Levy request generates questions and answers

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Levy proceeds to be used for limited purposes

The head of the Political Action Committee promoting approval of the $36.9-million, 25-year bond levy to build a new high school responded this week to several questions.  Bill McDougle is also a member of the Siuslaw School Board.  He said if voters say yes, all of the money must be used for its intended purpose.

Bill McDougle – “If approved, the bond and grant proceeds are expected to fund constructing a new Siuslaw High School and site improvements, furnishing and equipping of projects, salvaging and removal of structures and bond issuance costs.  You can’t vary from that.  That’s it.  You’re bound by law.”

McDougle said the school board went one step beyond what is required…

Bill McDougle  — “We are going to establish a bond oversight committee.  This will be made up of citizens, people from the community.  Their duty will be to meet and to oversee the expenditure of these bond funds.  So they’ll be very carefully monitoring how that money’s spent and where it’s spent.”

He also added that as property values increase, the tax rate will decrease.

Lane County voters returning more ballots

So far, roughly one-in-six Lane County voters have returned their ballot for the May 17th primary.  That’s better than across the state where about one-in-eight voters have turned in their ballots.

There are roughly 2.3-million registered voters in Oregon; as of Sunday 303-thousand ballots had been received at county elections departments.  Of the 220-thousand ballots mailed out in Lane County, officials have received about 39-thousand.

That’s a 13.2-percent statewide compared to 17.9-percent locally.

Across the state, primary voters are most focused on the Secretary of State race.  There are three Democrats in the race and two Republicans.   Locally, voters are most interested in school levies in Mapleton and at Siuslaw Schools; as well as the Lane County District Attorney and Justice of the Peace races.

Today is the first day that county election clerks can begin verifying voter IDs and opening returned ballots.  They can also begin scanning them in preparation for tabulation one week from today.

Lofoodal.com picked for Lane County investor conference

A Florence area internet based business will be one of five Lane County companies competing for development cash this week in an investor conference in Eugene.

Lofoodal (LO-food-all) is a “shared economy” app developed by local resident Carl Hulan (HYOO-lan).  It helps connect buyers of local, organic food with smaller producers in the area.

The Willamette Angels Conference will give Hulan’s company, along with four other finalists, a chance to pitch their projects to the audience.  Following those pitches the audience will vote and the favorite will get $2,500 in capital from Palo Alto Software.

The Willamette Angels Conference was founded in 2009 and is intended to connect early stage and seed startups with angel and venture investors.   This year’s conference is Thursday, May 12th in Eugene.

Annexation requests to be heard

The Florence Planning Commission will conduct a hearing this evening on a series of annexation requests for property along Highway 101 north.

Owners and tenants of four different parcels of land are included in the request.

It began with a single annexation request in March on behalf of the property owner at 87545 Highway 101.  It was made by a representative of Verizon Wireless.  The company is exploring the placement of a cellular tower at that location.

As neighboring property owners were notified of the proposal three more opted to join the annexation.

The planning commission will hear the proposal tonight, seven pm, at City Hall.  If approved, it would be forwarded to the City Council for further action.

Rhody Showcase to kick off 109th festival

Ten area elementary school students and three students at Siuslaw High School are preparing to “Catch the Wave” for the 109th annual Rhododendron Festival.

The first official function of the festival is set for Wednesday night on stage at the Florence Events Center for the annual Rhododendron Festival Showcase.

This year, Senior Court Princesses Lyndsey Keppol, Hanna Anderson and Taylor Coolidge are vying for the title of Queen Rhododendra 109.  Assisting them in their quest will be five boys and five girls between 1st and 5th grade.  The ten have been divided into three different teams of competitors.  Each team will be with Keppol, Anderson and Coolidge in a “reality show” type program according to court supervisor Cindy Wobbe.

Tickets are $13-each and available at the Florence Events Center Box Office… doors open at six Wednesday evening.

O’Mara finalist for Coos Bay Superintendent position

Mapleton Superintendent of Schools Jody O’Mara is one of three finalists for the top education job at Coos Bay Schools.

O’Mara, along with Bryan Trendell (tren-DELL) and Kevin Bogatin (?) were selected from an applicant field of 27 candidates applying to replace Dawn Granger who will complete her contract with the district June 30th.

O’Mara has been Superintendent and Elementary Principal in Mapleton for four years.  Before that, she was principal of Coos Bay’s Blossom Gulch Elementary for five years.  She also taught at Siuslaw and in the Roseburg School Districts.

Trendell is currently principal at Millcoma Middle School in Coos Bay.  Bogatin is Assistant Superintendent in Corvallis.

Final interviews, along with a public reception for the three will be held later this week at Marshfield High School.