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Bryan's Home project for veterans to move forward
First financial goal met to purchase property in North Bend

COOS COUNTY – Operation Rebuild Hope’s goal to purchase what will be known as Bryan’s Home has been met.

On Monday, Operation Rebuild Hope founder Patrick Wright made the announcement that “we reached our first financial goal of $20,000, so we are purchasing the property when escrow closes Dec. 15,” he said.

The property is on Highway 101 in North Bend, the rundown yellow house on the west side of the street that can be seen shortly after entering town. Wright plans on turning that property into a self-sustained veteran housing operation, where veterans down on their luck can find a home and work.

Wright decided to name it Bryan’s Home after his friend Bryan Bertrand, who he attended Marshfield High School alongside. Both joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served overseas. However, Bertrand became the first reported casualty in Afghanistan from Coos County when he died on Jan. 27, 2002.

Having now raised enough money to move forward with Bryan’s Home came as a relief for Wright, he said.

“It’s a small community, so when you put your name on the line and say you’re going to do something . . . a year ago I said we were going to do this and now we are,” Wright said. “It shows the community when I say it will happen, it will.”

Wright is still taking donations for renovating Bryan’s Home. To donate, visit www.operationrebuildhope.org or donate through Operation Rebuild Hope’s Facebook page where a donate button has been set up. To mail a donation, checks or cash can be sent to 2001 Union Avenue, Suite 109 in North Bend. Donations can also be dropped off at Operation Rebuild Hope’s office at 2005 Union Avenue in North Bend.

“We’re really looking forward to beginning,” Wright said of the project.


Local
Max's Mission held first local naloxone community meeting
The meeting helped raised awareness and training about the overdose-reversing drug

NORTH BEND – For the first time, Max’s Mission brought free life-saving naloxone to Coos County.

The Wednesday night meeting on Nov. 14, held at the North Bend Community Center, invited the public to be trained and collect free naloxone inhalers. Coordinating with Max’s Mission was Advanced Health, one of the leading local agencies fighting against the opioid epidemic.

“We have one of the highest overdose hospitalization rates in the state, which is why this project ended up here,” said Kate Frame, the prescription drug overdose prevention coordinator with Advanced Health. “The Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention Project, along with work done by Advanced Health, has helped bring down prescriptions. We know with fentanyl in the community, we want people to have naloxone because fentanyl poses such a huge risk.”

According to Frame, fentanyl can now be found locally in heroin, cocaine and even marijuana.

Max’s Mission is to arm the public, from households to businesses and schools, with naloxone. Co-founder and Executive Director Julia Pinsky began the nonprofit with her husband, David, in 2016.

“We started this two years after our son Max died from a heroin overdose in our home in 2013,” she told The World before the community meeting began. “We lived in a semi-rural area, 20 minutes from the nearest hospital. I never heard of naloxone then and he’d been using opioids for almost a year.”

After he died, three other young men in Ashland, where they lived, died in a six month period. The Pinskys knew most of them.

“It had a huge impact for us,” she said.

Following this, she spent much of her time online researching the opioid epidemic. It was how she discovered naloxone, which in places back east allow the general public to carry the overdose-reversing drug.

To make that happen in Oregon, Pinsky called Jackson County’s medical director who sent her to a naloxone workgroup where she met mainly pharmacists, doctors and prescribers.

“I kept asking, ‘How can I get it? How can families living with opioid users get it?’” she remembered.

She went home and asked her husband what he thought of helping her start a nonprofit.

“We had a GoFundMe and raised enough money to buy some naloxone, we had a lot of community support, and we were off,” she said.

Now she and her husband take Max’s Mission to communities throughout Oregon to train people on how to use naloxone and hand it out for free. At the Wednesday meeting in North Bend, Max’s Mission worked with HIV Alliance, which provided the naloxone for free.

“What meetings like this do is it gets into people’s brain that they can have naloxone in their home and they then have it to save someone’s life,” Pinsky said. “Fentanyl is here, in many drugs from opioids to meth. Many people now need to carry naloxone because there’s a shorter window of time if there’s fentanyl in something. You have two minutes before an overdose when fentanyl is involved.”

To learn more about naloxone and how to use it, visit www.maxsmission.org.  

“All it takes is one dose up one nostril,” Pinsky said. “We’ve given this to police departments, bars, and a taxi cab company. To buy it is $150 retail. By having naloxone in your home, it’s like having a fire extinguisher.”

According to Frame from Advanced Health, the public can also go to most pharmacies and ask for it without a prescription. Businesses can coordinate with HIV Alliance to do office trainings with staff for free.

“We will follow the surgeon general’s idea with saturating the community with naloxone and keep doing community events like this one,” Frame said. “We want everyone to have it and know how to use it.”

Pharmacies that give out naloxone are as follows: BiMart Coos Bay, BiMart North Bend, BiMart Brookings, Corner Drug Gold Beach, Fred Meyer Coos Bay, Fred Meyer Brookings, Rite Aid North Bend, Rite Aid Bandon, Rite Aid Brookings, Safeway Coos Bay, Safeway North Bend, Semperts Myrtle Point, Walmart Coos Bay, Hometown Drug, Waterfall Pharmacy, Coast Community Pharmacy, and Reedsport Pharmacy.


Lee-wire
AP
Frustration, chaos as California fire recovery drags on

CHICO, Calif. — It's been 12 days since Christina Taft started the frantic search for her mother Victoria, who refused to evacuate their Paradise home as flames neared, and six days since she gave authorities a cheek swab to identify remains that are likely her mother's.

She still hasn't received confirmation that her mother is dead, and says she's been frustrated by what she feels is a lack of communication from Butte County officials.

