COOS BAY — Southwestern Oregon Community College’s physics instructor Dr. Aaron Coyner was recently selected to join the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Solar System Ambassadors Program.
Dr. Coyner, a solar physicist, said he’s excited to be named an ambassador and looks forward to connecting Bay Area students and community members on up-to-date information regarding NASA’s many missions.
“As always I look forward to providing an educational service to this community,” said Dr. Coyner.
The ambassador program works with volunteers around the country in fostering their community’s interests in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory missions. It provides a variety of materials and training for its ambassadors.
With that in mind, Dr. Coyner said he’s planning a number of outreach events throughout the year in Coos County that would not only focus on specific NASA missions, but also on a range of astronomical topics.
“If any kind of civic organization or after school programs has an idea for an event I’m more than willing to come in and give a talk,” said Dr. Coyner. “It can be on anything from solar research that I used to do to current solar system explorations.”
As an ambassador, Dr. Coyner said he is also hoping to inspire others in the community to join the program. Currently, he is the only NASA ambassador available on the entire Oregon Coast.
“I am looking forward to speaking at schools and sharing my story on how I got be where I’m at today,” he said.
BUNKER HILL — Coos County deputies responded to an incident Friday afternoon involving a man who reportedly possessed a weapon travelling on Bay Park Lane in Bunker Hill.
“At about 1 p.m., deputies were alerted to the possibility that an individual on Bay Park Lane had a weapon and may have menaced a neighbor,” said a press release by the Coos County Sheriff’s Office.
Following protocol, the Lighthouse School, which is nearby, was placed on lockout as the level of caution increased throughout the area. Deputies were on hand to assist students as they were released from school Friday around 2:50 p.m. to their parents.
The perimeter that was set earlier in the day was lifted and the school’s lockout status was removed.
According to its press release, deputies contacted the individual in question and its believed he does not pose any threat at this time.
The incident is currently under investigation and charges have yet to be filed.
A team of students from the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute participated and won the annual American Culinary Federations regional Student Culinary Competition in Las Vegas the weekend of Feb. 2-3.
Representing the state of Oregon in the competition the OCCI students won the gold, which qualifies them to move on to the national competition in Orlando, Fla.
“This year we had five states represented, and we came out on top,” said Chef Randy Torres, executive director of OCCI. “The success comes from our hard work. All of these students on the team put in a tremendous amount of hours to prepare for this.”
The competition consisted of two major trials. The first was kitchen skills, and the second is a meal made for a panel of four judges within an hour and a half time limit.
“The first part of the competition really monitors the competitors on their cooking skills, from butchery, to vegetable cutting and pastry work. Then the second part is a four course tasting menu. They have to develop a menu that fits the criteria of the competition, and they have to use all the ingredients that they fabricated in the skills section,” Torres said.
The OCCI students began their four-course meal with a classic dish called Sol Veronique.
“The second course we did what we called a beet expression, which is a salad focused around different preparations of beet. So, it had beets shown in all different fashions with some greenery and all the things you would expect with a salad,” Torres said
For the entrée, the students prepared what they called a royal chicken. It was a chicken dish that featured a number of high-end ingredients like Oregon truffles, and foie gras.
“Our dessert was a chocolate banana dessert. It had a chocolate mousse with a variety of different styles of banana. It had a marinated baby banana on the outside, and a roasted banana in the middle with a pomegranate sauce,” Torres said.
One team member, Marissa Brazell, said that it was amazing to get the opportunity to compete against other schools and to work with her peers as a team.
“It was a really neat experience to get to go and compete, and I’m excited to get to go and do it again at nationals,” Brazell said.
Another team member, Vicki White, fills a support role in for the team. She helps with set-up and background work for the team
“We have a great team. We all work very well together, but we’re also really good friends outside of this. There’s a really strong bond between the team members and how we communicate,” White said.
Leading up to the competition, students on the team would begin their days at 4 a.m. to train and prepare.
