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District Attorney: Roseburg school district must release redacted records of volleyball investigation

The Douglas County District Attorney’s office ordered Roseburg Public Schools to disclose a redacted form of the full report that details recommendations for improvements or changes to district policy following allegations of bullying within the high school volleyball program.

Douglas County Deputy District Attorney Tiffany Podlesnik made the decision after looking over all documents presented to her by the Hungerford Law Firm, which is representing the Roseburg school district.

“After careful review, I have determined that the ‘Full Report’ by Tim Keeley — in redacted form only— must be disclosed to the petitioner,” Podlesnik wrote. “I have deemed the redacted portions confidential because they are statements by students, guardians/parents, and/or non-students subject to exemption.”

Superintendent Gerry Washburn said Monday that the school district had not yet received the full or redacted report, but was expecting the redacted version at the district office Tuesday or Wednesday.

The district received a summary report in December.

He did not issue a specific timetable as to its release to the public.

“Once we see it we’ll review it and hear what (attorney Nancy Hungerford) has to say, and then make a recommendation to the board,” Washburn said. The school district can appeal the DA’s findings in circuit court.

Roseburg school district’s Board of Education is scheduled to have its final meeting of the school year on June 13.

“We’ll approach it based on what she recommends and we’ll take those recommendations to the board, and that could easily be at the June 13 board meeting. We certainly have enough time to get it there,” Washburn said. Later, he added, “There would be nothing that would preclude us from presenting it in July. But without having seen it, I don’t know when we’ll present it and I haven’t heard (Hungerford’s) recommendations.”

The DA declared that the information disclosed by students — who had the expectation of confidentiality — would harm public interest, as well as statements made by other individuals. The DA’s office has redacted those statement from the report and any supporting documents.

The DA found that the Roseburg School District is the custodian of the records, even though board members and administrators never saw the full report. That report has been kept at the Hungerford Law Firm in Oregon City.

An investigation was started by the Roseburg school board in October 2017 after hearing about the formal complaints filed by six students against head coach Danielle Haskett and assistant coach Kari Morrow.

The initial motion asked for an investigation into the conflict and to recommend action. However, after consulting with legal counsel, the motion was amended to read “recommend improvements or changes to district policy and procedure” instead of “recommend action.”

Tim Keeley, a retired school administrator and university professor of school law, was retained by the Hungerford Law Firm to investigate, and he presented a summary report to the Roseburg Public Schools Board of Education on Dec. 13.

Leta Gorman, the attorney representing the six student-athletes who left the Roseburg High School volleyball team, made the request with the DA’s office to make the investigation records public.

Gorman asked the school to release the full report by Keeley: All correspondence between Keeley related to the investigation, all documents and photos used to prepare the report, and all documents and photos gathered during the investigation.

Podlesnik wrote in her findings that the full report does not appear to be subject to the attorney-client privilege exemption.

“It does not appear that the Board of Directors was seeking an investigation regarding legal liability since it was phrased as to ‘make recommendations for improvements,’” she wrote in her findings.

Roseburg Public Schools argued that the document should not be released because of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, which is designed to protect the privacy of student education records. However, the DA determined that the report did not directly relate to a particular student or students, because the report focused on the investigation as a whole, and was therefore not exempt from disclosure.

The power of blue: Sutherlin celebrates class of 2018

In front of a packed house inside the Sutherlin High School gymnasium Sunday, more than 90 Bulldog seniors were awarded diplomas by Sutherlin School District Superintendent Terry Prestianni and members of the Sutherlin school board.

Following the ceremony, graduates and their families spilled outside into the sunshine where the celebration continued.

Graduate Aaron Curtis plans on attending Umpqua Community College for two years before transferring to Oregon State University to finish a four-year degree in natural resources.

Curtis said he’s been waiting for this moment for a long time.

“It feels like I’m on top of the world,” he said. “I’ve been waiting 14 years for this. Since kindergarten I’ve been waiting. I’ve been looking up to high school students and I’m finally happy that I get to put on a cap and gown and walk and make my family proud.”

Mackenzie Price, Faith Stehr, Cassidy Leatherwood, Caithlynn Carrillo and Tristan Vincent were valedictorian speakers.

Vincent, who plans to attend Aviation Academy at Lane Community College with the goal of becoming a commercial pilot.

“I feel really good about graduating and moving on to the next steps of our lives,” Vincent said. “I’m pretty confident in my classmates and I that we’re going to do well in whatever we decide.”

Graduate Michala Carpine plans to attend UCC in the fall.

“I’m so excited. It’s surreal though,” Carpine said. “It goes by so quick. Every year a senior tells you that and you never believe it. Then it’s your year, and oh my goodness, it feels crazy.”

