2015 murders aren’t above average says Sheriff

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Despite year-end rash

The investigation continues into the murder of an 80-year old Florence area man Tuesday afternoon. Lane County Sheriff’s Detectives say 41-year old Jeffrey Holmes killed his step father, 80-year old Jack Youngblood during a dispute at Youngblood’s Knoll Way home. Holmes then left on foot. He was arrested a short time later about a mile away. The murder was the fourth in rural Lane County just this month. Sheriff Byron Trapp says despite the recent rash of homicides, the number for the year is not out of line.

Byron Trapp – “Since December 15th, we’ve had four people die from a homicide related event. Two of those in the Veneta call on December 15th, then the Christmas Eve down in Cottage Grove.”

That brings the number of cases investigated by his agency this year to just five… that matches the annual average for the past several years.

Trapp referred to several other recent murders in the state, including one in Florence last month, and said while it may seem violence is on the rise, when you look at statistics… it really doesn’t appear to be.

Patrols to focus on drinking and driving

Area law enforcement agencies are gearing up for extended patrols over the coming days.

Lane County Sheriff’s Deputies and Florence Police officers will be getting overtime. They’re on the alert for drivers who may be under the influence of alcohol.

Overtime patrols will extend through the weekend.

The added cost to local police agencies is funded through a federal traffic safety grant program.

Christmas tree pickups to reduce danger

A lot of people keep their Christmas Trees up until New Years… or even later.

Siuslaw Valley Fire Marshall Sean Barrett says the longer it stays, the more dangerous it gets. It’s akin to keeping an open bucket of gasoline in your living room.

Siuslaw Valley Firefighters will be collecting trees Saturday beginning at 9 AM… all trees will be mulched and recycled. Firefighters are asking for a $5 donation per tree.

If you’re in Reedsport… you’ll have to drop your tree off, but it won’t cost you anything. Rick Rockholt with the South Coast chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association says trees left near the dike at the Reedsport Les Schwab will be used in streamside habitat restoration projects.

Gas prices to start 2016 lower than in 2015

Drivers in Florence will start off 2016 paying about 30-cents a gallon less on average than they did in January 2015.

This week’s average of posted cash prices in Florence was $2.13. January 5th of this year, the average was $2.43.

This week’s local average compares very favorably with the Oregon average. Triple-A reports it went up four cents this week to $2.36. The national average price remains steady at an even two-dollars per gallon.

North Jetty parking lot rehab set to resume

Crews working around the North Jetty Access were able to clear brush along the access road and around the parking lot last week.

Paving of the parking lot that had been planned for the same time was postponed however as the contractor was unable to get asphalt.

Ranger Ryan Warren with Oregon Parks and Recreation said they’ll make another attempt to repair the larger potholes and repave portions of the lot next week.

Visitors to the North Jetty area should expect temporary closures of the parking lot between eight AM and four PM beginning Tuesday of next week and extending through Friday January 8th.

Morning after run set for New Year’s Day

If you really want to start your new year off on the right foot, all you have to do is meet Jim Archer and several of his friends at ten o’clock tomorrow morning on Bay Street, under the bridge.

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Jim Archer – “It’s the hangover run for some people, New Year’s Day.”

Archer said the informal 5-kilometer run is just that… not a race. There’s no timing, no awards, just the satisfaction of going for a run on the first day of the year.

It all started with someone announcing they wanted to work on their fitness as a new year’s resolution.

Jim Archer – “In 1983 we had a kind of informal running group and there was a gal that decided she was going to get started exercising first thing next year. Two or three of us called her up and says hey, here’s the deal, come on down New Year’s Day and we’ll get you started.”

That’s how the “Morning After” run as it’s known got its start. In the early years, there were only a handful braving the early morning after… in fact one year there was just a solo runner.  Archer admits it was not him.   Last year, though.. there were about 60 people for the morning after.