Rethinking School Bond; Oregon is the Last Holdout; Expect Heavy Travel This Holiday; Veteran’s Parade

Rethinking School Bond

Siuslaw School Superintendent Andy Grzeskowiak says it’s back to the drawing board.  Residents rejected the bond measure that would have provided the money for a new high school and elementary school along with a lot of other upgrades to existing school structures at the middle school.  Grzeskowiak says the board will have to meet and look at the options before setting it in stone, but he says they might need to consider a different approach.

“We probably need to look at it again and do it in a staggered multi-year approach as opposed to putting it all out there at once.”

He says phasing it in could help to bring the overall cost down to taxpayers.  Some confusion as to the cost may also have contributed to the bond failing.  Grzeskowiak says that the current bond that is expiring in June at .90 actually began 20 years ago at $1.66 which is only .15 cents off of the current bond cost and with inflation that original bond would be $2.52 today.

“Once the next bond lapses and closes off any confusion about whether they overlap or add all of that’s gone and then it just becomes a straight issue as to this is what the bond costs.”

Grzeskowiak says they can reapply for matching grants for the project again in the next election cycle and the bond could appear as early as next May, but that decision will be made over the next several months.

Oregon is the Last Holdout

With Tuesday’s elections now in the books, Oregon has become the only state in the country that allows non-unanimous juries in felony trials. Voters in Louisiana have passed an amendment banning the law that originated in the Jim Crow era allowing convictions even when one or two jurors disagree. Nicole Lewis, a reporter with criminal justice-focused news outlet The Marshall Project, says a felony conviction often sends a person to prison for a long time and so the bar for proving someone is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt should be set high enough that everyone on the jury agrees.

“To have a split jury basically renders that perspective or that opinion totally null and obsolete, whereas in many other states with unanimous juries, it could result in a hung jury and you would get a retrial and just more opportunity to present a solid case.”

 This year, two people in Oregon have been exonerated after being convicted by a non-unanimous jury. Unlike in Louisiana before it banned this law, however, a unanimous decision still is required in murder cases.

Expect Heavy Travel This Holiday

According to AAA Oregeon travel for the thanksgiving holiday will be up over 5% from last year.  It is estimated that over 704 thousand Oregonians will hit the roads for a trip that will exceed 50 miles.  Marie Dodds with AAA says that travelers will have to pay higher prices for gasoline this holiday as they are 20 to 50 cents higher than last year.  These are the highest prices for Thanksgiving travel since 2013.  Prices are down slightly in Florence averaging around $3.09 a gallon for regular gas.

Veteran’s Parade

A reminder that this Sunday is Veteran’s day and that the Veteran’s Day Parade will be at 1pm in old town.  Tim Sapp, from TR Hunter Real Estate was chosen as this year’s Grand Marshall.  The parade will begin at the Florence Event Center and travel through Old Town on Bay street culminating at the Veteran’s Memorial Park.