Charter School Board Responds; Rhododendron Junior Court; Funeral Services for Longtime Resident

Charter School Board Responds

The desire for some families to bring a charter school to the Siuslaw District continues.  At a special meeting of the Siuslaw School Board last night the board heard from Siuslaw Valley Charter School board member, Kay King.  King informed the school board that SVCS had filed an ethics complaint against the district’s attorney Richard Cohen Lee for what she said were misinformed comments and the characterization of the SVCS board using bait and switch tactics to garner approval of the contract between the charter school and the 97j district.  SVCS had asked for an opportunity to address the comments made by Cohen Lee.

“We also felt that we had to denounce the inaccuracies in the presentation and some of the other information that you received and the only way to do that accurately and make sure you got to hear it correctly was to do it in person.”

King also said she was concerned that some teachers were using scare tactics with students saying that funds would be lost if the school were to be approved.  A statement that was corroborated by School Board Chair Lacouture. She also reiterated that there was no intent to allow the creator of the curriculum, Hillsdale College, to influence the school’s policy after reading excerpts from the college and from ORS 338’s architect.

“We hope that that clarifies, once and for all, we do not intend to be controlled by Hillsdale or anyone else.”

After concluding her comments, Siuslaw School Board Chair Brian Lacouture said that they would review the documents that King presented and would address any questions that they may have afterwards. He also clarified that the School’s Superintendent Andy Grzeskowiak would be the contact person if there were to be any discussions with lawyers moving forward.  King then asked if someone could be present along with the superintendent if such discussions went forward.  Lacouture said the board would consider that request.

Rhododendron Junior Court

A Rhododendron Festival Junior Court “Meet and Greet” Saturday in Old Town Florence will give area residents an early chance to pick up the collectible pins for this year’s festival.  Jan McKnight at Kitchen Klutter said she is looking forward to it.

“We just thought it would fun for people to meet them and it’ll be the first time they can buy buttons.  And the little girls are just so stinking cute.”

McKnight said festival organizers planned on putting the buttons on sale next month, but she convinced them to make them available this weekend.  The five junior princesses include Aislynn Heady, Delia Quinn, Khloe Allen-Smoldt, Preslee Wilkins, and Eliazabeth Mae Harvey.  The starts at noon.

“And they’re going to be handing out cupcakes that they’ve decorated.  Kind of like a meet and greet, because the senior princesses get a lot of press and the juniors don’t.  And we really want to support the Junior Court this year in little things.”

Kitchen Klutter is on Bay Street in Old Town, next to the gazebo park.

Funeral Services for Longtime Resident

A lifelong Florence area resident, small business owner and longtime community volunteer passed away January 23rd.  Cliff Phelps was 69 years old.  He and his wife Debbie owned and operated Phelps Painting for 25 years.  He also drove school bus for a decade until cancer treatments in 2022 meant he could not continue.  Phelps also served in the U.S. Navy and was a volunteer firefighter in the area for more than a quarter century.  In addition to his wife of 45-years, he is survived by a son Clint and Clint’s wife Bethany, along with two grandchildren.  A funeral service is planned for Saturday, February 10th, one PM at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses just north of Florence on Highway 101.