Three Directors of the Cannon Beach Fire Protection District will face a recall election in April over the recent dismissal of their Fire Chief.

The three directors under fire for the decision are identified as Linda Beck-Sweeny, Garry Smith and Sharon Clyde.  Local resident Susan Newirth organized a petition drive seeking to recall the three District Directors.

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On February 29, 2016 at about 5:30PM, OSP Troopers and emergency personnel responded to the report of a two vehicle, head-on crash on 30 near milepost 78 (about 20 miles east of Astoria).

Preliminary information indicates a 2003 Ford Focus was traveling eastbound on Highway 30 when it drifted onto the shoulder. The driver lost control, crossed over into the westbound lane of travel, and struck a 2013 Ford Fusion head-on.

The driver of the Focus, Randall T Haines, age 29, of Astoria, was pronounced deceased on scene.

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One issue that continues to simmer in Astoria is short-term vacation rentals. Strictly speaking, they aren’t allowed in residential zones though city code differentiates between owner occupied home stay and bed and breakfast rentals and owner-absent vacation rentals.

If the property is owner occupied then, generally speaking, the use is allowed and those property owners are expected to pay a transient tax just like hotels and motels. That doesn’t mean everyone pays however.

It’s common for vacation rental properties of all types to be listed on line but it isn’t necessarily clear on sites like VRBO, Flipkey and Booking.com exactly what kind of designation the property may have. Tripping.com lists 69 vacation rental properties in Astoria and several of those appear to be in residential neighborhoods and are not necessarily owner occupied.

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By Astoria Chief of Police Brad Johnston

Since the tragic events at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999 law enforcement agencies have continued to evolve their thinking and training in their response to the intentional mass murders in workplaces and schools. Prior to that date, law enforcement used the tried and true time, talk and tactics method to address these events. Law enforcement learned that day that what we had done was no longer acceptable and that a new response was necessary. That response has evolved over time and will continue to evolve.

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The Astoria Police Department will offer a training course they say will help prepare the public in responding to a mass shooting incident. In a news release Friday morning the department states, "Recent events worldwide have thrust the horror of mass shootings into the public consciousness. Communities large and small seem to be affected by these tragic incidents. The Astoria Police Department is dedicated to remaining ever vigilant in our efforts to be aware of any threats that may be in our community and to be ready to face any hostile action that may occur."

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Some of the old rules are falling by the wayside as Astoria looks for ways to provide more housing in a town whose citizens resist turning urban forest and open city-owned land into residential property.

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Duane Street in downtown Astoria plays host to another brewery after approval from the planning commission Tuesday night. Reach Break Brewing will feature a small brewing facility and adjacent taproom in the building currently occupied by Astoria Indoor Gardening Supply.

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The 9th Annual “A Sweet Affaire” Scholarship Fundraiser is Sunday, March 6th, from 2 PM to 4:30 PM at the Seaside Convention & Civic Center. Mingle with local chefs, restauranteurs, brewers and vintners who provide an array of beverages, savory appetizers. There is live music plus a Silent and Live Auction. This annual fundraiser is for children, youth, families and adults to participate in programs by the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District. It benefits academic scholarships for Seaside High School, Seaside Wishing Tree Program and the Food4Kids backpack program. Tickets for the ADULT EVENT are $35 at US Bank in Seaside, the Sunset Pool, the Bob Chisholm Community Center, from a Seaside Rotary member. SEE ALL CURRENT EVENTS

If you happen to be driving by Astoria High Tuesday you may catch a glimpse of a large blue bus with a familiar logo wrapped around it that is actually designed to bring an educational high-tech musical experience to some local students.

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Astoria has sent a letter to a local partnership of organizations planning to open a mental health respite center in Warrenton after learning that plans to provide locked beds for some patients at the facility has been abandoned. The city council agreed to send the letter of concern this week to Clatsop Behavioral Health, and Columbia Memorial, and Providence Seaside Hospital and interim County Manager Rich Mays who has been providing leadership for the project.

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The Oregon Senate confirmed Gov. Kate Brown's appointees to the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace Advisory Committee on Monday, Feb. 15.

The advisory committee will provide guidance and feedback to the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) about issues affecting Oregon's health insurance marketplace, such as outreach, customer feedback, and insurance plan affordability. In addition, it will provide annual reports to the Oregon State Legislature and hold open meetings that provide a forum for public discussion.

"We're pleased to have such an excellent cross section of stakeholders on the advisory committee," said Patrick Allen, DCBS director. "They will help us improve the marketplace and develop a long-term vision to ensure it continues to make a positive impact on the lives of Oregonians and small businesses."

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