Siuslaw News Scales Back; Tournament Fills Quickly; Aquarium Adds New Features; Hotel Plans Change; Winter Music Festival Lineup Announced

Siuslaw News Scales Back

The Siuslaw News has reported that they will soon be returning to a weekly paper beginning in July 6th.  Publisher Jenna Bartlett says the move is a consolidation to in part bring more focus to their digital media.

“It’s gonna allow us to enhance our digital news on a more regular basis it’s gonna allow us to be more timely with new stories and breaking news.”

The Siuslaw News had been publishing twice weekly since 2000.  Bartlett said another benefit from the change will be maintaining staff levels. Their sister paper in Cottage Grove is already produced as a weekly.  She says the Newport paper, where the Siuslaw News is currently printed will be staying at a twice weekly publication.  The cost of purchasing the weekly edition will increase to $1.25 and the annual subscription will be $65.00 with full access to everything the online website offers.

Tournament Fills Quickly

If you were thinking about signing up to play in the Florence Kiwanis benefit Golf Tournament next month you may be too late. The popular tournament is already filled, but you can get your name on a “wait list” in case someone cancels.   Tournament chair Lonnie Iholts says this is one of two major fundraisers each year for the club.

“The flags that you see on holidays, which we’ll be putting out on the fourth, and then the golf tournament and that funds everything we do.”

In addition to awarding several thousand dollars in scholarships to area high school grads the club also supports Florence and Mapleton Food Shares, the food backpack for kids program and free lunch   .  The club also organizes other activities for youth, including games during the Rhody Festival and the August National Night Out.  While most of the money stays local, there is some that makes its way to meet a greater good.

We do have a percentage of our golf tournament we try to allocate each year to Doernbecher Childrens Cancer Program.”

To get on the wait-list for a possible cancellation, go to florencekiwanis dot org and click on 2022 tournament.  The tournament tees off at 9 AM Saturday, July 9th at Florence Golf Links.

Aquarium Adds New Features

The Oregon Coast Aquarium has finished its upgrades and remodel of the popular attraction.  The aquarium has added a new Nature Play Area, outdoor amphitheater and headwaters feature as well as renovating their lobby.  The new displays opened yesterday.  President and CEO Carrie Lewis says they have been anticipating this for years and now they can offer these new experiences to their guests.  Lewis says there will be one more exhibit to open, a moon jelly exhibit that is expected to be completed this summer.  The aquarium opened in 1992.

Hotel Plans Change

The idea of a destination resort hotel for the property located across from the Florence Events Center has lost its steam.  Last night the Florence Urban Renewal Agency voted to recommend the sale of the property to the Braun company.  Initially the plan was for a resort style hotel with available space for convention style meetings, and retail space, but after deliberating on the data provided, Matt Braun says the expense outweighs the financial benefit.

“Those types of Hotels have a lot of square footage that drives construction costs up but doesn’t necessarily drive incremental revenue and profitability.”

The Focus is now on a Wyndam Microtel style facility which is more of a budget style property in the Wyndam family.  Something Ron Moore of Hoagland Properties says is not needed. Moore says hotels are not even up to capacity during our biggest weekends.

“If during our biggest event, when the most people are in town if we cant be 100 occupied during that weekend, you know its one of those things that I have concerns about.”

Another opponent of the change was Kay King, who was on the committee to help get the FEC built.  She did not address the need for more hotel rooms, but rather the change from a resort style hotel to an upper end budget facility.

“We have that beautiful river view. we have an opportunity to make the most of it and I just don’t see a Microtel as being the kind of motel that we need on this property.”

In the end the FURA board approved the Public Participation Package  which included just under 1,000,000 dollars in various funds and approved the sale of the property located at 750 Quince street.

Winter Music Festival Lineup Announced

The organizers of the Winter Music festival have already announced their line up for the 2023 Winter Music Festival.  They have listed their Headliner as Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper.  Cleveland got kudos from Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill as a fearless and intoxicating musician that plays without abandon.  Cleveland has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry and has been inducted into the National Fiddler Hall of Fame.  The three day event will feature some guest favorites as well as some new names.  Early Bird prices for tickets are available through July 14.