Local News Digest – LIHAP Apps suspended; City posts newsletter; Port to talk ice and manager; Gas prices; and Who’s in Charge of the Pac-12 South?

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Applications for Low Income Heating Assistance put on hold

In a little less than two weeks about 5,000 Lane County households signed for a federal program that provides an average of $300 credit towards home heating bills.  With just over half as much money as they had last year, Lane County officials who administer the Low Income Heating and Assistance Program have decided to suspend any further application requests until they can figure out just how far the $1.6-million they will receive this year will go.  Last year, about 10-thousand households received a total of $3.1-million.  But, because of federal spending restrictions the funding level was reduced to pre-2008 levels.

Based on their income, households can receive anywhere from $150 to $550 in a one-time credit to offset increased utility bills through the winter.  Lane County says they are prohibited from altering the payment schedule… that means rather than helping more households, fewer will receive the full amount.  The program is administered locally by Siuslaw Outreach Services.

City Newsletter Posted Online

Florence City Councilors wanted to try to reach more people in Florence with more information this year.  One result of that is the city’s monthly newsletter.

Jackie Betz – “This was a council goal this past year, for us to improve on how we can let the community know what city government is doing.”

Assistant City Manager Jackie Bets says the letter has updates and information on a number of city projects, including public works improvements like the North Florence Sewer Trunk Extension.  To save money, the city has gone with a strictly electronic distribution.

Jackie Betz – “We really want people to go to the city’s website which is www.ci.florence.or.us and right on the front page there you’ll have the November newsletter.”

Betz said printing and postage costs would make it impossible to mail out a newsletter.  She added that the web posting also allows them to include more information.

Gas Prices Highest for this time of year

The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline has dropped by two cents this week… it’s currently at $3.69 locally… but prices continue to stay at record levels for this time of year.  According to Triple-A of Oregon the statewide average also fell by the same amount and is at $3.70 while the national average remains at $3.41 a gallon.  Marie Dodds with Triple-A says the average American household is spending $50 more per month on gasoline than they did in 2010

Port Commission to chill with interim manager

Discussions between the Port of Siuslaw Commission and the Siuslaw Fisherman’s Association about the future of the commercial ice machine on the wharf will continue this evening during the Port’s regular monthly meeting.  Commissioners will also talk about the possibility of an electric car charging station, consider approval of a new lease for Fisherman’s Choice Market and finalize an employment agreement with interim Port Manager Susy Lacer.  Lacer has been filling the position since the former manager, Mark Freeman, resigned in August.  The Commission meets at 7 PM in the district office on Bay Street.

Who’s in Charge in the Pac 12 South?

The Pac-12’s North Division likely was decided with number four Oregon’s win over number eight Stanford last week.  But the south?  It doesn’t seem like anyone wants to take control down there.  Arizona State was in control of the division three weeks ago before losing it with a disappointing loss to UCLA.

The Bruins tried to fritter away their chance at winning the South with a lopsided loss to Utah, but maintained their edge when the Sun Devils lost to Washington State.  At this rate, Utah could come from behind and claim the South’s spot in the inaugural Pac-12 championship game on December 2nd.