New exec at Military Museum

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Former Chamber Exec ends retirement

After a brief six week retirement, former Florence Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cal Applebee is back at work, but in a different venue.

Applebee will take over May 1st as the new part time executive director at the Oregon Coast Military Museum near the airport.

He was instrumental in the founding of the museum eight years ago and was on the museum’s governing board until 2014.  When he left the board, he remained active and supported the organization.  Applebee called the move “coming home” while past president Tim Sapp called it a – quote – “no brainer”.

Sapp said the museum can’t afford a full time director, but Applebee’s background and experience make him a good fit.

In other actions last week, the museum board selected new leadership for the coming year… Wayne Sharpe was elected board president with Gene Wobbe (WAH-bee) serving as vice-president.

Smoothing the land use process at city hall

The Florence Planning Commission will hold their fourth work session this evening on the topic of updating the city’s land-use code.  The aim, says City Manager Erin Reynolds, is to streamline many of the proceedings conducted by the organization.

Erin Reynolds – “So we already know what the criteria is, the planning commission and city council have already approved code.  If they can just check the box and say yes, your application meets this criteria; go forth and do that.  That is a lot less cumbersome on the applicant and we hope to encourage people to keep moving forward on projects, as opposed to feeling like it’s quite an obstacle to go to planning commission.

The commission will review the 2nd draft of architectural design codes that would help enable an “over the counter” permitting process.  That meeting begins at seven pm, at City Hall.

Three extra days to file

A local holiday in Washington D.C.  April 15th means Americans will get an extra three days to file their taxes.

Those extra three days may come in handy as the Oregon Department of Revenue is expecting to handle somewhere between 600-and-700-thousand returns in the next week.

According to Revenue Department spokesperson Megan Denison, they’ve already processed more than 1.1 million returns.

The easiest and quickest way to submit your return is by e-filing.  She says those are processed faster than paper returns because they require less manual work.  If you are getting a refund, direct deposit into your bank account will speed things up as well.

Returns… both federal and state… must be filed before midnight Monday, April 18th.  If you e-file… you could theoretically go up to the deadline, but if you’re mailing… you’ll need to make sure to get it to the Post Office in time to get that date’s post mark… that usually means mid afternoon in the Florence area.

Clean out those old files, but don’t just throw them away

With tax day coming next Monday, that usually means people are cleaning out their files and purging old documents.

What do you do with that tax return from 2007?

One thing you should not do with it is simply throw it away.  That increases the danger of someone gaining access to private information like your social security number or other sensitive data.

Oregon Pacific Bank will be hosting their ninth annual ‘shred day’ this Saturday between 11 and two. A large mobile shredding unit will be set up in the parking lot to accept personal papers.  Ellen Huntingdon with OPB says the shredded papers will be recycled allowing for a “safe and responsible way” to dispose of confidential materials.

Businesses may also bring confidential materials… but they’re asked to wait until the final hour.

Huntingdon said there is a limited amount of space in the truck however… and once it’s full no additional papers will be accepted.

Fire damages home, resident “lucky” says firefighter

Fire heavily damaged the interior of a home yesterday in Florence.  Siuslaw Valley Fire Operations Chief Marvin Tipler said the occupant of the home at 2085 19th Street called the business line at the fire station to report that she had been away from home for a couple of hours and came home to find a small electrical fire smoldering in the bedroom.  Tipler said it was more than just an electrical fire.  It had already consumed many of the contents of the room, blackening one bedroom and filling the rest of the house with smoke.

Marvin Tipler – “She was very fortunate, yeah.  It was a fire that was starved for oxygen and obviously it had sat there long enough that it had cooled down long enough that it didn’t backdraft on her, or flash over on her when she opened the door.”

Patricia Annin, along with a neighbor, were able to extinguish what fire remained by the time firefighters arrived.

Marvin Tipler – “We asked her why she didn’t call 911 and she just said she didn’t think about it at the time.  She just wanted to get her house, you the fire, extinguished. And, the same with the young man that actually extinguished it.  He said I didn’t think about calling 911, I just thought about putting the fire out.”

Tipler said the home and contents sustained an estimated $20-thousand in damage and it uninhabitable.  Annin, along with two children aged 11 and 13 are being assisted by the Red Cross.

Dancing with sea lions moving to next phase

The 7-foot long sea lions that were on display last week at the Florence Events Center are headed out to the community this week.  By Friday, all 20 of them will be in position where they’ll remain until October.

One of those is called “Gifts of the Sea”. It was designed and created by Kim Pickell, the art teacher at Siuslaw High School.  She had already sketched out the initial design before getting what she called the “mammoth white sculpture”.  Pickell told students on KCST’s Viking Hour this week that it took her some thought to actually begin the work.

Kim Pickell – “There was probably a week, a week and a half that I just let it sit and looked at it every day; because I was kind of nervous about getting going.  But, by the time I was done, oh gosh, I don’t know how many hours I put into it.  Really a lot.”

If you want to view “Gifts of the Sea” you’ll have to travel to Newport.  It is underwritten by Umpqua Bank and it will be on display at the Newport Performing Arts Center.