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Celebrate Earth Day by cleaning out caustic chemicals

If you looked hard enough, you would probably find something in your home that qualifies for this weekend’s Household Hazardous Waste Roundup.  Many homes accumulate partial containers of lawn and garden chemicals; car care products; household cleaners; and even arts and craft items.

That’s why Lane County, the City of Florence, and County Transfer and Recycling have teamed up to host the semi-annual collection of hazardous materials.

It’s appropriate that this weekend’s collection comes on the 47th anniversary of the founding of the modern environmental movement.  April 22nd, 1970 was the day that an estimated 19-million people in hundreds of locations across the country turned out to demonstrate on the very first Earth Day.

Residents can drop off chemicals and hazardous materials at the Florence Transfer Site just off Rhododendron Drive near the Humane Society Friday between noon and five pm; then again from eight to two on Saturday.

You can go to the City of Florence’s website for more information on what is accepted and what you can recycle for free year-round.

PUD celebrates completion of upgrades

A $6-million-two-plus-year upgrade to the electrical distribution system in and around Florence is wrapping up.  Central Lincoln PUD is celebrating by hosting an open house at one of the newly renovated substations this afternoon.

PUD Public Affairs Manager Chris Chandler says substations are a very important part of their system.  But, because of the very high voltage, they’re restricted areas.  That’s why this is a unique opportunity to get an inside look at one.  She said they’ll have experts and safety personnel on hand this afternoon at the Heceta Beach Substation, just north of Florence.

The tours begin at three o’clock.

The station is just a quarter-mile north of Heceta Beach Road on Highway 101.  Chandler says to slow down and watch for the balloons on the east side of the highway.   She also recommends car-pooling as parking space is limited.

AARP wraps tax season

Nearly 800 area residents received assistance with their tax preparation this past season, courtesy of volunteers working with the AARP tax service.

Frank Williams, the local coordinator, said they assisted in preparing 540 tax returns, plus answered questions for about another 250 people by the time filing day arrived.

He said those were seniors and low income residents who otherwise might not have been able to afford to pay someone to help them prepare a return.

AARP Tax Aides go through a training program each year at the beginning of each tax season.

Port Commission to meet in Mapleton

The agenda will be a light one this evening for Port of Siuslaw Commissioners when they meet in Mapleton.  They’ll begin with a private executive session at 6:30 at Mapleton High School to review budget committee applications and to consider information exempt from disclosure by law with an attorney.

The public portion of the meeting is at seven o’clock.  The only action items on the agenda are appointment of budget committee members and approval of minutes and financial reports.

The commission meets in outlying areas of the district several times each year as a way of encouraging local participation.

Local gas prices dip

The national average price for a gallon of regular gas went up six cents this week, while across Oregon the average price only went up two pennies.  In Florence though, the average cash price went down two cents, it’s now at $2.57.

That’s smack dab in the middle of the national and statewide averages.  Triple-A spokesperson Marie Dodds says Oregon’s average price is 18-cents higher than Florence’s at $2.75 and the national average is 18-cents less at $2.39.

Gas prices on the west coast remain the highest in the country with six states in the region topping the list.  Hawaii is the highest at $3.06; California is next at $3.01, followed by Alaska and Washington.  Oregon’s average is fifth highest and Nevada is number six.  Pennsylvania is still the seventh highest average at $2.84.

The nation’s cheapest gas can be found in South Carolina where the average price is $2.13 a gallon.