Summer teen program; possible pot tax; legal fireworks sales; phone scam reported in Florence; endangered status sought for seabird.

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Center summer program under way

A free recreation program for teens entering sixth through 12th grades got underway this week at the Boys and Girls Club Teen Center.

The nine-week program will feature daily activities, Monday through Friday through August 19th.

It also includes Friday field trips to attractions and activities including Sandland Adventures, a trampoline park and even a minor league baseball game.

Teen Center Director Tracy Aaron says the summer program also includes lunch and supper at the club for no extra cost for current Boys and Girls Club members.

New members can get in on the fun at a nominal fee.  They simply need to join and pay the annual $25 fee, plus a $50 summer program fee to be eligible.  Teens can attend as many days each week as they like.

In addition to physical activities there will be classes on poetry, cooking, and music.

Complete details on the program are available at the club’s website or by calling the teen center at 541-902-0304.

Lane Voters could decide pot tax

The Lane County Board of Commissioners gave the initial nod of approval to a 3-percent county tax on recreational marijuana sales.  The tax would only apply only on marijuana sales outside city limits.  It would be levied on top of the permanent 17-percent state tax on all sales.

Commissioner Pete Sorenson supported drafting an ordinance and hearing public comment, but expressed some concern that local taxes on marijuana would push prices too high and send consumers back to the black market.

All 12 cities in Lane County, including Florence and Dunes City, are at least considering an identical tax on sales within their boundaries.

If the proposal gets approval from Commissioners, it could wind up on the November ballot for voters to decide.

Petitions filed seeking endangered status for murrelet

Conservation groups are seeking to have the marbled murrelet listed as “endangered” under the Oregon Endangered Species Act, and also want the state to identify and protect forest sites considered vital to the bird’s survival.

The marbled murrelet was listed as threatened in the 1990s and habitat protection has meant less logging in the Northwest.  The tiny seabirds venture inland to raise their young; and like the spotted owl; depend on old-growth forests for nesting.

The group Cascadia Wildlands contends the state hasn’t taken meaningful steps to protect murrelets, and logging activity on Oregon forests has sped the decline of breeding habitat.

A petition filed with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Tuesday asks for endangered status for the bird; a separate petition was filed with the Board of Forestry asking for protection of breeding sites.

Attempted phone scam reported in Florence

Several area residents reported this week they were contacted by phone and told they had missed jury duty.  The caller then told them he could accept payment of the fine over the phone… or the person could go direct to the police department to pay.

Florence Police say the man on the phone identified himself as either Deputy or Sergeant Walker and in a press release Tuesday said he is not affiliated with any law enforcement agency.

Courts always communicate with potential jurors by mail according to authorities who add that if you are contacted about missed jury duty… or any other matter… and are asked for payment over the phone; the best thing to do is simply hang up.

Fireworks sales begin Thursday

The sale of fireworks in Oregon begins June 23rd.  Legal fireworks may be purchased only from licensed retailers and stands.  Sales will be allowed through the 4th of July holiday and must end no later than July 6th.

Attention to fire safety, as well as the law surrounding the use of fireworks is important.  Rich Hoover with the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office says parents are legally liable for damage caused by fireworks used by their children.  That damage could extend to the cost of extinguishing fires caused by them.

Oregon law forbids possession, use or sale of fireworks that fly, explode, or travel more than six feet on the ground or 12 inches in the air.   He emphasized that bottle rockets, roman candles, and firecrackers are illegal in the state.