Archive | March, 2013

Dreams Do Come True

Dreams Do Come True

Posted on 15 March 2013 by admin

 Local Aid food pantry is moving to new location

By Vera Westbrook

SONY DSCJUNCTION CITY — Working out of a small office space in downtown JC—often borrowing space from neighbors—Local Aid had dreams of one day owning a spacious building that would fit all its needs. With the help of the community, recent events have made that dream come true.
Located at 265 W. 6th Ave., Local Aid is a nonprofit agency that has provided assistance to local residents during times of crisis since 1945. Besides operating a food pantry, Local Aid financially assists clients with bus tokens, utilities and medications among other basic needs.
Last fall after the agency received notice that the OR Department of Human Services (DHS) was leaving JC following the termination of its office lease at the end of March, Local Aid was forced to make a decision. DHS currently shares the office with Local Aid and pays for a majority of the rent.
This decision not only would send DHS clients to Eugene for services after Mar. 28, but it also would cause financial difficulties for Local Aid, as “our expenses were going to increase significantly,” Local Aid Director Susan Jones said.
While brainstorming options to move forward, the Local Aid Board of Directors was faced with an unexpected turn of events: It was put into contact with Bob and Terry Lee, the owners of a building that was once the Country Coach Customer Care Center on 210 E. 6th Ave.
“They caught my vision for the future of Local Aid,” said Jones after several conversations with the Lees, “and they decided to do whatever they could do make it possible for Local Aid to purchase their building,” which included selling the property for an amount considerably less than the appraised value.
With the help of a bequest left to Local Aid of about $50,000, the agency was able to place a down payment on the building with the papers signed on Mar. 1.
“The building is officially ours,” Jones said. “It was an opportunity that we couldn’t pass up.”
The dream gets better. “By having a much larger space, we can invite other nonprofits to come in and rent office or warehouse space for a very reasonable price,” Jones said, with one tenant already moving in. “The dream is to put a lot of agencies in that one building to help our clients be more self-sufficient.”
With financial help primarily from community donations, the United Way and Food for Lane County, Local Aid must now find a way to maintain its normal monthly operating expenses while raising additional funds to pay off a mortgage contract within the next five years.
Lane County Commissioner Pat Farr, a previous director of Food for Lane County, has already volunteered his services to help with the capital campaign to raise funds for the mortgage, as “he is completely confident that this is a very doable project,” Jones said.
Donations for current operations and the capital campaign can be made through the website at www.JCLocalAid.org, by mail or at the office. Pledge cards will soon be available for small monthly donations to assist with the capital campaign as well. Please contact Susan Jones to help keep this agency afloat.
Local Aid will close its doors on Mar. 28 and move to its new location on 210 E. 6th Ave. starting Tuesday, Apr. 9. Volunteers are needed to help with the move and also with weekly assistance at the new larger site. Those interested in helping can contact JC Local Aid at the office or at 541.998.3992 or by e-mail at JCLocalAid@questoffice.net.

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Food Parade March 23

Posted on 15 March 2013 by admin

Take an hour or two and have some fun

By Susan Jones
Junction City — There is going to be an event that all ages can share in!  On Saturday, March 23, at 10am food will be taken from Junction City Local Aid’s present site at 265 W. 6th Ave. and transported by you fun-lovin volunteers, to JCLA’s new site at 210 E. 6th Ave. This is to be a fun volunteer event.
Here’s the details:
Meet at the parking lot behind the present JCLA.
Bring your wagon (clean), hand truck, wheelbarrow, cart or . . .
JCLA volunteers will help fill your method of conveyance.
You will walk as you pull or push the food to the new JCLA site.
Volunteers at the new site will accept the food and place it in the appropriate storage.
This will be Junction City’s Food Parade!
“After the parade there will be goodies served,” JCLA’s administrator Susan Jones said. “For those who like to dress-up, there will also be prizes for: (1) best “Food costumes” in which there will a best ‘Adult Food Costume’ and a best ‘Child Food Costume,’ AND; (2) There will be a prize for the best ‘Food Transport Vehicle.’ Come join us for “TONS” of fun!”
After the parade and awards there will be, at 1pm, a need for a work party at the old JCLA site to move shelves and some refrigerators and freezers—please bring pickups and trailers.

