Governor Proposes More Money for Schools

2 December 2014
Coast Radio News
Local News

Increased Spending Proposed for K-12 Education

Governor John Kitzhaber is proposing a budget that would increase funding for education with a focus on children before they reach third grade.

Kitzhaber unveiled his $18.6-billion two-year state budget proposal yesterday. That’s nearly two-billion-dollars more than the current budget.

The economic recovery is boosting tax revenues, and the Governor says that gives the state “an opportunity to reinvest in our children”. His budget is aimed at helping to increase reading skills in early grades, something that would help to reduce later dropout rates.

Kitzhaber admits his budget is too small when it comes to higher education; he says he hopes lawmakers can find additional money for universities.

Lawmakers will begin working on the budget when the legislative session opens in February.

Put a visit to a park under the tree

There are two ways you can put the Oregon Coast in someone’s Christmas stocking this year.

Oregon State Parks is offering access to all state parks day-use areas at a discounted rate this month… the annual pass typically sells for $30 and you can pick it up in December for only $25.

For visitors and residents along the coast, there’s the Oregon Coast Passport that provides access to all coastal state parks, like Honeyman State Park and Umpqua State Park; but also grants day-use access to federal recreation areas such as the Oregon Dunes; the BLM Yaquina Head Natural Area and more.

Both are available at any coastal state park facility or on the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department website.  The Oregon Coast Passport is also available at the Oregon Dunes office in Reedsport as well as at Cape Perpetua Visitor Center.

Dark Skies Approved

The City of Florence made changes to the zoning code aimed at preserving views of the night sky. The so-called “dark skies” ordinance, says interim City Manager Larry Patterson, would actually redirect nighttime lighting.

Larry Patterson – “I think there’s a lot of confusion that many folks feel it’s turning lights off. It’s more really, about shielding or directing light patterns.”

The Planning Commission approved a recommendation to incorporate the limitations into city code following a work session and a hearing earlier this fall. The City Council took testimony, then approved the proposal last night. It sets

different standards in commercially zoned areas than in residential areas.

Empty Bowls to fill shelves

A very popular gift source for the holiday season in Florence is also a popular fund raiser for Florence Food Share.

Hundreds of hand-made ceramic bowls will be sold over a three-day span this weekend at the “Empty Bowls” event at the Florence Events Center.

All of the bowls are made by local artists and art students; and all come with a gift certificate good for a complimentary bowl of soup at an area eatery.

This will be the 19th annual “Empty Bowls” in Florence.

Bowls will be available Friday from five to seven PM; Saturday from ten to three; and then again Sunday from noon until three.

Second Flo Grow Distribution Set For Next Week

Since earlier this fall none of the solid waste recovered from Florence’s Waste Water Treatment Facility has been going into the landfill. Once the water has been separated from it, it’s all been reused in one of two ways.

Public Works Director Mike Miller says about two-thirds of the sludge is hauled to Heard Farms near Roseburg where they use it for fertilizer. The rest is mixed with ground yard debris, covered and left to compost.

That final mixture is called “Flo-Grow” and it can be a rich soil amendment. Two months ago, the city gave away about 40 cubic yards of it on a first come-first served basis. Miller knew it would be popular, but even he was surprised at the response.

Mike Miller – “It was overwhelming because we were out of material within, in less than two hours. We advertised that we would start giving it out at nine am and we had folks lining up at eight.”

Another pile of Flo-Grow will be given away next week.

Mike Miller – “The second batch is much larger so we should have quite a bit of material to give away this time, probably closer to 100 yards.”

It’s open to anyone in the area… you’ll have to bring your own truck, barrel or bucket to haul it… and you can only get one cubic yard. That’s at the city’s wastewater treatment facility on Rhododendron Drive, Wednesday, December tenth.

Cost of driving

The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline dropped slightly in Florence this week, while nationwide it fell a nickel a gallon to $2.76. The Oregon average, as measured by Triple-A fell by three cents, but remains above the three-dollar mark at $3.01.

In Florence, the average price went down two-cents and is at $2.89 a gallon.