Schools to test for lead in water

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Local News

No problems anticipated

Local school officials do not believe there are any issues surrounding lead in drinking water, but they’re not leaving anything to chance.

Superintendent of Siuslaw Schools Ethel Angal said yesterday they’ll begin testing for lead in the water at all schools as soon as possible.  Kits used for the sampling are on order and should arrive soon.

In light of the fact that other school districts in the state are – quote “coming up with problems” with their water, Angal said it was a good idea to take the step.

Schools in Portland and Beaverton were recently discovered to have lead in the water at some of their drinking fountains.

It was learned yesterday that faucets at three Eugene schools tested positive for lead in April, but maintenance workers removed the lead source immediately.  The 4J district is still providing bottled water in some locations as a precaution.

Angal said the results of the local lead testing will be announced as soon as it is known.

Major tax hike headed to voters

The biggest corporate tax hike proposal in Oregon history is officially headed to voters this fall.

Monday, state elections officials approved more than 95-thousand signatures on Initiative Petition 28.  If approved, the measure could generate an extra $3-billion in annual tax revenue from the state’s one-thousand largest businesses.

Public union backers of Measure 28 say it would help solve decades-long funding issues in education, health care and senior services by targeting only the wealthiest companies doing business in Oregon.  The state remains heavily reliant on personal income taxes after voters have repeatedly rejected the idea of a sales tax.

But, details about spending money generated by the measure will ultimately be left to the legislature.  Already, Governor Kate Brown has come up with a plan she is backing to spend the money.  The Democrat incumbent is being challenged by Republican Bud Pierce in the fall.  He has come out highly critical of the measure and says it could ultimately end up in lost jobs and cause companies to leave the state.

LCC Outward Ventures

A series of one-day summer road trips will be offered by Lane Community College in Florence over the next several weeks.
Marsha Sills, the program coordinator says the Outward Ventures program will start off the season with a June 22nd visit to Corvallis to learn about the secret life of bees.  June 28th will feature visits to a pair of Lane County wineries.

Two trips, one each in July and August, will feature musical theater in Eugene.  August third will feature a visit to the Museum of Mental Health, the former Oregon State Hospital in Salem where “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” was filmed.

For those who wish to stick a little closer to home, Sills says two mud clamming adventures led by Mike Bones will be featured… July 8th and the 23rd.

Sills says more information about the Outward Ventures program… along with how to register… can be found at lane-cc-dot-edu, or call  her at the Florence center.

Great Florence Duck Race

Hundreds of tiny rubber ducks will be unleashed in the Siuslaw River for the 19th time this fourth of July during the annual Kiwanis Great Florence Duck Race.

Residents can “adopt a duck” for $5 each, according to spokesperson Judy Dahlberg.  The first 43 ducks to cross the finish line in the Port of Siuslaw’s Commercial Boat Basin that day will win prizes ranging in value from $25 to as much as $600.

Dahlberg says only 2-thousand tickets will be sold.  They can be purchased from most Kiwanians… or Dahlberg says you can email her at  All proceeds raised from the race remain in Florence and help fund the Florence Kiwanis Foundation.  Last year the foundation contributed more than $20-thousand in grants and scholarships locally.

Using Social Media Reviews as a business tool

Area businesses this week can pick up some information about how to maximize their exposure on social media.  That’s according to Florence Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Bettina Hannigan who says the internet is a valuable tool used by consumers when choosing where to spend their money.

Bettina Hannigan – “Google, yelp, facebook, Trip Advisor; all of these are really important review sources.”

Many visitors to the area consult online reviews before deciding where to eat or shop… something area businesses need to capitalize on.

Bettina Hannigan – “A lot of the businesses in town do social media and understand it, some of them don’t.  So we’re going to be taking it from your very simple program of, you know, owning your own Google site, to being able to write reviews for one another.”

Tomorrow’s Noon forum at Best Western is open to the public… lunch is available for purchase.

Gas prices continue their rise

The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in Oregon has climbed above the $2.50 mark for the first time since late 2015.  Oregon’s statewide average price, as measured by Triple-A, increased by four cents this past week and is now at $2.51.

Locally, prices went up two cents a gallon on average, and at $2.41 it’s the highest it has been since mid September.

Marie Dodds with Triple-A said the national average price went up by four cents this week and is currently tracking at $2.36 a gallon.

Despite increasing fuel prices, drivers are taking to the roads at a record-setting pace and gasoline demand remains on target to rival pre-recession levels.