Small Business Saturday stressed in Florence and Reedsport; Charter outage impacts Western Douglas 911 service; Shore Acres is lit; Low Income Heating Assistance; and Roblan wins Senate reelection

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Florence merchants prepare for holidays

The annual kickoff for the holiday shopping season is set for tomorrow in Florence… Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bettina Hannigan says it won’t be limited to just Old Town.

Bettina Hannigan – “You know, we want to get people shopping all over town.  We want them to come downtown, and Old Town, we love it, and then when they’re here we want to get them around town.”

Hannigan says several merchants are participating in a digital coupon book that can be found on the Chamber’s web site, as well as on the group’s facebook page.

Bettina Hannigan – “Some of the deals are for one day, some of the deals are for the entire holiday season.  People can go to the page, download the deals and when they get to the merchant, they get the deal!”

The Florence Holiday Festival is from 3:30 TO 6:30 Saturday with many stores featuring extended hours.  Santa arrives in Old Town at 3:30 and the lighting of a 30-foot tall Christmas Tree is at 5:30.

Charter phone and internet outage impacts 911 service

Approximately 15-thousand Charter Communications customers in the region have been without phone service, including access to 911, since late last night.

Sergeant Brad O’Dell with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department says the outage was reported just before 11 pm Thursday.

The cause of the outage is not known, but in addition to preventing access to 911 and telephone service, it is apparently also extended to internet coverage.  O’Dell says most of the impacted residents are in coastal areas of Douglas County, but the disruption does extend from south of Florence to Coos County.

Shore Acres lights are lit

The tradition of stringing Christmas Lights and decorating trees at Shore Acres State Park botanical gardens began in 1987.  Since then, hundreds of thousands of visitors have made their way to the park, just west of Coos Bay, between Thanksgiving and New Years, to stroll the grounds and enjoy the season.

This year will be no different.  Volunteers completed the process of stringing more than 300-thousand lights earlier this week and visitors began streaming through the garden yesterday.

Nearly 50-thousand visitors could wander through to view the large “landscape light sculptures” that depict things like a breaching whale, pelicans, puffins, and more.

There’s no cost to view the lights, but a $5 day use access fee is required in the park.  It’s open from dark until 9:30 pm daily through New Years Eve.

Low income heating assistance

Additional funding for a program that provides one-time assistance to help offset increased heating costs for low income residents will be offered next week.

Already 372 area households have signed up for the help according to Bob Teter with Siuslaw Outreach Services.

Teter said more than 400 households received the assistance last year.

He said the additional funding will be provided only to households that have not already received assistance this year.  Teter said eligible people can call SOS beginning Thursday, December 1st.

Roblan apparent winner in Oregon Senate

It appears that Arnie Roblan will hold on to his Oregon Senate seat.  The Coos Bay Democrat would up with 30,301 votes, 367 votes ahead of his challenger.  Lincoln City Republican Dick Anderson, with plenty of monetary support from Republican groups, mounted the challenge against the first-term Senator.  Anderson ended the campaign with 29,944.

Just over 25-hundred votes went to Libertarian candidate Dan Souza, giving Roblan 48-percent to Anderson’s 47-percent.

The vote is considered to be final and will be certified next week.

Reedsport Moonlight Madness

The Reedsport Community will light their Christmas Tree Saturday evening during a special ceremony at Lions’ Park.  The group Reedsport Main Street is hosting the event, as well as providing cookies, hot chocolate and coffee during the 5:30 pm event.

That coincides with the Reedsport Main Street Moonlight Madness sale that runs through 9 o’clock that evening.

Select merchants will be offering treats, merchandise and chances to win up to $200 in a poker run at participating stores.