Local News – Casino Access Plan Draws Fire; The healing power of birdsong; Are you ready? Library bronze

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Local News

Late addition to Trans Plan draws strong feedback

A previously approved housing development at the south end of Ocean Dunes Golf Links won’t be built after all.  But, the Confederated Tribes of the Coos Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians want to move a proposed cross-town connection that was included in that project through Three Rivers Casino using Coastal Highlands Drive.

The proposal was included in testimony last month provided by the tribe to the Florence City Council on the update to the city’s Transportation Systems Plan.

It’s also drawing fire from neighborhood residents who say it serves no need and will increase noise and traffic through a quiet residential area.

Joe Zelinski has lived on Coastal Highlands Drive for ten years and he says he has no quarrel with the casino, but the connection from his street into the casino parking lot makes no sense.  Responding to the city’s request for feedback on the idea, Zelinski also questioned the need for any connection to the casino from his neighborhood.

The Florence City Council requested input specifically from property owners in Coastal Highlands after receiving the request from the tribe.  They’ll take additional testimony this evening on that topic as well as the entire transportation plan.  The meeting begins at seven.

Bronze for Books

A life-size bronze sculpture of a woman, focused on an open book, will grace the entry to the main parking lot at Siuslaw Public Library sometime by the end of this year.  Gardiner sculptor Mack Holman of the Tsunami Gallery received the commission late last month from the library board of directors to create the piece entitled “Cramming for Finals”.   It features a woman, walking on the beach and looking at a book.

The $18-thousand price-tag will be paid partially from remaining funds from the library’s expansion project completed last year.  The balance of the money will come from donations and the Friends of the Library.

After Disaster

Are you ready for a wide spread disaster?  Anne Machalek (muh-HAUL-eck) with the Western Lane Emergency Operations Group has another question for you… what about after the disaster?  Do you have important papers like insurance policies, copies of deeds and other documentation in a safe, accessible place?  This month’s “Are You Read” class at Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue will help attendees plan for a smoother recovery process following any large scale disaster.  The class is set for Saturday from 9:30 to noon; it’s free, but they’re asking you to pre-register by calling the fire station.

The Healing Power of Bird Song

Susan Johnson spent more than two weeks in Peace Harbor Hospital earlier this spring.  She said she received “excellent” care from the staff, but also a little bit of something extra from the birds who sang outside her window.

Susan Johnson – “They sang to me in the morning before I even opened my eyes or the tears started to fall, my own personal anthem of it’s going to be ok and everything’s going to be fine.”

After hearing the birds every day, she asked one of the staff members about them.  She heard the story of Jim Kaul who needed something to do after dealing with his late wife’s lengthy illness and eventual passing.  So, he built a bird feeder for outside of each patient room at the hospital.

Susan Johnson – “If that was the end of the story, oh my God!  How cool is that?  It wasn’t the end of the story.  He comes, still, two-three times a week and fills these feeders, which is really cool, at 89, and he pays for the bird feed himself.”

Peace Harbor does provide a small stipend for Kaul, but he still pays most of the cost out of his own pocket.  Johnson says he sets a wonderful example.

Susan Johnson – “Here we’ve got a guy who’s thinking of everybody but himself.  And, you know, why, why don’t we all want to pitch in and help?  Because, someday it might be you that’s spending 15 miserable days in the hospital and you’ll be ever so grateful for those birds, I’m telling you.”

She said Kaul is on a fixed income, but manages to make the round several times a week to fill the feeders.