Local News: Dollars for Donnie; Video Phone; Are You Ready?; and Pie!

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Local News

Dollars for Donnie…

Most fourth graders have few real worries.  That’s just how it’s supposed to be.

But, nine-year old Donnie Luizzi and his friends at school have a big one right now.  After feeling dizzy and having a headache last month, Donnie wound up at Doernbecher’s Children’s Hospital in Portland where he and his father, Don Luizzi, were told that Donnie had a rare brain tumor.  It affects fewer than 200 children each year, is often fatal and is also inoperable.  The only treatment is several weeks of daily radiation in Portland.

Insurance will cover much of the medical treatment, but Donnie’s Principal, Mike Harkelrode, says there’s a lot more expense.

Mike Harkelrode – Donnie and his dad are staying in a Portland hotel and checking into Doernbecher’s Hospital for a couple days each day to receive his treatment and then back to the hotel for the rest of the day.  So, they’ve got lodging cost and all the food cost associated, not to mention all the travel costs back and forth to Florence on the weekend.”

His classmates… and the staff at Siuslaw Elementary… have organized a walkathon for Friday afternoon at Hans Peterson Field from 1:30 to 2:30.  Students and staff will walk the track for an hour… and they’re seeking pledges to raise money.

Mike Harkelrode – “And it is open to the public and anybody that wants to come join us, happy to have you there.  But we may ask you to sign in before you enter the track area just so we can keep track of who’s who.  But we’d love to have a community turnout for this as well.”

A special account has also been set up at Oregon First Community Credit Union for donations.

The year 1700 was by many accounts an “exceptional uncommon year”.  It brought a new calendar to Russia; a war to Sweden; the Treaty of London was signed by England, France and Holland; and a devastating fire struck Edinburgh, Scotland.

But something else happened on January 26th of that year.  An estimated 9-point-oh earthquake along the Cascadia Fault Line toppled trees, shifted the landscape and sent a huge wall of water crashing along what is now the Oregon Coast.

At the time, only the indigenous people living here knew about it, but scientists have been slowly uncovering details about the quake and the fault.  What they’re finding is concerning to them… a fault that has ruptured, with devastating results, several times… usually every two to three hundred years.  Local emergency officials formed the Western Lane Emergency Operations Group several years ago to help prepare for large scale emergencies.  One component of that is a monthly class at Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue, teaching residents how they can prepare themselves.

Are you ready?  Find out Saturday from 9:30 to 12:30.  Organizers say you should call the fire station today or tomorrow and reserve your free space in the class.

Public Video Phone Available in Florence

For the first time, with the push of a button, hearing or speech impaired people can gain access in Florence to a wide range of communications in a public setting.  Peace Harbor Hospital recently completed installation of a “Public Access Videophone”.  It provides access to a variety of call types including video point-to-point and video relay service.  Nena Harvey, Operations Director for PeaceHealth Medical Group in Florence calls it a “much needed communication tool”.


Believe it or not, pie can also be a communication tool.  Bake a pie and people will gather around a table to share it along with conversation.  The annual pie-baking contest at the Winter Folk Festival has people talking again this year.

Tara Haley, with the Florence Events Center, says the pie-by-the-slice sale following judging is always one of the most popular events.

Tara Haley – “It is a huge success.  We have people typically lined out the door for their piece of pie.  They’re there to sample.  It’s pie by the slice.”

Bakers can enter in any of four or five categories… no cream pies please.  Haley says there’s even a new category for pies baked by anyone 18-and-under.  It’s three dollars to enter your first pie, multiple pies are only two dollars each.  Drop them off at the FEC by ten AM Saturday.