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Ghost of 99W at Schultz Rd. Strikes Again

Posted on 15 March 2013 by admin

Astounding number of traffic accidents upsets residents

By Laura Bromley
DSC_0010JUNCTION CITY — There seems to be some type of ghost hole at the intersection of 99W and Schultz Road, just five miles northwest of Junction City.
County records indicate that over the past nine years, there have been 30 reported traffic violations; which include 20 crashes, six traffic violations, two DUI’s and two hit-and-runs.
Of the 20 crashes, 13 have been injury accidents. Just this year alone, there have already been two injury accidents. These accidents did not just stay on the two roads, but actually crashed onto the resident’s property at the southwest corner of Schultz Road and 99W.
“My kids are afraid to play in the front and back yards and even in the front part of the house,” Brandon Royal said. “My wife and I have lost sleep just listening to the cars as they drive by just hoping they keep going.”
The family of five that reside in the home on the corner have developed a fear over the recent accidents and after hearing stories from the local townsfolk speak about all the wrecks that have taken place into the property causing severe damage to the fences and yard.
“On February 24, a brand new Chevrolet Silverado missed the slight turn as the male driver was texting on his phone and crashed into the landscaped corner of our yard.” Royal said. “His truck broke through our established landscaping and de-rooted three trees at the front corner of our property as his full-size truck was launched into a 360-degree air-roll, landing in the middle of the yard.”
“We literally had to cut him out of his truck before paramedics could get to him.” Rick Smith, Fire Chief for Monroe Fire Department for the past 13 years, commented. “The stretch on the highway [99] between Schultz and Hulbert Lake Roads seem to be like a magnet. I have responded to dozens of serious accidents in that particular area. Some are weather-related and some are caused by other non-driving distractions.”
Smith went on to explain how he believes that driving has become a secondary activity due to the new technologies in our vehicles that distract us from our more important task of driving safely.
“The amount of accidents that have happened at this intersection is an astronomical amount considering how straight the road seems to be.” Carla Wahl with ODOT said.
Ann Batten, analyst of ODOT’s Traffic Studies has contacted her superiors with statistical data acquired by the victims at the Schultz Road home. She has assured the family that surveyors will be monitoring the specified area.
“We just want to live our lives without the fear that a car is going to crash into our living room during a movie or dinner time” homeowner Royal said. “Hopefully ODOT can barricade the corner and put a stop to all the repeated accidents before one of our children get killed.”

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JCDaffodilFestival04

Daffodil Festival Blooms This Weekend!

Posted on 15 March 2013 by admin

41st annual Daffodil Drive Festival kicks off Spring
By Danuta Pfeiffer

JCDaffodilFestival04JUNCTION CITY — This weekend, March 16-17, the annual Daffodil Drive Festival kicks off as the traditional first festival of the spring for the entire region.  Visitors from California to Seattle flood into Junction City, and the Long Tom Grange to honor the humble and hardy daffodil.  Cruise along Ferguson Road to spot bunches of nodding yellow petals heralding spring along the banks and meadows of our quaint and quiet countryside.
This year the Festival has expanded into Junction City where flowerpots and gardens have been planted in anticipation of this celebration, dressing up the town as a Daffodil Destination.
Local wineries are holding Daffodil Specials for tastings, Citizens Bank has planted a carpet of daffodils around their parking lot, Lochmead Dairy not only donates the cream and lemonade for the festival, but planted gobs of bulbs around their office, the City of Junction City planted hundreds of donated bulbs around Founder’s Park , Tri-County Insurance helped hang the Daffodil Banners along Ivy Street, Guaranty Chevrolet donated a Motor Coach Weekend rental as a premium raffle prize, Camas Country Mill donated the flour to make the new Oregon Berry Bars served at the grange with donated java from Full City Coffee.
It’s a community thing.  This is the festival where hundreds of people switch hats:  financial advisers become flower cashiers, a judge is a grange greeter, a banker and his wife manage the raffle booth, a bank manager sells bulbs from her desk, the Lions loan tents, a succulent expert turns daffodil dexterous, a steel artist builds a gate, an electrician brews the coffee, a show horse rider rounds up volunteers, a lavender grower designs spreadsheets, a merchant group forms a community booth, a teacher collects raffles, the swim team cooks, a winemaker orchestrates, the Oregon Rangers park cars, 4-H kids are waiters, and the ubiquitous Chuck Cook is the irreplaceable go-to community guy.
Also new at the festival this year, besides the regional destination plan, are the Oregon Berry Bars replacing cinnamon rolls.  Festival Chairperson, Danuta Pfeiffer says, “Every year we had trouble keeping the cinnamon rolls warm and moist.  Once we warmed them up the sugar content in the dough absorbed all the moisture and people complained that they hardened as they cooled.  So this time,  we have a berry bar made by New Day Bakery.  They are filled with Oregon blueberries and made with local and donated Camus Country Mill flour. I think folks will love them, they’re Oregon, country, moist and delicious, and will go great with our Full City coffee service. And we will have them as Pastries to Go—sold by the half dozen.”
The festival will feature horse drawn wagon rides, music, face painting, venders, demonstrations, a fiber animal petting zoo, antique cars, kids art, quilts and tons of fun.  Open from 10am to 4pm both Saturday and Sunday, this weekend, March 16-17.  See you there!

