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Poor community relations highlighted by a demonstrated lack of compassion for the neighborhood it operates in may mean the Astoria Warming Center (AWC) will have to find a new home. Responding to citizen concerns the Community Development Department stepped in and determined the center must have a conditional use permit and satisfy a number of conditions to continue operations in its church basement location.

President Donald Trump is barring transgender people from serving in the military "in any capacity," citing "tremendous medical costs and disruption." Trump's announcement Wednesday morning on Twitter did not say what would happen to transgender people already in the military.

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici issued the following statement 

 “I am incredibly proud to have met so many Oregonians, including committed transgender service members who have served our nation honorably. The President’s decision to deny them the opportunity to serve goes against the values that our military fights to protect. Turning our backs on these transgender individuals is discriminatory and unacceptable. We overturned Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell more than five years ago, and military experts have reported no negative effects. In fact, forcing troops to hide who they are and denying them health care services could diminish the effectiveness of our military. I urge the Defense Department to continue to accept the transgender servicemembers and their families who are faithfully serving us.”

Oregon Employment Division Regional Economist Erik Knoder keeps track of employment numbers for each county every month and reports that for Clatsop County seasonally adjusted payroll employment was unchanged in June at 18,200 jobs. Rates of unemployment remain low which is expected to continue to present issues for local employers looking to fill positions both full time and part time.

 

A multi-year study of the marbled murrelet, a threatened West Coast seabird that nests as far as 50 miles inland, aims to discover the animal’s habitat needs and understand the reasons for the species’ ongoing population decline in the Northwest.

In addition, to determine the needs of this elusive bird, the study aims to help forest managers on public and private lands balance habitat conservation with timber land management.

The project is possible because of an increase in funding for research in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University provided by the state Legislature in 2015 with broad support from the timber industry and conservation groups. “We are investing in this project because all interests want to know the breeding habitat requirements of the marbled murrelet so that land management decisions in our coastal forests benefit from the best data and science available,” said Thomas Maness, dean of the college.

State Senator Betsy Johnson says her district, that’s us, will be seeing a nice chunk of additional funding over the next ten years as a result of the passage of the new Oregon state transportation package.

With four fuel tax increases stair-stepped over the next seven years cities will have more funding available for local infrastructure and maintenance.  Astoria will see an increase of $247,000 each year.  Seaside will benefit from an additional $167,000 annually, Cannon Beach gets an increase of $43,000, Gearhart $37,000 and Warrenton rakes in an additional $133,000. Clatsop County will see $1.1 million.  

Sunset Empire Transit District, which runs public transportation programs in Clatsop County, picks up $849,000 to help improve frequency and connectivity for bus service.  In total statewide transit benefits from an annual boost of $130 million.

Transit and local distribution dollars are all an average of ten calendar years beginning in 2018.

In an investigation by Astoria Police that began last Wednesday (July 19), three people have been arrested on Forgery charges.

Officer AJ Duryea responded to a report that some counterfeit twenty dollar bills had been passed at an Astoria business and while responding to that call, Duryea located the suspect vehicle. 29-year-old Neil Dowell of Astoria was arrested on forgery in the first degree.

For three summers Seaside played host to the first butterfly conservatory on the coast at the turn of the century.  The temporary exhibit began in the spring of 1999 and had its last season in 2001. Now it's founder is back with a big idea.

The Astoria Sunday Market board voted to approve contributing $5000 to Astoria City parks as part of its annual giving for 2017.  Board President Jack Ficken stated city parks play a vital role in the market. This week the City Council approved a financial plan that will increase lodging taxes by 2% with that money going to help keep the deficit-ridden parks department afloat while deciding to encourage public donations rather than add a parks fee to water bills.

A deadly synthetic drug has found its way to Clatsop County. Local authorities confirm the death of a young local man in April was caused by the drug commonly called ‘Pink”. The strong narcotic is sometimes mixed with other strong synthetics and can look like commonly prescribed opioids. Officials warn the drug is already thought to have killed some 30 Oregonians and this was the first case linked to the drug in Clatsop County

The death of a young Clatsop County man came after he took a new synthetic drug that authorities say has killed several people in the state. The local death was the first caused by the illegal drug in Clatsop County and happened in April.  It does not show up in an ordinary drug screen but can be detected in testing at the State Crime Lab. The backlog of work at the state lab delayed testing with the results made public just this (Wednesday) evening.  Clatsop County District Attorney issued the following news release warning the public about this new threat.

Most long-time locals have a story to tell about the Astoria YMCA.  For decades it was a community gathering spot, a place where kids learned to swim, or used the gym for pickup basketball on rainy days. The first Monster Bash was held there in 1984 as an autograph party with Director Richard Donner and some stars from The Goonies returning to the town that October after the production had wrapped location shooting earlier.

 Three years after that momentous affair the YMCA closed and the building remained empty until the Lewis and Clark Christian Academy took over and remodeled the building for their new home in 1990. The historic windows, trim and old ironwork was removed or altered to single panes which dramatically changed the look of the structure.

Now the old YMCA is coming alive once again under the auspices of new owner Noel Weber, an Idaho man with a family reputation for classic sign design, lettering and gilding gold leaf.  The signage on the new Carruthers Restaurant in downtown Astoria is a local example of Weber’s work.

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