School Board Seeks Clarification; Weather Impacts Coast; No Fee Day For State Parks; Food Assistance From Feds Needs State Support; Gas Prices

School Board Seeks Clarification

The Siuslaw School Board will spend time this evening getting legal guidance about the proposal for the Siuslaw Valley Charter School.  The board approved a “revised” application from the group October 11th.  But following a closed “executive session” in the November 15th meeting, it appears some concerns have arisen.  Board Chair Brian Lacouture said following that meeting a request for clarification was sent to charter school founders.

“Wrote a letter, the board members wrote a letter just asking them about their affiliation with Hillsdale College.”

The letter said legal counsel for the district pointed out that an affiliation with Hillsdale College in Michigan would “ be a violation of Oregon Revised Statutes”.  The charter school response was received in December.

“So we will be reviewing their response letter to us and with legal counsel on the phone, or on Zoom rather, ready to answer the legality questions that one or many of us will have.”

In his response to the letter, Siuslaw Valley Charter School Chair Aric Sneddon said they are not “controlled” by Hillsdale College, and included a 7 page letter from Hillsdale’s Assistant General Counsel, Jane Judge, supporting that assertion.  To accommodate an expected large crowd, the School Board Meeting will be held at the Middle School Commons.  It begins at six pm, and to accommodate their attorney, the discussion about the Charter school will begin at seven.

Weather Impacts Coast

Rain and Wind brought down trees and took out power to some residents of Florence and the surrounding area.  Mid-town had about a 30 minute outage according to Todd Hennesse of the Shippin’s Shack on 6th and Highway 101.  Central Lincoln PUD crews were out quickly repairing the damage. As of 4 am this morning there were about 19 still without power.  Robbie Wright with Hyak shared a few photos of damage he received including a tree that crushed the bed of a Hyak work truck.  Wind gusts yesterday got above 45 miles per hour and accompanied rain and hail.  High surf was also hitting the coast with a high surf warning slated to end at 10 am today.

No Fee Day For State Parks

Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. day and in celebration of the Civil Rights leader the US Forest Service is waving most fees for day use in Oregon and Washington parks. The Fee waiver included many Forest Service Picnic areas, boat launches, trailheads and visitor centers.  Fees for camping, cabin rentals and other permits still apply.  Day use fees operated by concessionaires will still apply unless individual managers choose to participate.

Food Assistance From Feds Needs State Support

Oregon lawmakers are expected to consider funding some administrative costs for a new federal child food assistance program in the upcoming legislative session. The Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) program, which would bring 35 million federal tax dollars back to Oregon each summer, covers all food benefits and half of the administrative costs. David Wieland with Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon says lawmakers have an opportunity in the upcoming session to ensure that all kids in the state can access nutritious food through a now-permanent Summer E-B-T program, which Governor Tina Kotek has called a priority.

“Now we just need Oregon’s legislators to fund the administration of Summer EBT, because this program will have a huge impact on over 300.,000 children in Oregon this summer”

Oregon helped shape the new program in pilot form over the past decade. Families that qualify will get 40 dollars per child per month for food purchased at locations serving SNAP

Gas Prices

Marie Dodds with AAA Oregon says gas prices continue to fall with demand for fuel lower this past week.  National prices for a gallon of regular gas dropped to $3.08 a gallon with Oregon Prices averaging $3.72 an 8 cent drop from the previous week.  Along the coast prices hover below the Oregon Average Price near the national average at $3.09 with some stations offering fuel as low as $3.00 for regular.  Some analysts predict that the national average could drop below $3.00 a gallon before the spring and summer driving season kicks off.