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Student Numbers Remain Stable

Student Numbers Remain Stable

Posted on 15 March 2013 by admin

Study shows economy affected enrollment and home-building

By Vera Westbrook

SONY DSCJUNCTION CITY — After a population study presented at a recent meeting, school board directors now have a better idea about school enrollment in the future.
Charles Rynerson, a demographer from Portland State University’s Population Research Center, shared the following statistics from the school district’s Population and School Enrollment Projections Study prepared by the center.
Population, employment and housing trends reported that between 2000 and 2010, the school district’s total population grew by 3.5 percent, which is lower than Lane County’s growth rate of 8.9 percent.
Because of losses from the declining RV industry, “Between 2007 and 2009, Coburg lost about $60 million or around 58 percent of the payroll produced in its city limits. Similarly, Junction City lost around 453 million or 56 percent of its payroll between 2007 an 2010,” stated employment department economist Brian Rooney in the study.
In addition, more births occurred in 2007 when the economy was strong, but fell more than 8 percent in the U.S., Oregon and Lane County between 2007 and 2011, confirming a correlation between the economic downturn and decreasing fertility.
A trend important to school enrollment during the decade of 2000 to 2010 was a net decrease of 191 households with children less than 18, opposite to the previous decade’s increase of 94 households.
Households with kids also fell from 37 percent in 1990 to 28 percent in 2010. Factors contributing to reductions include declining fertility rates and a population increase in ages 45 and older.
Information from the JC planning department indicated renewed confidence in the speculative building market.
As of Dec. 2012, only 14 vacant lots remain in the Reserve subdivision out of 97 first phase lots. Of the 145 lots in the Raintree Meadows subdivision, only 48 remain. Only 33 vacant lots remain in the other subdivisions from a 2007 list, with five lots remaining in the 7-lot Sather Place subdivision built since 2007.
In spite of the economic slowdown, JC homebuilding has occurred at a greater pace since 2007 than before. Tax records of completed homes showed that from 2000 to 2011, about 650 single-family homes were built in the JC school district with 72 percent of the homes in JC.
District enrollment trends reported that total K-12 enrollment of 1,678 in 2012 was within 15 students in each of the three previous years. But district-wide enrollment today is 389 (19 percent) students lower than the most recent peak enrollment year of 1998.
Although all school levels have lost enrollment in the past decade, the largest losses have been in middle and high school grades.  But since 2008, high school enrollment has been stable between 529 and 538 students for five consecutive years. Since 2008, the district also has experienced stable enrollment with a gain of 36 students over four years.
For a copy of the full report, visit the school district website at www.junctioncity.k12.or.us or contact the district office at 541.998.6311 to get an electronic copy by e-mail.

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Municipal Bonds

Posted on 15 March 2013 by admin

Nearly three quarters of all infrastructure investments in public power utilities and local government made in the United States are financed by municipal bonds.  These bonds are exempt from federal taxation, state and local taxes.
Municipal bonds due to this exemption have kept financing costs low for infrastructure investments.  Public power utilities generally finance new infrastructure, maintenance and upgrading existing infrastructure by issuing municipal bonds.  About 80% of these bonds are bought and held by individuals either directly or through mutual funds and other investor-owned funds.  In part because municipal bonds are exempt from federal tax, investors accept a lower interest rate on such issuances than they demand from issuers of taxable bonds.
It would be an enormous costly disadvantage for publics if the exemption on municipal bonds were eliminated.  It would upend the more than 100-year established precedent of reciprocal immunity.  Municipal bonds have helped finance state and local investments for two hundred years and have been exempt from federal income tax since the federal tax code‘s creation in 1913.  It would result in less infrastructure built or higher cost to taxpayers and ratepayers.
Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) Chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade intends to introduce a non-binding House Resolution which hopefully will serve to highlight the importance of municipal bonds for all types of infrastructure, including that of public power.
Hopefully, constituents will contact their Congress representative and ask him/her to support this effort.  As a Board Director for EPUD, I strongly support the effort.  Also, there are continuing attempts being made by both parties to eliminate municipal tax-exempt financing for the purpose of balancing the federal budget. Let your representatives in Washington know that this exemption has helped to provide electricity reliably and at reasonable costs to our customer owners all these many years.

