Old Buildings Mean Business; Former Local Arrested for Wildfire Ignition; COVID-19 Update; Emergency SNAP Benefits to Continue

Old Buildings Mean Business

The Sapp family is in the middle of a major remodel of the old playhouse.  The building is going to be a full service restaurant with a fine dining room in the basement and a full bar.  Quite a transformation from the days when it was the local Assembly of God church.  Pat Sapp is in charge of the project that is coming close to its completion.

“The menu is different than anything in Florence.  We wont be doing burgers and fries, we call it fine dining and the chef came from a restaurant that was one of the top 50 in the nation.”

According to Sapp the upstairs will be more of a charcuterie type service and a more formal dining atmosphere will be under the main floor which will also house the kitchen.  This week contractors were installing the hood system required by the health department and fire marshal.  Tim Sapp said there have been quite a lot of upgrades and additional requirements in retro fitting including a septic tank and ADA bathrooms in the downstairs area.  He also said a new connection to the city’s sewer system will cost about $19,000.  Next door to the old playhouse another renovation is underway.  Sapp is creating three apartments from what used to be part of the Florence Chevy dealer and was also the location of Siuslaw Glass and Mirror. Pat Sapp will be a guest on Our town next week.

Former Local Arrested for Wildfire Ignition

A former Florence resident is being held in the Curry County Jail in Gold Beach after allegedly setting at least two fires Monday afternoon in a remote forested area near Grants Pass.  30-year-old Trennon Smith, currently of Veneta, became combative after three witnesses tried to apprehend him.  They eventually tied him to a tree until police could arrive.  Meanwhile, local fire crews with the assistance of three helicopters were able to control the fires.  Curry County Sheriff John Ward said Smith is being held on $100,000 bail.

COVID-19 Update

There are 19 more reported COVID-19 cases in Florence than the previous week.  The total, all time now stands at 1852 known or presumed cases.  Case rates are seeing a slight dip over the past week, but it is unknown whether or not it is due to at home testing.  One factor that the Oregon Health Authority takes into account is the number of hospitalizations.  That number has come down some over the past week and a half with 400 now in Oregon Hospitals.  About 10 % of those cases are in ICU. In August the OHA is planning on changing some of its reporting on certain cases.  It will discontinue to breakout active outbreaks in workplaces, child care settings and schools.  It will continue to report active and unresolved outbreaks in long-term care facilities, senior living communities and congregate living settings. The information released by the OHA states the reason is an alignment of resources to the current stage of the pandemic.

Emergency SNAP Benefits to Continue

Emergency SNAP benefits will continue into august for most recipients.  The Oregon Department of Human Services says the benefits are tied to a federal program and Oregon extends them to the needs of the state.  the program will also continue into September.  Claire Seguin is the deputy director of the ODHS Self-Sufficiency program, she says they know that many Oregonians continue to struggle to meet their basic needs and that many rely on this supplement to provide healthy food for their families.  The program will stop at some point she says, but that is directly connected with the federal programs.