Chamber names new exec

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Retired marketing and sales manager to lead Florence Area Chamber of Commerce

More than 25 years of experience in marketing, communications, sales, and operational and business management are the hallmarks of the woman who stepped in this week as the new executive director at the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce.

Bettina Hannigan moved to Florence just over two years ago to retire with her husband… but, says Chamber President Jenna Bartlett, that retirement did not fit Hannigan’s personaility.

Bettina Hannigan
Bettina Hannigan and her husband retired to the Florence area in 2014. Always active, she couldn’t remain retired and took over as the Executive Director of the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce April 13th. (Florence Area Chamber of Commerce photo)

She succeeds Cal Applebee who recently retired after 3 ½ years as the director of the small business and community organization.

Bartlett said she is “certain” Hannigan’s experience and expertise will continue to serve the Chamber membership well.

She also had praise for Events Coordinator Sherri Bollinger who has filled in as interim Executive Director since early February.

Hannigan will be formally introduced to the community today at noon during the monthly Chamber Lunch Forum at Best Western Pier Point Inn.

City to recognize “green” businesses

Nominations for the 2016 Greener Florence Awards are due next week.  Florence Planning Director Wendy Farley Campbell says the city wants to support and recognize those businesses and organizations “giving that little extra effort” to reduce, reuse, recycle or compost.

Nomination forms are on the city’s website under the “leadership-boards and commissions” tab.

Farley Campbell says businesses and service organizations anywhere in the area are eligible.

Nomination forms are due at City Hall no later than close of business April 20th.  Winners will be announced next month.

Gas prices continue gradual rise

After remaining below two dollars since mid-January, the average cash price for a gallon of regular gasoline in Florence has now risen above that mark.

Today’s average cash price is $2.07 a gallon, up six cents a gallon just since yesterday.

Nationally, drivers are paying on average $2.08 a gallon according to Triple-A.  That’s up three cents.

The Oregon average price increased a penny in the past week… it’s at $2.19 a gallon.

70 year old mystery story told

The mystery of the black suitcase will be explained Tuesday afternoon at the Siuslaw Public Library.

Gail Elliott Downs was an elementary school librarian in Missouri in 1991 when she gave a group of fifth graders an assignment:  Dig into a black suitcase that had been in Downs’ family since World War II and use the 200 letters contained in there to unravel the story they told.

That story eventually gained national attention and resulted in the book, written by Downs, called “The Black Suitcase Mystery”.

It told a poignant story of love against the backdrop of a far away war; and in particular the experiences of B-24 Liberator bomber crews.

Downs now lives on the Oregon Coast… she’ll tell her story Tuesday afternoon, one pm, in the Bromley Room.

Rescued sea turtle succumbs in San Diego

One of two Mexican sea turtles rescued off the Oregon coast last winter and taken to SeaWorld for rehabilitation has died.

The olive ridley sea turtle named Thunder was found dead at the San Diego facility Tuesday. The cause of death has not yet been released. Lightning, the other turtle, remains in stable condition.

Both animals were hypothermic and starving when they were found in December. They were taken to the Oregon Coast Aquarium before being flown to San Diego, where they had been undergoing rehabilitation to be released back into the wild.

More warm water turtles have been venturing into northern Pacific waters in recent years.

Jim Burke with the Oregon Coast Aquarium says his team will continue efforts to save the endangered animals.