Katherine Schacht
Coburg, Oregon

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Behind The Scenes At Tax-Aide

Posted on 15 March 2013 by admin

Local volunteers prepare tax returns for free
By Vera Westbrook

JUNCTION CITY — Many have heard about free tax assistance provided by AARP, the American Association of Retired Persons, but little is heard about the individuals preparing those taxes.
AARP Tax-Aide is an all-volunteer organization with volunteers of all ages, and JC resident Rod Garriott is one of those volunteers. When he’s not out on the golf course, he’s busy helping folks comply with federal requirements concerning income tax and health benefits.
“The golf comes first, but I work everything else around it,” Garriott said.
A JC resident since 1976, Garriott retired from heavy equipment management in the year 2000 before becoming a Tax- Aide volunteer.  With a flair for numbers, he discovered that after training himself to do his own taxes and after wading through government retiree health benefits, he thought he could help others with the same struggles.
“You get into this because you are looking into it for yourself, and the next thing you know, you’re helping other folks with it,” Garriott said. He also enjoys helping local residents receive tax credits because “this puts more money back into the community.”
Garriott has spent the last 10 years volunteering as a tax preparer, but in 2007 took on the added responsibilities of a local coordinator for the Tax-Aide site in JC. On two days a week, his location prepares about 40 tax returns at no cost to patrons each week from Feb. 1 until Apr. 15.
Every Friday and Saturday during tax season, Garriott spends his time at the Junction City Community Center helping low and moderate income residents prepare tax returns. He also spends some Tuesdays helping retirees and other eligible beneficiaries with decisions about Medicare health plans.
This year, Garriott is joined by six tax preparers and one client facilitator. Aside from setting up all the equipment and documents, he also reviews electronic tax returns

and transmits completed returns to the IRS.
Garriott says volunteering is fun, but becoming a tax preparation volunteer is no easy task. Every year volunteers must train up to a week and pass a certification test. Garriott finally became a site coordinator for JC after working as a tax preparer for several years at Tax-Aide sites in the Eugene area.
Also at the community center, Garriott is certified with the Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) program and provides consultation for Medicare-eligible beneficiaries applying for medical and prescription plans. “We are helping folks work through the maze of insurances,” which can be daunting.
Those seeking tax services must schedule an appointment with the JC Community Center at 541.998.4767 located on 175 W. 7th Ave. for a slot on Fridays from 9am-2pm and Saturdays from 9am-3pm until Apr. 15. Those interested in SHIBA consultation can also

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Self-Sufficiency Program Closes Junction City Office Effective March 29

Posted on 15 March 2013 by admin

Self-Sufficiency Program Closes Junction City Office Effective March 29
By The State Of Oregon
JUNCTION CITY – The Self-Sufficiency Program (SSP) Office in Junction  City will close effective March 29, 2013 at the close of business.   Self-Sufficiency staff will continue to be available in the West Eugene office at 2101 W 11th Avenue for Junction City residents. Clients can visit the West Eugene office on any weekday from 7:00am to 6:00pm to apply for benefits, talk with their caseworker, use computers to electronically submit applications for services, to photocopy documents, or to submit documents.
“Funding is tight for self-sufficiency and other DRS programs. Our caseload has gone up by 80% in the last 5 years while our staffing has only increased by about 10%. We are primarily making this change to address staffing shortages and to lower the costs of doing business. However, we‘re making the change in a way that allows us to use new technologies and organize ourselves differently to reach a wider range of clients,” said John Radich, District Manager for SSP in Lane County.
Residents in Lane County have several options for Self Sufficiency assistance throughout the week:
•    Junction City residents are served at the DRS office on west 11th Avenue.
•    You may apply for food benefits by downloading an application and instructions at:
https://apps.state.or.us/Forms/Served/de0415Sfs.pdf   (English)
•https://apps.state.or.us/Forms/Served/ds0415Sfs.pdf     (Spanish)
•    You may apply for SNAP and medical at anytime by going to https://apps.state.or.us/connect  and completing an online application.   Self Sufficiency staff will contact the applicant upon receipt to complete the application process.
•Replace a lost or stolen Oregon Trail Card by phone- call1-855-328-6715
“We are deeply committed to the clients we serve in Lane County and are asking them to note these changes and call their DRS worker if they have questions,” Radich said. “As our technology improves in the future we would like to participate at some level in these important community partnerships”
Residents can also call 1-800-SAFENET to locate the closest SSP office.

