National Library Week; Rhody float for free; buck off your chowder; ShakeAlert in Oregon; Home grown teachers

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Siuslaw Public Library celebrates…

This week is National Library Week and the theme is Libraries Transform.  Meg Spencer is the director of Siuslaw Public Library.  She says that statement is so true…

Meg Spencer – “We really can change people’s lives.  You know, I think of the people who come here to help their kids learn how to read; to attend story time.  I think about people who come here to do job searches, I think about people who learn a new language using our online databases, study for their GEDs, all kinds of things that libraries can do to make that happen.”

Dozens of people visit the library in Florence and Mapleton every day.  Many of them just to browse the stacks and find a good book or magazine, others access things like genealogy research or many other programs offered at the library.

Spencer said on top of celebrating Library Week… today is also National Library Workers Day.

Meg Spencer – “I would say stop in and say hi to your favorite Library worker.”

You can do that today at Siuslaw Public Library… they’re open until eight pm.

ShakeAlert expanding to Oregon

An early warning system for earthquakes is expanding to Oregon and Washington.  That expansion means three states on the U.S. West Coast will now be testing a prototype that could give people seconds… or even up to a minute… of warning before strong shaking begins.  California has been testing the production prototype since early 2016.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the system is not yet ready to issue public quake warnings… but this version does allow early adopters to use those warnings and figure out what steps they need to take in the event of an earthquake.

The USGS and Oregon Governor Kate Brown rolled out the expanded ShakeAlert system Monday in Eugene with the announcement that ground motion sensors will be installed near the Leaburg Dam east of Eugene.

Home grown teachers on the coast

Southern Oregon University is teaming up with Coos Bay’s Southwestern Oregon Community College to offer a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education.

The new program will begin in the fall of this year on the main campus of SWOCC.

Jaimee Belzer at Southwestern says the south coast… in Western Douglas, Coos and Curry Counties… are in “high need of qualified teachers” and the partnership will help fill that gap.

Students would take most of their courses online or in the evenings on the coast, with one Saturday each month at the Higher Education Center in Medford or Ashland.  Belzer also said student teaching would be in local schools.

She said it’s a “grow your own” philosophy aimed primarily at people currently working at area schools, but not limited to those.

An information session is set for Monday, April 24th in Dellwood Hall on SWOCC’s main campus.

Three clams will save you a buck on chowder

So far eight area restaurants have signed up to participate in the Rhododendron Festival Clam Chowder promotion.

For decades, chowder was associated with the area festival.  A community wide chowder feed was conducted in the 30s, 40s and early 50s as part of the annual proceedings.  In the late 50s and through the mid-70s the Florence Booster Club, then  the organizers of the festival, would cook up thousands of gallons of chowder and give it away during the Grand Floral Parade to anyone who had purchased a Rhody Pin.

The Chamber of Commerce has returned to the metal campaign style pins this year, and opted to tie it to chowder once again.  They’re not doing the cooking though… they’re leaving that to folks like ICM, Siuslaw Riverside, Le Bouchon, the Bridgewater, Bay Street Grille, Beachcomber, the Firehouse and Home Grown.  All will offer a dollar off a bowl of chowder the entire month of May to anyone wearing this year’s pin.

Rhody float?  Enter for free this week!

If you’re going to enter a float in the Rhododendron Festival Grand Floral parade you can save 20-bucks if you do it this week.

The 110th annual festival is coming up May 19th through the 21st, with the big parade set for noon, Sunday the 21st.

Bettina Hannigan at the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce says entries are being accepted right now online or at the Visitor Center.  If you do it by this Friday, there’s no entry fee.

Beginning Saturday, April 15th though, the entry fee is $20.

Parade entries are divided into six categories: Bands, equestrian units, vehicles, service, commercial and non-commercial.

Since it is the Rhododendron festival, Hannigan says flowers are “highly recommended” in all parts of your entry.  Judges will look at the best use of Rhododendrons, costumes, style, originality and how you’ve incorporated the theme.

That theme is “Always Ready to Rhody” and is in honor of the festival grand marshals, members of the U.S. Coast Guard.