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January 18, 2013
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Editorial: Roses & thorns


Reedsport misses out

Reedsport has dipped its toe into cutting-edge wave energy research, but just missed total immersion.

The city was an underdog in the fight to land the $25 million Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center. The underdog couldn’t overcome the natural advantages enjoyed by Newport, including the fact that Newport is better known and closer to Portland.

The energy center, associated with Oregon State University, would have brought an economic boost and prestige to Reedsport. The fact that Reedsport could even position itself to be one of two finalists for the center says something about the city, and maybe about its future.

Wave energy research is in its infancy. City Manager Jonathan Wright says he expects the city will have other chances in the future to be a staging area for tests.

In the short term, the city can expect a New Jersey company, Ocean Power Technologies, to begin testing wave energy technology off its coast. The company subsists on federal contracts. If the technology proves effective in generating electricity, it could power a variety of onshore and offshore enterprises. Reedsport could be awash in opportunities.


Rodeo queen sisters reign

The Sheely sisters of Myrtle Creek make an impressive duo. Their love of horses, as well as their equine knowledge and horsemanship, earned them the type of crown that sits atop a cowboy hat.

South Umpqua High sophomore Hannah Sheely reigns as the 2013 Miss Teen Rodeo Oregon, while Coffenberry seventh-grader Katie Sheely sports the 2013 Junior Miss Rodeo title.

Officials tell them this is the first time sisters have held both titles at the same time. And that means they will travel the state together this summer to appear at rodeos. It ought to be a summer in the saddle they will never forget.

Hannah hopes it’s one step on her way to competing for Miss Rodeo USA. We’d like to see that dream come true.

The sisters don’t limit their activities to equestrian events. Both also participate in sports and 4-H and they raise market animals. Hannah, 16, raises a hog each year while Katie, 12, raises a lamb.

Both are galloping toward higher education with plans to attend Oregon State University. Hannah intends to be a pediatrician and Katie wants to be a nurse-midwife.

We salute the Sheely sisters’ accomplishments and applaud their parents for raising such goal-oriented girls.


Pink slip blues

Eight jobs lost. The total may appear to be too insignificant to mention. A single-digit layoff represents a snippet of a fragment of a fraction of Douglas County’s population.

It becomes more meaningful of course, if you are one of the eight people soon to be out of work.

Employees of McKillican International’s wood products distribution center in Winston are those people. The company, based in Alberta, Canada, is moving Winston operations to its Portland distribution center. The announcement means the end of the Winston center’s eight years as a central hub for most of McKillican’s distribution area.

At least a quarter of those affected seemed to take it philosophically. Buster Schumack, who has to be the planet’s most eloquent forklift operator, said he can’t fault the company for the economics of its decision, though he added he and his coworkers should have had more notice, severance pay and retraining. Heather Mitchell, the center’s operations manager, said she understood why the company opted to keep its plans quiet until after the holidays, and that she doesn’t resent the short notice. But she acknowledged it will be hard to find another job in less than a month.

McKillican’s closure doesn’t have meteoric impact on the county’s unemployment rates. Yet it’s part of the steady drip, drip, drip that continues to erode hope and confidence in a stricken community. It’s yet another example of people who are jobless through no fault of their own.

Like the McKillican employees, we understand why it happened. That doesn’t mean we have to like it.

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The News-Review Updated Jan 18, 2013 11:25AM Published Jan 18, 2013 10:14AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.