Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Yachats Gazette, September 30 2012

electric charging station in yachats

The Yachats Gazette spoke with Dave Rieseck about the new electric vehicle charging station adjacent to the Yachats Commons.

TYG: So what’s going on here?
Dave: We’re putting in an electrical vehicle station. It’s part of the Yachats Commons master plan to endorse or support alternative fuels. Electric cars don’t have that long a range between fill-ups, and this is so that they have a spot in Yachats. They’ll have a spot in Florence, and another one in Lincoln City, so they can make it the distance.

TYG: I see. Where did the funding for this project come from?
Dave: It’s actually federally funded. Some portion of those funds goes to the state, and then the state looks around and says where should these stations go. We asked them to put one here if it made sense, and if we didn’t have to do the funding.

TYG: Who is in charge of this project?
Dave: It’s a partnership between the city, the Oregon Department of Transportation, and the electric company.

TYG: What is your role in this project?
Dave: Mostly just to liaison between the electric companies, ODOT, and the city [regarding] where it should go. We had done a lot of planning for this area, so […] it was within the context of the […] Commons plan.

TYG: How many contractors and how much equipment is this contract involving?
Dave: I’m not sure. One is PUD, one is to cut the street to put the cables underneath the road, because we had to come from over there where the power was to bring it over here, and then there’s another contractor that’s special to the electric charging stations. So maybe three or four contractors.

TYG: When will this project be finished?
Dave: Hopefully within the next month. Essentially there’ll be two parking pads where somebody can plug in their car, use a credit card to pay for the electricity, and while their car is charging they can use the restrooms at the Commons, or walk across the street to a restaurant, or….

TYG: Or their kids could use the playground!
Dave: Yeah, exactly.

green pest solutions: greg dunn

The Yachats Gazette spoke with Greg Dunn about his new business, Pro-Pest Solutions.

TYG: How did you get the idea for this business?
I’ve been doing it for 20 years. I knew that it was needed here. Yachats is a green kind of town, they don’t like pesticides—so offering green product lines was a big plus.

TYG: I see. How long have you had this business?
We opened it up two months ago. And it’s going very well so far.

TYG: What does your business do?
We do pest control—termites, beetles, ants, spiders, rodents—if you have a raccoon underneath the house, we go and take care of that—pretty much anything.

TYG: Is this business a franchise?
No—it’s family owned and operated. We wanted to keep it in the family, so that when my kids get older they can do it. They love following me around and working with me. My son and daughter both love bugs.

TYG: What kind of pesticides do you use? How does it work, in general?
Greg: It depends on the problem. I’ll go to the house, and if there’s access I’ll crawl underneath the house and look around to see where they’re coming from, and see if I can’t close those areas up. And then we’ll put some bait stations out. Some of the bait is different nowadays….

TYG: Are those the black [boxes]?
Yes, they’re childproof… they’re dogproof…. They’re filled with bait, they eat the bait, they get sick, and they leave.

TYG: And they die, too, don’t they?
That’s with the older baits. And then you get this real bad smell in your house. We did away with that. Mainly our products are green products, which are all natural—there are products made out of mint oils, peanut oils…. The problem with green products is that while they’re work, and they’re safe, they don’t last as long as the other products. But people around here would rather have the green products, so that’s mainly what I do.

TYG: What if it’s, say, an ant problem?
Greg: Depending on how bad they are, instead of soaking the outside of your house down, we find out where they’re coming from, and we’ll drill holes around your house, about the size of the ink in your pen, and we inject the product, called Termidor, inside the walls. Termidor is a very safe productthere’s no smell, no odor—and with it inside your wall, you don’t come in contact with it, but the ants do—and it prevents those ants from getting into your house, and it actually keeps them away for quite a while.

The biggest problems around here are rats, and mice…. The biggest [concern] right now is hantavirus. Hantavirus is a respiratory disease, only carried by deer mice…. Their droppings carry [the virus] so when you sweep it up, you breathe in those particles, and it causes respiratory issues. There have been a lot of cases lately in Washington and Oregon…. A lot of people, when they see mice, rodents, they call right away, because they don’t even want to touch ‘em.

