Friday, September 25, 2020

It’s a small world after all

Latest articles

Amy Ryan Courser blasts do-nothing politicians for wildfire negligence

Heads should roll on Nov. 3 for slipshod forest policies that changed Oregon into a tinderbox waiting for a spark, declared a contender for Congress who is turning the U.S. 5th District into a hot seat. 

Lincoln County/A Galaxy of Stars

Behold the sinister orange glow that highlights the struggling red sun's attempt to melt the dense smoke.

Depoe Bay resident boosts Portland Police morale with gift bags

A Depoe Bay woman recently organized delivery of gift bags to an embattled Portland Police Bureau, who have been the target of attacks by rioters in the City of Roses.

Multi-agency Resource Center opening at Lincoln City Outlets

Lincoln County community services and FEMA are hosting a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) that will be available for those whose homes and businesses were affected by the Echo Mountain Complex Fire and accompanying wind event.

Lincoln City man shoots self in groin at checkout

Lincoln City Police responded to McKay's Market Sunday for a reported gunshot wound, discovering a man had accidentally shot himself in the groin.

Echo Mountain Complex: 293 homes destroyed, Zero fatalities

Officials with the Echo Mountain Complex have completed preliminary structural damage assessments in the fire area and 293 residential structures have been determined to be a total loss.

Echo Mountain Complex Fire 40 percent contained

A lack of expected rain hasn’t stopped firefighters from getting more control over the Echo Mountain Wildfire as 40 percent of the fire is contained and mopping up efforts are underway. 

New ‘dignified’ donation distribution center at Lincoln City Outlets

Lincoln County Public Health officials and members of the Lincoln City church community will be opening a centralized donation distribution center in Lincoln City, 2 p.m. Tuesday to get needed supplies in the hands of people affected by the wildfires.

Echo Mountain Complex Wildfire 33 percent contained

A milestone was reached for firefighters on the Echo Mountain Complex yesterday as 100 percent of the control line has been completed on both fires.

Garbage fire at North Lincoln Sanitary Service

North Lincoln Fire and Rescue responded to a fire inside a garbage truck behind the main office of North Lincoln Sanitary Service Monday evening.

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Evacuations in effect for Lincoln City

A level 3 evacuation is in effect for all of Lincoln City from 40th street north. Level 3 means go now.

Fire strikes historic Otis Cafe on Independence Day

North Lincoln Fire Rescue units swarmed the Otis Cafe shortly before 8 p.m. Thursday to combat a fully involved fire at the iconic restaurant.

Highway 101 hole prompts ODOT to call in geologists

Oregon Department of Transportation officials have called in geologists Thursday to take core samples of a hole on southbound Highway 101 in Otis.

Lincoln City wildfires update

Lincoln City government issued an update Thursday on wildfires north of the city, saying all evacuation orders are still in effect and residents are not allowed in the area.

An evacuated Lincoln City sits dark and intact

Lincoln City Police were active Wednesday night and were patrolling with spotlights in a town evacuated and once again without power.

Local men face drug, weapons charges following ATF search and arrest raid

Two Lincoln City men and a Cloverdale resident were charged Wednesday after Special Agents from the ATF Seattle Field Division executed multiple federal search and arrest warrants in Lincoln City.

Editor’s Note: The following article is part of a series of guest columns covering the coronavirus pandemic from longtime North Lincoln Fire & Rescue District Captain (retired) and Oregon Coast Community College Disaster Preparedness Educator Jim Kusz.

Coronavirus Jim Kusz
(Photo courtesy of Disney)

It’s surreal what’s happening in our world today, and the future is most definitely uncertain. Many people and communities have been “panic shopping,” over-stocking and creating a shortage of essential household supplies at grocery stores. Things like toilet paper, bleach, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer have been sold out in stores across the country.

Time seems to be moving so fast, and so does the COVID-19 virus.

It was only a month ago that I taught my Disaster Preparedness for the Pacific Northwest course at Oregon Coast Community College. In the class, I spoke of the Coronavirus and shared information about the Spanish Flu and other pandemics. According to the World Health Organization, the most likely catastrophic mass-casualty event would be a pandemic. I pointed out that a 2006 White House report stated that a worldwide pandemic could kill an estimated 2 million people in the United States. A global pandemic of this scale was inevitable. In recent years, hundreds of health experts have written books, white papers, and op-eds warning of the possibility. Bill Gates was telling anyone who would listen, including the 18 million viewers of his TED Talk.

This coronavirus first discovered in the city of Wuhan, China and reported to the World Health Organization December 31, 2019, has rapidly spread. The WHO gave the virus a placeholder name 2019-nCoV. On February 11, 2020 it was officially called “COVID-19,” with “CO” representing “corona,” “VI” for “virus”, “D” for disease and 19 for the year.   Fast forward a few months and the virus has extended to at least 203 countries and territories worldwide. More than 44,000 people have died from COVID-19, while nearly 885,000 infections have been confirmed at the time of this writing.

The world has grown quickly and so has the virus.

Population

With the 2020 Census this year, thought I’d write a little about population. In my community college course we discuss how Earth’s population growth can impact our environment and increase disasters. As populations grow, we use more resources and affect the climate.

