High Winds = Power Outages; Online Bullying; High School Construction Almost Done

High Winds = Power Outages

High winds and rain yesterday were responsible for several power outages in Florence and the surrounding areas.  The First was a tree to hit mid town power lines mid morning on highway 101 causing sparks and a small fire that had Western Lane fire and ems responding.  Power also went out in Old Town during the lunch hour.  Power was reported out for Bay Street and City Hall had to close due to an outage there.  Central Lincoln PUD spokesperson Mark Freeman said it was a tree top that came down on power lines leaving the area without power for just about an hour.  Dunes City also had a power outage that affected about 165 customers.  In all about 800 customers were dark.  Most of the power has been restored with a handful of places that were out this morning.  Winds are expected to remain gusty through Friday with wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour.

Online Bullying

It can be challenging for parents and caregivers to shield their children from bigotry and hatred online, but there are a few tips they can follow. Lindsay Schubiner with the organization Western States Center says this work is especially crucial because white nationalist groups are using the internet to recruit people. She says young people are developing identities and ideas in relationship to everything around them, including what they see and hear online.

“As hate violence and threats to democracy continue and bigotry and conspiracy theories reach further into the mainstream, young people see that and it has an impact.(:08) So it’s really important for parents and caregivers to provide an open space to critically examine what all of that means to them and to their future and to their values.”

About 45 percent of middle and high school students said they have been the victim of cyberbullying, according to a survey from the Cyberbullying Research Center. The survey also shows cyberbullying has been increasing over the past decade. Schubiner says vigilance is the first key to ensuring kids are staying safe online. She says for example, hate groups use jokes minimizing violence, scapegoating or straw man arguments to manipulate people online, tactics she says both kids and parents need to be aware of.

“Helping them to recognize the kinds of strategies that are intended to influence them can be a really powerful way to push back against this.”

Schubiner encourages parents and caregivers to listen openly and non-judgmentally to their kids’ about their online experiences. She notes that cutting off access to friends or to the internet can backfire. Schubiner says a better approach is to enlist people your kid trusts.

High School Construction Almost Done

Supply chain issues have been affecting the completion of projects at Siuslaw High School.  The school had hoped to have the administration building completed and open at the start of the school year, but delays and upgrades to the interior of the building have pushed that back.  Now in January principal Mike Harkelrode says there are still a few things that need to be done.

“We’re operating our four classrooms outside right now, but the main office is going to have to wait for the canopy to come in and ultimately a fence to go around it.  I don’t want to move our main office to the outside of the building until we have a perimeter fence to go around the building.”

Security is the main reason for the hold according to Harkelrode.  He also said they recognized that when they added the additional classrooms they were going to need cover to keep the students out of the elements.