School Board seeking community input on Superintendent search

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Special meeting tonight

Members of the Siuslaw School Board will take input this evening on the qualities and qualifications the community would like to see in the next superintendent.

The board had already scheduled a special meeting tonight to discuss those qualities amongst themselves, but the decision to allow members of the community a chance to weigh in was made yesterday.

The board meets at the District Office on Oak Street at 6:30.

They will also continue a previous discussion on whether or not to submit a request to voters for a capital improvement levy. It would possibly fund construction of a new high school.

The $18-million levy approved by voters in 1999 to pay for the middle school will be paid off soon. Estimated costs for a new high school are nearly twice that.

Record low gas prices in Florence

The average cash price for a gallon of regular gas in Florence is at the lowest price in more than 15 years.

Wednesday morning’s average was $1.66 a gallon. That’s 20-cents lower than last January’s previous low.

That’s 13-cents a gallon below the national average price as measured by Triple-A.

Oregon’s average price is at the lowest level since January 2009… it fell eight cents a gallon this week to $2.01.

Rhody Courts on Our Town

There won’t be any young men participating in the Rhododendron Festival Senior Court this year. That component was added two years ago, but Cindy Wobbe said there is a lot of competition for the time and interests of young people. So much so, that they could not identify any qualified candidates for the boys’ court this year. That difficulty also means there will be just three Senior Court girls and instead of all being high school seniors, two of them are from the junior class.

Wobbe, one of two Senior Court Advisors, says despite the smaller court, their role remains the same.

Cindy Wobbe – “Our Rhododendron Court, the members of our court, are really the official ambassadors for our festival to the outside world.”

The lack of boys on the Senior Court will be made up by the establishment of a new boys Junior Court. Five boys between grades one and five will join the traditional girls court of the same ages.

Wobbe, along with Junior Court wrangler Eric Tanikawa will talk about those courts during this afternoon’s Our Town from four to six on KCST. That will air again Thursday from ten until noon on KCFM.

Verbal escape also featured

An effort help teens “find their voice” is coming from an unlikely source in the Florence area. Two young men currently in custody of the Oregon Youth Authority at Camp Florence are using a curriculum called “verbal escape” to spread the word about Spoken Word Poetry. Noah Schultz and Stephen (STEFF-un) Fowler came from different neighborhoods in Portland, but have spent the last seven years together in lockup facilities. About five years they each found a turning point in their lives and struggled to make their lives different when they get out.

Both credit the thought-provoking dramatic style of Spoken Word… here’s Schultz with a portion of his presentation called “Gavel”, a narrative of his court appearance before a judge when he was 17 years old.

Noah Schultz—“Mr. Schultz. You’ve made a terrible mistake. You will now face the consequences with 90 months in prison. The gavel drops. My teenage body is sent into a shock. The room is quiet enough to hear my mother’s tears hit the floorboards. The game of life had rendered me a loser.”

Schultz and Fowler, along with Bettie Egerton and Karen Brown with the Florence Regional Arts Alliance will talk about their efforts to reach area high school students during today’s Our Town on KCST. The program airs from four to six pm, then re-airs tomorrow on KCFM from ten to noon.

Delays mean Bay Street remains one lane under bridge

The scaffolding and containment structure surrounding the Siuslaw River Bridge over Bay Street in Old Town Florence will remain in place for about another 90 days.

The contractor working for the Oregon Department of Transportation had originally hoped to be done with repairs on the northern section of the bridge by now. But, waste steel fragments and reinforcing rebar from the original bridge construction in 1935 and 1936 are too close to the surface. That is hindering the flow of a small electrical current that is intended to slow corrosion of the metal components.

The contractor is having to spend more time making repairs in order to apply the zinc coating that will facilitate the current.

An ODOT spokesperson said they are working hard to reopen Bay Street to two way traffic by the end of April and have a reduced contractor presence in Old Town during the busy tourist season.