"They said they found remains, they didn't say her remains. They won't confirm it to me the whole time," Taft said Monday.

With 79 people killed in the nation's deadliest wildfire in at least a century, there are still nearly 700 names on the list of those unaccounted for. While it's down from nearly 1,000 the day before, it is inexact, progress has been slow, and the many days of uncertainty are adding to the stress.

More than a dozen people are marked as "unknowns," without first or last names. In some cases, names are listed twice or more times under different spellings. Others are confirmed dead, and their names simply haven't been taken off yet.

Survivors and relatives of those caught in the fire in Northern California are using social media to get the word out: In some cases, to post that their loved ones were safe; in others, to plead for help.

"Aunt Dorothy is still missing. There has been confusion going on at the Sheriffs office regarding her whereabouts because she was taken off the list," a man wrote on Facebook on Monday.

"I have an uncle and two cousins that I have not been able to make contact with," one woman wrote on Facebook, with their names. "Any info would be appreciated."

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea has said he released the rough and incomplete list in hopes that people would contact authorities to say they are OK. He has called it "raw data" compiled from phone calls, emails and other reports.

"We put the list out. It will fluctuate. It will go up. It will go down because this is in a state of flux," Honea said Monday. "My view on this has been that I would prefer to get the information out and start working to find who is unaccounted for and who is not. I would put progress over perfection."

Officials have also culled reports from the earliest hours of the disaster, when fire knocked out mobile phone communications and thousands fled, some to safe shelter that was hundreds of miles away.

Honea said his office was working with the Red Cross to account for people entering and leaving shelters. Evacuees are also helping authorities narrow the list, sometimes by chance.

Meanwhile, those searching for bodies were in a race against the weather, as rain was forecast for Wednesday. The precipitation could help knock out the flames, but it could also hinder the search by washing away fragmentary remains and turning ash into a thick paste.

The fire, which burned at least 236 square miles and destroyed nearly 12,000 homes, was 70 percent contained on Monday.

Alcatraz Island, San Francisco's cable cars, the Oakland Zoo and other San Francisco Bay Area area attractions were closed Monday because of smoke from the blaze some 140 miles away. Several San Francisco museums over the weekend offered free admission to give people something to do indoors.

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said it is "way too early" to estimate the damage done by the wildfire. But for perspective, he said the Northern California fires that gutted 6,800 homes last year resulted in $12.6 billion in insured losses.

"It's going to be a long and painful process," he said.

In Southern California, the tally of structures destroyed by the huge wildfire increased to 1,500 on Monday, fire officials said. With 95 percent of the burn assessment completed, the count also showed 341 structures damaged.

The fire erupted Nov. 8 and powerful Santa Ana winds pushed it through suburbs and wilderness parkland in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, forcing thousands of people to flee.

Three people were found dead in the aftermath. They remain unidentified.


Local
Wet weather ahead for Thanksgiving weekend

COOS COUNTY -- A series of fronts will bring valley rain, mountain snow and gusty winds to southern Oregon for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The first front will arrive on Wednesday, the second and wettest front will arrive on Thanksgiving and linger through Friday. The last of the fronts will arrive Friday night into Saturday, according to a press release from Coos County Emergency Program Manager Michael Murphy.

Precipitation will gradually end on Saturday evening into Sunday. Temperatures will be relatively colder after Sunday, with lows reaching the low 20s east of the Cascades and the low 30s west of the Cascades, except for the coast.

The National Weather service suggests that with wet wind weather, folks traveling for the holiday allow themselves extra time to reach their destination, provide more space between vehicles, keep a roadside emergency kit in vehicles, and carry chains or snow tires.


AP
Oregon marijuana prices dive - and sales soar

PORTLAND (AP) — Rampant overproduction in Oregon's market for legal, recreational marijuana has produced a 50 percent drop in prices, according to state economists. That widely documented collapse has been tough on farmers and retailers - but a boon for consumers.

A new state analysis finds the price collapse sparked a big uptick in marijuana purchases and a corresponding increase in associated tax revenue, the Oregonian/OregonLive reported .

"Lower prices are helping to drive the volume of sales higher and induce black and medical market conversions into" the legal, recreational market, said Josh Lehner of the Oregon Office of Economist Analysis.

Recreational marijuana sales in Oregon will be nearly $543 million this year, up 29 percent from 2017 and well above economists' expectations, forecasts show.

When Oregon legalized marijuana four years ago, expectations were enormous for the newly legal market. The state created incentives for producers to leave the black market, leading to overproduction and the ensuing price decrease.

A state study found the retail cost of a gram of marijuana plunged from $14 in 2015 to $7 last year.

Recreational marijuana remains a small industry, relative to the size of Oregon's economy. For comparison, economists note that cigarette sales are 40 percent higher than marijuana sales. But legal marijuana is growing fast - state forecasts suggest it will be a billion-dollar market in 2025.

While Oregon has no general sales tax, it does levy a 17 percent sales tax on marijuana. Marijuana taxes generated nearly $70 million in revenue last year and are forecast to generate nearly $90 million in 2018.

State forecasters believe marijuana may eventually play a more important role in the state's economy.

"The real economic impact from recreational marijuana will come not from the growing and retailing, which are low-wage and low value-added market segments," economists wrote in a revenue forecast issued last week. "It will come from higher value-added products like oils, creams, and edibles, in addition to niche, specialty strains."

The rise of marijuana in Oregon could evoke the emergence of craft brewing in the state, the economists wrote, with value-added production augmented by a cluster of suppliers and support industries.

"The long-term potential of exporting Oregon products and business know-how to the rest of the country remains large," economists wrote, "at least once marijuana is legalized nationwide."