State of the County Addressed

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Rolling with the punches and being flexible…

The ability to “withstand upheaval and uncertainty” was the key theme yesterday when Lane County Commission Chair Jay Bozievich presented the annual “State of the County” address at Harris Hall in Eugene.

Resiliency was the word used by Bozievich several times during his address.

The West Lane representative recapped the services provided by Lane County in 2015: Veterans services; health services, including mental health and preventative care; public safety; housing and more paid for out of the general fund and outside sources like state and federal grants.

Bozievich continued the theme of resiliency when he talked about the year ahead. He said 2016 would be a “year of great financial challenges” but he expressed optimism. By “working together”, he said, Lane County would continue to be “the best place to live, work and play.”

Senior Center celebration set

A special open house is set for this Sunday from one to four pm at the Florence Senior Center. It will be a celebration of the end of federal restrictions that limited the use of the building to only those aged 60 or older.

Christine May, the Senior Center Board President, says funding for the building in 2010 came through a federal program that aimed to provide services and facilities exclusively for seniors.

May said the five-year limit on the exclusion ended last month.

Things won’t change that much, though. She said the center will remain primarily for senior citizens, but they now have the flexibility to rent part or all of the building to community groups of all ages.

Sunday’s open house will also include brief comments by Mayor Joe Henry.

Input sought for Indian Creek Restoration Project

Public input is being sought on a proposed landscape restoration process planned for more than 30-thousand acres in the Indian Creek watershed northeast of Florence.

The Siuslaw National Forest will hold a meeting Thursday, January 21st from six to 7:30 at the Mapleton Grange. Forest Service spokesman Paul Meznarich says the restoration will address the need to “diversify habitat within younger stands of trees: as well as accelerate old-growth forest habitat characteristics.

The restoration is also intended to improve aquatic habitat for salmon.

More information on the project, as well as a link to online comments, can be found at the Siuslaw National Forest website.

McKeown files for reelection

Oregon House District 9 Representative Caddy McKeown (muh-KYU-en) has filed for reelection. The Coos County Democrat is midway through her second term in the Oregon House.

She said Oregon’s economy is “on the mend”, but said the Great Recession has been “going on for a lot longer than seven years”. McKeown points to her efforts at improving education, “family wage jobs” and implementing protections for seniors and health care as her qualifications.

Live music the draw for Kids Concerts at Winter Music Festival

One key component of the Winter Music Festival later this month will be the Kids Concerts that precede the public festival. Elementary school students from Florence, Mapleton, Reedsort, and often other communities are brought to the Florence Events Center to hear world class performers. Making a return this year will be the Trail Band; a group of eight talented musicians who will present a varied blend of music for the kids. Marv Ross has been performing for nearly five decades… he says there is no replacement for being in the same room where music is being created.

Marv Ross – “We’re so inundated in our culture right now with music coming across our computers and our televisions and our, you know, our radios. It’s a strange thing to say, but in some ways, you know, children aren’t exposed to live musicians playing music. To sit in a room where musicians are playing and performing, it can be a life changing experience, it was for me as a kid.”

Ross, along with Music Festival co-chairs Sandy Kuhlman and Rachel Pearson will be on tomorrow’s Our Town on KCST from four to 5:30… An expanded version of the program will air again Thursday morning from ten until noon on KCFM.

Reward for 2014 Arson Fire still offered

A reward of up to $5,000 is still being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of who is responsible for an arson fire that destroyed an office building 13-months ago in Florence.

Detective Joe Feland with the Arson and Explosives Investigation Unit of the Oregon State Police said he is still working the case.

He and other investigators determined that the cause of the blaze that destroyed building owned by Ron Gerber and Debby Todd December 7th, 2014 was intentionally set using some sort of flammable liquid. At the time, Feland said they had a possible suspect, but nothing has been resolved. Gerber and Todd have since rebuilt the building at the corner of Pine and 19th Street.