Local News – Disaster Declaration; Immunizations; Car Seat Safety; See’s Candy

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Local News

Damage threshold met for disaster declaration

Homes in Lane County sustained almost $2-million damage during the flooding and stormy weather two weeks ago.  Coupled with $1.7-million in public infrastructure damage and $700-thousand in damage to area businesses and the total could reach $4.4-million.

That’s enough to qualify for federal disaster aid, says Lane County Emergency Manager Linda Cook.  A series of storms, bringing high winds and heavy rains, pummeled western Oregon in mid-January.  The damages due to the wind and rain may have been enough on its own to qualify for the disaster assistance, but flooding in Mapleton and the Mohawk Valley added insult to injury.  Cook said reports received by her office showed 170 homes were damaged.  Five of those were estimated to be total losses and another two dozen sustained major damage.

Public buildings and infrastructure suffered mightily in the storm.  Lane County Public Works estimates nearly three-quarters of a million dollars in damage to roads and the Mapleton School District was hit with $400-thousand damage to buildings and equipment.  It’s not clear just when federal assistance may be available.  Governor Kitzhaber has until the middle of February to formally declare a “major disaster” in Oregon, then federal officials could respond in “hours or weeks” according to Cook.

School Exclusion Day Nearing

More than 50-thousand immunization records of Lane County students have been reviewed by public health officials so far this year.  The result is that about 25-hundred families will be getting letters next week reminding them that the required school immunizations are not up to date and their school age children may not be able to attend classes.  Lane County Public Health Immunization Coordinator Martha deBroekert says shots are important for protecting the health of children and their classmates.  Vaccinations are required to be up to date by mid-February of each year.  This year’s ‘exclusion date’ according to deBroekert is February 15th.

Car Seat Safety

Seatbelts and airbags have been shown to save lives and reduce injuries in auto crashes, but they’re not specifically designed for protecting children.  They need a little extra help when it comes to auto safety.  Ronnie Pearson is a paramedic with Western Lane Ambulance District and also a certified Child Car Seat Technician… that means he’s gone through specialized training to instruct parents and guardians on how to properly use car seats.  Safety seats for infants and young children are prevalent, but, according to Pearson, booster seats are just as important and should be used until a child is eight years old or weighs 80-pounds.  Western Lane Ambulance District routinely offers car seat safety clinics to make sure the youngest passengers are kept safe.

Sweets for your sweetheart

A Valentine’s Day favorite is available once again in Florence.  The Kiwanis Club is offering See’s Candy for the next two weeks at their candy counter located inside Sears.  Spokesperson Kathleen Forbes says there will be the traditional Valentine themed candy, including heart shaped boxes of different sizes and price ranges.  Sales are from ten to five daily.  Proceeds go towards supporting the many programs of Florence Kiwanis.