School spending bill advancing this week

Coast Radio News
Local News
24 March 2015

School funding bill expected to advance this week

Oregon legislative leaders say they will move forward this week with a schools budget that education interests call inadequate. Siuslaw Superintendent Ethel Angal says even though it’s more money than was set aside two years ago, there are now more students and higher expenses.

Ethel Angal– “This is a step back. And I know that our legislators believe it’s not. But, when we look at the numbers, it is.”

House Speaker Tina Kotek and Senate President Peter Courtney, both Democats, said yesterday that it’s important to provide school districts with certainty as they develop budgets. Both said if future projections show the state will receive more money, 40-percent of that would then be dedicated to K-through-12 schools.

Ethel Angal – “It won’t help us with the hard decisions we have to make. Because we cannot, for instance, replace vacancies or hire new teachers for career and technical education, or for reducing class size based on… ‘well something else might come along’.”

Lawmaker say the $7.24-billion budget provides enough for most districts to avoid cuts. School administrators are asking for an additional $260-million. The budget is scheduled for a committee vote today and could be decided by the House and Senate next week.

Florence boundary expanding

The Florence Planning Commission will review three high-profile requests Tuesday night. The first is one step in an annexation request by the owners of Jerry’s Place on Rhododendron Drive. The eatery is inside the city’s Urban Growth Boundary and owners want to be annexed in order to connect to city sewer.

Peace Harbor Medical Center is asking for design review approval as they begin their 44-hundred square foot expansion of the emergency department.

The Siuslaw School District is also asking for a Conditional Use Permit to add a 53-hundred square foot building next to the elementary school in order to provide space for five kindergarten classrooms. The school will be expanding kindergarten from a half-day program to full days beginning in September.

The Planning Commission meets tomorrow, seven PM at City Hall.

Animal parts in luggage draws citation

A Florence man was issued a citation after trying to board an airplane in Eugene earlier this month with bear paws in his luggage.

Hong-Shiou “Tony” Chiou was boarding a flight in Eugene on his way to Taiwan when a TSA agent found the paws wrapped in plastic grocery sacks.

Chiou’s property on Highway 126 and his eighth street home in Florence were subsequently searched. Police found several bear heads and hides. But, Chiou was unable to produce the required bear tags.

He told police he was taking the paws to Taiwan to be made into a necklace for his housekeeper. A bottle of whiskey containing bile from a bear’s gall bladder was also seized.

Chiou was cited and allowed to continue his journey.

Time to remove studs

This week’s mountain snow storm isn’t expected to delay the end of Oregon’s studded tire season. The Oregon Department of Transportation announced this week that they will not extend the deadline for removing studs from your car. They must be removed no later than March 31st.

The announcement also brought a reminder from ODOT about the amount of damage to roadways caused by studded tires. A 2014 study estimated about $8.5-million in damage each year is attributable to the traction devices.

Other types of traction tires are available that can provide the same amount of traction and safety in severe snow conditions, but also provide better traction than studded tires when used on bare pavement.

Transfer site hours remain static

Despite the arrival of spring and daylight savings time, seven of Lane County’s Waste Transfer sites will remain on winter schedules year-round.

The seven sites are in rural locations, four of them are in Western Lane County. Transfer stations at Mapleton and Walton will be open Saturdays from nine to five; Low Pass and Swisshome will be open Friday and Saturday the same hours.

The transfer site in Florence will remain open Monday through Saturday from 9 AM to 6 PM.

Fire board races draw candidates

Voters in western Lane County will have choices to make when it comes to three open positions on the Siuslaw Rural Fire District Board. But, the Siuslaw School Board only drew three candidates for five positions.

Tony Phillips is challenging incumbent Rob Ward on the fire board; Woody Woodbury is running against long time board member Steve Olienyk; and two challengers are running against Cindy Spinner: Ave Bernard and John Carnahan.

For the school board race, incumbents Tammy Butler and Suzanne Mann-Heintz filed to retain their positions. They are running unopposed. Guy Rosinbaum is running for a four year term, also unopposed. Two other spots, a four year and a two year term, drew no candidates.

Ballots for the May 19th election will be mailed May 1st.