Meyer to Replace Hickson; Vax Clinic to Include 12+ Age Group; Gas Supply; New Cases for Florence; Plan to Eliminate Risk Levels

Meyer to Replace Hickson

There will be a change in leadership at the Siulsaw News. At the end of May, managing editor Ned Hickson will be stepping away from responsibilities from the paper as well as his position at the Cottage Grove Sentinel.  Here in Florence Chantelle Meyer will be taking the reins.  Hickson said it was time for him to make the decision.

“I like the idea of new challenges and learning new things and I feel like I have done what I wanted to do at both of the papers, getting them into a direction that is more timely and relevant.”

Siuslaw News publisher Jenna Bartlett said she is thankful for Hicksons contributions as managing editor over the past 5 years.  She said while his leaving will be felt by every member of the team, she feels fortunate to have someone of Meyer’s caliber to lead the news room forward.  Though the paper is published twice weekly, Hickson says that they have been treating it more like a daily with a strong presence on the internet.  Particularly over the past 14 months, but a move that happened prior to the pandemic.  He says that Meyer is a person who understands the mission of the paper and is ready to guide it forward.  Hickson says he has at least one more career in him and will be joining the U.S. Postal service at the end of the month.  He is also a member of the Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue board, a position that also ends in June and one that he will not be seeking reelection.

Vax Clinic to Include 12+ Age Group

Friday’s vaccination clinic at t he Florence Events Center will be open for children beginning at the age of 12 according to assistant city manager Megan Messmer.  Parents can register their child at the same, but walk-ins are also allowed.  The county will be administering the Pfizer vaccine that has recently been approved by the FDA for use in ages 12 and up.

Gas Supply

As we approach the memorial day weekend concerns of gasoline availability have arisen across the country.  Gas prices are rising due, in part, to a hack of an east coast computer system that regulates pipeline operation.  The supply chain does not affect the west coast but prices are still rising.  Marie Dodds with AAA Oregon says Oregon prices have risen 3 cents a gallon this week and with an estimated 60% increase in travel over last year’s numbers, prices are likely to continue to rise.  AAA is reporting that a staggering 93% of travelers are planning to use their vehicles for transportation.  Dodds says it is not a time to panic buy on the west coast, but some refineries are  planning to help ease the burden on the east coast.  Dodds says even after the pipeline comes back online there could still be a 15-18 day period until supplies return to normal.  Here in Florence the price of a gallon of regular gas is currently at $3.25.

New Cases for Florence

Lane County reported another 5 cases of COVID-19 for Florence yesterday.  A 5 case jump is significant for the area and positive cases continue to be a semi-regular occurrence for Florence.  Yesterday’s number represents the 10th new case in the past two weeks as Lane County added 50 cases yesterday.  Lane County is currently experiencing an average of 50 cases per day and the rate of infection is at 91.78 per 100,000.

Plan to Eliminate Risk Levels

The Oregon Health Authority has reported that as of this Friday there will be no counties in Oregon in the Extreme category and three more counties will move from High to Moderate risk.  Lane County will continue at High risk.  Governor Brown announced yesterday that once 70% of the population, over the age of 16, has received at least their first vaccination there will no longer be the need for the risk categories.  Currently approximately 50% of the population in Oregon has been vaccinated.