Cold Weather Shelter; Crohn’s and Colitis; Gifts for students; Fukushima Radiation; DeFazio wants to drain the swamp; Gingerbread library

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Cold Weather Shelter expected to open again next week

The Florence Cold Weather Shelter opened earlier this week for two nights, providing a warm and dry place for people who otherwise didn’t have anywhere to go.  Reverend Greg Woods with the Presbyterian Church of the Siuslaw said Monday they sheltered 11 people; Tuesday there were 16.

Volunteers watch the weather forecasts and open the shelter if expected temperatures are going to be in the lower 30s.  Based on those forecasts, the shelter remained closed Wednesday and Thursday.

Rev. Greg Woods – “We made the call not to open.  It looks like the next cold weather day may be next Tuesday.  It’s supposed to start slowly warming back up for a few days.”

Woods estimates there are about three dozen “unhoused” people living permanently in the area.  But, there are many others who may come and go and he readily admits it’s difficult to get an accurate count.

The Cold Weather Shelter is a combined operation of the Presbyterian Church and the Florence Methodist Church… along with several volunteers.

Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week

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.

Gingerbread Library

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 help draining 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.

Gifts for students

There are many different efforts and drives this time of year to collect gifts and aid for those less fortunate.  Angie Schafer at Siuslaw Glass and Mirror is quietly collecting gift items for a group that usually falls “in between”.

Angie Schafer – “People usually buy for the younger kids or the older folks and that leaves out the kids in high school.”

Schaffer said it started 15 years ago when she found there was a number of students at the high school with bleak prospects for the holidays.

Angie Schafer – “Actually there was a few homeless students that really tugged at our hearts and so that’s why we decided to do this.”

Since then, every Christmas Season she’s put up a tree in the lobby of Siuslaw Glass and Mirror with gift tags hanging on it.  Each tag has a request from a local homeless student.   Schaffer invites anyone to come get a tag, buy what’s on it and then return it to her by December 13th… With the help of others, she’s been able to fill gift requests from 26 students already… but Thursday she received another stack of requests… representing another 11 students.

Siuslaw Glass and Mirror is on Kingwood Street in the Airport Business Park.

Fukushima radiation traced on Oregon Coast

Researchers say seawater samples taken at two different Oregon Coast locations indicate radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster.  But, they add, it is at extremely low levels and is not harmful to humans or the environment.

Citing the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Statesman Journal in Salem reports the samples were taken last winter in Tillamook Bay and near Gold Beach.  There weren’t analyzed until later this year.

Massive amounts of contaminated water were released from the crippled nuclear plant following a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami in march 2011.

Woods Hole chemical oceanographer Ken Buesseler runs a crowdfunded, citizen science seawater sampling project that has tracked the radiation plume as it makes its way across the Pacific Ocean.