TYG: Good idea.
Some people think they can go buy Raid at the store and just spray and take care of it themselves, but believe it or not, if you look at that stuff, it’s mostly just perfume—there’s very little active ingredient in that.

TYG: Why?
Because you have to have a special license to buy the stronger stuff. I have to go through a lot of schooling, a lot of testing every single year, to make sure that my knowledge is still good, in order to keep my license. … I have to do things a certain way, or I get my license pulled. I can only spray it at a certain time, I can only mix it as a certain percentage, I have to wait so long before I can reapply it….

TYG: I see.
In fact, I relate my service to [being like] a doctor…. When I go to your house, I found out what kind of problem you’re having, and I tailor my service to treat that problem. It used to be shotgun approach—someone would go and pull out this big ol’ hose and soak your house down until it looked like it just rained outside. That’s the old way of doing it, and we don’t do that anymore. It’s more precise. It’s finding out where they’re coming from and taking care of ‘em that way, instead of soaking everything down. Another name for it is IPM—Integrated Pest Management—it means using the least amount of pesticide possible to take care of the problem.

TYG: So that you don’t kill anything else.
That’s it. And that’s what everyone is going to—or should be going to nowadays. … People who have been in this for a while, they know they have to change, because eventually you’re going to be forced to change.

TYG: Forced to change?
[For example] those little bait boxes: we used to be able to just put those anywhere. But a new law came down, starting in January of this year—you can no longer put those more than fifty feet from a home. That was the EPA saying that we don’t want wild animals getting hold of those, we don’t want
to lose track of those. So they have to be within fifty feet, and they now have to be anchored down.

TYG: Does anyone have termites out here?
There are a few termites that infest your home. There’s a dry wood termite, but you’ll never see that around here—it’s too wet around here. So you have your carpenter ants, which are in the termite family….  The only difference [is that] termites will eat your wood; carpenter ants just chew it up, they don’t eat it. So they both do the same damage, but termites need the stuff in the wood.

TYG: And that means if you can deprive them of wood, you can kill ‘em.
: Yeah, you can treat the wood and kill ‘em, and that’s usually what we do.… Beetles are another big problem up here, powderpost beetles. It almost looks like little teeny holes everywhere, all over the wood. These little teeny beetles go into the wood, and they lay their larvae. And every year they hatch out. And if you go underneath the house, you see these big piles of really fine powder, and that’s the beetles doing damage. And you have to treat that to kill those off to protect the house. It’s like an insurance policy—I’m protecting the largest investment that someone will probably make.

TYG: Yeah, the house…. Except if they never move—then their largest investment is going to be a car, or….
Greg: I do cars, too—I get a lot of call s from people who don’t drive that often, and rats and mice have gotten into the car. In fact, I’ll tell you a story: I went out to Yachats River Road, and this lady had a pack rat. Do you know what a pack rat is?

TYG: No, I don’t.
A pack rat is a real large rat that has a furry tail, instead of a smooth tail. Well, she didn’t want to kill it—she was an animal lover. So I caught it in a live trap. And I took it five miles out, and let it go next to the river. I let it out of the cage, and it took off running. I went home, and a couple days later I went to check the oil in my car, and I lifted up my hood, and guess what was standing on my battery?

TYG: The rat!
Mr. Pack Rat! I could not get him out! (“MISS Pack Rat,” corrects Mr. Dunn’s spouse.) Oh yeah, MISS Pack Rat. I couldn’t get her out! I tried and tried, and a couple days later, I opened up the hood, and there were the babies, with mama, IN MY ENGINE. Every time I tried to catch her, she’d go underneath the car, and I couldn’t catch her.

