Attempted carjacking foiled; PeaceHealth roots 80 years old; Watershed Council meeting set; Gas prices steady; Stiles to Chair LCC Board; Biodiversity count set for Perpetua Marine Reserve

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Drug use blamed for poor decisions

An Indiana man may have learned an important lesson two weeks ago in Florence.  That lesson:  Take a look around you before doing something illegal.

Florence Police Commander John Pitcher said a 43-year old Florence man was driving on Highway 101 near 15th street July 6th when he was stopped by a man who stepped out in the roadway in front of him.

Pitcher said the man, later identified as 23-year old John A. Hensle of Terre Haute, Indiana, then tried to pull the man out of the car.  When he was unsuccessful, he fled, but was immediately chased by a Florence Police officer who was just two cars behind the incident.  When Officer Denton Tipler injured his knee, two Washington State men also driving by, tackled Hensle.  They were aided by a Lane County Sheriff’s K-9 unit who also happened to be in the immediate area.

Hensle was arrested on several charges, including Robbery, attempted unlawful entry and use of a motor vehicle.

Police said drug use was involved.

PeaceHealth roots began 80 years ago in Eugene

Eugene’s Sacred Heart Hospital turned 80 years old this week.

It was in July of 1936 that four nuns from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace bought the Eugene Hospital $50-thousand.

In 1976 the religious order formed a not-for-profit health system.  Ten years later, the sisters were asked to take over management of Western Lane Hospital in Florence.  By 1989 they had built a new hospital in Florence, Peace Harbor.

Five years later, they renamed the non-profit corporation PeaceHealth.  The group now operates medical centers in Springfield, Cottage Grove, Washington State and Alaska.

Cape Perpetua biodiversity count

Exceptionally low tides in early August will give scientists… and volunteers… a chance to chronicle the diversity of marine life in the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve.

August 3rd from 7:30 a.m. to noon, volunteers are asked to meet at the Yachats Ocean Road State Natural Site, just south of the Yachats River Bridge.  Participants will fan out at low tide to help identify plants and animals that reside in the rocky intertidal habitat along that stretch of the reserve.  Celeste Lebo, a Natural Resources Specialist with Oregon Parks and Recreation Department says the data collected will be used to document the biodiversity of the area.

The next morning, August 4th, they’ll repeat the process seven miles south of Yachats at Stonefield Beach.

Watershed Council to hear about salmon and invasive species

Understanding the changes in salmon populations in northwest streams; and exploring the effects of invasive vegetation in coastal lakes will be two topics next week when the Siuslaw Watershed Council meets.

Dan Bottom led research efforts in the Salmon and Columbia Rivers about changes in salmon populations.  His most recent work has been to understand the impact of the suspension of the Coho hatchery program.

Also speaking will be Rich Miller from Portland State University’s Center for Lakes and Reservoirs.  He’ll talk about harmful algae blooms and a new Lake Watch monitoring program.

The Siuslaw Watershed Council meets at 6:30, Wednesday, July 27th at the Honeyman Park Meeting Hall on Canary Road.

Stiles to chair LCC Board

Florence resident Sharon Stiles will once again lead the Lane Community College Board of Directors.

Stiles, in her second four-year term on the board, was elected board chair for 2016-17 last week.  Rosie Pryor, also in her second term, was elected vice-chair.

Stiles represents Zone 1 on the LCC Board… covering all of Western Lane County.  Pryor is an “at large” board member.

Stiles previously chaired the board in 2012-13.

Gas prices steady

Retail gas prices are at their lowest level in Oregon for this time of year since 2004.  Locally, the average cash price held steady for the fourth week in a row at $2.41 while the national average price fell two cents a gallon to $2.20.

Oregon Triple-A Public Affairs Director Marie Dodds says the statewide average has barely moved in the past several weeks.. it’s currently $2.51.

Dodds said demand for gasoline remains at a record high level and prices are much lower than last year at this time.  She added that prices at the pump will likely remain low compared to previous years through Labor Day.