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  P.O. Box 93
  Salem, OR 97308
  (503) 365-9544

Full August 2017 Issue * Salem Weather * Past Issues * About Us * Ad Rates * Contact Us

    by Dave Sweeney

    Here's a question for you. How many times in your life have you had a "once-ina- lifetime" experience? Maybe you rafted the Grand Canyon, or swam with the sharks, or climbed to the top of a mountain, or flew with the Blue Angels, or met the Pope, or saw the Mona Lisa. All very interesting and compelling experiences, some more accessible than others but all really cool!
    Well come Monday, August the 21st, literally millions of us in the continental United States will have a chance to witness not only our own "once-in-a-lifetime" experience but also arguably the most spectacular event any of us will ever see. In all likelihood, it will leave you awestruck!
    The event? The total solar eclipse of 2017 (Figure 1). They're calling it the "Great American Solar Eclipse" because the ONLY country that is touched by it IS America
    In fact it's America's first, coast-to-coast, total solar eclipse since 1918. Anybody remember the last time at least PART of the US received a total solar eclipse? I do. Yup, 38 years ago, February 26th, 1979. But that eclipse only crossed part of the Northwest (WA, OR, ID, MT, ND) before heading into Canada. And, since it occurred in February, the weather was not all that cooperative. Skies were cloudy in Portland, and Salem, and Goldendale, Washington where all the network TV reporters had gathered...but not where I was!
    I was at Stonehenge! Not the real one (in England) mind you, but the Stonehenge Memorial in Maryhill, Washington. The full-scale replica on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River and it was truly spectacular! I was a young, newly-minted weatherman/ reporter for KEZI-TV in Eugene. The station had sent me and photographer Rick Cullis to Goldendale to cover the eclipse (since it was not total in Eugene). Well Rick and I gambled that the weather in Goldendale that Monday morning was not going to be clear...and the gamble paid off. Goldendale (with it's own local observatory and gaggle of network TV reporters including storied science reporter Jules Bergman from ABC-TV) was cloudy... but at Stonehenge skies cleared! There must have been several thousand people there. A few reporters, but mostly just regular people.
    Oh yea, and a group of robed and chanting, modern-day Druids. They were interesting! The sun was in the Southeast sky about 20 degrees above the horizon so we were all looking South, across the river, just above the bluffs on the Oregon side. And then, just before 9 in the morning, it started to get visibly darker. You could feel the temperature dropping. The birds stop singing and all of a sudden, someone in the crowd yelled out, "Look...the shadow bands!" (Figure 3). And looking down for a few seconds you could see the wavy dark lines dancing on the ground like the light ripples in the bottom of a swimming pool. And then the diamond ring effect... and totality.
    It. Was. Awesome!
    THAT, my friends, was truly a once-in-alifetime experience! And now ALL of us get to experience that once again with The Great American Eclipse this coming August 21. Again on a Monday and again in the morning here in the Northwest! Like 1979, Salem will again be in the path of totality but UNLIKE '79, the weather is very likely to be clear.
    So just exactly what IS this eclipse thing and why all the fuss? Good questions. Basically a solar eclipse happens when the moon's path crosses the sun and the moon comes between the sun and the earth. The moon then appears to completely (or partially in a partial solar eclipse) "cover" the sun (Figure 4) creating the eclipse. But how can that be, you may ask, since the sun is so much larger than the moon. And you're right, the sun is approximately 400 times larger than the moon. However (and this is the really cool part), in what has been described as a remarkable "cosmic coincidence", the moon is 400 times closer to the earth than the sun and therefore the two celestial objects "seem" to be the same size. This allows the moon to completely block out the sun...well, almost completely.
    I say "almost" because there are parts of the sun that are only visible during a solar eclipse! What we see of the sun from earth is the sun's "surface" (the photosphere). But, during a total solar eclipse we can actually see the sun's atmosphere! That's right, the sun has an atmosphere. We never see it (except during an eclipse) because it is a million times fainter that the sun's surface. But my oh my is it stunning!
    The sun's atmosphere basically comes in two layers. The thin inner layer, the chromosphere (chromo for color), can be seen in the few seconds right after totality and the few seconds just before totality ends, as a thin red line surrounding the sun. But it's the corona ("crown" in Latin), the outer or upper layer of the sun that really puts on a show (Figure 5). Extending millions of miles out from the surface (photosphere) of the sun, the wispy, etherial corona can only be seen during a total solar eclipse. And the good news is that you can safely view the corona with the naked eye but only during totality. More on safe viewing later.
    OK, so the moon blocks the sun and causes an eclipse. But the moon orbits the earth every 29.5 days so why isn't there an eclipse every 29.5 days? Ah, now you're thinking like a scientist. Excellent question with a reasonably simple answer. The (elliptical) orbit of the moon around the earth is NOT in the same plane as the orbit of the earth around the sun. It's tilted at an angle of about 5 degrees (Figure 6). Think of it this way. Put two CDs down on a flat table. One CD represents the orbit of the earth around sun and the other CD the orbit of the moon around the earth. Lying on the table, the two "orbits" exist in the same plane. Now lift the moon's CD (orbit) up 5 degrees. The "orbits" are now NOT in the same plane and the result is a lot fewer chances for the moon to cross directly in front of the sun and thus cover the sun creating an eclipse.
    Interesting huh? So how many solar eclipse are there every year? Well...that depends. What "kind" of solar eclipse are you talking about? There are three (main) types: total, partial and annular. Most years have 2 solar eclipses (of any type) although it is possible to have as as many as 5 eclipses in one year, but that's very rare. According to NASA calculations, only about 25 years in the last 5,000 years have had 5 solar eclipses. The number of solar eclipses occurring that are TOTAL is about 1 in every eighteen months.
    And remember now, the earth's surface is a little over 70% water so the likelihood of a total eclipse occurring over LAND in any given year is even smaller!'re gettin' my drift of this "once-in-a-lifetime" experience right?
    Then what should we look for in the Salem area?
    First of all, know if your location is in the path of totality. That path through Oregon is only about 70 miles wide so there are a lot of Oregon cities that will not experience totality. For instance, Salem is in (totality), Portland IS NOT. Albany is in, Eugene IS NOT (Figure 2A). But maybe most important thing to know, is the timing of the eclipse in your location. Both the arrival time and the time of duration. Below are a few (general) times for local cities. For exact times check the website noted below.
    (Note that times and durations can vary widely even within the same city. To determine the precise start time, end time, and duration of totality for your exact location on eclipse day, use NASA's interactive Google eclipse map. interactive_map/index.html
    Safety note: NEVER look directly at the sun without approved solar filters such as eclipse glasses from a reputable source. Failure to heed this rule may result in permanent eye damage. The ONLY time it is safe to view the eclipse without proper eye protection is when the sun is in total eclipse. As soon as the sun reappears, look away and replace your eclipse glasses to view the sun safely. NASA has a great website with lots of eclipse info including safety. Check them out at:
    When the eclipse begins ("first contact", about 9:05ish in Salem) you won't notice much at all. At first only a small "bite" is taken out of the sun. But over the next hour or so, interesting crescent-shaped shadow effects (from the eclipsing sunlight through the tree leaves) can be seen on the ground.
Start of Totality (local time) Duration of Totality (min:sec) End time
-Salem: 10:17:20 AM PDT 1:54 10:19:14 AM
-Keizer: 10:17:26 AM PDT 1:49 10:19:15 AM
-Albany: 10:17:05 AM PDT 1:51 10:18:56 AM
-Stayton: 10:17:31 AM PDT 2:00 10:19:31 AM

