17 July 2015
Foggy fourth prompts complaints… and response
Public complaints about the Fourth of July fireworks in Florence may be valid, but that doesn’t mean there’s much that can be done about them.
Cal Applebee, the Executive Director for the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce, said the two main complaints were about the fog and the location.
The permit process, state regulations and contract with the fireworks company combine to require the fuses be lit at the listed time no matter what. Applebee said they can’t be held for another date or re-used.
He also said for more than 25 years the display was fired from a barge in the middle of the Siuslaw River. That made them visible to everywhere on Bay Street. That barge left two years ago. Since then, the only viable alternative has been to use a site east of the Port of Siuslaw RV Park as a base.
The annual display costs about $11-thousand, but Applebbe says there are no plans to abandon it. He said he hopes people focus on celebrating our independence… instead of on matters beyond anyone’s control.
Firing caused by volunteer concerns says board president
A shift from a predominately volunteer fire department to one more and more reliant on paid personnel was the reason stated for this week’s sudden firing of the Fire Chief. That’s according to Siuslaw Valley Fire Board President John Carnahan. Carnahan was elected in May and sworn in Wednesday night. He said the firing needed to be done immediately.
Actions of the previous board don’t match that sense of urgency. In the last 18 months since Jim Langborg was hired, the only paid position added was a part time coordinator for volunteer recruitment and retention. That was effective July 1st; the job had not yet been filled.
There were unspecified complaints from volunteers last fall. The Board looked into them, even hired an investigator, but there was never any public followup.
Langborg did report to the board in December they had been conducting exit interviews with departing volunteers. He cited the main reason they had left was because they no longer lived in the Florence area.
Former Chief John Buchanan was appointed interim Chief. He’ll take over Monday.
Spaghetti fundraiser prompts huge response
28 gallons of spaghetti sauce, dozens of loaves of bread and many many pounds of pasta were doled out Wednesday evening at the Little Brown Hen Café. By the time the evening was over, they had raised nearly $13-thousand to help a former Florence business owner who is in the middle of a fight with cancer.
Liz Mobley used to operate Florence Travel until her illness forced her to close it and focus on her treatment.
Stacey Brown at the Little Brown Hen Cafe said she doesn’t know Liz that well, but a mutual friend said the woman needed help paying bills.
As she has nine other times, she opened the doors to the café and with lots of volunteer help and donated food, they raised the money.
An earlier spaghetti feed six weeks ago raised $9-thousand for another cancer fighter, Kelly Burnett. Brown said in all ten spaghetti feeds she’s hosted over the past several years, the community has raised more than $65-thousand.
City goals progress report
An update on progress toward seven broad city goals will be presented to the City Council in Florence Monday evening. The council adopted the goals and an accompanying work plan in February of this year.
Those goals include sustaining and improving city services; the local economy; livability and quality of life; financial stability; the city’s physical assets; public communication; and public safety.
City Manager Erin Reynolds will deliver the report. The Council meets Monday, six pm, at City Hall.