PeaceHealth Not Decided on Masking Mandate Removal; Mapleton Water; Rotary 4-Way Test Speech Contest; Fire and Ambulance Boards; Gas Prices

PeaceHealth Not Decided on Masking Mandate Removal

While the official health departments from Oregon and Washington announce that beginning in April, masking in hospital and clinical settings will no longer be mandated, Peace Health is taking a wait and see approach.  Officially the statement from the hospital system PeaceHealth is evaluating the announcement made by the Oregon Health Authority and the Washington Department of Health regarding the end to masking requirements in health settings. Citing the health of patients and their healthcare workers and community as their top priority.  Last week state health officials said beginning April 3rd there will no longer be a mandate due to recent data that showed a decrease in circulation of COVID-19, RSV and the flu.  In addition to health care settings Washington is also dropping its requirement in correctional facilities.

Mapleton Water

Mapleton water customers are still dealing with issues with their water as problems with distribution continue to plague the water system.  Once again under a boil notice the district is awaiting test results for the samples collected yesterday.  They are expecting to get the results either late today or tomorrow.

Rotary 4-Way Test Speech Contest

The Rotary Club of Florence has announced the next 4-Way Test High School Speech Contest.  It is open to all Mapleton and Siuslaw high schoolers as well as private and home-schooled students.  Contest winners will share $1,500.00 in cash prizes.  Those interested can find information on the rotary website at

Fire and Ambulance Boards

Governing boards of area public safety agencies have drawn a few candidates.  But, as it stands now, there could be some blank spots on the May 16th ballot.  Three positions are up for election on the Siuslaw Valley Fire Board this year.  So far one incumbent has filed for reelection, James Palisi is asking voters for another four years.  Sam Spayd has not filed, but David Carrillo has entered the race for Spayd’s position. The third director, Alan Burns, has said he will not run again.  So far, nobody has filed for his seat.  The companion board to the fire board, Western Lane Ambulance has two spots on the ballot.  Incumbent Cindy Russell is seeking her third term.  Rick Yecny was appointed to fill an opening last year and says he’s not running again.  Linda Stent is asking voters for that spot.   Up river there are four positions available on the Mapleton Fire District Board.  Ronald Thompson and Nancy Pettibon are seeking reelection.  Glenna Butler has filed to run for a four-year term currently held by Ann Miller; Alyssa West is running for a two-year seat that is unoccupied.  In the Swisshome-Deadwood district three incumbents are seeking election, Danny Morgan, Brent Carlton and Christopher Kagelaris.  A fourth position, currently held by Kristy Guse has drawn no takers.  Interested candidates have until next Thursday, March 16th, to file a declaration of interest or submit a nominating petition.

Gas Prices

Gas prices continue to rise mainly due to the switch to summer fuel blends according to Marie Dodds with AAA Oregon.  Oregon is seeing a 2 cent jump from last week overall to $3.91 a gallon for regular, but here in Florence the price is averaging $3.35 a gallon.  Dodds says the switch usually accounts for a 10 cent jump in prices.