    Once you get within 10 minutes or so from totality, events start to happen much more quickly. The quality of daylight changes rapidly to an ever deepening twilight. The temperature starts to drops. Animal life begin to revert to their nocturnal behavior.
    Then within the last minute or two before totality, things really happen fast. The light is now noticeably dim and those shadow bands I mentionedearlier (the dark, rapidly moving bands like ripples of sunlight at the bottom of a swimming pool) can be seen on the ground in the last minute to thirty seconds before totality.
    Then, racing toward the Salem area at over 3 times the speed of sound (767mph), the umbra (total shadow of the moon) can be seen as an area of darkness immediately to the West. And just before totality, in the last few seconds of sunlight, the sun shines through the deepest valleys on the moon creating the effect called Bailey's Beads, then the Diamond Ring Effect (Figure 7) and then BAM, you are literally standing under the shadow of the moon!
    NOW, and ONLY NOW is it safe to view the eclipse without approved eye protection. Remember, if you view the eclipse without approved eye protection, you risk serious and permanent damage to your eyes!
    For the next (approximately) two minutes you will experience the totality of a solar eclipse.
    Interestingly it will NOT be pitch black out. The sky will be more like a deep twilight and all around the entire horizon, you will see something that resembles a 360 degree sunset. Stars and planets will become visible, especially Venus and Jupiter. If you're lucky, you may see solar prominences, giant tongues of flame (Figure 8), erupting from the surface of the sun. Birds will stop singing, and daytime plants will begin to close up as if for the night, and there will be a noticeable temperature drop. And then, in what will seem like the blink of an eye, the two minutes of totality will come to an end as the shadow of the moon races eastward.
    NOW is the time to look away from the sun and replace your eclipse glasses!
    All the events that you noticed leading up to the eclipse will be played out in reverse order. The Diamond Ring Effect, Bailey's Beads. Watch for the shadow bands again for the first minute or so after totality. And then daylight will return as quickly as it disappeared. So now the question becomes, "Where will you be watching this once-in-a-lifetime event?"
    Actually the "where" you'll be watching the eclipse is not as important as the "watching" itself. DO NOT miss this spectacular sight! It doesn't matter if you're at home or at work or in a park or a parking lot. Just make sure you're watching!
    As you may already know, there are a number of special eclipse watching events planned all over the area but many have been sold out for weeks. The OMSI eclipse viewing party at the State Fair grounds is sold out the the waiting list is full. A number of the local wineries are hosting viewing parties. Some are sold out while others may still have space available. Check with your favorite vintner.
    One of the best websites for all things eclipse in the Salem area is! Log on to that site and click on the eclipse picture, then click on "eclipse events and viewing locations". You can even type in exact dates to see what's happening for specific days and times. It's very cool!
    But possibly the most unique viewing experience of all will be at Volcanoes stadium. Normally the Volcanoes play their baseball games in the evening but on that Monday there game will be in the morning. The game will start at 9:35 in the morning and then, about 45 minutes into the game, the Volcanoes will make baseball history. It will be the first EVER "eclipse delay" in Major League Baseball. How fantastic is THAT! Check out their website for details. One more thing to keep in mind. During the day of and the weekend preceding the eclipse, there will be A LOT of extra people visiting our area. Your courtesy and your patience will be greatly appreciated!
    Well I hope I've peaked your interest. The Great American Eclipse will indeed be a spectacular sight! Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
    Be smart. Be safe. And ENJOY! While there is an abundance of eclipse information on the web, I've included a few websites I find particularly useful, including information on safe viewing and where to get approved safety glasses and filters.

