Freezing rain forecasts delay Mapleton schools; Christmas Basket project seeking donations; Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week; Free golf for food; Gingerbread Houses saturday; Local gas price below average; and DeFazio offers to help drain the swamp

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Local News

Possible freezing rain through this afternoon

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for the central coast until one this afternoon as a strong winter storm is expected to bring mixed precipitation across much of the area.  Freezing rain, mixed with snow and sleet are possible, but not likely directly in the area.

Most of the impacts will be felt to the north… in Northwest Oregon, Southwest Washington, and into the Columbia River Gorge.

Forecasters had originally said there was a possibility of some snow accumulations, but that’s becoming less likely as the morning progresses.

The most impacts will be felt inland..

Mapleton Schools are operating on a two hour delay this morning. As of 5:30 this morning it was 32 degrees and raining… some of that rain was mixed with snow and ice.  Lane Community College closed all locations, including Florence, until noon today as a precaution.

Siuslaw Schools are on schedule.

Christmas Basket Project still needs donations

The distribution is just over a week away, but organizers of the Community Christmas Basket project say they’re still short on cash.

Carol Bennett, with Florence Soroptimist International, said yesterday that so far they’ve raised about $16-thousand.  But, she adds, that’s more than $4-thousand less than their target.

No matter if they make their goal or not, Bennett says they will distribute food boxes on Saturday, December 17th to households that are struggling financially.  Those boxes contain the ingredients of a traditional Christmas Dinner.  If the goal is not met, she added, they will just put less in the boxes.

The food distribution will be from 10 to 1 at Siuslaw Middle School on Saturday, December 17th.  A toy and gift distribution, part of the same program, will be held the same day at the Florence Church of the Nazarene from nine am to two pm.

Donations to the program can be mailed to Post Office Box 1209… or dropped off at Hoberg’s Complete Auto Repair.

Ocean Dunes offers golf in exchange for food donations

Free golf… that’s the offer this Saturday at Ocean Dunes Golf Links in Florence.

All you have to do is bring a minimum of three cans of food for Florence Food share.

Mike Rose with Three Rivers Casino and Resort says they’re looking forward to hosting the day of free golf, adding that it’s a way to do a “good deed and provide food for Florence Food Share”.

Local gas prices below average

The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded climbed slightly this week, increasing a nickel to $2.19.

Locally, the average cash price held steady this week… it’s a penny less than the national average at $2.18.

Oregon’s average price, as measured by Triple-A, dipped a penny a gallon to $2.40.

Marie Dodds with Triple-A said OPEC’s decision last week to cut production caused crude oil prices to jump and that put “upward pressure” on gasoline prices.  Dodds added it’s still not clear what impact that will have on prices that typically decline this time of year.

Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week shines light on ‘hidden’ disease

Most of us get to enjoy Christmas treats and holiday food.  But for those who suffer from a “hidden disease” like Crohn’s or colitis, those things can aggravate symptoms and lead to flare-ups.  Inflammatory Bowel Disease isn’t something people like to talk about because the symptoms can be unpleasant according to Jordan Sorrells.  He was diagnosed with Crohn’s 20 years ago.

Jordan Sorrells – “It’s definitely one of those diseases that people don’t want to talk about.  It’s not polite dinner conversation.  Things that I’ve had to deal with over the years… the main things that I deal with are fatigue, weight loss, and they just depend on my stress level and everything that’s going on.”

Crohn’s Disease and colitis are not well understood, but diet and stress are known to aggravate symptoms that include persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal cramps, fever and weight loss.

Jordan Sorrells – “Crohn’s and Colitis have so many varied symptoms.  And they can change from person to person.  It’s just so individualized.”

This is Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week… experts say it is highly likely you know someone who suffers from one or the other… but you can’t tell just by looking at them.  Those same experts also say many people suffer from an Inflammatory Bowel Disease and don’t even know it.

Library to help build houses… of gingerbread

Miss Gayle says there will be a lot of home construction going on Saturday at Siuslaw Public Library.

Gayle Waiss—“That is our annual Gingerbread House making day.  Families are invited to come in between ten and one.  We create gingerbread houses in advance; the forms, and they get to decorate to their hearts’ content.”

Gayle Waiss, the Children’s Services Librarian mixes up gallons of frosting for the event and stocks up on cases and cases of cookies, crackers and candies for decoration.  She said they will make 170 gingerbread houses for Saturday’s fun event.  It’s a “drop in” activity that will be open from ten am to one pm.

DeFazio offers to help “drain the swamp”

Fourth District Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio wants to help President-elect Donald Trump fulfill some of his campaign promises.  DeFazio introduced legislation this week that make several of Trumps promises to – quote – “drain the swamp” in Washington DC binding.

DeFazio said Trump ran on the promise of “draining the swamp” and Americans elected him with the “expectation he would bring a new way of doing business to Washington”.  The Springfield Democrat introduced HR 6476.  It would extend a two-year ban on lobbying after leaving the Executive Branch to five years.  It would also permanently bar any individual appointed to the Trump Administration from lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.

DeFazio said he would send the legislation to the President-Elect so he has an opportunity to endorse the bill ahead of its re-introduction into the 115th congress next year.