Local News Digest – DeFazio meets with Students; Florence Airman seriously ill; Trash and Recycling

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Congressman meets with Students

The Mapleton High School Government Class got to go one-on-one with a sitting U.S. Congressman yesterday.  Peter DeFazio spent about 90-minutes with the 15 seniors and took questions ranging from Occupy Wall Street to rural post offices to education funding.

Peter DeFazio – “One young woman said, so, ‘What, what are you guys thinking? Why would you guys cut back on education? What’s the reason for that?’ And I said, great question. I don’t know.”(click to listen)

He agreed with her and explained how Congress came to a standstill over cutting three-trillion-dollars from the federal budget over the summer.

Peter DeFazio – “And the only cut specified, out of everything the government does, we couldn’t specify that we were going to stop paying people not to grow things. We couldn’t specify that we had to get out of Afghanistan and save a hundred billion dollars a year.” (click to listen)

The only thing Congress could agree on to cut, he said, was financial aid to graduate students.

Peter DeFazio – “Now how stupid is that? And I said to her… I’m with you. I don’t understand what these people are thinking.” (click to listen)

Overall the Springfield Democrat said he was impressed with the depth and breadth of the students questioning.

Peter DeFazio – “They were very well prepared, they had a wide range of questions and it was a lot of fun. I love talking to students.” (click to listen)

DeFazio spent the day in the Florence area.  After his stint at Mapleton High School he toured the campus of Peace Harbor Hospital and the Coast Guard Station.

Florence Airman facing serious illness

A former Florence Resident is dealing with a very serious illness.  20-year old Brad Finnell became ill just after graduating from boot camp at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas.  His Grandmother, Sue Lockwood, said she received news late yesterday that the diagnosis is very grave.

Sue Lockwood – “His situation is more serious than what we thought. He does not have viral meningitis, he has what is called transverse myelitis. I think everybody’s prayers better go out for Brad because I think he could be in trouble.” (click to listen)

Transverse Myelitis is a neurological disorder caused by inflammation of the spinal cord.  Lockwood says Finnell’s Mother, Jackie Franklin is in Wichita Falls with the young airman now.

EMAC goes beyond waste collection

Members of the Florence Environmental Management Advisory Committee do more than just supervise the area’s two solid waste haulers.  EMAC chair Bob Forsythe says they also get personally involved in recycling.  He said after the committee discovered Lane County only took certain items for recycling, members of EMAC got together and did something about it.

          Bob Forsythe — “There are some things that we’d like to recycle that they can’t, such as plastic caps, cell phones, ink cartridges, styrofoam plates and batteries. And we have a small facility set up at city hall that a couple of members got together and built.” (click to listen)

Forsythe says they even accept wine corks.  All items should be rinsed and/or relatively clean.  The recycling center is available during regular business hours.

Cleanup on Aisle 101

Chris Summrall of Florence didn’t quite make it to the recycling center yesterday.  The Florence man was hauling a trailer full of trash north bound on Highway 101 just before noon.  As he was coming off the Siuslaw River Bridge the trailer slipped the hitch and flipped, dumping its load in the middle of the highway in front of Coast Real Estate.   The mess was quickly cleaned up with the assistance of a front end loader from the Oregon Department of Transportation.  Police say a citation is pending.