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Cooking Matters

Posted on 15 March 2013 by admin

Nutrition and cooking education for rural residents

By Vera Westbrook

TRI-COUNTY — A down economy is fertile ground for creative ideas to assist folks with cooking on a budget while meeting nutritional needs.
FOOD for Lane County, a local nonprofit food bank located in Eugene, will be holding a series of classes at the Junction City Community Center starting this Thursday. ‘Cooking Matters’ is the title of the series that consists of six classes from 5:30 — 7:30pm on Thursday evenings starting Mar. 14. The series is available at no cost for low income participants.
“The classes are very interactive and application-based,” said Dana Baxter, Nutrition Education Program Coordinator for FOOD for Lane County. “We teach about the basics of nutrition, reading a food label and getting the best for your dollar at a grocery store.”
The series is led by a team of three volunteer instructors who’ll teach during each of the classes. One instructor focuses are nutrition, another on food safety and a third on saving money at the store. “Each lesson is infused with all of the messages,” Baxter said.
Classes will also include a hands-on cooking portion where everyone prepares a dish from the Cooking Matters recipes. “Each of the participants gets to take home a bag of food from the recipe they just made in class so they can practice at home,” Baxter said, to reinforce the message that was taught.
“This is our first three or four months of the whole program, so it’s pretty exciting and new,” Baxter said, with cooking classes having been offered for only two months in rural communities like Lowell, McKenzie and Blue River. “We are looking forward to working with the participants.”
Laurel Elementary School second grade teacher Cheryl Glasser is the Family Resource Coordinator that’s responsible for organizing the Junction City site and for recruiting teaching volunteers. Class size is limited to a minimum of eight adults with a maximum of 12 participants, so contact Cheryl to reserve a spot or to show interest in future classes.
“People just have to bring themselves, comfortable clothes and a hair tie for safety,” Baxter said. Vegetarians are also invited, but some recipes may include meat that vegetarians can substitute for, as “we are trying to meet the needs for the most people.”
The classes are first come first served, so those interested in signing up for the class in Junction City can contact Cheryl Glasser at Laurel Elementary at 541.998.2386. For information about classes in other locations call FOOD for Lane County at 541.343.2822

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Science in safety

Science in safety

Posted on 08 March 2013 by admin

By Vera Westbrook

For the Tribune

 

JUNCTION CITY – Alcohol isn’t the only substance that causes people to drive recklessly. Prescriptions, illicit drugs and even illnesses can impair a driver as well, making it tough for police officers to determine the cause of impairment. To determine the cause, an expert is often consulted for advice.

Officer Brian Paterson is the JC Police Department expert who assists with impairment identification. Paterson was trained as a drug recognition expert (DRE) in 2010 and was recently recertified. When a driver fails a roadside test but doesn’t register on an alcohol intoxilyzor machine, Paterson comes in to examine the individual.

“My job as a DRE is to decide if the person is impaired, and if so, is the impairment because of drugs or is it medical?” he said.

Paterson spends about an hour using a specific protocol to test for seven categories of drugs. If the cause is medical like diabetes, a paramedic may need to be called; if the cause is drugs, the drug needs to be identified.

“It’s a 12-step standardized examination process that we go through, where we talk with the person, talk with the arresting officer and run the person through standard roadside tests again,” Paterson said. He also performs clinical tests such as reading blood pressure and determining eye pupil size under different lighting conditions.

“Based on all of this we have a matrix that we use where we put all the signs and symptoms together to see what a driver is under the influence of,” Paterson said. A sample of the driver’s urine is then sent to the Oregon State Police crime lab to verify the determination.

Out of almost 50 states, Europe and Canada who use the program, “Oregon’s DRE program always rates in the top three worldwide as far as quality of accuracy of calls,” Paterson said, along with Washington and Arizona. “The Oregon State Police run a really good program,” with other states often calling on Oregon instructors for training.

But becoming a DRE is not easy. Once accepted into the program, an officer attends a training school for two weeks. “The training is delivered by police officers, doctors and different professionals to teach you about how different drugs affect the system.” Extensive memorization of physiology and pharmacology is involved.