In last few decades, we have seen that wildfires are on the increase and more fierce, storms are stronger, sea level is rising and as we’re seeing currently, when large numbers of people fall ill, it puts stress on our health care systems globally.

It’s interesting to stop and think that around 1804, our planet earth, for the first time, reached the global population estimated to be one billion people. 1804 is a significant year when teaching about the Pacific Northwest since it was in May 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark left from St. Louis, Missouri with the Corps of Discovery and headed west in an effort to explore the new lands bought by the Louisiana Purchase.

Think what the Pacific Northwest looked like 216 years ago! It was a foreign landscape with lush forests, rolling plains, wild river rapids and magnificent snow capped mountains.  Lewis and Clark documented new species of wildlife, plants and saw sites so breathtaking they felt people back east wouldn’t believe them. It was a pristine land. The only people here were the indigenous people; several native tribes they met and traded with along their way to the Pacific Coast.

Many of these indigenous tribes would be nearly decimated by smallpox, measles, influenza and other diseases; greatly reducing the population on the Northwest tribes. These illnesses were brought to America from European settlers.

However, Earth’s population grew rapidly over the next hundred and fifty years, and a lot happened in the United States. We had a Civil War. It was the dawn of the industrial age and we began to build factories, spike railroads, carve canals, slice through mountain, built massive dams and created huge cities. We fought a first World War and a second World War. By 1950, Earth’s population was estimated at 2.5 billion.

Since 1950 we’ve exploded to 7.7 billion people on this little blue planet. I’ve included some of the slides I’ve used over the last several years in my college course in this article to help illustrate the growth in population.

In 1804 it took more than two years for Lewis and Clark to get back home to St. Louis. Today it would take a few hours by plane. It only took a few months for the virus to travel around the planet and infect tens of thousands.

Zombies

I talk a lot about zombies in my college class. It’s an analogy for many things from pandemics, of course, to my term for people who do not prepare. Zombies by my definition are individuals who fail to prepare for disaster.

My definition:

zom·bie /ˈzämbē / noun

  1. A person who does not prepare for disasters, who after a disaster wanders the earth dazed, looking for individuals who have information, supplies, water, food and brains.
  2. a tall mixed drink consisting of several kinds of rum, liqueur, and fruit juice.

zombies Jim Kusz

Zombies and physical distancing — a term James Corden used to replace social distancing (and I like better too, we can be social by phone, text or email) — seems to be helping to slow down the virus and flatten the curve. I saw a comedian say: “If COVID-19 was a Zombie outbreak everyone would social distance themselves immediately, and stay home behind locked doors.”  They definitely would stay further than six feet away!

Thanks to all the people out there helping to keep essential businesses open and stocked, delivering mail and parcels. Thanks to all the EMS workers, and to all people making masks, preparing food for the less fortunate and elderly, local distilleries making hand sanitizers and thanks for those making financial donations or giving the gift of life with blood donations.

NOTE: I invite you to Google an article regarding global diseases that was written 2 weeks ago on March 14, by Nicholas LePan, Visualizing the History of Pandemic. The article is thought-provoking but the graphics showing the history of plagues from Antonine Plague 165—180 AD to the current COVID-19 virus are wonderful visualization of the timeline and impact they had on the planet.

Love each other, support each other, use technology to reach out to each other! Just don’t hug each other. Stay home, stay safe, and if you have children at home hug them and your dog too.

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Jim Kusz
Jim Kusz
Oregon Coast Community College, Disaster Preparedness Educator

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Depoe Bay resident boosts Portland Police morale with gift bags

A Depoe Bay woman recently organized delivery of gift bags to an embattled Portland Police Bureau, who have been the target of attacks by rioters in the City of Roses.

Amy Ryan Courser blasts do-nothing politicians for wildfire negligence

Heads should roll on Nov. 3 for slipshod forest policies that changed Oregon into a tinderbox waiting for a spark, declared a contender for Congress who is turning the U.S. 5th District into a hot seat. 

Lincoln City man shoots self in groin at checkout

Lincoln City Police responded to McKay's Market Sunday for a reported gunshot wound, discovering a man had accidentally shot himself in the groin.

Lincoln County/A Galaxy of Stars

Behold the sinister orange glow that highlights the struggling red sun's attempt to melt the dense smoke.

Echo Mountain Complex: 293 homes destroyed, Zero fatalities

Officials with the Echo Mountain Complex have completed preliminary structural damage assessments in the fire area and 293 residential structures have been determined to be a total loss.

Multi-agency Resource Center opening at Lincoln City Outlets

Lincoln County community services and FEMA are hosting a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) that will be available for those whose homes and businesses were affected by the Echo Mountain Complex Fire and accompanying wind event.

Lincoln City wildfires update

Lincoln City government issued an update Thursday on wildfires north of the city, saying all evacuation orders are still in effect and residents are not allowed in the area.

Evacuations in effect for Lincoln City

A level 3 evacuation is in effect for all of Lincoln City from 40th street north. Level 3 means go now.

An evacuated Lincoln City sits dark and intact

Lincoln City Police were active Wednesday night and were patrolling with spotlights in a town evacuated and once again without power.