Dave Sweeney is the former chief meteorologist for KOIN-TV and the current chief meteorologist for Salem's KWVT-TV and KSLM-TV. He is also is a popular speaker, announcer and emcee. You can check out his website at and reach him by email at

Oregon Caregivers Escape Union Clutches
40 Percent Helped by Freedom Foundation

    Less than a year ago, on the first anniversary of the Freedom Foundation's expansion into the Oregon market, SEIU 503 issued a press release dismissing the organization's impact in the state.
    "Since they have been in Oregon, they have talked a big game but their influence has been negligible."
    As usual, however, the union was lying. According to official state payroll data obtained by the Freedom Foundation via a public records request, as of May of this year, 11,399 of the 28,667 homecare and personal support workers represented in Oregon by SEIU 503 have rejected union membership and no longer pay any dues or fees to SEIU 503.
    That's a drop of 40 percent among the workers the Freedom Foundation has actually been concentrating on.
    "What they won't tell you," noted Freedom Foundation Oregon Director Anne Marie Gurney," is that workers who actually can are abandoning SEIU 503 in huge numbers. The Freedom Foundation's 'Decline to Sign' program, which informs these workers of their right to opt out of union dues and fees, has cost the union thousands of members and millions of dollars - whether they choose to admit it or not."
    With the addition of Missouri in February, 28 U.S. states now have right-to-work laws that allow individual workers to choose for themselves whether to affiliate with a labor union. Because Oregon isn't one of these, however, most public-sector workers here are forced to choose between paying union dues or fees and losing their job.
    The notable exceptions to the rule are home-based healthcare and childcare providers being compensated through Medicaid.
    The U.S. Supreme Court in 2014 ruled these individuals were not full-fledged state employees and could not be forced to pay union dues or fees. Predictably, unions like SEIU 503, which represents thousands of home care and personal support workers in Oregon, did little or nothing inform their members of this change and, in fact, adopted countless new rules to make the opt-out process much more difficult for those who learned about it anyway.
    Consequently, the Freedom Foundation - a free-market think tank with offices in Oregon, Washington and California - developed a comprehensive outreach program including radio and TV ads, along with personal attention from canvassers paid to tell caregivers about their opt-out rights in person. Over the ensuing three years - in the face of relentless legal challenges from SEIU 503 - 40 percent of caregivers who had been paying monthly tribute to the union have responded to the Freedom Foundation's message by refusing to join or opting out of SEIU 503.
    Given a choice in the matter, Gurney is convinced most people want nothing to do with a union. They don't believe the service it provides is worthwhile and they resent having their dues money spent on a political agenda they may or may not support. They understand and appreciate that the Freedom Foundation's efforts are putting money back into their pockets - money that can be used on food, gasoline, prescriptions and a whole laundry list of items more important to them than the lavish salaries and extreme-liberal political agendas of the union leaders.
    "We know that, and so do the unions," she said. "So when SEIU 503 brags about how many members it has, it's actually taking credit for suppressing the First Amendment rights and wishes of more and more Oregonians every year. That isn't something to be proud of; it's despicable.
    "SEIU 503's support is a mile wide but only an inch deep," Gurney said. "They can fudge the numbers all they like, but at the end of the day I'd much rather be on the side that's telling the truth, not the side whose success depends entirely on lying to its own members about how their rights are being denied."
    The Freedom Foundation is a membersupported Pacific Northwest think and action tank promoting individual liberty, free enterprise and limited, accountable government.

