School year extension? State of the County. Lifesaving award; crab season underway; continued noise concerns

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Snow Days may impact length of school year

Siuslaw schools have only had to give up two school days because of the weather so far this year.  The School Board is scheduled to discuss the possibility whether or not to change the last day of school this week, but Superintendent Andy Grzeskowiak said his recommendation is to hold off.

Andy Grzeskowiak – “I want to wait through January-February to see if we lose any more days before making a declaration of having to add back days.  Right now we should be on track for ending June 15th or June 16th.”

At the worst, that would be just one day longer than originally scheduled.  If there are any more snow days this winter, that has the potential to extend the year into the following week, but Grzeskowiak said they’ll work hard to avoid that.  He also said they will not be extending school hours on Fridays, when the day is already an hour shorter.  That extra hour is important for staff training… and it’s not optional.

Andy Grzeskowiak – “We’re also mandated to have professional development time as well.”

The school board is expected to discuss it Wednesday night, but will likely accept the superintendent’s suggestion to hold off on a decision.

State of the County:  Financially healthy

Efforts to maintain a balanced budget and reduce operating costs… while continuing to invest in vital public services were main points yesterday when Lane County Commissioner Faye Stewart delivered the “State of the County” address.

The event at Harris Hall in the Lane County Courthouse also included swearing in ceremonies for Commissioners Pat Farr and Peter Sorenson, as well as Sheriff Byron Trapp and District Attorney Patty Perlow.

In his address, Stewart said one of the high points for the year was the removal of Lane County from the Oregon Secretary of State’s list of counties being monitored in regard to financial health.  He also noted the possibility of an improvement in Lane’s bond rating this year and several other strategic investments.

He closed his address by restating the goal to continue to keep Lane County financially healthy in the 2017.

Lifesaving award

A Florence man was honored last night for his lifesaving efforts in September that put his own life in peril.  Larry Scott was driving on Highway 126, ten miles east of Mapleton, on September 2nd when he came across a single vehicle crash.  The car was on its roof and smoke was coming from the engine compartment.

Western Lane Ambulance District Operations Director Matt House said Scott placed his own life in peril when he freed the critically injured driver and carried him to safety.  House said within minutes, the car was fully engulfed in flames.  They then spread to the roadside and up a nearby hillside.

House presented Scott with a Citizen Lifesaving Award last night at the Florence City Council Meeting.  The award referred to Scott’s “bravery and quick action” which left “no doubt” that the injured man would likely not be alive today had Scott not acted.

Crab season underway

A combination of environmental and labor difficulties delayed the Oregon Dungeness crab season, but it’s now fully underway.  Price negotiations between commercial crab fishermen and processors were completed late last week, ending a strike that began before Christmas.

Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission Director Hugh Link said crabbers will receive two dollars, 87 ½ cents a pound off the boat for the initial catch.  Link said the first loads are expected to hit wholesalers today, meaning it will be in markets as early as Wednesday.

Dungeness crab is the official “state crustacean” and is the most valuable single species commercial fishery on the Oregon coast.  Last year’s harvest produced landings of 14.2-million pounds and a “catch” value of more than $51-million.

ODOT to address noise concerns

Crews applying a corrosion resistant coating to the Siuslaw River Bridge will continue working between 23-hours a day this week.  Angela Beers-Sydel with the Oregon Department of Transportation says the work may not result in construction noise, but workers will be present.

ODOT continues to receive complaints about the generator and compressor noise.  Beers-Sydel said they will do additional noise testing to pinpoint some possible solutions.  Nearby residents say the sound from the machinery is “bouncing” and continues to be a concern.   The compressor supplying breathing air for workers is positioned at the north end of the bridge near Dairy Queen, while the generator is on the barge located beneath the bridge.

She said the contractor has about two months of work remaining on the north end of the bridge.  When that’s done they’ll move equipment to the south side of the river.