Emergency Department expansion nearing completion; Festival of Books; Former Florence resident wounded in Eugene police shooting; The Disappearing Whale; Gifford Pinchot and the Forest Service; and a new business scam

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Emergency Department Expansion Nearing Completion

After 15 months and $6-million dollars the newly expanded Emergency Department at Peace Harbor Medical Center is nearly ready to go.

All that remains are a few “punch list” items and then final certification by state medical authorities.

That certification could take as many as four more weeks according to Michele Diffenderfer. She is the director of the medical center’s charitable foundation and helped raise the money to fund the renovation and expansion.

Since the project began in June 2015 construction crews have added 47-hundred square feet, more than doubling the size.  The original space had been designed to handle about 5-thousand visits each year, but is currently running at about 9-thousand.  The nine private treatment rooms and two additional triage spaces will mean there is plenty of room for growth.

A private “walk-through” for donors will be held later this month.

Sixth Annual Festival of Books this weekend

For the sixth year in a row, the Florence Events Center will be converted into a giant book fair featuring writers and publishers… and lots of books.  Festival co-chair Judy Fleagle says things start Friday afternoon with a panel of authors at three pm.  That will be followed by the keynote speaker, a New York Times Best Selling author of mysteries.

Judy Fleagle – “Ah!  Philip Margolin.  Oregon’s John Grisham.  We are so thrilled to have him.”

Margolin, a former criminal defense lawyer from Portland, has penned 19 books.  He’ll talk about his process for writing during a special event at the FEC.

Judy Fleagle – “Friday evening, 7 o’clock, he’ll be our keynote speaker.  Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door.”

Fleagle said at last count there were 85 authors signed up to show their books.

Judy Fleagle – “There will also be ten publishers, so if you have a book idea, or a manuscript that you would like to pitch to a publisher, this is your opportunity!”

The Festival of Books is free and open to the public on Saturday… doors open at ten a.m.  They’ll be open until four that afternoon.

Former Florence resident wounded in officer shooting

The Lane County District Attorney has cleared two Eugene police officers of wrongdoing in the shooting of an armed man outside his Eugene apartment earlier this month.

Patty Perlow (PURR-lo) said officers were justified in their use of force against 26-year old Edgar Rodriguez.  Perlow’s announcement came just one day after Rodriquez filed a tort claim signaling his intent to sue the city and Lane County.

Rodriguez, a former Florence resident, called 911 September 10th to report a dispute inside his apartment.  He was holding a .50 caliber handgun when officers Mark Hubbard and Timothy Hunt arrived at the scene.

Officers say Rodriguez did not comply with commands to drop the weapon.  He was then shot by the officers.

Rodriguez claims in the notice that officers never told him to drop the weapon and that he was struck by six bullets during the incident.

Deputies warn of business scam

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office is warning of yet another scam attempted against area businesses.

Sergeant Carrie Carver said they received a report of a man who contacted a business in person, saying he was there to collect $5-thousand on an advertising contract.   When the business operator refused, the man left, but a woman called shortly thereafter saying the amount had now doubled to $10-thousand… and threatened legal action.

Carver said in this case, no money was paid and there was no knowledge of a legitimate contract.

She offered some tips to business owners… be wary of documents represented as being legal that do not look professional, or appear to have been altered; and she added, ensure invoices are from a legitimate company that you have done business with.

She also pointed out that legitimate businesses do not generally collect in person, nor will they used threats or coercion.

Forest Service beginnings examined

An examination of the original members of the U.S. Forest Service will be presented Saturday afternoon at the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center just south of Yachats.

The presentation of author Bibi Gaston and her book “Gifford Pinchot (PINN-sho) and the First Foresters” is part of the center’s celebration of National Public Lands Day.

Gaston’s book includes anecdotes and writings from Pinchot, the former Pennsylvania Governor, and the 226 men and women who initially served the fledgling agency that assumed it’s modern form in 1905.

The talk will be presented at the visitor center beginning at two pm Saturday, September 24th.

The disappearing whale

First it was there, then it was gone, then it reappeared.

A dead humpback whale washed up on a northern Oregon beach over the weekend, but it was gone Monday morning when researchers arrived to examine the carcass and try to determine why it died.

All that was left was a 35-pound kidney.

Scientists said it appeared the whale had been dead for quite some time before washing ashore.  It had apparently decomposed enough that it left the organ behind when a high tide overnight Sunday washed it back to sea.

Not to worry… by late Tuesday it had reappeared two miles south on a beach at Oswald West State Park.

Scientists plan on conducting a necropsy Thursday.  Meanwhile, Oregon Parks and Recreation personnel will be stationed on the beach through Sunday to talk with visitors about the giant mammal… and also to advise people to stay away from it.