No School at Siuslaw; Christmas Basket distribution; Christmas Lighting Contest; possible scam; Overtime police patrols; Elliot State Forest options sought

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Icy roads cause school cancellation

Students and staff at Siuslaw Schools have the day off.  Superintendent Andy Grzeskowiak said things were very slick out on area roads at five this morning.

Andy Grzeskowiak– “Several icy bus routes.  We might be able to get away with a late start, but having a late start on an early release Friday isn’t really logical, so we’re going to go ahead and cancel school today.”

Mr. G. said the late start and early release would not be productive; plus he was not assured that things would thaw out enough to make it safe for buses to travel, so he opted to go ahead and cancel school for the day.

That also means no after school activities… and no athletics.  Siuslaw Wrestlers had already left early this morning for Grants Pass, but turned around in Eugene because of the slick conditions.

Christmas basket distribution Saturday

Distribution of food boxes and gifts for the Community Christmas Basket Project are set for tomorrow at two locations. Michelle Fraley, the gift and toy committee chair for the Soroptimist Club said they’re set for nine am to two pm at the Nazarene Church on 12th Street.

Michele Fraley – “We will probably be able to service five to six hundred children this year.”

Parents are asked to leave their children home.  They’ll be guided through the gift selection for one or two items to take home and wrap.

Michele Fraley  – “We want it to kind of be, you know, this is what Santa brought them under their tree Christmas Morning.”

The gift distribution… along with the Christmas Food Box distribution at Siuslaw Middle School are intended for families who may be struggling financially.  It’s all funded by community donations.

Michele Fraley – “This is one of the most rewarding things that you’ll ever experience in your life.  The parents come, they’re so incredibly grateful.  And it’s not just us, it’s the entire Florence Community that is helping us to be able to afford to do this.”

Fraley said there has been some confusion in the community as to what day they’re handing out the boxes… it’s Saturday… 10 to 1 at the middle school for food… 9 to 2 at the Nazarene Church for the gifts and toys.

Christmas Lighting Contest

If things thaw out enough for you to safely take a drive after dark this weekend, here are some suggestions for Christmas Lights.

The winners of the community Christmas lighting contest were named last night.  First place in the commercial division is the Heceta Lighthouse B&B.  It won on the strength of the “Wow” factor.  The lights on the house and fence are visible from several miles away on Highway 101.  This weekend would be a good time to visit because of the Christmas open house at the historic light keeper’s residence Saturday and Sunday evening.

Second place commercial went to TR Hunter Real Estate at 1749 Highway 101 and third place was given to Linda’s Christmas Trees at 1890 37th Street.

First place in the residential division was presented to the J.R. Gray residence at 1072 8th Street.  2nd place went to Terry Anderson at 4742 Sea Breeze Lane, and third place went to Terry Tomeny at 6110 Pine Street… that’s clear out on Dowell’s Penninsula just off Mercer Lake Road.

Cash awards were provided by Central Lincoln PUD to encourage the use of energy efficient LEDs.  The contest was co-sponsored by the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce.

School spokesman warns of possible scam

Siuslaw School district officials are warning of a possible scam related to sports calendars.  Vonnie McClellan at the district office said they’ve been made aware of at least two cases this year of a person or group of people posing as agents of Siuslaw High School.  They approach businesses asking to renew their ad in sports programs or calendars.

McClellan said the school is “deeply appreciative” of the generous support of the community and she and others don’t want to see local business owners taken in by a scam.

If you’re approached by someone claiming to be a representative of Siuslaw schools, she suggests calling the high school at 541-997-3448 to verify the person making contact is indeed legitimate.

Alternatives sought for Elliot State Forest

Governor Kate Brown proposed an alternative to privatization of the 84-thousand acre Elliot State Forest in western Douglas County this week.  The State Lane Board, made up of Brown, Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins, and Treasurer Ted Wheeler, took no action on the single offer to buy the forest and place it in private hands.  Lone Rock Timber Company, in conjunction with the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Indians, submitted the state mandated minimum bid of $220-million.

Brown is proposing to use $100-million in state bonding authority to allow other competing bids that would protect public access and preserve habitat for endangered species.

Under current state law the forest must be managed for timber production with profits benefitting the state common school fund.  Expenses have exceeded revenues in recent years.

Brown says her proposal would allow other competitive offers that would compensate the school fund.

The Land Board will meet again in February.

Don’t drink and drive

Lane County Sheriff’s Deputies, along with Oregon State Troopers and local police officers will be stepping up patrols in the coming two weeks.  They’ll be focusing on drivers who may be driving under the influence of intoxicants.

Deputies, troopers and officers will be putting in lots of overtime on weekends between now and January 1st.

The intention is to prevent traffic crashes caused by impaired drivers.

Deputy Tim Ware is encouraging drivers to operate their vehicles safely during hazardous weather conditions and to drive sober.

Additional funds to pay for officer overtime are being provided by the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association.