered to extend temporary protections for young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children and those fleeing disaster zones for three years in exchange for $5.7 billion for his border wall. Democrats said the proposal for a three-year extension didn't go far enough, and that Trump was using as leverage programs that he targeted. Meanwhile, some on the right, including conservative commentator Ann Coulter, accused Trump of offering "amnesty."

"No, Amnesty is not a part of my offer," Trump tweeted Sunday, in response. He noted that he offered temporary protections for the immigrants in question, but added: "Amnesty will be used only on a much bigger deal, whether on immigration or something else."

That statement led some to suggest that Trump might be open to including a potential pathway to citizenship for the young "Dreamer" immigrants in a future proposal to end the standoff.

Asked in an interview on "Fox News Sunday" whether Trump's Saturday proposal represented a "final offer," Vice President Mike Pence said the White House was willing to negotiate.

"Well, of course," Pence said. "The legislative process is a negotiation."