Peace Health town hall; Teen Center closed temporarily; Salmon restoration project; Focus on Florence; Gas prices; and Community Christmas Baskets

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PeaceHealth holding another town hall meeting

A second community town hall to update residents about the status of efforts to recruit more health care providers to the area is set for early next month.

Local health care officials will be on hand at the Florence Events Center Friday, December 9th to talk about the shortage that became apparent earlier this year.

Chief administrative officer Rick Yecny with Peace Harbor Medical Center says the shortage is not unique to Florence.  Rural communities all over the country are struggling to recruit and retain health care providers he added.

He acknowledged the current local shortage has left the community in a “state of unease”.

PeaceHealth officials will be on hand from 12:30 to 1:30, Friday, December 9th at the FEC.  They’ll talk about their efforts so far; as well as answer questions from the community.

You can bring your questions to the forum that day according to Yecny, go to FaceBook-dot-com-slash-PeaceHarbor and leave them there.

Flu symptoms prompt temporary closure of Teen Center

An upsurge in people exhibiting signs and symptoms of the flu has prompted the temporary closure of the Boys and Girls Club Teen Center and Admin Building today.

In a post on their website the organization said the closure will be for Wednesday only and the plan is to re-open Thursday.

The posting stressed that the After School Program at the Elementary will be open as usual.

The closure comes amid what appears to be an outbreak of illness in the area… health care professionals say it is common this time of year.  They urge you to cover your cough, wash your hands frequently and avoid people who are sick.  Likewise, if you are not well, they suggest you stay at home.

If you have not yet had a flu shot, they urge you to do it now… it can take up to two weeks before it provides any meaningful resistance to influenza.

Local project gets federal and salmon license plate funding

A project to replace an undersized and failing culvert, as well as restore access to one-and-a-half miles of what is described as “high quality spawning and rearing” salmon habitat got the go ahead this month by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.

The Walker Creek Fish Passage Improvement project near Walton will be organized and undertaken by the Siuslaw Watershed Council.

In addition to benefiting Coho Salmon and other aquatic species, Watershed Enhancement Board executive director Meta Loftsgaarden says the $260-thousand project also supports the local natural resource economy.

The board awarded another $488-thousand to three other restoration projects in Western Oregon.  About one-third of the money comes from Salmon License Plate revenues; the rest comes from State Lottery and federal funding.

Focus on Florence features bubbly storm drains

Staff at Florence City Hall puts together a monthly newsletter with information and stories about a wide variety of city issues.  The November issue of “Focus on Florence” is out says City Manager Erin Reynolds.

Erin Reynolds – “There’s an article in there about storm drains and how they work and I found it fascinating.  So I encourage you to go on to our website and see what ‘bubbling up’ means and how that all works.”

According to the newsletter, that actually means the system is working as intended, allowing a temporary heavy flow to ‘bubble up’ into the street gutter and flow downhill into another catch basin that will carry it to the river.

In addition to information on storm drains, the November edition has informational pieces about changes to the National Flood Insurance program maps; ongoing rehabilitation of the city’s drinking water wells; and the 20th anniversary of the Florence Events Center.

You can sign up to automatically receive a copy of the newsletter in your email inbox… or simply go to the city’s website and download it at your convenience.

Gas prices fall in time for Thanksgiving travel

The average cash price for a gallon of regular gas in Florence dropped seven cents this week to $2.29.  With the highest volume of Thanksgiving travelers expected since 2007, the drop comes at a welcome time.

Triple-A reported this week the national average price fell a nickel a gallon to $2.16, while the statewide average price in Oregon also dropped a nickel, but it’s significantly higher at $2.49 a gallon.

Triple-A reports the west coast continues to have the highest prices for regular with every state in the region in the top ten.

Hawaii is number one at $2.90, followed by California at $2.75 a gallon on average.

Washington is third, followed by Alaska at number four.  Nevada moved ahead of Oregon this week to the fifth highest average at $2.51.

Community Christmas Basket fund raising underway

Fund raising efforts are underway for the annual Community Christmas Basket project in the Florence area.  Members of the Florence Chapter of Soroptimist International are coordinating the effort, but they say it is a true community effort.

Carol Bennett is working on fund raising efforts.  She said they’ve already raised some money, but it takes more than $20-thousand to put together food boxes with the “makings of a holiday meal” for more than 400 households.

The distribution of the holiday food boxes will once again be at Siuslaw Middle School… This year it will be Saturday, December 17th.  Volunteers are also working on collecting and sorting gifts that will be distributed the same day at a different location.

Donations for the project can be dropped off at Hoberg’s Complete Auto Repair or mailed to post office box 1209 in Florence.