Charges Added to Robbery Suspect; City Services Expo; OHA Flu Rates; Suvey Shows Limite Faith in Elections

Charges Added to Robbery Suspect

Last week’s robbery and criminal trespass in Florence has seen additional charges added to 37 year old suspect Phillip Thomas Swartz.  Swartz, a transient, was arrested on Tuesday of last week after a woman reported a home invasion. After fleeing with some of the woman’s property officers began a search for the suspect and found that Swartz was seen on another home’s video camera.  He was located in the parking lot of Safeway, placed under arrest and taken to Florence City Jail.  After conferring with the Florence police, the Lane County District Attorney has added the charge of kidnapping to Swartz’s charges.

City Services Expo

Today the Florence City Council will meet at the Florence Events Center for the City Services Expo. The expo will feature the different city services and provide and an overview of what the city provides to the community in the way of public service, planning, public works and law enforcement and more.  At 6pm Mayor Rob Ward will present the State of the City address.  There will also be refreshments and the Rhody Express will be offering free service from 6-8pm that evening for those who may not have transportation or are not able to drive at night.

OHA Flu Rates

Data from the Oregon Health Authority is showing that flu rates continue to be low following two record low years of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Positive test rates are below the historical average over the past 6 years. There have been 290 positive tests over the past week at a rate of 7.4%.  that is the lowest rate over the period if you remove the two pandemic seasons.  While the threat of flu, RSV and COVID-19 still exist, the state overall has moved into the low-risk category by federally provided data.  Recent outbreaks have been focused among central and southern Oregon and the Portland metro area with fewer cases in the Columbia Gorge and the Willamette Valley.

Suvey Shows Limite Faith in Elections

A private survey from the Oregon Values and Beliefs Centers shows the majority of people they surveyed are not happy with the structure of elections, the conduct of campaigns and the effectiveness of their representatives in state and local government. The entities’ survey results say many want major changes on how we elect our representatives and would like to see some sort of campaign finance reform.  The survey was conducted with 1,807 Oregon residents 18 and up through December 19 of 2023 and January 7th of 2024. A more extensive survey was conducted from September 12, 2023 to October 23, 2023 which had 3,600 hundred respondents.