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Matt Rourke 


Nonprofit organization works to expand David Dewett Veterans Memorial

NORTH BEND — Point Man Ministries, a local nonprofit Christian organization, is working on expanding the David Dewett Veterans Memorial Wayside located north of the McCullough Bridge on U.S. Highway 101.

For the last two years, the group, which focuses on providing support for veterans and their families suffering from PTSD, has been working on raising funds for the expansion which is estimated to costs about $50,000.

Ed Glazar 

Tokens left at the David Dewett Veterans Memorial along U.S. Highway 101 in North Bend.

Ron Van Vlack, of Point Man Ministries, said about a month ago the group learned of a possible grant opportunity and partnership after speaking with Coos County Commissioners.

Following a suggestion from Commissioner Bob Main, Van Vlack said the group joined forces with the Coos County Parks Department and enlisted their help in applying for a grant through the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

If awarded, the group will receive about $40,000. According to Van Vlack, he along with fellow members Ron Anstine, Mark Winders and Rick Anderson will be traveling to Salem next week to attend a meeting hosted the grant’s review board.

The proposed expansion will include installing a new irrigation system, a Gold Star monument and a Battle Cross monument. The Battle Cross monument will be placed on a large concrete star with three bridge railings around it on the north end of the memorial.

Van Vlack, a Vietnam and Iraqi Freedom veteran who served 30 years in the Oregon Army National Guard, said the monuments will honor both the families and soldiers who lost their lives during war.

In the future, he also mentioned adding a bronze statue of a woman kneeling before the memorial to honor women in military families who waited for their loved ones while they were away.

In the early 2000’s, Point Man Ministries first began its journey toward creating a veterans memorial by securing the property where the memorial currently stands through the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Adopt-a-Highway program.

It was later named after member and Navy veteran David Dewett, who passed away in 2005 from cancer, to honor his commitment and hard work to the cleanup and creation of the memorial. The OPRD will announce its grant recipients in April.

With that in mind, Van Vlack said construction will likely begin this summer. He added the group has also made arrangements with Lighthouse Landscape, West Coast Contractors and Knife River for their services on the expansion.

North Bend School District represented at national conference
One teacher believes the use of e-portfolios put the district "on the map"

NORTH BEND — Two students from the North Bend School District were selected to present at the prestigious Northwest Council for Computer Education Conference last weekend.

The Seattle, Wash. conference hosts 2,500 educators from around the nation, bringing them together to network and share best practices in technology education. This allows other teachers to replicate good ideas and implement them in their own classrooms.

This was the fourth year that students from the North Bend School District were selected to present, made possible by grants from the Ford Family Foundation, the North Bend School Foundation, and Pristine Auto Sales.

“We had two students and their families go up,” said Barbara Becker, North Bend Middle School’s 6th grade core language arts teacher. “It was nice to have their families because it’s a student-led conference and there were a lot of questions in our session for the parents on what they thought and how it works.”

Ethan Amato, in 7th grade at NBMS, and Haley Reeves, a freshmen at North Bend High School were the two students selected by Becker and Woodland Hood, the 7th and 8th grade English language arts teacher at NBMS.

“We looked at their public speaking ability and ability to reflect on their own work,” Hood said of how Amato and Reeves were chosen. “Their ability to think out their own work set them apart, though more would have been able to go. We could only bring two.”

Amato and Reeves showcased their e-portfolios, a piece of technology introduced at the district last year in the middle school.

For Amato’s dad, Tim, he has appreciated being able to see the e-portfolio to keep up with his son’s academic goals.

“North Bend parents can view grades online,” Tim Amato said. “When your kids are in middle school and you ask about their day, their answer is usually ‘good.’ When you ask what they did, they say, ‘stuff.’ With the portfolio, he had to communicate how he got that grade and the goals that were set. It puts pressure on to make sure he does good work because it’s something we will sit down and review and he takes pride out of that.”

For Haley Reeves, she said the experience to go to Seattle and hear other presentations opened her eyes to what else is out there beyond North Bend and Coos Bay.

“It was great,” she said, adding that she hopes NBSD spreads the e-portfolio technology into the high school one day too.

For her dad, Josh, he explained that since the district started having students use e-portfolios, he remembers what’s being done in her education.

“But not the first two years of middle school where there were lots of binders shoved with paper,” he laughed.

When he joined her and the Amatos at the conference, he was able to see what else is being done in other schools and marveled at the use of robotics and virtual reality, as well as 3D printers.

“There were a lot of cool things,” he said.

Becker believes that the e-portfolio presentation, “put North Bend on the map for innovation.”

“Nobody in the room raised their hand when I asked if they had e-portfolios in their landscape of education,” she said. “This wouldn’t be possible if teachers weren’t being innovative.”

Brad Bixler, the district’s communication specialist, said the NBSD’s strategic plan includes looking at student performance and tracking it, providing a clear line of evidence as it progresses.

“Our hope is, as they expressed, to take this further into the high school,” he said. “That’s the kind of foundation we want to see.”

Late Secretary of State memorialized in state funeral

SALEM — Former Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, who died in office last month following a battle with brain cancer, was honored Wednesday at a state funeral with stories about his devotion to his faith, family and the state.

Richardson, 69, was Oregon's top elections official and held the second-highest office in the state after the governor. He was the highest-ranking Republican in state government and was the first Republican elected to statewide office in years.

Lawmakers and colleagues paid their respects during a state funeral on the floor of the Oregon House of Representatives, where Richardson served for 12 years.

Through tears and laughter, acting Secretary of State Leslie Cummings praised Richardson for wholehearted dedication to public service, recalling that Richardson would often work from early in the morning until late at night, and would bring such an enthusiasm to his work that his colleagues called him the "Energizer Bunny."

Richardson prioritized election fairness and conducting thorough audits on the state's ailing foster care system, Portland Public Schools and the state's Medicaid program.

Cummings took over day-to-day operations last October, about four months after Richardson publicly announced he was diagnosed with cancer. As he battled the disease, he kept working, encouraging Oregonians to register to vote, using social media as a pro-democracy tool and overseeing audits done by his office's audit team.

Democratic Gov. Kate Brown remarked in her eulogy that he was a respected friend and mentor to colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

"Dennis embodied what it means to be a dedicated public servant: hardworking, passionate, and wholeheartedly committed to making Oregon a better place on behalf of those he represented," she said.

Brown will appoint Richardson's successor in the coming weeks. Her office said she would consider a Republican who commits to not entering the 2020 election.

During the funeral, Richardson, a former combat helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War, was accorded full military honors, including a 21-gun salute from the Oregon National Guard outside the Capitol.

He will be buried in Medford, near his hometown of Central Point. Born in Los Angeles, he opened his own law practice in Oregon after graduating from Brigham Young University. A devout Mormon, he and his wife Cathy have nine children and 31 grandchildren.

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, the only Republican member of Oregon's congressional delegation, remarked that Richardson's "quiet competence and civility were a rarity in today's world."

This was Oregon's first state funeral since 1983 for former Gov. Tom McCall.