Local News: A Glimmer of Hope; School Transfers; Gas Prices; Pooper Scoopers

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A glimmer of hope for injured Florence youth…

Life changed on the first day of summer vacation last year for Trevor Denning when he suffered a serious spinal injury in what appeared to be a minor ATV crash.  But now, says his mom, Melissa Barnett, there’s some hope.

16-year old Trevor has been accepted for treatment at the Stem Cell Institute at Punta Pacifica Hospital in Panama City, Panama.  The state of the art medical center, operating in conjunction with Johns Hopkins University and the Christopher Reeves Foundation, uses the patients own stem cells and has achieved some incredible results.  Nine patients with injuries similar to Denning’s have been treated in the past year, all with life-changing improvements.

As astounding as some of the results have been, Barnett says she and her son would be happy with any improvement.

Melissa Barnett – “He’s just more excited about if he could just feel a little bit more.  You know, that kind of stuff.  He just is kind of hesitant on thinking on the lines of oh gosh I’m going to walk again, because if he does walk again it’s not going to be the same as he was before.”

The treatment won’t come cheap.  The cost, including transportation, will be around $38-thousand.  With his treatment set to start in late June there’s not a lot of time to raise the money.

16-year old Trevor Denning (center) is hoping for some improvement in his spinal injury through innovative stem cell treatement in Central America. Cindy Wobbe (left) is the owner of Mon Amis Gourmet Deli and Antiques, as well as a member of Delta Gamma Sorority. They've teamed up with Woody Woodbury (right) of Florence Grocery Outlet and Good Stuff Non Profit in a drive to raise $38,000 in the next five weeks.

Several community members have already come together to start a fund-drive.  Woody Woodbury at Grocery Outlet has teamed up with members of the Delta Gamma Sorority and Good Stuff Non Profit to raise the money.  Barnett says she and the rest of the family have been overwhelmed with the support and help they’ve received so far.

Melissa Barnett – “I’m like, ok.  I just kind of surrender and realize it’s, you know, it’s out of my hands and whatever happens happens.  And we’re just so grateful for anybody that, you know, does want to help and for all the help we’ve had in the past.  So, we’re just grateful.”




School Transfer Policies Vary

Up until this year students in Oregon schools were limited in their ability to transfer from one school district to another.  They were generally required to live in the district where they attended, or get special permission.  A new law that took effect this year allows students to transfer without getting an OK from the school they’re leaving behind.

Not all districts are accepting automatic transfers, and the ones that do, often place limitations.  At Siuslaw, students who want to transfer in are required to get approval from their old school.  Mapleton accepts transfers automatically, but they’re limited to no more than five in each of the three schools.  Reedsport’s middle and high schools are charter schools which operate under a different set of rules… students that attend there are not bound by district boundaries.

By the way, the Siuslaw School District Budget Committee will hold a session this evening, 6:30 at the Elementary School Library.  They’re expected to wrap up discussions on the 2012-13 budget.  The school board will meet following.

Fuel Prices Steady

Prices at the pump have held steady at an average of $3.91 per gallon in Florence, and the statewide average of $4.02 is the same as last week.  But, according to Triple-A, prices in other parts of the country are dipping to a three-month low.  The national average price fell by 4 ½ cents a gallon this week to reach $3.76.  Crude oil price declines are getting much of the credit for retail reductions.

Pooper Scoopers and Banner  Carriers

Sign ups for kids who want to carry banners or push wheel barrows behind equestrian units in the 105th Rhododendron Festival Grand Floral Parade are being taken at the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center.  Carriers and scoopers must be between 9 and 13 years of age, and physically capable of negotiating the two-plus-mile parade route.