25 March 2015
Lane County could see extra money from Feds
A probable extension of the federal “Secure Rural Schools” act could bring extra cash to Lane County. But only temporarily.
Lawmakers in Washington D.C. reached a deal yesterday that would extend the so-called federal “timber payments” law for another two years. It must still be formally approved by the House and the Senate, but members of Oregon’s congressional delegation expect will carry.
If approved, it would bring about $14-million over the next two years to Lane County. Most of that; about $12.5-million, would go to the road fund and would likely fund rural sheriff’s patrols.
The rest of the money would be directed to the county’s general fund.
County Administrator Steve Mokrohisky said he would recommend next year’s portion… about $1.3-million… be used to pay down some of the county’s long-term debt.
Waste transfer sites remain on winter hours
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.
Voters will have some choices, but not many
Voters in western Lane County will have choices on the ballot when it comes to the Siuslaw Rural Fire District Board. But, the Siuslaw School Board race drew only three candidates for the five open positions.
In the fire board race, Tony Phillips is challenging incumbent Rob Ward; Woody Woodbury is running against long time board member Steve Olienyk; and two challengers have filed to oppose incumbent 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 the sole candidate for one term. Two other positions drew no candidates.
Ballots for the May 19th election will be mailed May 1st.
Food Share calls on businesses to help “feed the need”
Florence Food Share will start their second annual spring “Feed the Need” food drive next week. It’s a friendly competition between like-size businesses to see who can collect the most food and cash. Executive Director Norma Barton said they hope to gather 20-thousand pounds of food through collection barrels placed in those businesses around town.
Norma Barton – “We have 50 businesses right now, on board. Last year we only had 26 so we’re really excited this year. And, we’re still waiting to hear back from a few more. You should be seeing barrels all up and down Bay Street, all up and down 101; literally everywhere.”
That food likely won’t last very long. Barton says Food Share generally distributes about two-and-a-half-times that much each month. They are currently serving more than 17-hundred people with monthly food boxes.
Razor clamming from Siuslaw River north reopens
Two Oregon state agencies have announced the reopening of recreational and commercial razor clam harvesting on the stretch of beach between the Siuslaw River and Heceta Head.
The Agriculture and Fish & Wildlife departments had closed all razor clamming from Heceta Head to the California border in August because of elevated levels of a shellfish toxin. Recent sampling indicates those levels have dropped.
But, razor clamming from the Siuslaw River entrance and south to Brookings remains closed.
Shellfish contaminated with the toxin can cause minor to severe illness and even death. It’s produced by algae and cannot be removed by cooking.
Gas prices drop after peaking last week
It’s been a roller coaster ride for gas prices over the past few weeks. Prices are once again on the downward slide; mostly because of lower crude oil prices.
Marie Dodds with Triple-A of Oregon says the lower prices are also coming despite increased demand; regional refinery maintenance and a seasonal switch to more expensive summer-blend gasoline.
The average cash price in Florence fell by 12 cents in the past week and is at $2.74. Oregon’s average price fell by six cents in the same period to $2.79.
Dodds said the national average price held steady this past week at $2.42 a gallon.