DeFazio hosting Florence Town Hall; School budget to deal with retirement issues; Early Egg Hunt; Hang It All 2; Scottsburg Bridge

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DeFazio hosting Florence Town Hall

Fourth District Congressman Peter DeFazio began his Post-Easter Town Hall schedule this morning in Florence.  The Springfield democrat held one at the Florence Events Center from 11 to 12:30.   He says he looks forward to the meetings.

Peter DeFazio – “You know, I never know what to expect at Town Halls, that’s why I get out and about to hear from people, find out what their concerns are.”

One thing he does not expect though, is the same type of reception experienced by his colleague, Oregon Republican Greg Walden who was met by large and hostile crowds at all three of his Town Halls last week.

Peter DeFazio – “I certainly don’t expect the same group of people who… to show up with the same criticisms.  As chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, a chief architect of whatever they called it, the AHCA, the American Health Care Act, which I vigorously opposed.”

DeFazio will be at Marshfield High School in Coos Bay this afternoon at 4:30.  Tomorrow he has Town Halls slated for Gold Beach, Cave Junction and Grants Pass.

Retirement system to have major impact on schools budget

Personnel costs… and primarily the cost of retirement obligations… will be the biggest hurdle faced by the Siuslaw School District as it puts together a budget for the next school year.   97-J Business Manager Kari Blake said they have to deal with another spike in costs associated with the Public Employee Retirement System.

Kari Blake – “With the PERS rates nearly doubling for us in this biennium, that’s kind of where we’re going to be using our reserves to cover that for this first year.”

Blake said the district has been able to set aside an extra eight percent of the annual budget to cover expected increases in PERS.

Kari Blake – “I think the implications are much higher than what we had anticipated because I’m looking at just rolling up my salaries for people who are moving along the salary schedules; steps; and then the PERS increase.  It’s going to hit us by about $660-thousand dollars.  And that’s just this one year.  And our reserves are just about; just about that amount over the eight percent.”

Blake said they are still waiting on the Oregon Legislature to settle on budget figures for the coming year.

Egg hunt gets early start

It turned out to be one of the largest crowds ever remembered for a Community Easter Egg Hunt at Miller Park.  Hundreds of kids, accompanied by parents and grandparents, crowded the sidelines awaiting the official start signal.  It was set for 10:00 a.m. sharp.

But, in an unanticipated move, a referee’s whistle from a nearby soccer match at 9:59 caused one end of the assembly to surge onto the field.

The rest followed and it was under-way.

Just one minute early.  Members of the Siuslaw High School Interact Club took the early start in stride…. They were all ready to go anyway.

Within five minutes the grass was picked clean of the more thasn four-thousand plastic eggs filled with candy and treats.  Four lucky winners picked up golden eggs, each good for a brand new bicycle.

Scottsburg bridge reopens

If you thought there was a lot more traffic through Florence over the weekend than usual, you were right.  That’s because Highway 38, a major link between the coast and the I-5 Corridor was closed while crews worked to complete emergency repairs to the Scottsburg Bridge.

Jared Castle with the Oregon Department of Transportation reported the bridge was reopened about five p.m. Sunday.  Just one lane of traffic was allowed at a time.

The span had been closed since Wednesday afternoon when a semi-truck crashed into a main structural member on the west end of the bridge, bending it 16 inches out of position.

A specialized repair company had to come in and heat the steel to get it back into position.  Until it was repaired, ODOT officials said the bridge was only capable of supporting its own weight.

Now that the bridge is open, the repair work will continue for at least the rest of this week.

Hang It All 2

It’s time once again to “hang it all” at Siuslaw Public Library.  The semi-annual “all comers” art show at the library is preparing for the May show.  This year’s theme is “inspiration”.

Mary Colgan-Bennetts at Siuslaw Public Library said entries will be accepted at the main library in Florence only on May 1st.   They must be hand-delivered, and there is one entry per person.

All medium are welcome according to Colgan-Bennetts.  Two dimensional art; paintings, prints, and photos, must be framed and wired for hanging.  They must also not be any larger than 38-inches-by-38-inches.

Three-D artwork:  sculpture, altered books, fiber art, etc, will be displayed in the lobby display case and cannot be any larger than 12-by-12-by-24 inches.

All artwork must be picked up on May 31st.