Van Fans Event; Eels Cover Roadway; Monumental Threats

July 14, 2017 8:45 pm News

Fundraiser Celebrates 20 Years

Van Fans of Florence is celebrating 20 years of Ice Cream Socials to raise money for the Friends of Florence which provides free rides to Eugene for cancer treatments.  P.T. Smith and Tom Grove began Friends of Florence after Smith noticed the struggles that some patients were having getting to and from treatments.  Grove said Smith had come to his office at Oregon Pacific bank in 1984 and shared a story.

“There was this guy lying on a bench and everybody thought he was just a bum laying there and they called the police.  So the police showed up and they said ‘well can we help you?’ and he said ‘yeah, well I just don’t feel very good’ and he says ‘if you could give me a ride to the city limits I need to hitch a ride back to Florence.  I just had cancer treatment.”

Grove said Smith asked him to loan him some money to buy a used van in order to begin transporting patients for free and Friends of Florence began.  Smith didn’t have to wait long to get support to repay the money.

“P.T. went out and within, I think it was 26 days and raised enough money to pay back the borrowed money to pay the van.”

Van Fans came to be as a fundraiser in the home of a local woman, Larry Valentine who wanted to help the service continue.

“She would do primarily game parties, card parties and stuff like that and people would come in and pay and play.”

Grove said it quickly outgrew her home.

“We had the first event at the Event Center after it was built.  The Ice cream social was the one event, the major event each year and we also have two game days one in November and one in February.”

The event is Tomorrow at the Event Center and will be from 1-4 tickets are just 8 dollars and you will get homemade pie and BJ’s ice cream.  Grove added that BJ’s has been a major contributor through ice cream donations for most of the 20 years the event has been running.

Slimy Mess on 101

A truck overturned on highway 101 yesterday near Depoe Bay spilling its entire load of Eels.  It caused a shutdown of all lanes of traffic at milepost 131 and backed up traffic for several hours. About 7500 pounds of the slimy creatures spilled out and covered at least 2 cars that were involved in the accident.  Oregon has been trying to revive its hagfish industry and this particular load was on its way to Korea.  Needless to say it’s not going to make it.  One person was slightly injured.

Veteran Fears Monument Issue Will Hurt Vets

Public lands provide a major economic boost to local communities in Oregon. That’s the view of groups that believe the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument should be kept as it is, as the U-S Interior Department reviews its status. Democratic members of the United States Joint Economic Committee released a report Thursday, showing outdoor recreation generated 12-point-eight billion dollars in consumer spending and four-billion dollars in wages in Oregon in 2012. Chad Brown runs Soul River, a company that organizes trips for veterans and urban youth to public lands. He says the review process has already hurt his business.

 “I’ve been very effective, been able to change lives, getting a lot these youth and turn these lives around. It’s been over-the-top success over a course of years – up until today, when the things start happening on Capitol Hill and the changes. It has affected my organization directly.”

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is visiting Cascade-Siskiyou this weekend. It is one of 27 monuments that his agency is reviewing, to examine whether there was enough public input in their creation or expansion, and if they are properly sized. He’s expected to release a decision in late August. Brown says he is constantly worried about the threat to public lands and what it might mean for the future of his organization. He says Zinke, as a fellow veteran himself, should understand what these lands mean to the country’s veterans.

“Veterans need these spaces for healing, and it’s critical. I’m a vet that actually needs that space for my personal healing as well.”

The Joint Economic Committee report also found in rural counties with 100-thousand acres of protected public lands, compared to those with none, income per person is higher by more than 43-hundred dollars.

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