Police Arrest Vehicle Break-in Suspect; 45th COVID-19 Case For Florence; OPB Chooses to Leave Lobby Closed; Blood Shortage; Gas Prices Remain Unchanged

Police Arrest Vehicle Break-in Suspect

Florence Police are reporting that they have found the possible perpetrators of several car break-ins.  Yesterday police located a Suburu Outback near 15th and Spruce Street that had been reported stolen in the Eugene area in November.  Police also came in contact with two individuals associated with the vehicle.  One was a 17 year old female who had been reported as a runaway from the Eugene area and the other was 20 year old Ethan James Joule also from the Eugene area.  During their investigation officers found evidence from two car break-ins that had been reported earlier in the evening of November 30.  There was also evidence from some unreported thefts from Florence residents.  The female juvenile was released to her parents and Joule was booked in the Florence City Jail under several charges including  4 instances of Unlawful Entry into a Motor Vehicle, 4 instances of 3rd  degree Theft, Criminal Mischief, and Unlawful Possession of a controlled substance.  He was later transported to the Lane County Jail.  Florence Police are also working with th Douglas County Sheriff and Reedsport Police in connection with similar incidents that may be connected.  The investigation is also ongoing in Florence as police try to identify other stolen property from the vehicle.

45th COVID-19 Case For Florence

The coronavirus case numbers for Florence continue to rise slowly as the 45th case was reported yesterday.  The total cases in Lane County rose by 75 yesterday as the county enters the final day of the freeze enacted by Governor Brown.  Officials at Peace Harbor Medical Center are reporting that positive cases for the hospital are on the rise, while most are not from the area, but may be traveling according to Peace harbor Medical director Dr. heather McArthur.

“We did have some positive tests from people not from Lane County so those tests will not be reflective of the Lane County Numbers.”

McArthur says those individuals can still impact our community.

“It’s important to remember that just because they may not be positive in Lane County they may be passing through using our grocery stores, etcetera.”

She also said that the hospital in Springfield is currently filled with COVID-19 patients which could limit services for others in need of hospital procedures.  The problem is statewide with Oregon reporting 24 more deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday, a record high for a single day in the state. There were 1,233 new cases yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 76,654.  Officials in Silverton are trying to monitor a potential outbreak among firefighters. One official there says the situation has underscored a weakness in Oregon’s response to the pandemic: and a lack of a system for getting first responders tested rapidly.

OPB Chooses to Leave Lobby Closed

Even though some restrictions will be eased after today some area businesses are choosing to maintain some of them.  Oregon Pacific Bank President Ron Green says that  OPB will continue to operate with its main lobby closed.  All of the other services offered by the bank will be available.  Green says they decided to do this for the safety of their clients, employees and the community.

Blood Shortage

Blood is in short supply.  According to officials at Bloodworks Northwest it has been a difficult time in receiving donations from the public partly due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Connie Bradley who is a registered nurse in Florence is helping coordinate donations for the area and says there are concerns that have arisen due to the pandemic.  And even though someone has tested for COVID-19 does not eliminate them from donating.

“If you are two months past having COVID-19 you are eligible to donate.”

They cannot take people who are currently showing symptoms and will be doing screenings prior to receiving donations.  Participants must have an appointment to donate.  Bloodworks NW will be set up at Siuslaw Middle school on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

Number to Call for Appointment:


Gas Prices Remain Unchanged

Gas prices were at their lowest in November in Oregon.  The last time pump prices were this low was in 2016 according to Marie Dodds with AAA Oregon.   Florence prices for a gallon of regular gas are still averaging $2.30 a gallon.  While the national average did slightly increase last week around the state prices were the same as last week at an average of $2.59 a gallon.