Siuslaw River Boardwalk

Controversy Over Art Project; Policy Could Impede Fundraising; AARP Offering Free Tax Prep; Crab Cooking Tip

Controversy Over Art Project

The Florence Urban Renewal Agency met Wednesday to discuss approval the mural project that will be placed on the side of the Central Lincoln PUD building.  The hope, according to the committee, is to have the piece underway in time for Rhody Days so that visitors can participate in the process.  During the meeting there was discussion about the design of the mural and some believed that it was not a good representation of Florence and should be further vetted in the community before giving final approval on the project.  Public Art Committee member Jennifer French said the project had been properly put in front of the public through advertised monthly meetings, public forums and have received a lot of public feedback.

“If we start putting it out there again we’re gonna get 50 million comments and we have to start from square on it seems like again.”

CLPUD Mural Conceptual Mockup
CLPUD Mural Conceptual Mockup

Some of the disagreements about the mural were not just about design but on the money spent.  Joe Henry brought up the question about grant funds that he understood would be part of the funding for such large projects.  According to Joshua Green grants have been written, but the topic was tabled prior to finding out what monies if any, have been awarded.  Amidst the discussion a motion was made to approve the mural funding it was seconded and approved by a 5-2 vote.

Policy Could Impede Fundraising

The Siuslaw School board is currently working on its updated policy manual and some are concerned that the language in the policy concerning Commercial Advertising, if strictly interpreted, could prevent the school from supporting or promoting any event that sells products that are “illegal or inappropriate for minors” and could also prohibit the school from accepting student scholarships from such businesses.  According to a letter from Pam Hickson at Three Rivers Casino Resort, in a previous year, students were almost disallowed from participating in their annual job fair due to the casino’s involvement with gambling and service of alcohol.  A disclaimer had to be added to flyers promoting the event before the school board gave its approval.  Hickson is also a member of the policy review committee and has recommended lesser language in the policy book that would prevent promoting alcohol and tobacco to students, but still allow businesses to donate, support, advertise and provide items like scholarships, donations, gym/fence signs.   The next reading of the policy updates will be at the school board’s next meeting on February 13th.  Hickson said that it is estimated that up to 60 thousand dollars in scholarships and up to 40 thousand dollars in booster club support could be lost with the stricter language.

AARP Offering Free Tax Prep

Starting today, Oregonians can get free assistance preparing their income tax returns. For the 51st year, the A-A-R-P Foundation’s Tax-Aide program is helping folks by providing the largest free tax preparation program in the country. Last year, volunteers completed nearly 46-thousand forms in Oregon, with refunds of more than 48-million dollars. That includes nearly 12-million dollars in Earned Income Tax Credits. Kathy Goeddel with the A-A-R-P Foundation Tax-Aide program in Oregon, says the new tax law that went into effect in 2018 could trip people up, but volunteers are ready to help.

“All of our volunteers are IRS-certified, and we have learned all the latest forms and done practice problems, are now ready to help our clients with the latest tax-law changes.”

The program is open to everyone, not just seniors, and you don’t have to be an A-A-R-P member. It aims especially to help lower- and middle-income folks. It opens today at roughly 130 locations across the state, including libraries, schools and senior centers.  The I-R-S began processing income-tax returns this week. Goeddel says there haven’t been any delays yet from the government shutdown that ended last week, although returns that need extra verification could take a bit longer.

Crab Cooking Tip

Now that the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) have announced that recreational and commercial crabbing is now open for the entire Oregon Coast, free of restrictions.  They remind crabbers to always eviscerate the crab removing guts, or butter, prior to cooking. When whole crab are cooked in liquid, domoic acid may leach into the cooking liquid. It is recommended to discard the cooking liquid, and do not use it in other dishes, such as sauces, broths, soups, roux, etc. The consumption of crab viscera is not recommended.