TYG: How did you eventually get rid of that?
I made a trip back to the river, and I put a trap out, with food in it, and I made sure that she didn’t get back into the car. And then I gathered up the babies, and took them out by the river.

interview with andrea scharf

The Yachats Gazette spoke with Andrea Scharf, “The Girl with the Many Hats.”

TYG: So, what exactly does do?
Andrea: Well, was started to be sort of like an electronic yellow pages.

TYG: Electronic yellow pages? What does that mean?
Andrea: That means that it’s a place where you can find every business in Yachats, every business that has a business license in the city. They’re all listed there, in categories. So, the video store is listed, real estate, the market, everybody has a listing. If you have a city business license, you get a free listing.

TYG: I see.
Andrea: Or, if you are in the 547 telephone area, or the 97498 zip code area, and you want to be listed, but you’re not in the city so you don’t need a city business license, you can also be listed, for a fee.

TYG: I see. So how do you make your money? I mean, if it’s all free, how do you make your money?
Andrea: Well it’s the city business license, so those aren’t free, that costs you forty dollars. If you have a business in town, you get a business license, this is a freebie that comes along with the business license.

TYG: So how do you personally make your money?
Andrea: Oh, me personally? I am paid by the city as a marketing consultant. … My job as marketing director is to try to get more visitors to come to Yachats.

TYG: I see.
Andrea: So how would I go about doing that?

TYG: You’d probably go about it by putting up articles, for one thing, and listing local news, and local events.
Andrea: I’m interviewing you! [laughter] That’s what I do. I’m a writer, so I like to write articles, and I try to get other writers interested in writing articles. … And also, I work with the Chamber of Commerce, and I work with other organizations, so that we have partnerships. And sometimes I help organize events…. Last year, did you come to the Japanese Arts Festival?

TYG: Um, I know I watched taiko this year and last year….
Andrea: Well, we had people teaching other Japanese arts, and we had a big display of kimonos….

TYG: That I think I missed.
Andrea: They were really beautiful. … And somebody taught calligraphy….

TYG: Wow. I’m very sad I missed that. That sounds like something I would really want to do.
Andrea: You would like that. Maybe we’ll do that again this year. The woman who taught that class has studied Japanese calligraphy for a long time, and she’s very good.

TYG: I see.
Andrea: Around the holidays, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, we have something called the Holiday Shoppers’ Raffle, and all the businesses provide a prize, and whenever people buy something at those stores, they get a ticket for every ten dollars they spend. And then they put those tickets in a box, and we have a drawing for all those prizes. That’s to encourage people to come to Yachats, to shop, and to support all the businesses in town.

Andrea: Do you want me to talk about my environmental activities?
TYG: Sure! I’d love for you to “wear all your hats.”
Andrea: Well, I am the chair of an organization called “View the Future.” We chose that name because we want to draw attention to people looking forward, and thinking about what the town will look like five years from now, ten years, fifty years from now. What do we want to see here? And one of the things that we’re concerned about is all the trees on that ridge to the south side of town, that’s sort of the background of the town, and we’re very worried about it being logged.

TYG: Why would it be logged?
Andrea: Because it belongs to private timber companies. And that’s what they do.

TYG: That’s crazy! Because, I mean, that’s part of the Yachats scenery!
Andrea: Exactly! So….

TYG: No one should be… I think that should be city-owned land, and unsellable.
Andrea: That’s a very good idea, Allen, but it belongs to somebody right now, so the city can’t just take it. So how would we get the money to buy it from the owners?

TYG: How would you get the money?
Andrea: That’s a good question!

TYG: The raffle!
The raffle! Yes! [laughter] Well, that’s one way, but we’re talking millions of dollars. Millions and millions.

TYG: Why would they say so much?!
Because timber is very valuable! When they cut those trees down they sell them. A lot of them are exported to China. And until recently, the Chinese economy was booming.… But anyway, their building has slowed down. A lot of what was driving their economy was building new buildings.

