Students to get school shooter training; SOS issues blanket appeal; More small port funding sought; Officials err on the side of caution; Military Museum to receive wartime relics; and a federal transportation bill will bring benefits to Oregon

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ALICE training coming to high school students

Students at Siuslaw High School will get “hands-on” training next week on how to react in the face of an “active shooter”. Principal Kerri Tatum says they’ll begin with a presentation Tuesday afternoon from Florence Police officers about the “ALICE” system of Alert-Lockdown-Inform-Counter-Evacuate. From there, they’ll go through some of the same training that staff members have already been exposed to.

Kerri Tatum – “It’s going to be similar. We’re not going to do all of the scenarios that we did with staff. We are going to do the barricades; we are going to do the evacuations.”

Parents will be able to “opt” their students out of the training, but Tatum says she hopes they don’t. She says the concept is similar to the practice of running fire drills beginning in early grades. Tatums says everyone knows what to do when the fire alarm goes off.   She says it saddens her that schools have to engage in this training.

Kerri Tatum – “Unfortunately yes, but I would rather we be prepared than not.”

After hearing the outline of the training Tuesday afternoon, students will have another chance to “opt out” of the training.

Blanket appeal issued

The demand for one particular item at Siuslaw Outreach Services has outstripped supply. They’ve run out of blankets according to SOS director David Wiegan.

David Wiegan – “We’ve had so many people coming in and it’s been a highly requested item.”

Many of the blankets SOS distributes, go to the homeless, but not all.

David Wiegan – “It’s really a combination of a lot of different kind of folks in a lot of different kinds of situations.”

There have been generous donations of tents, sleeping bags and clothing Wiegan says; but, the blankets are what they could really use right now.

Relics from World War II dunes bombing range to be displayed

A recent excavation in Westlake, near the Dunes City Hall, uncovered some relics of a different era. Oregon Coast Military Museum Chief of Staff Judy Murphy said they’re headed to her facility.

Judy Murphy – “World War II vintage and they’re practice bombs that were dropped over the dunes and they want to be here to donate them to the museum on December 7th at 12 noon.”

After being unearthed, an explosives team was summoned to make sure they were harmless… they were.

Once they determined they were safe, Dunes City Mayor Rebecca Ruede (REE-dee) and other officials decided they should be donated to the Oregon Coast Military Museum.

That will be done at noon on Pearl Harbor Day.

Caution prevailed in calling for early school closure

Warnings of high winds on the central coast yesterday prompted an early closure of schools in Florence.

Siuslaw Superintendent Ethel Angal said the highest winds, gusts up to 70-miles an hour, were forecast to hit around three o’clock… right when buses would be on the roads.

Previous experience and district policy, she said, prompt her to err on the side of caution. That’s why classes were dismissed early.

Much of the wind missed the Oregon Coast. High winds caused some damage and scattered power outage… along with at least one injury in the Eugene Springfield area.

A High Wind Watch has been posted for tonight and tomorrow as another storm approaches. It too could bring winds gusting up to 70 miles an hour.

Senator says transportation bill to bring benefit to Oregon

Three Oregon transportation projects stand to get a boost from approval this week of the federal Long Term Highway Funding bill.

Senator Ron Wyden lauded the bill that increased funding priority for I -205 in Portland and the Highway 99 Newberg-Dundee bypass. The bill also includes provisions for bridge projects in the Columbia River Scenic Area.

Wyden said the bill is a “long-term approach” to funding highways and will help the economy by generating good-paying jobs.

The senior Oregon Senator praised Representative Peter DeFazio, who helped write the house-version of the bill.

More funding sought for small ports

Oregon’s Fourth District Congressman, Peter DeFazio, joined an effort this week to increase federal funding for small ports in the Pacific Northwest.

In a letter to the Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan, DeFazio urged him to “consider the needs of small coastal waterways in the Northwest” as the 2017 budget proposal is put together.

In recent years, federal commercial navigation projects on the Pacific Northwest Coast have been “routinely overlooked” according to the Springfield Democrat. Small ports like those on the Siuslaw and Umpqua Rivers were left unfunded in the President’s initial 2016 budget. Without adequate dredging and maintenance, navigation channels could “silt in” and jetties could crumble, leaving local fishers with unsafe access to ocean fishing grounds and damaging the local economies.