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Corrugated cardboard can now be recycled

Corrugated cardboard has been added back in to the list of recyclables that can still be recycled in Douglas County.

The Douglas County Public Works Department announced Friday it has been able to find a market for corrugated cardboard. The only county transfer station that will continue accepting the cardboard is the Roseburg Transfer Station.

The county stopped taking most recyclable items at the county’s landfill and 11 transfer stations on Friday. Among those items no longer recyclable there are newspaper, plastic, paper, commingled recyclables and glass.

The change, which mirrors changes taking place in counties around the West Coast, is due to China’s refusal to accept paper and plastic recyclables from America. China has been the major importer of Oregon’s plastic and paper recyclables, and said it could no longer handle the “dirty” recyclables it was receiving. Those included unclean items, but also non-recyclable items mixed in with recyclables.

Some things can still be recycled, though. All 11 county transfer stations will continue to accept tin, aluminum, scrap metal, wet cell batteries and oil. They will also take yard and wood debris for a fee.

The Roseburg transfer station will also accept appliances and mattresses for a fee, and it will now take corrugated cardboard that is clean and has not been deposited in plastic bags.

Outside of the county landfill and transfer station system, some other items can still be recycled.

Local grocery stores including Safeway, Albertsons and Fred Meyer participate in a national program to recycle plastic bags into composite lumber. Most beverage containers can also be recycled at grocery stores or the BottleDrop Roseburg Redemption Center at 740 NE Garden Valley Blvd. Oregon’s bottle deposit system refunds 10 cents for covered beverage containers.

Roseburg Disposal will keep collecting recyclables through the end of June. Beginning July 1, they’ll limit collections to corrugated cardboard; aluminum and tin cans that have been rinsed out and have no lids; glass bottles and jars; and used motor oil.

The rules for what recyclables different trash haulers are taking right now varies. Sutherlin Sanitary, for example, is for the time being continuing to accept cardboard, mixed paper, plastics marked “1” or “2” and rinsed tin or aluminum cans in its blue recycling carts. Sutherlin Sanitary covers an area from Scottsburg to Diamond Lake and Wilbur to Curtin.

And South Umpqua Disposal, which serves Myrtle Creek, Tri-City, Canyonville, Riddle and Days Creek is also continuing to accept recyclables while it works out a solution for who can take its recyclables. South Umpqua accepts flattened cardboard boxes, cans and paper, but no glass or styrofoam. It cautions it too can only accept plastics marked “1” or “2”, and says recyclables must be clean and must not be deposited in plastic garbage bags, which are not recyclable.

Sunrise Enterprises has stopped taking plastic and paper, but it will still accept household items like clothing, shoes, toys, electronics, pots and pans. Those can be dropped off at any Sunrise location. If they can’t resell them locally, they have buyers who will recycle them.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has acknowledged the scope of the problem caused by China’s ban, and said it is working on long-term solutions to the problem. The county said it’s working on the problem, too.

In the meantime, the public works department is encouraging county residents to reduce purchases of products and packaging, look for bulk options and reuse plastic containers. It also urges residents to recycle carefully, by recycling only what’s described as recyclable on signs or instructions.

Second teen dies following fatal crash

A second teen has died following last week’s fatal crash in Dixonville, a hospital spokesperson confirmed Tuesday.

Christopher Smith, 16, died after he was transported to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland where he remained in critical condition as of Friday, according to a hospital spokesperson.

On a GoFundMe page, page organizer Heather Salberg posted that Smith had died at 4:33 p.m. Monday.

“It is with my deepest sorrow and heavy heart that I am sharing tonight that we are now grieving with this family in their loss of this sweet young man,” she wrote. “This family has undertaken a lot of pain in the past month with the loss of their 16yr old son today as well as another 17yr old close relative very recently (sic).”

“He’s in the arms of our Father,” she wrote. “Thank you everyone for all your kind words, financial support, and pouring out of love.

Smith was transported to the hospital after a 2008 Toyota Yaris went off the road in the 200 block of South Deer Creek Road, crushing the back of the vehicle and trapping Smith, 21-year-old Kevin Lounsbury and 18-year-old Elizabeth Williams.

Williams died at the scene.

Lounsbury was transported to PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield and remains in fair condition, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Resident concerned about unsafe curve

In the 21 years Johnny Boothe has lived at the old Dixonville Grange he has seen countless cars crash after they drove off the steep curve in front of his house.

Lounsbury broke his neck and clavicle, according to his GoFundMe page.

The driver, 22-year-old Shannon Carrie Ann Mello, and front seat passenger, 21-year-old Antonio Donte Denino, were uninjured.

GoFundMe accounts have been set up for Williams, Smith and Lounsbury, according to family members.