Local News Digest – PT Smith Passes Away; HWD issues; Chowder Cookoff results

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Local health care supporter passes…

A long time advocate for enhancing the quality of health care in the Florence area passed away last week.  P.T. Smith was 96 years old.  PeaceHealth CEO Rick Yecny said Smith was responsible for many of the health care improvements made in the area over the past three decades.

Rick Yecny – “He was really one of the driving forces that created the vision that resulted in the building of Peace Harbor Hospital, and really more importantly the vision that ended up associating and partnering our community with PeaceHealth.”

Yecny said Smith was considered to be part of the Peace Harbor family where he passed away Thursday morning and it was fitting, Yecny added, that Smith’s final hours were spent not only in the facility that he worked so hard to establish, but in the room that was dedicated to the memory of his late wife.

Rick Yecny – “And he was just an extremely visionary person, extremely committed to our community. He will be greatly missed, as we know, by the community, but we’re especially missing P.T. from our team over here at Peace Harbor Hospital and PeaceHealth.”

At Smith’s request there will be no public memorial.


Heceta Water District Commission:

The Heceta Water District is opposing, once again, the co-adoption of Florence’s Comprehensive Plan by Lane County.  The main issue, according to Heceta manager Scott Meyer, is the lack of a formal written agreement between Florence and the water district about how to handle future growth by the city into the district’s territory.

Meyer sent a letter two weeks ago to the County stating his and the district’s opposition to a recent proposal to reconcile differences between the city’s goals for unincorporated land inside the Urban Growth Boundary with those of Lane County.  Meyer says with approximately 60-percent of the district’s water customers inside the UGB, the future of the district could be in peril without such an agreement.

Along those lines, the Water District Commission is expected to hear an update tomorrow on an independent effort to form a People’s Utility District or P.U.D. that would take over the water district and protect it from further erosion by city expansion.


Oregon Coast Professional Chowder Cookoff:

The chowder entry by the Firehouse Restaurant was selected by a panel of professionals Saturday morning as being the best on the Oregon Coast.  The Firehouse recipe has been a multiple winner of the contest, held in conjunction with the Annual Chowder Blues and Brews Festival in Florence.  This year there were five entries, one from Reedsport and four from Florence.

The entry by the Firehouse earned a $500 cash prize and was also voted second place in the People’s Choice tasting Saturday afternoon.  The winner in that competition was ICM Restaurant.  The chowder from Kelly’s Cantina earned 2nd place in the Professional tasting.