City Council facing busy day

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Four meetings for many members scheduled for today

What will likely be the final hearing on regulations governing the wholesale, growing, processing, and retail sales of recreational marijuana in Florence will take place this evening.

Residents will have one more chance to comment on the rules before the Planning Commission makes a recommendation… and the City Council makes a decision. The council made a policy decision earlier this year to not pursue a ban on recreational pot sales, opting instead to consider the regulations.

The hearing, at the Florence Events Center at seven, will actually be the fourth meeting of the day for councilors. The city’s Audit Committee, chaired by Mayor Joe Henry, will meet at City Hall at four to hear the results of the annual audit. At five, the council meets in executive session at the FEC to talk about the annual evaluation for City Manager Erin Reynolds.

The council will take final action on both the audit and Reynolds’ evaluation when they meet in open session at six.

Should a final decision on the marijuana proposals not be reached tonight, the council is prepared to continue the hearing to next Monday, the 21st; as well as on Monday the 28th.

Registration and class delivery changing at Lane Community College

There are now more ways than ever to take classes at Lane Community College in Florence. That’s according to Florence Center Director Russ Pierson.

Russ Pierson – “We’re expanding our capacity to deliver education in different ways from online to hybrid to, you know, IP video courses that enable our students here to participate in a class that’s going on at main campus or vice versa.”

The traditional method is also an option.

Russ Pierson – “I don’t think there’s any substitute at the end of the day for just face to face learning with a really good instructor and we’ve got some great instructors.”

A new online registration system made its debut last week at Lane. If you have used any online shopping sites, Pierson says you will recognize the “point and click” method of choosing classes.

Those classes, by the way, begin Monday, January 4th.

Spring Job Fair seeking potential employers

The call is going out now for potential employers who want to participate in a Community Job Fair next spring.

Pam Hickson is the recruitment specialist for the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians. She says businesses know the challenges when trying to find good employees; and likewise, job seekers know their challenges.

The free Community Job Fair will take place at Three Rivers Casino and Resort on March 24th. Hickson has already recruited several different businesses but would like to find more. Employers wishing to have a presence at the March 24th Job Fair can call Hickson at 541-902-6504.

Winter Music Festival features newcomers and old timers alike

One long time and very experienced performer will be joined with a pair of young twins from Oregon to headline the revamped Florence Winter Music Festival in January.

Ten more acts will add “depth, spice and variety” to the two days of performances set for Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend.

The Indie-Folk duo of Katelyn and Laurie Shook, originally from Sandpoint, Idaho and now based in Portland, will play on January 17th. Jonathan Edwards, a singer-songwriter in the vein of James Taylor and Carole King, will headline the January 16th concert. Edwards biggest hit, “Sunshine (Go Away Today) went to number five in 1971. Since then he has continued to tour and perform. His latest album, “Tomorrow’s Child” features several Nashville “luminaries” like Vince Gill, Alison Krauss and Shawn Colvin.

In addition to the twins and Edwards, there will be ten different regional and nationally known musical artists on stage that weekend. It also features the very popular Artisan Fair and the Kids Koncerts.

Tickets are on sale at the festival’s website.

Port Commissioners considering management applicants

The Port of Siuslaw Commission is set to review any additional candidates for the manager’s position this week. A few additional applications have come in since the commission couldn’t reach an agreement on who to offer the job to last month. Commission President Ron Caputo said the previous applicants are still under consideration.

Ron Caputo – “Definitely, they are still in the running. We will look at the new ones and see which direction we’re going to go. We may call for more interviews or we may just try and make a decision but I don’t think we’ll try and make a decision on Wednesday night.

Caputo said interim manager Dina McClure and the rest of the staff are handling day to day issues.

Ron Caputo – “Dina’s doing a great job so we have time. Time is not a problem.”

The commission meets Wednesday, seven pm at the district office on Harbor Street. The meeting will include an executive session to consider the employment of a port manager, as well as to discuss a possible real estate transaction.

Dancing with the Sea Lions

The first of twenty white fiberglass sea lions for the Dancing With Sea Lions fundraiser was unveiled Thursday afternoon. Committee Chair, Jennifer Connor uncrated Porter Sea Lion with the help of Florence Mayor Joe Henry and committee members at the Florence Events Center. The remaining nineteen seven-and-a-half-foot sea lions are expected to arrive in Florence later this month from Cowpainters of Chicago, Illinois. All twenty will be decorated by Oregon Coast artists whose designs were blindly selected from 42 submitted entries. Each sponsored sea lion will be presented at the April 9th Splash Off event prior to being publicly planted for display during the 2016 tourist season. Sixteen of the twenty sea lions will be auctioned off in October of next year during a fundraising event for the Friends of the FEC that will commemorate the center’s 20th anniversary.