Oregon public workers are turning in their retirement paperwork at increasing rates. The Public Employees Retirement System says more than 8,000 have filed in 2011, and that’s up 44 percent from the average of recent years. The Salem Statesman Journal reports that officials are offering two explanations. One is that baby boomers are hitting retirement age. The other is that some workers delayed retirement during the Great Recession, figuring they couldn’t afford to quit until they had amassed more assets and become eligible for Medicare. It’s not the first time in recent years that public system retirements have spiked. In 2003, the Legislature passed a series of budget-cutting measures, leading more than 12,000 employees to retire.
Christmas Day is on a Sunday this year and that means many government offices and financial institutions will take the following day off as a holiday. Make that all government offices unless they serve a vital public safety influence. Over the counter business at city halls, county offices and state facilities will be shuttered on Monday, December 26th. Financial institutions will also take the holiday off. So don’t plan on cashing that Christmas check from Aunt Sophie until at least Tuesday, December 27th. And, you’ll want to get used to no banks or government offices on Monday as they same schedule will be repeated on Monday, January 2nd.
Finding things to keep the kids occupied over the two-week holiday break can be a challenge. Especially if you’re trying to keep the cost down. Whale Watch Week along the Oregon Coast begins Monday, December 26th and runs through Sunday January 1st with volunteers posted at several locations up and down Highway 101. On the central coast there will be helpers at several locations including the Umpqua Lighthouse in Winchester Bay, at the Sea Lion Caves turnout north of Florence, and at the Cook’s Chasm turnout just south of Yachats. There’s one indoor opportunity to watch the migrating gray whales as they head south. That’s at the Cape Perpetua visitor’s center. Manager Lori Robertson says whale watching activities will run from ten to one each day at all 24-coastal locations, but at Cape Perpetua, the center itself will be open between ten am and four pm. Staff and volunteers will be able to help bring alive the story and histories of the migrating gray whales.