After passing the school, the officers must then pass a practical field test where they examine actual drug users to test for accurate drug determinations. A daylong written exam is than taken, and once passed, an officer is certified as a DRE. Only one percent of police officers are DREs, so Paterson helps other departments in the area as well.

Since certification as a DRE in 2010, Paterson has made 93 evaluations with an accuracy rate in the upper 90 percentile. Although he may be highly accurate, all his evaluations are still verified with an area coordinator for quality control.

Paterson, who’s had extensive law enforcement training in SWAT, Taser, patrol rifle and less lethal training, considers DRE training “by far the most demanding training I’ve ever done in law enforcement. It was hard!”

 

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Guns At School

Guns At School

Posted on 06 March 2013 by admin

Harrisburg discusses security options on campus

SONY DSCBy Vera Westbrook
HARRISBURG – The crisis at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut has prompted school districts to discuss the topic of campus security, with school administrators having arranged one such discussion at a recent school board meeting.
Invited to the discussion were key community members including the local fire chief, the city administrator, the school district maintenance director, Linn County sheriffs and deputies, the school’s emergency management grant director and state representative Dennis Richardson, who attended via Skype computer software.
In his December newsletter titled ‘School Safety & Campus Responders,’ Richardson referred to the Harrold School District in Texas that recently enacted a ‘Guardian Plan,’ where selected teachers and staff are permitted to carry concealed weapons at school.
“Lives would be saved by stopping the shooter. Seconds count when the police are five minutes away,” Richardson said in his newsletter, as the Sandy Hook shooter killed 26 people in four minutes. “Under present Oregon Firearm Law, school districts already have the authority to do likewise.”
At the meeting, Richardson said that upgrading fences and locking doors make schools feel like prisons, and that building prison-like schools are an ineffective deterrent to school shootings, as determined shooters will find access to a campus.
Linn County Sheriff Tim Mueller agreed and added that Sandy Hook Elementary was locked down and secured when the attack happened and that no matter what schools do, a shooter will gain access if desired.
Richardson suggested that Oregon schools should consider allowing several staff members to act as campus responders by bearing a concealed weapons permit, with permit bearers partaking in frequent training and practice.
Board member Randy Klemm also asked Sherriff Mueller about average response times in Linn County.
Mueller said after budget cuts eliminating 32 positions in his department including patrol, an average response time for a hot call is slightly longer than 12 minutes. But he added that much damage can be done before the first police officer arrives to a crime scene.
Currently, the sheriff’s department is conducting safety and security assessments of all county schools with the goal of keeping kids safe, as all school districts are looking to shore up their security policies and procedures since the Sandy Hook crisis. The Harrisburg school board’s effort in reviewing the safety of school facilities is a step in the right direction.
Klemm then asked law enforcement officials if the district should focus on deterring potential offenders or if it should address the arming of staff on campus. The sheriff’s office said it would like to see consistent policies/safety procedures throughout the county school districts.
Board member Paul Christensen said he would like communication between the school and agencies to improve as people walking around with guns could complicate the response of law enforcement. He also suggested recruiting volunteers for incident training in cooperation with the fire and sheriff’s departments.
The discussion will resume in the future

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CIMG3048

A Job Well Done

Posted on 06 March 2013 by admin

Junction City honors emergency responders

CIMG3048By Vera Westbrook
JUNCTION CITY – The Junction City Fire Department annually gives tribute in February to those who offer their time and sometimes their lives in the service of others. Honors were presented at the 67th Annual Sweethearts Ball held at Shadow Hills Country Club on Feb. 16.
The Sweethearts Ball first began on Feb. 14, 1946, when the Junction City Fire Department welcomed home department members who were World War II veterans. Their sweethearts were also invited to celebrate their return with the sweethearts being honored as well for their commitment to their significant others.
Fire Chief Carl Perry presented the awards at the celebration to the following staff employees and volunteers in recognition of their contributions in making the Junction City community a safe and comfortable place to live.
Emergency responders are trained both as firefighters and emergency medical technicians, as the majority of calls are medical emergencies, so awards were given in both areas of expertise.
Notable honors were given to the following emergency responders:
The 2012 Jim Paull Emergency Medical Technician of the Year is Evan Hortsman.
The 2012 Don Lighty Firefighter of the Year is Dan Nail.
Captain Lance Lighty received an award for 30 years of service.
Recognition was also given to everyone for all their years of service, as any time spent saving the life of another is worth acknowledging.
Those recognized for 10 years of service included Shawna Mager and Matt Slocum.
Recognition for five years of service was given to Rhett Powers, Hans Reerslev and Jennifer Peterson.
Leif Utterstrom and Kyle Anderson were honored for three years of service.
The following individuals were honored for one year of service: Adam Hayes, Evan Horstman, Noah Nudell, Jake Peterson, Graham Steffen and Heidi Straub.
A big thanks goes out to everyone at the Junction City Rural Fire Protection District, both volunteers and staff, located at 1755 Juniper St. in Junction City for their help in keeping others in their community safe.

