December 17, 2012
Connecticut Tragedy has Local Impacts…
Staff members, teachers and parents expressed their concerns Friday following the news of the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Special Programs Director Ethel Angle says Siuslaw Schools took calls from parents all day asking about security issues or just wanting to make sure their kids were safe.
The district’s crisis management team met briefly Friday afternoon and prepared a letter that was sent home about how to deal with the emotional impacts of the news… as well as stressing that security is a major concern. As for whether or not she thinks something like what happened in Connecticut could happen close to home.
Ethel Angal – “I think our world is violent, I think it can happen anywhere. I think we have to continue to be vigilant and, you know we have to keep our kids safe.”
In fact it has happened nearby… April 1st, 1998 a school shooting at Thurston High School in Springfield killed two students and wounded dozens more.
Security issues are at the forefront today in schools. Angal says local police are being asked to provide a slightly higher than normal profile as a way of reassuring parents and students as they come and go. Teachers, administrators and staff members are taking special steps to help students process the information emotionally. They’ve set aside special “safe rooms” in every building.
Ethel Angal – “Sometimes it’s a place where students just come and hang out for a little while. We’ll have letter writing, we’ll have other kinds of things that kids can do to feel constructive about this. They can also just grieve. They can also come in… talk about how sad it is and how scary it is.”
She said responses from students will vary, but they’re a resilient lot.
Ethel Angal – “Frankly a lot of our kids will say ‘what can we do to help?’ I would anticipate that at the high school and the middle school there will be kids who will want to, I don’t know, do something to feel like they have a little power in this situation, like we’re not all just victims.”
Angle also says parents who feel their family has been particularly affected by the Sandy Hook shootings should feel free to contact school staff.
High wind gusts of up to 69 miles an hour yesterday and overnight caused power outages throughout the central coast. Central Lincoln PUD crews worked late into the night to restore several outages and are continuing to deal with more today.
Several downed trees impacted local roads overnight, but by early morning hours most were cleared away, leaving debris in many areas. Drivers are being urged to allow extra time for travel today and to be alert. Winds are expected to be moderate today and overnight, but more high winds could cause more trees to topple tomorrow.
Weather officials are now saying the snow level could begin dropping. They’re expecting possible blizzard conditions in the Cascades tonight. Snow levels are forecast to fall to the 500 foot level by tomorrow, bringing mixed snow and rain in many locations along the coast.
Annual Evaluation of City Manager
The Florence City Council will meet in a special closed executive session this evening to discuss the annual evaluation of Florence City Manager Jacque Betz. That’s at six pm. The public release of the evaluation is set for the agenda during the council’s regular session at seven.