Siuslaw Awards Results; Lane gets a new president; Siltcoos Lake Trail; School board races

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Caputo, Waggoner and City Lights recognized for excellence

Ron Caputo was named Florence’s First Citizen for 2016 last night.  The retired plumbing contractor was selected from a field of four nominees that also included Bou (BOO) Kilgore; Sam Spayd and Gary Vawter.  Caputo has been active on several community fronts… including with the Salmon Trout Enhancement Program; Florence Rotary; and the Port of Siuslaw.

Siuslaw High School senior Claire Waggoner was chosen from a list of five as the Future First Citizen.  Waggoner is a student athlete, scholar and has been very active in several other community and school projects.  Other nominees included Ben Cahoon, Celie Mans, Elyssa Rose and Destinie Tatum.

The Siuslaw Awards last night also included several other presentations coordinated by the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce.  City Lights Cinemas has named the Stu Johnston Business of the Year; the Boys and Girls Club of Western Lane County was honored with the Non-Profit Achievement; and long time volunteer Jean Hefty received the Distinguished Service Award.

Other Siuslaw Awards results

As was mentioned a minute ago, City Lights Cinemas was recognized Wednesday night as the Stu Johnston Business of the Year.  The award is presented annually to a local business that has demonstrated excellence in the previous year.  City Lights was named, in part, due to the ability of owners Michael Falter and Susan Tive to become thoroughly enmeshed in the Florence Community.  City Lights has become a thriving cultural and entertainment center, succeeding where previous owners have not.

Other awards presented by the Chamber of Commerce included Laurel Bay Gardens for Community Caring; Lovejoy’s Restaurant and Tea Room won for Curb Appeal; Hoagland Properties, the operator of the River House and Old Town Inns won Excellence in Customer Service; and the Friends of the Events Center were recognized with the Innovation in Business Award for their successful Dancing With Sea Lions fundraiser.   As mentioned earlier, the Boys and Girls Club was given the Non Profit Achievement Award, partly for that group’s dramatic turnaround in the past two years.

Officials concerned about kayak safety

Heavy rainfall and streamflows have increased concern for the safety of the Siltcoos River Trail, a popular kayak and canoe route between Siltcoos Lake and the Pacific Ocean.

The trail has been promoted heavily by Dunes City as a visitor attraction.  But that is coming to an end as officials there are concerned that debris and vegetation in the Siltcoos River downstream could pose a life and safety hazard.

Dunes City Administrator Jaime Mills said the upstream portion between the lake and the dam are relatively safe and clear.  But trees and other vegetation have caused a snarl below the dam.

She says it has been several years since the state has removed any hazards.

Local gas prices continue to track lower than statewide

The average cash price for a gallon of regular gas went up just a penny in the past week and at $2.35, it’s 18-cents less than Oregon’s average price.

The national average price, according to Marie Dodds with Triple-A, held steady this week at $2.27 a gallon.

Dodds said despite pressure on the market caused by OPEC production cuts, price gains have not materialized because of an increase in U.S. production and lackluster demand.   Dodds said she does expect prices to climb, though, as demand grows through the spring and refinery maintenance shifts into high gear.

New Jersey educator gets the nod as LCC President

The Lane Community College Board of Education announced the successor to President Mary Spilde last night.  Dr. Margaret Hamilton has been with the Camden County College in New Jersey for 28 years and is currently vice president of academic affairs.

She was a unanimous selection by the board following an 11-month search.  Board Chair Sharon Stiles called Hamilton the “right person”.   She also thanked Spilde for providing ample time for the board to conduct a careful search for her replacement.  Spilde announced last spring she would be retiring in June of this year after serving as Lane’s president since 2000.

Hamilton is expected to begin work in Eugene prior to Spilde’s retirement.  A final employment contract has not yet been negotiated, but a preliminary agreement was reached this week on a three year contract with a starting annual salary of $203-thousand.

Hamilton will be Lane’s seventh president since it was formed in 1964.

School Board races shaping up

Nearly three-fourths of the seats for school boards in Oregon were uncontested two years ago in the last round of board elections.  One in twelve of the open seats drew no candidates at all.  That meant other members of the boards had to seek out and appoint people to fill those gaps.

With such a low turnout, the Oregon School Boards Association has launched a campaign to recruit more candidates to take part in the upcoming school boards election May 16th.

In our area there are seven positions between the Siuslaw and Mapleton school boards that will be decided by voters… if there are enough candidates.

In Mapleton, there are three four-year terms available.  They’re currently held by John Simington (SI-ming-tun), Mizu (MEE-zoo) Burruss (BURR-uss) and Marilyn Fox.

At Siuslaw Schools there are three four-year terms currently held by John Barnett, Paul Burns, and Suzanne Mann-Heintz.  Board Chair Bill McDougle was appointed to fill a vacancy 18-months ago… the remaining two years of that term are also on the ballot.

Interested candidates must file nomination paperwork with their respective school district in time to get them verified by March 6th.