Contentious Port meeting; Wantz drops out of LCC race; Cash prizes awarded at Wine, Art and Jazz; Jump Start your health; and Check your contractor

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Port Meeting gets contentious

Port of Siuslaw Commission President Ron Caputo said the next step will be further consultations with the Port’s legal counsel.  That was after an open hearing Friday afternoon of complaints leveled against Port Manager Steven Leskin ended in confusion contention and disarray.

Several commercial fishermen and other members of the community have voiced concerns about the way Leskin has conducted business.  It came to a head during the March 15th commission meeting where Leskin read a letter of response refuting some of the claims and verbally attacking two moorage customers.  Port Commissioners called for a private, executive session to deal with the matters, but Leskin requested it be held in public; a move allowed by Oregon law.

Caputo and a majority of the Commissioners attempted to take Leskin to task for the complaints and Caputo insisted the Manager write a letter of apology to David Swinney and Michelle Culwell… the targets of his March 15th statement.

Commissioner Mike Buckwald called Leskin’s actions March 15th as some of the least professional he’s ever witnessed and said some of the references were crude and unsuitable for a public meeting.

Leskin refused to write an apology.  He also refused to take an anger management course as directed by Caputo.

After the meeting the Port President stopped short of saying Leskin might ultimately be fired; but said he would be talking to legal counsel about how to proceed.  Leskin’s sole supporter on the board… Commissioner Nancy Rickard, called the entire thing a “witch hunt” and said the other four commissioners are micro-managing.

Wantz pulls out of LCC race

A reevaluation of the impacts on her personal life were she to be elected, prompted Florence resident Sally Wantz to withdraw from the Lane Community College Board of Education race.  She filed for the ballot in March, saying she felt the Florence area should be represented on the county-wide college board following the resignation of former Florence resident Sharon Stiles.

But, Wantz said some “heart-felt” conversations with her spouse about the impacts the post would have on her personal, professional, civil and social life prompted her to acknowledge she was “asking too much” of herself.

Her name will still appear on the May 16th special election ballot, but Wantz says she is no longer actively running.

She also said she is endorsing one of the other two people on the ballot.  U of O Vice President Melanie Muenzer (MUN-zer), she said, would represent Florence and Mapleton well.

The other person running for the Zone 1 seat on the LCC Board is Eugene restaurateur Jeff Greatrek (GRAY-trek).  Ballots were already mailed out last week to military members serving abroad.  Resident voters will see their ballots later this month.

Art prize-winners announced

Three cash prizes totaling $1,750 went to prize winning artists for their entries in the inaugural Florence Fest.  That was the wine, art and jazz festival held this weekend at the Florence Events Center.  It was produced by Coast Radio.

The art show component was handled by Harlen Springer with the Florence Regional Arts Alliance.  He said the 1st place ribbon… and a thousand dollars… went to Colleen Goodwin-Chronister for her large work entitled “Losing My Marbles 2”.  It depicted a pair of much-larger than life mason jars filled with colorful marbles.  Second place and $500 went to Carole Hillsbery and “Gypsy Shawl”; and third place… and $250…  went to Michael Wood and his depiction of “Gathering at the Depot.

Springer said he heard “overwhelmingly positive comments” about the show and the festival.  One requirement for entry was that all 47 pieces on display had to be for sale.  17 of them sold during the festival.  Many of those and the remaining pieces will remain on display through this month at the Florence Events Center.

Jump Start Your Health

A community health fair this weekend in Florence will feature three days of distinctly different educational seminars, exhibits and activities; all aimed at improving physical and mental health.

Jump Start Your Health is sponsored by the Florence Seventh Day Adventist Church.  It opens Friday afternoon with a free lunch for the first 100 visitors.  It will also have dozens of exhibitors at the Florence Events Center.

Saturday also offers free lunch for the first hundred people as well as several free half-hour seminars with tips and information about wellness, fitness, and disaster preparedness.

Sunday features free lunch yet again for the first 100… as well as a 5-K fun run and walk to benefit the Siuslaw Area Partnership to Prevent Substance Abuse.  Sunday is also “kid’s day” with a variety of youth-oriented fitness activities.  It also features the Lane Bloodmobile.

One other aspect of Jump Start Your Health is a special presentation on Mental Health First Aid by Dr. Jonathan Betlinski from Oregon Health Sciences University. Jump Start organizer Linda Lydick will be on this week’s Coast Radio Our Town Wednesday and Thursday with more information.

CCB lists “Bad Actors”

A new webpage rolled out recently by the Oregon Construction Contractor’s Board has a list of the top eight contractors in the state…  It’s not a list of the top in terms of quality… but a list of the top offenders.  “Bad actors” is the term used by Stan Jessup.  He’s the enforcement manager for the CCB.

None of them are actually licensed to engage in contracting in Oregon; all of them owe a hefty amount to not only the state, but to their victims… homeowners and business property owners who have hired them to do work that was either never finished, or done poorly.

Jessup says if you’re doing any home improvement or contstruction project you should always check to be sure you’re working with someone who is registered with the CCB.  That means they are insured and bonded in case something goes wrong.  He says just go to www-dot-Oregon-dot-gov-slash-CCB and you can see the “Buyers Beware” list and check on the registration of anyone you might be doing business with.