Oregon Lifeline Reduces Cost of Phone or Broadband

Essentially a repost from me here; times are tough: I have been promoting this opportunity on Facebook and Instagram and wanted people to know the Oregon Public Utility Commission has created – Oregon Lifeline – a federal and state government program that reduces the monthly cost of phone or broadband service for qualifying low-income Oregon households. It does not appear to cover Verizon but does cover AT&T. See the website for full details.

COVID-19 Note: Effective February 1 through June 30, 2021, the Oregon Lifeline program is providing an additional $5 discount per month. Oregon residents on federally-recognized Tribal lands may qualify for an additional $25 discount per month.
Discount amounts are subject to change. Federal and state regulations limit the Lifeline benefit to one person per household for phone or broadband service.​​​​​ Details here.

Staying Tuned In: Local Radio

How many of us make radio part of our media diet? Local radio is alive and well and always has been. When was the last time you tuned in? Do you have a radio included in your emergency resource cache?

Lincoln County is home to several locally owned and operated stations. Fitting into the community mosaic like other organizations our stations have diverse formats, technical attributes and personalities.

Radiovore. Do you like talk, news, music? It is happening now. And, it will be happening at 3 am in he morning and 24/7. If you’re lucky to have an analog tuner on your radio then you get that extra satisfaction of rotating the knob just right. Find the sweet spot.

The Lynn’s own KSHL and the Wave. Dave Miller owns Yaquina Bay Communications. The late Cheryl Harle’s station – 100.7 – was recently purchased by a new owner fulfilling a lifelong dream to own a small station. KYAQ is our first local “public broadcaster“.

Our stations have historically been and continue to be our community’s important emergency communication resource.  AM and FM frequencies are easily found with a battery-operated transistor radio, by using the receiver in your four wheeler or streamed live on the internet.

Eton Hand Turbine AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio with USB Smartphone Charger and LED Flashlight. You might think of it as a radio multi tool. Fairly well built and the length of charge to hand cranking ratio is surprisingly good. 2021 goals: create a hand cranked or peddle powered charging system to light up Minecraft and Fortnite (video games).

Our digital age swiftly brought us the smart phone. Chances are yours is not far from arms reach. It’s possible that you and I have become so fond of our pocket computers that we’ve become less inclined to include local radio as a part of date night. It’s also possible then that your emergency go bag is missing this important resource. If you are lacking a battery powered or hand cranked radio. Get one. Please.

The lexicon of disaster preparedness and response often includes “Whole Community Approach”. By definition we get this word salad, “A Whole Community approach attempts to engage the full capacity of the private and nonprofit sectors, including businesses, faith-based and disability organizations, and the general public, in conjunction with the participation of local, tribal, state, territorial, and Federal governmental partners.” = #inthistogether

Our successes and shortcomings in both response and recovery to emergencies are whole community. The Echo Mountain Wildfire event has demonstrated just how multidimensional emergencies and “life” are. In one way or another the fires touch us all. Events everywhere – touch us all. Butterfly effect.

Stuff. Important stuff. Minimalism is still trending, isn’t it? I recently read we are heading into “The New Maximalism“. Kind of unrelated pop culture reference. Emergency preparation might live somewhere between minimalism and maximalism lest we forget the cat, in my case. Maximalism does not serve bugging out by foot where moving quickly may be required.

Enter a new term: “Whole Media Approach”. To ensure redundancy in our ability to communicate during an emergency let us embrace word of mouth, radio, text, internet, tv, print, HAM radio, Morse code, etc.  We could even consider bringing back the carrier pigeon, couldn’t we? In its place, perhaps, we might try embracing the oral traditions. Talking to our families, our friends, neighbors. Are we vulnerable – do they feel vulnerable? Are we prepared as we should be?

A good preparation mindset should activate one’s human powered creativity resulting in a plan, a backup plan (to that plan), We augment our plans with every technology possible to support our ability to communicate with one another. Most vehicles have radios. The next time your driving why not review them. Lincoln County Emergency Management has a list of local frequencies both AM and FM.

Local programming warms my heart. YBC Radio has a nice menu of local talk shows. KYAQ demonstrates a commitment to civic issues and KSHL Country is locally programmed: no satellite down feed. Whatever your flavor – local radio employs local people. Keeping it real.

An emergency preparation review should include at least a portable radio and if possible… more than one. Review your check list and make sure it includes a radio.

Here are a few to get the juices flowing:

Unlock the secret FM tuner in your Android phone? Worth a try. Your phone has been holding out on you. Believe it or not, your model might have a built-in FM radio receiver. And you don’t need to do any jailbreaking or violate any terms of service to use it. You just need the right app. (Link: CNET)