Fireworks Season Begins; Teacher Salaries (con’t); PAC Meeting; Planning Commission

Fireworks Season Begins

The 4th of July is just around the corner and the Oregon State Fire Marshall would like to remind individuals that the use of fireworks can be dangerous.  Retail sales of legal fireworks for Oregon began yesterday and will continue through the 6th of July.  OSFM assistant deputy chief Mark Johnston says every year they see fires and injuries that have been caused by the improper use of fireworks or by illegal fireworks.  He urges caution and several safety tips.  He says first off have water available through either a water hose or a bucket and remember never re-light a dud.  Leave the item alone for up to 15 minutes then soak it.  Also there are places that you should ignite fireworks and places that you should definitely not light them, be conscious of the area you are in and remember there are no fireworks allowed within the old town district of Florence or on the Port of Siuslaw properties. In addition, The possession and use of fireworks are prohibited in national parks and forests, on Bureau of Land Management lands, on U.S. Fish and Wildlife properties, on state beaches, in state parks, and in state campgrounds. Fireworks are also prohibited on many private lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. Oregon law prohibits the possession, use, or sale of any firework that flies into the air, explodes, or travels more than 12 feet horizontally on the ground without a permit issued by the state fire marshal. Fireworks commonly called bottle rockets, Roman candles, and firecrackers are illegal in Oregon without a permit.

Teacher Salaries (con’t)

Making teacher wages more competitive at Siuslaw schools has been a key focus of administrators at 97J.  Superintendent Andy Grzeskowiak says over the past few years they’ve been asking teachers who have left just why they’re moving on.  No matter the level of experience, Grzeskowiak says there’s been a common thread.

“Twofold, the younger teachers that have left, they’re not making enough money to buy a house, get started kind of on their life in Florence.  And then some of the senior teachers know that they can make more money if they’d gone to Springfield or 4J.”

Up until now, teacher salaries locally have been in the bottom third of all districts in Lane County.  With the most recent labor contracts… and concurrence of the school board and budget committee that has changed.

“In terms of top salary, we’re going to be 6th in the county out of 16.”

Under the newly approved salary schedules, the most senior teacher salary at Siuslaw will be just over $88-thousant a year, while at South Lane schools in Cottage Grove the top salary will be just under $94-thousand.   Mapleton schools are third highest in the county with the top wage being $91-thousand-900.  Portland Public Schools have the highest “top salary step” at $99-thousand-834.

PAC Meeting

The Public Arts Committee will go through the city’s annual training and guidelines regarding ethics, decorum and public meeting’s law as well as welcome new members to the committee.  This afternoon at 4 pm at city hall.  The committee will also do a review of the recent Art Exposed public walking tour and review the process of the installation of new art pieces from May and June.

Planning Commission

The City of Florence planning commission will meet tomorrow evening at 5:30 at City Hall and will look at three resolutions including an annexation and  zoning change at 4751 s. Harbor Vista Drive for .2 acres.  There is also a resolution for a lighting exception for the new Oak Manor apartments.  The County is also requestion a design review for construction being considered at the current Lane County Transfer Station.