Sheriff’s Office Investigates Vandalism; Elementary School Principal Chosen; National Night Out Planned; COVID-19 Update

Sheriff’s Office Investigates Vandalism

Two separate instances of vandalism that targeted internet and cell phone companies over the past two weeks are under investigation, but cannot currently be connected, according to Lane County Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Sgt. Tom Speldrich.  Speldrich says a person of interest was turned over to Lane County Sheriffs by an Oregon state trooper.

“Sheriff’s deputy responded and interviewed that person and the investigation is continuing as there is still possibly evidence that can be uncovered.”

Early this week another act of vandalism affected Spectrum/Charter customers north of the city. The damage there believed to be caused by a gunshot.  While the case is being investigated and the original person of interest has not been ruled out as being involved, Speldrich says the Lane County Sheriff’s office lacks probable cause to make an arrest at this time.

“So far there’s not been anything that has been uncovered or at least uncovered and documented that would tie the two together

Both cases are still under active investigation.

Elementary School Principal Chosen

The Siuslaw School District has hired a new principal for the elementary school. Amy Flora most recently spent six years as principal of the Lincoln School of Early Learning in the Coquille School District. She will be replacing Principal Michael Harklerode who will be moving into the position of High School Principal in the fall. Flora has spent most of her career in the Port Orford-Langley School District and working in Bandon and Myrtle Point prior to her principal position in Coquille. She welcomes the chance to work in Florence, she says.

“Well, I’ve always worked in very small schools and I’ve really enjoyed that but this is an opportunity for me to grow as a professional working in a little bit bigger school district, so in a bigger school, and so that was part of the draw.”

Flora says she is looking forward to being able to live and work in Florence and to be fully immersed as part of the community. Flora will begin her tenure as principal at the elementary school this fall.

National Night Out Planned

The Florence Police Department along with emergency responders and other law enforcement agencies will be at Miller Park to meet you on August 3rd from 6 to 9 pm as it hosts its 3rd annual National Night Out. The public is invited to meet its local uniformed officers from the police, public works, fire fighters, Coast Guard, paramedics and other city staff. The Florence Police Department will provide hot dogs, hamburgers and snacks. A live DJ will provide background for games, face painting and other family activities. The National Night Out is a community-police event that has been celebrated by over 16,000 communities in the US for the last 35 years. NNO is meant to increase awareness about police programs that serve the community such as drug prevention, town watch, neighborhood watch and other anti-crime efforts.

COVID-19 Update

Cases of COVID-19 continue to drop across the state even as the Delta Variant of the virus seeps into the state.  there were 89 cases reported by the Oregon Health authority and 9 cases reported for Lane County.  It is too soon to tell what effect if any the holiday weekend will have on COVID-19 cases, but Dr. Heather McArthur with Peace Harbor hospital says the Delta Variant is a concern for communities.

“It’s actually about 50% more contagious than the alpha variant.”

McArthur says the variant tends to cause people to get sicker and has a higher death rate, but she says that is why vaccinations are so critical as the current vaccines seem to be working against it.