Mapleton School Board Meeting; Crochet Club; Yachats Annual Art Fair

Mapleton School Board Meeting

February’s  Mapleton School Board Meeting opened to a packed house of community members concerned over a recently updated policy of inclusiveness that outlined how students should be treated in various situations including race, sexual preference and gender identification.  According to Mapleton School Superintendent Sue Wilson who appeared via zoom, she believes the major issue was over a fitness test that was broken down into boys and girls fitness standards when a teacher asked the students to grab the sheet that they identify with.  Parents and community members and even some school board members had a different take on the overall situation. Believing that the state has overstepped their bounds.

“like how are we gonna know if a kid, one of our kids comes to you and says I want to reassign my gender and that a parent doesn’t know it like at what point is it normalized to such a far level that we’re left in the dark?”

One of the concerns was over the increasing number of suicides among young people, but the majority of parents believed the problem will only get worse by focusing on the language in the school’s policy of inclusivity.

“If you let me do the things I want to do that were in my head, do you realize what would have happened…I would have blew my brains out.”

Many at the meeting believed that students at the third grade level was way to young to be introducing them to the idea of gender neutrality and that it was the parents job to educate them. Some board members brought up the point that the inclusivity policy, while it affects a small number of students, creates an inexclusivity among other students.  And that the school already had a bullying policy and did not see the need to expand on that policy. The meeting was civil and many community members had the opportunity to voice their concerns and the board agreed to continue the conversation at future meetings.

Crochet Club

What started as one woman’s effort to help make unaccompanied minors who have crossed the southern border with Mexico feel loved and welcomed has grown exponentially over the past few months.  Jan Chason was living in Southern California about eight years ago when several busloads of children were brought into the community for refuge.

“On the news, when they were getting off the bus, there were a whole bunch of picketers that were just terrible messages on them.  And had the kids scared half to death already and you know, it was just heartbreaking.

She felt terrible that in addition to the trauma of being met by the protesters, the children had no possessions and were given only a foil “survival blanket” for warmth.  That’s when Chason picked up her crochet hook and got to work.  After moving to Florence in 2021 she stepped up her efforts.  She and one other crafter were able to send 15 blankets to a mission in Texas this past Christmas.  There is now a weekly crochet session at New Life Lutheran Church on Spruce Street with more than a dozen people getting together for an hour at one pm every Tuesday.  She says it is open to anyone.

Yachats Annual Art Fair

For more than a half century the Yachats community has been hosting their annual arts and crafts fair.  This weekend’s fair is the 52nd  and spokesperson Mindy Parsons says it celebrates artistry and craftsmanship in the form of paintings, sculptures, ceramics, jewelry and much more.  Parsons adds that buyers can support local talent while discovering unique treasures.   It will be at the Yachats Commons from ten to four Saturday and Sunday. There is no admission charge.