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GN6148

Enhancing Resources

Posted on 06 March 2013 by admin

Council approves committee for historic restoration

GN6148By Vera Westbrook
COBURG – The city council recently approved the formation of a new committee to improve economic, social, and environmental conditions in Coburg, with a focus on local history.
The Historic Preservation Committee is a group of five community members that were appointed by the city council at a February meeting.
The city’s project manager, Laura Comstock, has been organizing the committee since she stepped into office last September. Comstock is an AmeriCorps member that works through the Resource Assistance for Rural Environments program administered through the University of Oregon’s Community Service Center with her term ending in July.
In the meantime, she’ll be promoting economic development and preserving local history by working as the city staff person assigned to the Historic Preservation Committee, which will continue after she leaves.
“The overarching goal of why I’m here is to help the city protect its historic resources,” Comstock said.
In 1986, a significant part of Coburg became recognized as a National Historic District, so by applying for Certified Local Government (CLG) status, the city will be eligible for grants supporting local history. The CLG application process requires that a city supports a Historical Preservation Committee.
Comstock presented the idea for the committee to the council in January and on Feb. 12 it was approved by resolution. She then filed a formal application for Coburg to become a certified CLG.
Although it’s a federal program that’s part of the National Park Service, the CLG program is administered by the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). This affiliation provides local governments with access to the expertise and resources of state and federal agencies to address local preservation issues.
The CLG program was designed to promote historic preservation at the local level, with certified cities becoming eligible to receive grants from SHPO that can be used for a variety of preservation projects. The grants run between $5,000 and $20,000, but require local governments to participate in a 50/50 match.
Potential grant projects include surveys of historical properties; National Register nominations; public education; city preservation planning with ordinances, design guidelines, and preservation programs; studies for rehabilitating historic properties; rehabilitation work on National Register buildings; and staff training.
“The committee itself will be responsible for identifying, recognizing and preserving significant properties, but also encouraging the rehabilitation and viability of historic buildings,” Comstock said, “and strengthening public support for historic preservation efforts,” and increasing community historic awareness.
Future committee projects include applying for grants for outreach and education that include placing identification plaques on historic sites and also updating the walking tour map of historic buildings in town, as Coburg currently has about 20 historic homes.
The committee will meet at least four times yearly and is working on a schedule now.

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firephoto

Today Burn, Tomorrow Books

Posted on 06 March 2013 by admin

firephotoHARRISBURG – There was a controlled burning of a city owned duplex located near Smith and Fourth Streets on Saturday morning of this past week. The building, which was in poor condition and would have needed major maintenance to be inhabitable, had reached the end of its useful life and was used for a “Burn to Learn” exercise for the local fire district.
“Our city owns the property along Smith Street between 4th Street and the fire station,” said City Administrator Bruce Cleeton in his weekly email update. “We bought it in 2001 with the intention of someday building a municipal complex there that besides the existing fire station and museum would also include a new city hall, library and perhaps also a new H.A.R.T. Resource Center. The property had a small office building and a duplex on it.  Enough rental income has come in from these two buildings to pay the great majority of the purchase cost, so the cost to our city has been minimal.”
Cleeton added, “The Library Guild and the city are trying to secure some grant money for a new library that would be built on this property.  The library project has been moving slowly, but we have literally lit a fire under the project.”

 

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Education Together Foundation

Posted on 06 March 2013 by admin

065-IMG_0424There is help for those adults who would like to increase their job opportunities.
Education Together Foundation is now taking applications for those who need a financial boost to be applied to short-term education—the main qualification is that the applicant lives in the Junction City School District.
Contact Harley Hagen at 541-998-8606 or visit www.junctioncity.com for an application.

