Local News – School Budget; Coos Tsunami Drill; Child Abuse Arraignment

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Local News

School Budget Discussions to Continue

Discussions on the budget for Siuslaw schools in the coming year will continue into next month following a special work session by the school board earlier this week.

Superintendent Jeff Davis listened for the first 90 minutes, absorbing the thoughts and often differing opinions of the seven board members.  Then, in the final ten minutes of the session he summed things up and put them into perspective.  Davis says no matter how grim the finances may appear… Siuslaw is still better off than many other Oregon schools.

Jeff Davis – “We probably are looking better than 95% of the schools in Oregon right now with our class sizes.  Now tell that to those teachers at the middle school with 33 kids every period of the day and they’re going to say tell me how that isn’t a lot of work folks because that is.”

Board members are grappling with staffing at all grade levels.  They heard recommendations from the principals in all three buildings.  Then spent a good deal of time discussing their views on whether or not to increase funding for certain programs now… or set aside some extra cash for the future.  Their next scheduled meeting is set for June 13th.

Child Abuse Alleged

A 29-year old Florence man was arraigned in Lane County Circuit Court Tuesday afternoon on two counts each of assault and criminal mistreatment.  Jeremy Burchell was arrested May 16th after police were called to Peace Harbor Hospital where a 3-year old boy was being treated for multiple fractures of his hand and arm.

In addition to the broken bones, the boy was also covered with bruises, cuts and scrapes.  During questioning by police, Burchell admitted he had also recently injured his 9-year old stepson.  Both boys were removed from the home and have been placed with other relatives.  The Department of Human Services investigated allegations of abuse by Burchell in January but found no evidence for an arrest.  His trial date has been tentatively set for June 25th.

Tree Trimming

Traffic on Highway 126 between Mapleton and Walton will be restricted again today, then again early next week, as crews work to remove hazard trees along the right of way.  The trees pose a threat to the roadway should they fall during a windstorm.  By removing them now, Oregon Department of Transportation officials hope to reduce the likelihood that they would possibly block the route during stormy weather.

Coos Tsunami Evacuation Drill

Thousands of residents in Coos Bay, North Bend and Charleston will be taking part in their first large-scale tsunami evacuation drill this afternoon.  Coos Bay Fire Chief Stan Gibson says last year’s vivid images of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan made people on the Oregon Coast take note.  Blossom Gulch Elementary School in Coos Bay is in the expected inundation zone.  Kids there will practice taking cover under their desks as they would in the event of a quake… then walk in a line to higher ground.  According to Jeff Barnard with the Associated Press, scientists say there is a one-in-ten chance this year of a mega-quake that could send a wall of water into low-lying coastal areas.