Oregon agencies to get involved in water testing

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State to offer lead detection assistance

Oregon health and education officials say they will team up with school districts and child care programs statewide to help test for lead in school drinking water.

The plan announced Wednesday comes on the heels of belated disclosures about lead in the drinking water of some Portland Public Schools.

That disclosure has motivated other school districts around the state to test their water for lead, which is a neurotoxin.

Some drinking fountains in Beaverton, Eugene and Gresham schools have tested positive.  Now the Oregon Departments of Education and Oregon Health Authority are recommending that all schools test for lead over the summer.  The state will provide technical support and a list of certified labs to test the water.  The plan also calls for a statewide database built from the testing that will be made available online this fall.

Siuslaw School District officials have already said they will begin testing for lead.  In Mapleton, Superintendent Jodi O’Mara said they already regularly test the water, but they will add lead to the list of materials that will screened.

The 3-person crew along with their dog were rescued Wednesday by Coast Guard Crews west of Florence. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)
The 3-person crew along with their dog were rescued Wednesday by Coast Guard Crews west of Florence. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Adrift for 3 days; crew and mascot rescued

Coast Guard air and boat crews worked together to assist three people and their dog aboard a 51-foot sailing vessel that was disabled and adrift about 45 miles west of the Siuslaw River Wednesday.

The master of the Rogue Scholarship told the crew of a Coast Guard Search aircraft out of Sacramento, California that they had a torn sail and fouled propeller and they had been adrift for three days.

Two Dolphin Helicopters; one each from North Bend and Newport; responded, as did a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Siuslaw River Station.

The 110-foot long Coast Guard Cutter CuttyHunk, on patrol from Port Angeles, Washington, was able to take the sailboat in tow after establishing that the three people and their dog aboard were well.  They were expected to reach Winchester Bay late Wednesday.

Wesley Trull, the operations unit controller at Coast Guard Sector North Bend said the rescue was a complex case involving assets from different parts of the country.  He said air, boat and cutter crews were able to work together to get help to the mariners in distress.

Chamber forum offering business assistance

Area businesses can pick up some information today on 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.”

Today’s Chamber Noon Forum at Best Western is open to the public… lunch is available for purchase.

Fuel prices see summer surge

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.

Free public use of showers at Port campground to end

Showers at the Port of Siuslaw RV Park and Marina will be off limits to the general public beginning next week and reserved only for patrons of the RV Park and Marina. Port Manager Steven Leskin said transients and other – quote – “travelers” will be directed away from the facility.  Vandalism and graffiti at the facility has been a regular occurrence, he said, and has cost the Port several hundred dollars each year.

The decision to close the showers to the general public was difficult.  Leskin sought to “balance the needs of the public” against protecting the Port’s property and added it was important to remain compassionate while not displacing a community issue elsewhere.  Limited public toilets will continue to be available.