Local News: Four Day Weeks; Marine Reserves; Gas Prices; Wet Proposals; Trading Viking Blue for Raider Red

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Local News

School Board to decide whether or not to pursue more information on four day weeks

The decision will be ultimately be made by the Siuslaw School Board, but Superintendent Jeff Davis feels a four-day school week is an idea that is not ready to be fulfilled.

Jeff Davis – “We’ve still got more work to do on exploring the four-day week, but we’re not ready as a group, or as an organization, to take this any further.”

A ‘focus group’ in the district has been working on gathering information from other communities and districts about how four-day weeks are working elsewhere.  It’s been an unscientific study, but the results have been pretty clear… districts that have made a move to a strict four-day week haven’t fared as well as others that have used the extra day to provide time for teachers and students to be in school…but outside of traditional classrooms.

Still, Davis adds:

Jeff Davis – “My preference at this time would be to hold on and see if we can maintain a five-day school week.  But if we need to go to it for economic reasons I’d be the first one to say ‘let’s adopt one that will work’ and that’s family and community friendly.”

The School Board will hear Davis’ report this evening and then go from there.  The meeting begins at 6:30 at the District Office on Oak Street.

Marine Reserves Approved by Oregon Senate

A package of three marine reserves was approved yesterday by the Oregon Senate.  The vote, 25-5, draws near to a close a ten year process that has included negotiation, compromise and much argument.  The three sites, just off Cape Perpetua near Yachats; Lincoln County’s Cascade Head; and Cape Falcon on the North Coast would be off limits to all fishing or other activities.  They would also be flanked by seven “marine protected areas that will have restrictions on the types and amounts of activities allowed.

Despite the 5-to-one margin of victory in the Senate, there is far more opposition to the ‘set asides’.  Democrat Betsy Johnson of Scappoose said many of her constituents were opposed to the Cape Falcon inclusion.  But, threats of a statewide ballot measure that would have targeted larger areas of the coast loomed over negotiations.  Johnson said that would have tied up coastal waters and caused – quote – “Armageddon”.

Supporters of the reserves say they will boost fish populations and have a positive spillover effect for fisheries.

Gas prices at record levels for this time of year

Crude oil prices have slipped below $100 a barrel two weeks in a row for the first time since last fall, but retail gas prices continue to climb.  The national average price, as measured by Triple-A increased by four cents this week, it’s at $3.48 a gallon.  Oregon’s statewide average price went up a penny to $3.50, and the local average price went up two cents: it’s at $3.38 a gallon.

Marie Dodds with Triple-A says retail prices remain at record highs for this time of year, eclipsing the previous records set a year ago.  The national average is 36-cents higher than last year, while Oregon’s average is 26-cents higher.  The average in Florence is 29-cents higher than last year at this time.

Underwater proposals and seal kisses

Everyone loves a kiss from Lea the sea lion. Photo by Cindy Hanson, Oregon Coast Aquarium.

Any would-be grooms or brides looking for a way to creatively ‘pop the question’ this week might consider the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport.  For $75, divers in the “Passages of the Deep” tanks will hold up an under-water sign asking “will you marry me?”   Aquarium spokesperson Kandy Smith said the proposals are available Saturday or Sunday at 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30.

If you’re not quite ready to pop the underwater question… you can still take your sweetheart to the aquarium on Valentine’s Day.  They’re offering Sea Lion kisses Tuesday at ten and two for only $30… and you’ll want to bring your own breath mints.

Two Vikings Sign Letters of Intent with Southern Oregon

Two Siuslaw Vikings will trade in their blue and gold for the red and black of the Southern Oregon Raiders.  Sonny Tupua and Jacob Holloway are two of the seven Oregon All-State Football prospects that signed letters of intent last week with SOU.  Tupua and Holloway helped lead the Vikings to the state final game in December.  They’re two of 33 members of a recruiting class that Raiders head coach Craig Howard says will have “an immediate impact” on the program.