Freres Lumber Awarded $250,000 Grant
Wood Innovations Mass Plywood Panel Project From U.S. Forest Service Grant

    Freres Lumber Co., Inc. applied for and was recently awarded a U.S. Forest Service Wood Innovations grant for its new product, the Mass Plywood Panel (MPP). Freres Lumber was granted $250,000 to help pay for a computer numeric code (CNC) machine, which helps finish panels to buyers -- specifications.
    "We were recently informed that our Mass Plywood Plant was named the Forest Service's top project in the United States," says Rob Freres, Executive Vice President. "This was a competitive process with 114 grant applications submitted for consideration."
    This grant award will go toward purchasing a Weinmann CNC machine that uses computer aided design and computer aided machining to saw doors, windows and all other cutouts with precision and efficiency. Panels will be cut with the CNC machine to fit specific projects, eliminating labor and time at commercial building sites.
    The Mass Plywood Panel facility will be Freres Lumber Company's seventh wood processing plant. Plant construction is estimated to cost upwards of $23 million. The plant is expected to open for manufacturing in January 2018 and will begin with employing approximately twenty people per shift. The economic impact is expected to have a positive trickle-down effect, as well, retaining nearly 500 existing Freres family wage jobs, and retaining hundreds of indirect jobs, as well.
    "This grant award provides welcome financial support for our company's significant investment in the future direction of our veneer based wood products market," says Rob.
    "Patents are currently pending for the Mass Plywood Panel," said Tyler Freres, Vice President of Sales. "MPP is a new-to-the-world product. It is a carbon neutral substitute for concrete and steel in multi-level structures.
    It is one-sixth the weight of concrete and will provide a stronger, lighter, smaller, less expensive option than cross-laminated timbers." Testing through Oregon State University of Forestry and the Center for Advanced Wood Products has proven that MPP can achieve the same structure attributes of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) while using 20 to 30 percent less wood. Like CLT, MPP panels can be manufactured up to 24 inches thick, 12 feet wide and 48 feet long.
    The U.S. Forest Service points out that the public-private partnerships leveraged with these grants will lead to the removal of hazardous fuels from forests while spurring the economic development of rural communities.
    "The Wood Innovations Grant Program helps create jobs in rural communities and keeps our forests healthy," said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "By investing in strong markets for forest products, we can incentivize sustainable forest management and sustain our rural communities."
    For more information on the Mass Plywood Panel, visit and-services/mass-plywood-panel.
    Freres Lumber was established in 1922 by T.G Freres on the North Fork of Oregon's Santiam River. Over the last ninety years, and three generations of family management, the company has evolved from a small sawmill to one of Oregon's premier wood products manufacturing companies. The company now operates six plants, including a small log veneer plant, large log veneer plant, veneer drying facility, studmill, plywood plant and cogeneration facility. Freres is committed to maintaining modern manufacturing facilities, producing high-quality wood products, and providing family wage jobs to the local area. For more information, visit www.frereslumber. com or call 503-859-2121.