PeaceHealth adds additional practitioners; fire leaves family homeless; commercial crabbing season partially opens; Annexation request; Japanese radiation detected; and gift tree benefits high school students

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PeaceHealth Cuts orphan patient list in half

An update on the process of recruiting and hiring additional physicians for the Florence area was the topic Friday afternoon at the Florence Events Center.  Leading the way was PeaceHealth Senior V. P. and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mark Adams.

Dr. Mark Adams – “This is a followup to our last Town Hall Meeting.  Basically we’d like to report our progress.  The big issue is recruiting enough providers and physicians to serve the population here.  We think we’re continuing to make progress but we just wanted to do a checkup with everyone.”

Since the previous Town Hall in August, two physicians have been brought in; Drs. Grant McClune and Tim Friedman.  Heather Posegate is a Nurse Practitioner, she arrived in September.  Three Physicians Assistants are coming aboard this month:  Richard Nile, Melissa Moffett, and Jeff Hughes. Two more doctors are scheduled to arrive in 2017, but Adams said there will be no letup.

Dr. Mark Adams – “It’s a continual process.  And we’re challenged because the people that we’re looking for like family practitioners: hard to find; everywhere.  And then we need to get the right fit for the community and that’s not everyone.”

Earlier this year there were six-thousand patients in the area not matched up with providers… PeaceHealth officials say they have cut that number in half and are working diligently to pair up the final 3-thousand.

Kitchen fire leaves family homeless

Burnt toast was determined to be the cause of a fire that heavily damaged a manufactured home south of Florence Saturday evening.

Firefighters quickly brought the blaze under control, confining the fire and heat damage to the kitchen.  But heavy smoke damage left the home uninhabitable.  The American Red Cross quickly stepped in to provide emergency assistance to the two adults and two children.

Siuslaw Valley Fire Marshall Sean Barrett said the fire started after one of the children heated some toast in the microwave… Barrett said the boy mistakenly set it for 15-minutes instead of 15-seconds and the toast quickly caught fire.  The boy removed it from the microwave and thought it was out before putting it in the trash.

It wasn’t.  Barrett said the smoldering food quickly caught fire and that spread to the cabinets and the rest of the kitchen.

The home did not have smoke detectors, but thankfully, he said,  the family discovered the fire.

Barrett said it’s quite common to overheat something in the microwave oven to the point where it catches fire.  He stressed the importance of soaking it with water before throwing it in the trash.

Some commercial Dungeness crabbing to begin

Oregon commercial crabbers will be able to begin pulling in Dungeness crab next Sunday, but only south of Cape Blanco.  Officials say tests have shown low biotoxin results in crab found between Cape Blanco and the California-Oregon border.

In a similar move Friday, the Departments of Fish and Wildlife and Agriculture opened recreational bay and ocean crabbing on the far northern stretch of the coast, extending it as far south as Cape Lookout.

Officials say levels of domoic acid, which can cause extreme illness and even death if consumed, remain too high in Dungeness crab between Cape Lookout in Tillamook County and Cape Blanco in Curry County.  They say repeated testing will take place in coming days and weeks to determine when it would be safe to consume the crustaceans… allowing them to consider opening both recreational and commercial crabbing in those areas.

Annexation request subject of Tuesday hearing

The Florence Planning Commission will hear a request to annex several residential properties into the City Tuesday evening.  Four property owners are seeking the annexation on the eastern edge of Florence, near the site of another annexation along Highway 126 that was completed earlier this fall.

Robert and Sarah Gage, Lon and Robin Beale, Mark and Laurie Hamilton, and David Williams are asking for their properties on either side of Xylo (ZY-lo) Street between 12th Street and 126 to be brought into the city.

There are six vacant parcels of land included in the request.  All properties, if approved for annexation, would be zoned either residential or neighborhood commercial.

The Planning Commission will hear testimony tomorrow evening on both the annexation and zoning requests.  The body meets at City Hall at seven pm.

Gift drive aims to help high school students

There are many different efforts and drives this time of year to collect gifts and aid for those less fortunate.  Angie Schaffer 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.”

Schafer 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.  After a news story aired Friday about the gift tree… those remaining tags were quickly swept up.

Japanese radiation detected along 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.