Residents engage Sanctuary status for schools; Scottsburg bridge closed due to crash; No south coast salmon season; Body found near Mapleton still not ID’d; Former Cottage Grove mayor named to Lane County Board

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Schools cannot even consider it

Widespread rumors in the community about a proposal to declare local schools as being “sanctuary” prompted a larger than usual turnout last night when the Siuslaw School Board met.

Those rumors were false said Superintendent Andy Grzeskowiak.  He read a prepared statement at the beginning of the meeting laying out not only local policies regarding the matter, but state and federal guidelines.

Grzeskowiak stressed the number one policy of the district is to educate children.  Safety of those children, and the staff, is a close number two.

Board members did allow anyone who wished to address them on the matter.  The ensuing comments were civil according to the superintendent.  But, he added, there was a little “side chatter” between people in the audience engaged in “political rhetoric”.  In addition to people who spoke in favor of, or against the sanctuary issue, Mr. G. said there were some people who spoke of “re-directing efforts to the legislature as they have the ability to amend the laws.”

The complete statement read by Grzeskowiak can be found right now at kcst-dot-com.

Truck crash damages Scottsburg Bridge, closes Highway 38

A semi-truck carrying a load of empty wooden pallets crashed through a railing on the aging Scottsburg Bridge on Highway 38 yesterday afternoon, closing that highway between I-5 and Reedsport.

Oregon State Police say 26-year old Sergi Borodin from Seattle, the driver, was trapped in the cab and had to be extricated by responders.  He suffered minor injuries according to troopers who said several pallets and some diesel fuel spilled into the Umpqua River.

Troopers say speed was a contributing factor in the crash.

The bridge is closed for an undetermined amount of time as engineers examine the bridge.  It’s been reported that one end-post of the main truss was bent out of position by 16-inches.

Another similar crash occurred on the bridge in September 2014 that left the tractor of a large truck hanging over the edge of the bridge.  That crash also closed the bridge for a length of time due to structural concerns.

Still no ID on body found near Mapleton

Officials say they still don’t know the identity of a dead body found by a hiker near Mapleton March 31st.

Lane County Sheriff’s Sergeant Carrie Carver said the body was found on Siuslaw National Forest Land.  She said they are still working on a positive ID.

Police have said the death is “suspicious in nature”, but have not released any other information, including just how the person may have died.  Carver cited the ongoing investigation for the confidentiality.

Officials say no salmon fishing on Southern Oregon and Northern California coasts

There won’t be a salmon season for anglers on the south coast this year.  The Pacific Fisheries Management Council made the decision Tuesday to close down sport and commercial fishing for Chinook and Coho.

The closure is only for the area from Humbug Mountain, just south of Port Orford, and into Northern California.

Coho and Chinook salmon fishing north of Port Orford is not affected.

The action is because of what officials are calling a “crash” in the number of Chinook headed for the Klamath River.  Fishery managers say the low number of returning four-year old fish is because of a low food supply, predators, and an inland drought.

PFMC officials also say they may likely issue another closure next year.

Lane County Commission vacancy filled

Former Cottage Grove Mayor Gary Williams has been selected from a list of 29 applicants to fill the vacancy on the Lane County Board of Commissioners.

Williamson was selected after a full day of interviews Wednesday by the remaining four members of the commission.

26 of the 29 applicants met the required conditions.  Williams will replace fellow Cottage Grove resident Faye Stewart who resigned in late March to take over as development and public works director of that city.

Commission Chair Pat Farr said they had a “remarkable field” of candidates from which to choose.   Williams was sworn in this morning at Harris Hall in Eugene.

Rotary club offers professional development grants

Over the past eight years, more than a dozen local teachers and non-profit professionals have picked up extra cash for specialized training and education.  The cash has come from the Florence Rotary Professional Education grant.

Meg Spencer says they are currently accepting applications for this year’s grants.  They’re offering two of them, valued at $2-thousand each.

Spencer gave a couple examples of how past grants have been used…. In one, a science teacher at Siuslaw Middle School used his grant to attend a graduate-level course at Portland State University focused on engineering and design education.  Another was used by an elementary school teacher who was struggling to engage the highest and the lowest achievers in her classroom.  Spencer said the teacher attended a national conference about using tablets to manage what is called “differentiated learning”.  That allowed the teacher to help her students learn at their own pace… either faster or slower than the rest of the class.

Applications for this year’s grants are available on the Florence Rotary website and are due by Friday, May 4th.