Winter Storm Warning; School Resource Officer; Gas Prices; Less is Best; City Council plans for future; Spirit of the Siuslaw

Coast Radio News
Local News

Winter Storm Warning posted for Coast Range

A winter storm warning is in effect through at least midnight tonight for the South Willamette Valley and the Coast Range.  The National Weather Service says there is a high probability of snow, sleet and/or freezing rain for the Valley and the higher elevations just inland later today.

Mapleton Schools ran on a two hour delay this morning out of an abundance of caution according to Superintendent Jodi O’Mara.

Weather Service forecasters are saying they are “uncertain” as to just which type of precipitation will actually fall, but they are certain that whatever form it takes, it will be close to an equivalent of an inch of rain…. Snow in the valley and higher elevations could be one to four inches… with a possible quarter-inch accumulation of ice.  Strong winds are also possible for the area making travel very hazardous or even impossible.

School Resource Officer

A final agreement with the City of Florence is on the table this evening for Siuslaw School District Directors regarding the implementation of a School Resource Officer.  The city and the school district will share the costs of that officer over the next four years.  That cost is expected to be just over $500-thousand.  A federal grant will pay $125-thousand of that.

Under the “memorandum of understanding” it is stressed the officer would be first and foremost a police officer, but would be assigned to the school district properties and would have ample opportunity to interact with students and staff.  The agreement also spells out non-criminal discipline would not be the resource officer’s responsibility.   City Projects manager Megan Messmer will address directors this evening during their regular meeting the district office on Oak Street.  It begins at 6:30.

Council working on 2017 plans

The Florence City Council is meeting this morning for an annual year end retreat.  City Manager Erin Reynolds says the objective is to look back at goals they previously set and check on the progress.

Erin Reynolds  – “The City Council met two years ago about this same time, and started out on setting a set of goals.  Started out at seven and now we’re down to five.  This is a report back to the City Council from staff on our progress made over the last year.  And really it’s kind of a two year look-back at this point.”

Today’s effort will guide what Reynolds and city employees work on over the next one to two years.

Erin Reynolds – “We construct our budget around the City Council goals and the items that have been approved on the work plan, things that we need to be working on, that we need to be focusing on.”

The Council work session is a public meeting, but there will be no public input allowed.  They begin at Driftwood Shores Conference Center at 8:30 am… and are expected to be done by 1:30.

Less is Best

More trash is created during the holiday season than at any other time of the year.  But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Kelly Bell with the Lane County Master Recycler Program says scrap items and other things that might have otherwise wound up in the landfill can be used to create gift wrapping materials.

Bell says she remembers using a cut potato to make a stamp and create decorative patterns on plain paper bags for gift wrap.  She makes paper flowers from old calendars, and snowflakes from plastic six-pack rings to decorate gifts.

She suggests visiting the recycling program’s “Less is Best” webpage for more ideas.  That’s at www-dot-LaneCounty-dot-org.

Gas prices drop locally… increase nationwide

The average price for a gallon of regular gas in Oregon slipped ever-so-slightly this week… a half-penny says Marie Dodds with Triple-A of Oregon.

It’s at $2.40 a gallon.

The local average went down three-cents this week and is at $2.15… six cents below the national average price.

Dodds said Oregon is one of only nine states that saw average prices fall in the past week.  That’s because several non-OPEC countries agreed to produce less oil.  That was in response to OPEC’s production cut announced November 30th.

Liz Vollmer-Buhl, Executive Director of the Siuslaw Watershed Council since 2008, was honored this month with the "Spirit of the Siuslaw" award by council members. (photo by Gary Hale)
Liz Vollmer-Buhl, Executive Director of the Siuslaw Watershed Council since 2008, was honored this month with the “Spirit of the Siuslaw” award by council members. (photo by Gary Hale)

Those “looming” supply cuts, she added, have fueled a rise in crude oil prices, sending retail gas prices higher in many markets.

Vollmer-Buhl is the Spirit of Siuslaw

The Executive Director of the Siuslaw Watershed Council has been awarded that organization’s annual “Spirit of Siuslaw” award.  Liz

Vollmer-Buhl was singled out by Watershed Council members for her work not just in the past year, but over her 12-plus-year relationship with the Siuslaw Region.

Vollmer-Buhl is described as being a “blur of motion” and was compared to the Siuslaw River itself which, according to a press release this week, never stops moving.

She began as a volunteer with the group and became the Monitoring Coordinator in 2004.  Four years later she was named Executive Director and has been successful in writing and securing several grants for the agency, as well as raising awareness of watershed health.

She was presented the award during the annual meeting December 7th.