Siuslaw bridge work changing; Holiday patrols; County takes over park; School lunch safety; Every Kid in a Park.

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Bridge Rehab expected to get quieter

Construction noise in Old-Town Florence is expected to continue the trend towards silence… or at least relative quiet…  this month.  Scaffold building, sandblasting and zinc coating of the 80-year old structure is still happening at night, but following Labor Day, some of that work will shift to the daylight hours.  That’s because once summer traffic begins to ease, scaffold building will be done during the day.

The rehab work itself, though, will continue during the night.  That will be quieter than it has been according to Angela Beers-Seydel.  The Oregon Department of Transportation spokesperson  says noisy air handling equipment has been replaced with quieter units.

There is still some work to be done on the north end of the bridge.  But, says Beers-Seydel, November it should shift to the south end… reducing noise for Bay Street residents even further.

One offset for that relative quiet though will be the rail replacement project going on at the same time… that is expected to move to the north end this winter and while they won’t be working overnight as often as the zinc coating project;  there will be occasional nighttime work.

Overtime patrols continue through weekend

Deputy Sheriffs in Lane and Douglas Counties, as well as Oregon State Troopers, will continue to target drivers suspected of a variety of violations through this weekend.

Overtime hours will be put in as officers watch for drivers who are impaired or distracted; or who are not wearing seat belts.

Lane County Sheriff Sergeant Billy Halvorson says Labor Day is a typically busy period on the highways.  He urges drivers to slow down… don’t drink… and don’t text.

Another complicating factor this weekend… the rain.  He says be cautious of wet road conditions and increase the distance between your car and the one ahead of you.

Konnie Park now a Lane County facility

The Lane County Parks Department is assuming management responsibility for yet another area facility.  Konnie Memorial Park is a 145-acre day-use facility at the confluence of the Siuslaw River and Lake Creek near Swisshome.  It includes a boat ramp popular with steelheaders and other boaters.

Park neighbors have shared concerns about security issues and illegal activity taking place at the park in recent months.  That’s one reason why Lane County has secured a 25-year lease with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for management and maintenance at the park.

Parks Manager Mike Russell said Konnie Park fits well in Lane County’s system because of its proximity to other parks.  He said they’ll establish a volunteer park host who will live on-site to improve security and do minor maintenance.   A day use fee will be required for the site.
Lane County has similar agreements with Fish and Wildlife at other boat launch facilities in Tiernan and Mapleton.

School lunch safety stressed

It’s back to school for most students next week.  Both Siuslaw and Mapleton have hot lunch and breakfast programs, but some families opt for the “brown bag” approach.  If you do that, you’ll need to make sure it’s not only satisfying, but safe accorind to Susan Kendrick.

Susan Kendrick – “Well, if you’re going to pack something that needs to be refrigerated, it’s a good idea to put a gel pack or a frozen juice box or something in the lunch to keep that cold lunch cold until your child eats at midday.”

Kendrick is a food safety specialist with the Oregon Department of Agriculture.  She says keeping lunch at the proper temperature is important, but so too is the lunch preparation.  Using clean surfaces and clean hands in putting food together.  Choosing safe foods can help.

Susan Kendrick – “If you want to go with non-perishable foods, then you don’t have to worry about the refrigeration.  So perhaps a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or crackers. a fruit cup or dried fruit or something along those lines.”

Two other important tips: make sure your child eats the lunch when they are supposed to as leftovers are probably not a good idea.  Also, tell them to wash their hands properly before eating.

Every Kid in a Park

Here’s another back to school thought… every fourth grader and their families can claim a free pass that provides entry into all federal parks, forests and recreation areas for a full year.

It’s called Every Kid in a Park and the program has been offered by feds for the past three years.

Families with fourth graders just have to go to www-dot-every­-kid-in-a-park-dot-gov and print out a paper voucher that can then be traded for a plastic pass at any U.S. Forest Service office.  The passes are good until August 31st, 2017.