Community College Audit; Break-in Suspect Name Released; Rhododendron Festival Theme; Beach Hazard Warning

Community College Audit

An audit of community colleges in Oregon has implications for the state’s legislative session that started this week. The report from the Secretary of State’s Audit Division in December points to the need for a greater role from the commission that oversees higher education. Head of the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission Ben Cannon says there have been some modest gains in completion or transfer numbers over the past decade. Although overall numbers hover around half, he notes that there has been greater success for some underrepresented students of color.

“We are graduating more Hispanic/Latino students today than at any prior time – and that’s in spite of the decline in overall enrollment at the colleges. Over the last couple of years in particular, that’s been steep.”

 The audit says that enrollment dropped faster than most other states both before and during the pandemic. In 2021, Oregon ranked 40th for completions, according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center included in the report.

Break-in Suspect Name Released

Florence police have released the name of the person arrested for the rash of break-ins over the weekend.  34 year old John Allen McClatchey of Eugene was apprehended and charged with several counts of unlawful entry into a motor vehicle and theft II.  During the investigation police uncovered information on two more vehicles that were burglarized at Bender’s Landing.  Police continue to investigate the incidents.  There are two other suspects in the case but police have yet to publicize an arrest for  those individuals.  McClatchey was discovered after a the vehicle matching the description of a vehicle seen near the break-ins was located in the Three Rivers Casino parking lot.  Florence police was aided by Three Rivers Casino security.

Rhododendron Festival Theme

The theme for this year’s Rhododendron Festival is Rip Roarin’ Rhodies.  The idea for the theme was contributed by Florence resident Brian Sandahl.  Chamber President and CEO Bettina Hannigan says it is an original idea and leaves a “lot of room for great logo development”  Sandahl, a former Disney art Director recently moved to the Florence area and that it was the area’s pace, beauty and the Florence Events Center that allured him here.  he says he hope to contribute more of his creativity and design thoughts to this year’s festival.

Beach Hazard Warning

Storms continue to roll in off the coast bringing rough seas and the potential for sneaker waves.  The National Weather Service has issued a Beach Hazard warning for the coast.  It is in effect until 10 am tomorrow morning.  Waves can potentially come much further up the beach and can knock people off their feet and quickly pull them into the ocean.  People are cautioned not to get too close to the water.