One of the things that Torres has already begun to impress upon the team is that they will have to work even harder if they hope to be successful in the national competition.
“The students will have to work harder, more time, more effort and more fundraising,” Torres said.
It is important to note that the students fundraise collectively to pay for travel costs for these competitions.
OCCI has made it to the ACF’s national competition three times before, and has won at the national level once.
“I’m very confident in this group, and I’m confident in what they can achieve. I think that they’re all up for the challenge,” Torres said.
Chief Justice John Roberts broke with the Supreme Court's other conservative justices and his own voting record on abortion to block a Louisiana law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
Roberts didn't explain his decision late Thursday to join the court's four liberal justices. But it was the clearest sign yet of the role Roberts intends to play as he guides a more conservative court with two new members appointed by President Donald Trump.
Since the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy last summer, Roberts has become the court's new swing vote. He is, by most measures, a very conservative justice, but he seems determined to keep the court from moving too far right too fast and being perceived as just another forum for partisan politics in Washington.
"People need to know that we're not doing politics. They need to know that we're doing something different, that we're applying the law," Roberts said during an appearance this week at Tennessee's Belmont University.
Roberts' vote in the Louisiana case was the fourth time in recent weeks that he has held the decisive vote on 5-4 outcomes that otherwise split the court's conservative and liberal justices.
In late December, Roberts joined the liberals to keep Trump's new asylum policy from taking effect. It would have prevented immigrants from making asylum claims if they didn't enter the United States at a border crossing. Then, in January, Roberts voted with the conservatives to allow restrictions on military service by transgender individuals to be put in place.
On Thursday, a half hour before the court acted on the Louisiana law, Roberts voted with the conservatives to deny a Muslim death row inmate's plea to have his imam with him for his execution in Alabama. The federal appeals court in Atlanta had ordered the execution halted, but the Supreme Court lifted the hold and allowed it to proceed.
The final vote was the order to keep Louisiana's admitting privileges law on hold while the court decides whether to add the case to its calendar for the term that begins in October. Louisiana's law is strikingly similar to a Texas measure the justices struck down in 2016.
A district court judge had struck down the Louisiana law because he found it would have resulted in the closure of at least one, and perhaps two, of the state's three abortion clinics, and left the state with no more than two doctors who could meet the law's requirements. But the federal appeals court in New Orleans upheld the law, concluding it was not certain that any clinic would have to close.
So much of what the court has done in recent weeks has been through emergency appeals, cases that call for temporary, yet often revealing, votes. Unlike in cases that are argued and decided, the votes come with little explanation. When there is an opinion, it usually is a dissent.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote the only dissent in the Louisiana case, arguing that the court should have allowed the law to take effect because it is not clear that doctors would have been unable to obtain hospital privileges during a 45-day transition period.
After the ruling, some Democrats seized on Kavanaugh's vote as proof that he was not following through on his assurances at his confirmation hearing to respect past Supreme Court decisions on abortion. But in his dissent he said otherwise. Kavanaugh acknowledged that the court's decision in the Texas case is the guiding precedent and seemed to suggest he might be willing to vote the other way if it turned out that hospitals were unwilling to afford the doctors admitting privileges.
The Louisiana clinics had argued that they would have been forced to stop performing abortions immediately and that clinics, once closed, are difficult to reopen.
Kavanaugh and Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump's two high-court appointees, are among six Trump-nominated judges who voted to let the law take effect, a sign that the president is carrying through on a campaign pledge to put abortion-rights opponents on the bench. The other four judges are members of the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which had refused to put the law on hold.
In 2007, Roberts voted to uphold a federal ban on an abortion method its opponents call partial-birth abortion. Three years ago, Roberts was in dissent when the court struck down a Texas law that is strikingly similar to the blocked Louisiana measure.
Justices often feel bound by a prior decision of the court, even one they disagree with, at least until the court formally takes on a case to consider overruling the earlier decision.