Florence water deters lead contamination; Major infrastructure project set; Relief fund established for family left homeless; 126 detour caused by drunk driver; LCC celebrates a milestone in Florence; Local official speaks at National 9-11 memorial

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Additional school lead testing done…

The chemical makeup of Florence’s municipal water supply makes it less likely that there might me any significant lead contamination in drinking water at Siuslaw schools.

Superintendant Andy Gzreskowiak, a former chemistry and physics teacher, explained this week that the neutral Ph of Florence’s water… not too acidic and not too alkaline… coupled with the high iron content; means any possible contaminants in the lines are sealed in a coating of iron and most likely won’t leach into the water.

That’s the primary reason for high profile lead contamination such as in Flint, Michigan where the chemical and acidic levels in the water caused water lines to actually deteriorate, freeing up lead that is then consumed by anyone drinking the water.

Gzreskowiak ordered a second round of testing at 20 different water sources throughout the school district earlier this month.  14 of those had no lead content at all.  The other six had traces of lead, but were well below the levels that are considered to be unsafe.  He said he is going to recommend that the district continue periodically testing the water on a permanent basis.

City Council considering infrastructure project

Florence City Councilors are being asked to approve a major infrastructure project Monday night.  Erin Reynolds says it doesn’t yet have a name, but it will have a significant impact.

Erin Reynolds – “One of the largest construction projects we’ve done for a while.  It’ll be well over $2-million when all packaged together between water and waste water and stormwater and streets.  It’s from the intersection of Ninth and Rhody, southeast back to Highway 101, so it’s kind of that professional loop that wraps around the backside of the hospital along the river on Rhododendron Drive.”

It includes installation of a 16-inch water line that will connect to lines already feeding Peace Harbor Medical Center.  That will improve service and provide for more capacity in case of a large fire.  It also will include street surface improvements and installation of a sidewalk extending from Hemlock Street to the Hospital.

The council meets Monday evening, six pm, at City Hall.

Fire relief effort established

A relief effort has begun to assist a family left homeless this week by a house fire.  The Kellerman family lost just about everything according to a co-worker of Marcy Kellerman.  Stephanie Cunningham has organized an online account to help out.

Stephanie Cunningham – “The fire department was able to save some photo albums and a jewelry box given to her by her late father.”

Cunningham said the Kellerman family did have renters insurance, but she knows it likely won’t be enough to help get them back on their feet… she knows from experience.

Stephanie Cunningham – “We have been here ourselves.  My husband and I 24 years ago lost our home, so I understand.”

It wasn’t all bad news… Nobody was injured and the family pets were all ok.  But, they find themselves starting all over again.  Cunningham said to help out, just go to Go-Fund-Me-dot-com and search for “Kellerman House Fire Relief”.

LCC FLorence Center celebrates milestone

It was 40 years ago this month that the Lane Community College Florence campus on Oak Street opened up.  Florence director Russ Pierson said the college offered classes in the community for the ten years prior to that.

Russ Pierson– “The Siuslaw Skills Center had already been established and was using different space in town for a few years prior to us having the Florence Center here at this campus.  In 1976 we began operations here at our current location on Oak Street.”

Since that time there have been a few changes and expansions at the center.  A classroom wing was added on the north end, then five years ago they renovated the original portion of the building and added a state of the art science classroom.  Pierson and LCC Staffers hosted a reception honoring the anniversary last night.

Local official speaks at national 9-11 memorial

Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue Administrative Chief officer Julie Brown spoke this week at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  Brown’s speech was Sunday during the 15th anniversary memorial service to remember the victims on 9-11.

She was asked to present the speech while attending a six-day course at the National Fire Academy.  Her training this week is focused on leadership and administration.

There were more than 300 people in attendance from all over the country.

Wednesday crash prompts 126 detour

If you were among the people who waited on Highway 126 during a several hour closure Wednesday evening, the problem laid with a downed utility pole at milepost 40.

According to Lt. Bill Fugate with the Oregon State Police a driver crossed the fog line at that spot, crashed into an Emerald People’s Utility District pole.

The driver failed a field sobriety test.  A later breathalyzer showed she had a blood alcohol content above the legal limit.

Fugate said 21-year old Jeannae (jen-NAY) Marjorie Mackay of Eugene was transported by police to the Buckley House Detox Center in Eugene.

The highway closure forced detours through Highway 36 while E-PUD crews replaced the pole and cleared the power lines.