TYG: That should mean … that the timber companies in America are starting to falter, and they’re going to try to sell things!
Andrea: [pause]
I think I want you working for me…. That’s right, so we’re hoping that the price will go down. Because the price of the timber is going down. So now is a good time for us to try to buy it. It isn’t easy.

Timber companies don’t necessarily like to sell their land, because they’re going to cut the trees, they’re going to replant, they’re going to cut them again in 30 years or 40 years. … They make their money by clear-cutting. The easiest way to harvest timber is to cut it all down. Just like, if you’re going to mow your lawn, you don’t mow a little bit here and a little bit there; you mow the whole lawn. Right? … We want to protect everything you see from here—that’s many acres. If they charge $10,000 an acre, for example….

TYG: There’s no way we could afford that.
Not just out of my piggy bank! [laughter]

TYG: Maybe the city’s piggy bank, though.
Maybe. The city has laws that say that it can’t own land outside the city limit, and that is outside the city limit.

TYG: What?! So then who would buy that?
Well, View the Future is working on that. We want to find some way—you know, there are environmental organizations….

TYG: Why don’t they get the city to donate a lot of its money….
The city doesn’t have a lot of money. It has other things it has to do. It has to pave streets, it has to keep the sewer plant going… it has a lot of demands on its money. … You know, Yachats doesn’t really have a property tax.

TYG: Property tax?
Property tax. If you live in this county, everyone pays a property tax. …. And that tax goes to the county, and it pays for schools, and it pays for sewer and water, and it pays for the sheriff, and it pays for a lot of things. But—if you live in a town like Newport or Waldport, part of that tax also goes to the city government of those towns. In Yachats that doesn’t happen.

TYG: Why not?
Because—it’s a long story. [laughs] Many years ago, Yachats didn’t have a tax. Then the state passed a rule that you couldn’t increase your tax more than 3%. So what’s 3% times nothing? Nothing. So they’re stuck.

TYG: Why would there be nothing?
It was too little, and they just didn’t have any—they didn’t need it, so they didn’t have that tax.

TYG: Boy, I bet the city would love to have that tax now!
I’ll bet they would! That’s why it’s important to them that the motels do well. Because that’s where they get their revenue—from the motel room tax. When you stay at a motel, if you pay $100 for your room, you actually end up paying $109, because that’s the room tax. Some of it goes to the state, some of it goes to the county, some of it goes to the city.

TYG: I see. I think it should all go to the city!
Wouldn’t that be nice! We’d be rich! Then we could buy things!

TYG: How long have you lived here?
I actually moved to Yachats 18 years ago, and I lived in town for five years, and then I bought my place up on the Yachats River, and I’ve been there for 13 years.

TYG: Where did you come from?
I started out in Los Angeles. I was born in Hollywood….

TYG: Wow! I bet you were pretty rich down there!
No, I was not pretty rich. *laughs*

TYG: That explains your glasses.
Yes, it does.

TYG: Your glasses are all shiny! Are those real diamonds, or fake?
What do you think?

TYG: Fake.
Yeah. No, I was not rich.

TYG: That’s a surprise!
Andrea: Do
you think that everybody in Hollywood is rich?

TYG: Yeah, I mean… being an actor is probably the best way to get rich.
My father was an electrician, just an ordinary guy. And my mother was a homemaker. Hollywood is just a town.

TYG: Oh! Okay. I thought you were talking about [the movie industry].
Andrea: Hollywood is a part of Los Angeles. And there are all kinds of people in Los Angeles.

TYG: I see.
Andrea: And then I moved to Oregon, and I lived in Oregon for about 12 years, and then I moved back east. I lived in Washington, DC, that was fun, and then I lived in Pennsylvania. And then I came back to Oregon, and I moved to Yachats.

TYG: I see. And that was just a flip of the coin, that you happened to go to Yachats?
Andrea: Sort of. I wanted to come back to Oregon, and a friend of mine was teaching a class here…

 TYG: What kind of class?
Andrea: A writing class. And I came to see her, and I just never left. [chuckles]