Cold weather shelter; Aging Well; Dunes restoration grant; speaking “whale”; Dental coverage; and Siuslaw Awards

Coast Radio News
Local News

Cold Weather Shelter openings far exceed last year

The Florence cold weather shelter for the homeless was closed last night… one of the few nights in the past three weeks in which it was.  Reverend Greg Woods with the Presbyterian Church of the Siuslaw said up until this past weekend the number of people staying in the shelter has been steady.

Greg Woods – “We had about ten to 12 people spending the night with us.  We served supper to 14 to 16.”

The shelter was open Christmas Eve and Christmas Night, but Woods said they only had about half as many people staying with them.  The center closed last night and is expected to remain that way for the next several days.

Greg Woods – “It’s warmed up a little bit and the prediction is that it will stay a little bit warmer, so we’re watching it pretty close.  Toward the weekend we may open it back up again.”

This year’s openings have exceeded last year’s when the center opened once.  Woods said the need has been much greater so far this winter, and he admits, the volunteers are more organized.

Greg Woods – “You know, it needs to be done and it would just ruin a lot of us if somebody froze to death out here, so…”

Most nights it has opened at the Presbyterian Church.  Two nights in previous weeks there were conflicts with other scheduled events.  The Center was hosted by New Life Lutheran two nights.

Aging Well series to continue

Another series of classes aimed at helping residents manage their “golden years” with fewer health problems will be offered in coming months by Peace Harbor Home Health and Hospice.  The series of three monthly classes, all independent of the others, is called “Aging Well” and will offer tips to people about common challenges they face as they grow older.  But, not all of them are directly health care related.

The first one, January 10th is called Natural Infection Prevention Remedies during the Winter Months and will be presented by Home Care manager Kathy Murphy.

February 14th is called Creativity: The Elixer of Youth and features award winning artist Kat Cunningham.  That will be followed March 14th called Peace of Mind through Financial Planning presented by Investment Advisor Kevin Groves and Trust Officer Tina Meyers of Oregon Pacific Bank.

All classes are free.  They’re just an hour long and will be offered at Lane Community College.  Registration is required… call Lane Community College in Florence to sign up.

Restoration grants awarded to USFS

Siuslaw National Forest officials got some good news last week in the form of a pair of large grants totaling just under a half-million-dollars to help with ecological restoration on the Oregon Dunes and restore streams and forest habitat on the North Coast.

The smaller grant, $82-thousand, will be used to help remove invasive vegetation on the dunes in three areas… near the mouths of the Siltcoos River, Tahkenitch Creek and Tenmile Creek.

A total of 210 acres will benefit from the “Pulling Together Initiative” that is a cooperative effort that includes the Siuslaw National Forest, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the off-road group Save the Riders Dunes as well as other local groups.

The larger grant, $413-thousand will be shared between several groups and efforts to restore Coho salmon habitat in the Nestucca and Tillamook Bay watersheds.

Time to speak “whale”

Gray whales are on the move along the Oregon Coast this week; headed south to their wintering grounds off Baja California in Mexico.

They’re relatively easy to spot from several locations along the Oregon Coast and between Tuesday and Saturday this week, they’ll be even easier to locate.

That’s because volunteers, coordinated by the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department, will be at 24-different locations between ten am and one pm on those days to share whale watching tips, migration facts and whale feeding habits.

A complete listing of those locations can be found at www-dot-whalespoken-dot-org.

The two closest spots are near Sea Lion Caves north of Florence, and at the Wayfinding Point on Highway 101 just south of Winchester Bay.

Oregonians may be missing out on dental coverage

Many Oregonians who qualify for Medicaid may not know they’re also eligible for dental care. Although Medicaid at the federal level doesn’t offer it, Oregon has taken a different path toward providing oral health.  Alyssa Franzen, executive dental director for CareOregon, says the change was big and there still are barriers to getting the message out.

215 – “There, in some communities, are a more limited number of providers. In some cases we know that folks don’t know they have a dental benefit. They get on Oregon Health Plan. They know that they have some medical coverage. They don’t understand the dental-coverage piece.”

Every region has its set of challenges according to Franzen. On the north coast, providers are more spread out, making it harder for people there to get to a provider. The number of Oregonians affected by this can be sizable in some areas of the state. In some communities, one in four is eligible for the Oregon Health Plan.

Siuslaw Award nominations due Friday

This is the final week to submit nominations for the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce’ annual Siuslaw Awards.  The presentation ceremony is coming up February 8th at the Florence Events Center.

That’s when the Stu Johnston Business of the Year award will be presented, along with awards for Excellence in Customer Service; Curb Appeal; Community Caring; and Innovation in Business.  A special Non-Profit Achievement award will be presented that night, along with the Florence First Citizen and the Florence Future First Citizen.

Nominations for any and all must be submitted to the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce by this Friday.  They can be submitted online at www-dot-florencechamber-dot-com, or at at the Chamber Visitor Center near City Hall on Highway 101.