Plastics are priority

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Semi-Annual Beach Cleanup This Weekend

The call is going out for volunteers to pick up debris from Oregon beaches after a stormy winter season.  The semi-annual SOLVE Oregon Beach Cleanup is set for Saturday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.  One particular area of concern, according to SOLVE’s Kayleen Boyle, is plastic… some large, some small.

Kayleen Boyle – “But those little pieces of plastic, they’re called microplastics, a lot of time they can do a lot more damage than the bigger pieces because a lot of wildlife mistake them for food.  They really have a bigger impact and so they’re just really detrimental all around.”

Boyle said in our area there are four areas of specific concern:  Alsea Bay Bridge in Waldport; Yachats Beach; Siltcoos Outlet, just south of Florence; and Umpqua Dunes at Winchester Bay.

Kayleen Boyle – “The entire coast is in need of a lot care and volunteers, but these sites are sites where we have that same need but we don’t usually have a lot of people coming out to them for one reason or another, so we’re trying to highlight these sites to folks as opportunities to get out there and make a real difference with their time.”

For more information on the beach cleanup and how to register, Boyle said you can go to their website… www-dot-SolveOregon-dot-org.

True Crime in Florence

Florence Police Chief Tom Turner delivered a report to the Florence City Council last night in response to citizen comments made two weeks ago about what sounded like a very serious crime… at least for Florence.

Tom Turner – “It had portrayed a recent assault we had on February 6th as a mugging of an elderly gentleman, as the way it was phrased.  And that was absolutely not true.  It was a verbal argument that turned physical. And it was a 30-year old intoxicated victim which is much different than an elderly person, at least in my perspective.

Turner said he’s not sure how this incident somehow transformed into an alleged mugging, but he said social media has been instrumental in perpetuating rumors and making things sound worse than what they really are.

Tom Turner – “I’m glad that we don’t have a ton of activity in Florence.  But we do have some, and the stories and the events that we have get told and retold and ‘social media-ized’ so to speak, and they turn into quite the creation.  They’re way more dramatic than what really happened.

Still, he credits social media with helping them to make two arrests earlier this month in relation to an arson fire.  And he applauded efforts of area residents to get involved and try to help authorities make a difference.

Taco feed to benefit scholarship fund

The family of a 17-year old boy who drowned June 25th in Woahink Lake has established a scholarship fund in his memory.

Jose Dela Mora would have been a senior at Siuslaw High School this year.  Family members say he was a “gifted wrestler and a talented artist”.  Two $500 scholarships will be offered each year to students who have a passion for art or for wrestling and who need support to pursue enrichment opportunities, college or vocational training.

Dela Mora’s family owns and operates Rosa’s Mexican Restaurant.  They will host a taco feed Sunday afternoon, April Third at Crossroad Assembly of God Church on Maple Street to raise money for the scholarship.  Donations can be made directly to the scholarship fund at Oregon Pacific Bank.

Tsunami debris drifting towards Oregon

A 30-foot segment of a derelict boat is drifting towards the southern Oregon Coast this week.  It’s believed to have been adrift in the Pacific since March 11th, 2011 when a massive earthquake and tsunami hit the east coast of Japan.

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew spotted it last week and was able to attach a tracking buoy.  It’s expected to hit the beach somewhere between Bandon and Cape Arago in Coos County sometime today or tomorrow.

Chris Havel with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department said if the derelict comes ashore on a sandy beach, they’ll contract with a local salvager to secure the boat, then remove it from the shoreline.  He added it did not appear there were any hazardous materials on board.  Biologists with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will remove samples of plants and animals to check for possible invasive species.

Acclaimed Oregon essayist in Mapleton this week

Author and essayist Robert Leo Heilman will read from his acclaimed 1995 work “Overstory:  Zero:  Real Life in Timber Country” this week at the Mapleton Branch of Siuslaw Public Library.

Heilman, from Myrtle Creek, has updated “Overstory” for the 20th anniversary edition.  The author describes his writing as trying to “look at connections between my life and the lives of my neighbors.”  Library spokesperson Kevin Mitge says the “intimate interior” of the Mapleton library is the “perfect place”  to enjoy Heilman’s “delightful and introspective writings of small town Oregon.”

Heilman will read from “Overstory” beginning at 5:15 Thursday evening in Mapleton.

Pool restoration efforts stepping up

Efforts to rehabilitate and reopen the pool in Mapleton are progressing.  Supporters of the Siuslaw Regional Aquatics Center will be hosting a pulled pork dinner and auction, April 9th at the Florence Elks Lodge to help raise local funds.  That money would be used as local “match” for grants that would pay for the bulk of the renovation.

Tickets for the dinner are $15 and must be purchased in advance at City Lights Cinemas, Old Town Coffee Roasters and Banner Bank in Mapleton.  Organizer Lauren Hesse said there will be several live and silent auction items… and tickets must be purchased by April 1st.