Students learn defense against shooters

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Students learn how to protect themselves in extreme situation

It was a drill.

Students at Siuslaw High School spent Tuesday afternoon dealing with a series of armed intruders. They practiced a variety of actions including how to barricade their rooms; How to fend off an attacker; flee quickly; or even, in one instance, how to fight back.

Superintendent Ethel Angal said the ALICE training… Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate… was the same teachers and staff members went through earlier this year. Students were exposed to all the same training scenarios except one.

Ethel Angal – “Primarily what we didn’t do is demonstrate for the kids… what it felt like to be huddling in a corner. The feedback from many of our staff and really common sense would say right now we don’t need to put our kids through that. We need to teach them things they can do to be safer.”

Parents and students did have the option to forego the training if they felt it would be too traumatic. Angal said only ten students withdrew from the training after the initial briefing.

Price of driving holding steady in Florence

The local average cash price for a gallon of regular held steady in Florence this week at $2.08… while the statewide average, as measured by Triple-A, slipped two cents to $2.31.

Marie Dodds with Triple-A said the national average price dipped a penny this week. At $2.03 a gallon it is expected to drop below two dollars by Christmas.

West coast prices are expected to follow, but not all the way.

Dodds said heavy refinery maintenance and unplanned shortages have combined to hold prices a little higher.

Future of facilities explored at 97J

A Siuslaw School District Facilities Committee meeting postponed from last week will be held Thursday afternoon, beginning at four pm at the district office.

Superintendent Ethel Angal will recap what the group discussed November 19th. The committee will also hear from Lauren Johnson with LSW Architects and schedule a tour of district facilities.

The high school opened 45- years ago and a portion of the Siuslaw Elementary is more than 50 years old. Administrators are trying to determine whether to undergo what would be an extensive renovation or the possibility of building a new building.

Heavy rains increase landslide danger

Intense rainfall… like we’ve been experiencing over the past several days… can bring another hazard besides flooding or standing water on roadways.

Bill Burns, an engineering geologist at the Oregon Department of Geology, says “it’s important to be aware of the potential hazard” of landslides and debris flows.

Several minor slides have already been reported along roads and highways in Western Oregon. Burns said people, structures and roads located below steep slopes in canyons and near the mouths of canyons may be at serious risk.

Debris flows are rapidly moving, extremely destructive landslides that can easily travel a mile or more, transporting boulders and logs in a fast-moving soil and water slurry. They can develop after several days of sustained and intense rainfall.

Rain continues to fall

Just under four inches of rain fell in Florence over the 72 hour period ending at five this morning. Data released by the National Weather Service this morning also shows a total of 5.98 inches fell near Tiernan, nine miles east.

According to Tyree Wilde with the Weather Service in Portland, the highest amount of rainfall recorded in the state was at Lee’s Camp in Tillamook County. Between 5 AM Sunday and this morning they reported 18 inches.

The central and northern Oregon Coast continues under several watches and advisories related to the rainfall.

A coastal flooding advisory is in effect around high tide near the beach and estuaries. A flood watch is in effect until tomorrow on the Siuslaw.

High wind rescue at sea

Coast Guard crews from Newport and Astoria responded to the report of a “mariner in distress” Monday morning off the central Oregon Coast.

The MH-65 Dolphin Helicopter from Newport located the 22-foot sailing vessel 17-miles west of Cape Perpetua. 22-foot seas with wind gusts of up to 57 miles an hour were reported.

When the helicopter arrived on scene, the 67-year old man; who was wearing a survival suit; jumped overboard and was hoisted to safety by a rescue swimmer. He was evaluated by medics in Newport and reported to be in good condition. His name was not released.

Former Siuslaw NF Supervisor touting book in Florence

The former Deputy Chief of the U.S. Forest Service will be in Florence next week to talk about a book he has written about the “tumultuous transition” he experienced in the federal agency. Jim Furnish spent 34 years with the Forest Service; seven of those as the Supervisor of the Siuslaw National Forest.

Jim Furnish – “My book, the memoir, Toward a Natural Forest includes a couple chapters related to my years on the Siuslaw and I think I try to share some of the inside story of what kind of changes occurred; how, why, who were the key players and what the outcomes were. And then it really tries to cast a vision for the future of our public lands in the United States.”

The Siuslaw National Forest saw some of the most bitter battles over Old Growth logging in the Pacific Northwest. But, a shift towards ecological restoration has since made the Siuslaw a “model for conflict free” management.

Furnish will speak at a special event presented by the Siuslaw Watershed Council on Tuesday, December 15th from six to eight pm at City Lights Cinemas.