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Junction City Beckons as a Daffodil Destination

Posted on 06 March 2013 by admin

During the 41st Annual Daffodil Drive Festival March 16-17

photoBy Danuta Pfeiffer
JUNCTION CITY – In an effort to “keep it local,” this year the entire town of Junction City is getting in on the Daffodil Drive Festival.  The festival is celebrating 41 years as “Oregon’s Finest Daffodil Festival,” a proclamation by then- governor Ted Kulongoski.
Thanks to the efforts of the Long Tom Grange, Energizing Junction City, and the city’s planning commission, businesses and homes are expected to display daffodils up and down the streets in Junction City becoming part of the celebrations at the Long Tom Grange.
It’s called the “Daffodil Drive” Festival because along the way to the grange’s pastries, coffee, venders, quilts and antique car shows, wagon rides and downright country fun, there are miles of wild daffodils guiding visitors along Ferguson Road.
Visitors can purchase tickets to the win thousands of dollars in raffle items including a getaway at the Overleaf Lodge on the coast, a free weekend rental of a Guaranty Chevrolet Motor Home, a brand new Stihl chain saw and tool kit, and a Mike Riley autographed OSU football and much more.
Festival Chairperson Danuta Pfeiffer says, “With more than 300 local volunteers helping make this festival possible, it truly is a community coming together.”
New this year, scrumptious Country Berry Bars delivered fresh out of the oven by New Day Bakery in Eugene made with Oregon berries and locally milled flour donated by Camas Country Mill, and fresh cream and lemonade courtesy of Lochmead Dairy. Horse drawn wagon rides, coffee, hot chocolate, hot food venders including Junction City’s Boss Hawg’s BBQ, antique car show, quilt show, children‘s art, fiber animals, daffodil sales and live music will offer fun for the entire family.
The festival runs rain or shine from 10 am to 4 pm Saturday and Sunday, March 16-17.

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Glimpses of Hope

Posted on 06 March 2013 by admin

By Carleen Reilly
RIVER ROAD – Maybe it is the few daffodils and clumps of crocuses in bloom that expose a glimpse of hope that spring is just around the corner. The alternating days of sunshine and nights with a full moon intensify the hopefulness.
New life seems to be springing up in the neighborhood, too. More than 60 people attended the February meeting of the River Road Community Organization. Neighbors came out to learn how the River Road and Santa Clara neighborhoods will move forward to develop an area plan. The proposal this last fall to build a large apartment complex on River Road to house moderate-income families was taken as a warning. Our neighbors learned that we must be prepared with our area plan with codifications before housing developments are proposed. Afterward is too late.
Terri Harding and Zach Galloway, planners from the City of Eugene, gave us an update of Envision Eugene for River Road and Santa Clara. After a review of the Envision Eugene process and pillars, we focused on implementation, particularly along the River Road transit corridor. A location for the new Santa Clara community center and park was pointed out. The neighborhoods‘ Santa Clara-River Road Outreach and Learning (SCRROL) Report and Recommendations as well as previous reports will provide the basis of the area planning.
Numerous tasks must be undertaken by the Planning Division to implement recommendations of Envision Eugene. The first step is to develop a Metro Plan diagram and UGB expansion package for housing, employment, and public lands. The City has committed to this project by hiring two planners to help with the Envision Eugene project. Development will coincide with transportation plans. Prior studies will be used as resources and shorten our planning time line. Four top priorities from the Transition Project (2006) study are Land Use, Governance, Transportation, and Parks and Recreation. These were further refined by SCRROL (2012) to make streets friendlier for biking and walking; protect neighborhood look and feel; protect agricultural land; protect waterways, habitat, and open space; increase police patrols; and expand recreation services and community events.
Preparing a project scope of roles, outcomes, and time line for implementing planning comes first. A public engagement process, integration of transportation and land use, and consideration of options will occur before the City Council adoption of the process proceeds. Neighbors would be asked to to work out the specifics about where to build infill, what transportation options are needed, and where safe pedestrian crossings, signal lights, and public transit stops would work best.
There is a difference between refinement plans and code. Codes are enforceable standards. The Lower River Road Concept plan could be codified and would reduce the work involved in developing our area plan. We need specific street standards, and context sensitive planning.
We need a clear idea of something we want–a community vision; next, write the technical code; and, then, have it adopted by the City and approved by the state. We have a chance to clean up land use issues that have bothered us for a long time. With neighborhood involvement and cooperation from the City, there is plenty here to provide us with some hope for a future we desire. Get involved by contacting Jerry Finigan, Santa Clara Chair, at <jerfinigan@comcast.net> or Carleen Reilly, RRCO Co-Chair, at <riverroadcommunityorganization@gmail.com>.

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