21 January 2015
First and Future First Citizens Announced
Florence entrepreneur Cindy Wobbe was named Florence’s First Citizen for her work in the community. Siuslaw High School senior Courtney King was named the “Future First Citizen”.
Tom Bassett, in his nomination letter written on behalf of Wobbe said it is hard for him to “imagine anyone who has had a greater impact on this community”. Her support for community causes… high and low profile… has extended as far as Panama and Afghanistan as well as taking care of others in the Florence area.
King was described by Siuslaw High School Principal Kerri Tatum as having “strong leadership qualities” and shows “genuine caring for those around her”. King carries a 3.95 cumulative grade point average; is active in athletics, student government, and community service.
The two were presented with their awards last night during the annual Chamber of Commerce Siuslaw Awards Dinner.
Oregon Pacific Bank wins Stu Johnston Business of the Year
The top business award in the community, the Stu Johnston Business of the Year, was presented to Oregon Pacific Bank last night during the Chamber of Commerce’s Siuslaw Awards Dinner at the FEC. Several other businesses had been nominated: Hoagland Properties, Florence Dental Clinic, Flowers by Bobbi and Sand Master Park.
The Western Lane Community Foundation was selected for the Non-Profit Achievement Award.
The Chicken Coop was singled out for Curb Appeal, and Coast Radio earned the Community Caring Award. Siuslaw Broadband won the category of Excellence in Customer Service.
The Chamber of Commerce also presented a special ‘Distinguished Service’ award to Woody Woodbury for his efforts and actions in support of the community.
Retirement security the topic for top officials in Coos Bay
State Treasurer Ted Wheeler, along with State Senator Arnie Roblan and Representative Caddy McKeown (muh-KYOO-un) will be in Coos Bay this evening for a listening session and town hall meeting on retirement security.
Ted Wheeler – “We’re proposing legislation to create a state-sponsored retirement savings plan that would be voluntary and it would be available to all employees in the state of Oregon who do not have access to a retirement plan through their place of employment.”
Wheeler says a state-sponsored retirement program would be self-funded and would not pose a liability. It also has the potential to save public costs in the future if people are more reliant on their own means when they get older, rather than using public assistance.
Tonight’s town hall is at the Coos Bay Public Library at seven PM.
Boys and Girls Club to begin charging after-school fee
The financial crunch at the Boys and Girls Club of Western Lane County has become tighter. Last fall the club issued a desperate plea for donations to help fund after school programs through the end of the year. That didn’t generate enough cash, so earlier this month the Board of Directors decided to begin charging a $30-per-week fee to access the after school program.
Letters went home to parents earlier this month that in addition to a $25-annual fee, they would have to pay the weekly amount. Board president Mike Smith said it was unavoidable.
Mike Smith – “It was an unfortunate reality. If there was another way to do it, we would of course entertain that and probably already have entertained many of those ideas. But, we’ve gone through this and this is, we feel, the best decision in order to keep the club operational for as long as we possibly can.”
Smith said they will likely lose participants in the program because of the fee, but hoped they would be able to maintain services.
Parent meetings have been held the past two nights to allow discussions on the change. A third and final meeting is scheduled for tonight at the Elementary School at six pm.
Future of club in question
The very future of the Boys and Girls Club of Western Lane County is at stake right now. The club’s rapid expansion into pre-school and infant day-care in the past two years has not necessarily contributed to the financial pressures board members are dealing with; but neither have they made it any easier.
The club announced an unprecedented move to begin charging $30 per week for after school activities. That’s in addition to the $25 annual membership fee.
Currently, families of about 120 elementary students utilize the activities. That may drop to as low as 20 when the charge is implemented February 1st.
The club’s teen center has already closed due to a lack of operating funds, and club directors are actively working on restructuring the organization’s debt estimated at about $300-thousand. Most of that is secured by the teen center and administration building on 15th Street.
A third and final parent meeting about the fee will be held tonight, six pm at the Elementary School.
Drivers and pedestrians reminded to use caution
A recent incident in which a Klamath Falls man was struck by a car and injured in Florence highlights the need for both pedestrians and drivers to be “extra aware” of what’s going on around them. Especially when conditions cause poor visibility.
It happened Saturday night, about 9 pm on 35th Street near Spruce. It was dark obviously, but it was also raining. Those conditions likely contributed to the accident in which 54-year old Victor Haley was struck by a car driven by 35-year old Rory Conner of Veneta. Haley was transported to Peace Harbor Medical Center with unspecified injuries and no citations were issued.
Florence Police Lieutenant John Pitcher said motorists need to be extra alert at times.
John Pitcher – “But you gotta be aware of pedestrians, you gotta keep an eye out. They may not be wearing the clothing you can see, especially in conditions like this, so at intersections and crosswalk just be very aware.”
Pedestrians also have a responsibility to make sure they are visible to drivers… and don’t take unneeded risks.