Early Rhody Show this week;

Early Spring Rhody Show this weekend

There are always two large Rhododendron Shows in Florence each year… the second one is held the third weekend in May during the Rhododendron Festival.  The first one is the third weekend in April… that’s this weekend according to Mike Bones with the Siuslaw Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society.

Mike Bones – “One is right now, the early show for all these early blooming things, which we like people to see.  There’s a lot of early blooming… there’s wild ones blooming right now.  You know, so it’s time… it’s time.”

The time to bring entries to the Florence Events Center will be Saturday morning between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.  Judging is from nine to one that day and then the show opens to the public from one to five Saturday afternoon.  It’s open again Sunday from ten until five.  Bones said this weekend will be the best time to see a lot of Rhododendrons in one room.

Mike Bones – “Usually the late show has more entries than the early show, except for last year.  You know, everything bloomed early.  Very few rhodies for the festival last year and I have the feeling that it might be the same way this year.”

The weather can have a big impact on just when Florence’s signature flower blooms… and this year they’re all running very early.

Extra eclipse campsites snapped up

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department added an extra 1,018 campsites to their reservation system for this summer’s complete solar eclipse yesterday morning.  All except 32 of them were snapped up within 90 minutes.

The only reason they weren’t booked immediately was due to a computer glitch according to Chris Havel with Oregon State Parks.

The campsites are in 29 Oregon State Parks either inside the “path of totality” for the August 21st eclipse, or just outside.

The 32 that were delayed were at Unity Lake in Eastern Oregon, but Havel said the glitch was quickly resolved and they were reserved about an hour later.

The total eclipse is expected to bring millions of visitors to Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado to view it.

Dela Mora Scholarship Taco Feed

A taco sale and feed to benefit the Jose Dela Mora Memorial Scholarship Fund will begin at noon Sunday.  It will be at Crossroad Assembly of God Church on Maple Street… that’s near the library.

Dela Mora died in a swimming accident at Woahink Lake June 25th, 2015.  He was just 17.   Friends say he was a “gifted wrestler and a talented artist”, but he is most remembered, they say, for his “fun-loving character and kindness”.

The family of Jose established the scholarship fund last year.  The first two $500 awards were given to classmates he would have graduated with.

The Dela Moras own and operate Rosa’s Mexican Restaurant.  Tacos are six for $10 and will be available until they’re sold out… last year’s supply went very quickly.

Gas prices up elsewhere… dip slightly in Florence

The national average price for a gallon of regular gas went up six cents this week, while across Oregon the average price only went up two pennies.  In Florence though, the average cash price went down two cents, it’s now at $2.57.

That’s smack dab in the middle of the national and statewide averages.  Triple-A spokesperson Marie Dodds says Oregon’s average price is 18-cents higher than Florence’s at $2.75 and the national average is 18-cents less at $2.39.

Gas prices on the west coast remain the highest in the country with six states in the region topping the list.  Hawaii is the highest at $3.06; California is next at $3.01, followed by Alaska and Washington.  Oregon’s average is fifth highest and Nevada is number six.  Pennsylvania is still the seventh highest average at $2.84.

The nation’s cheapest gas can be found in South Carolina where the average price is $2.13 a gallon.

Rare ghost crabs caught off Oregon Coast

Finding a white albino Dungeness crab off the Oregon Coast is a very rare thing… that’s why biologists say the discovery of two of them this year “adds another element of improbability”.

The first albino Dungeness was pulled up near Cascade Head in January by a commercial crabber.

Scott Groth, a shellfish biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.  He didn’t say where the second one came from, but he said, there are about 8-million crabs caught off Oregon each year.  That makes the odds of landing a rare “ghost crab” at about four-million-to-one.

Both of the rare creatures are now on display… alive… at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport.