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Firehouse Fudge closing storefront

Firehouse Fudge is closing its storefront, but owner and fudge maker Dean Martin will still be taking his plethora of flavors to farmers markets and festivals.

Martin made the announcement on the business Facebook page on Thursday.

“I’m moving my stuff back to the farmers market,” Martin said. “It’s just been little thing after little thing. I knew it was going to be slow in January and February, but it just hasn’t picked up.”

The Facebook post was flooded with condolences.

“I’m so sad and sorry to hear this. Maddie is going to be heartbroken. We will miss visiting your storefront,” Crystal Geyer posted.

Manager Elaine Altman also added to the conversation.

“I’d also like to thank all of our wonderful customers that have come through the doors. You all made this job fun and filled many days with laughter,” Altman posted.

The store opened at 316 NW Garden Valley Blvd in June, but Martin has been making Firehouse Fudge and selling it at farmers markets and festivals for two years.

“I’m not real thrilled about it, I’m not happy at all. I got to watch a lot of people come in with their families and have family night and have ice cream and laugh and have fun,” Martin said. “I’ve heard people say there’s nowhere to go for families to hang out. I was meeting that niche.”

The store will be open until March 24 and Martin plans to be out of the building by the end of the month. The quarter-acre lot has a total real value of almost $400,000 according to the Douglas County Assessor website.

“I thank my Roseburg family for coming in and I’m going to miss them,” Martin said. “Hopefully I’ll see them at the farmers market because that’s where I’ll be.”

Fifth grade teacher writes, directs play at Green Elementary

It’s one thing for a Green Elementary School teacher to watch her 45 students take the stage Friday night for the fifth-grade play “Pirate Boy and Dragon Girl.” It’s even a greater joy for Karen Sinclair to watch when it’s a play written and directed by her.

“It’s wonderful. It’s fanciful. It’s like the most indulgent fantasy to see my creation come to life,” Sinclair said.

As the name suggests, the play is about a pirate boy and dragon girl who learn the tangible things in life, like gold and jewels, are not as important as something like friendship. These are lessons the school frequently teaches already, but the play provides a different experience with the familiar material.

“We are always teaching the value of being a good friend, of empathy and just valuing humanity rather than things,” Sinclair said. “We are always really wanting the students to know its far more important to treat each other well and to be good people, to be good and kind and smart, rather than to care about what we look like or what we have or who we know or whatever.”

This is Sinclair’s second year at Green Elementary. It is also the second year she has written and directed a school production.

Last year, when the school decided to do a play, they found the cost of royalties were too expensive. Instead, Sinclair decided to adapt a story she had written for her granddaughter into a script, even though she had never written a play before.

When the school chose to repeat the experience, Sinclair set about writing another script. It took her about three months to complete. According to Sinclair, a lot of the parts were written to match the personalities of the 45 students.

“The kids have worked really hard,” said Sinclair. “We missed a week of school because of the snow and that was really critical rehearsal time but the students have pulled it together.”

Sinclair had help from fellow teachers, staff and community members. Her teaching partner Gina Evenich choreographed all the dances, PE teacher Jamie Hummel also helped with music and music teacher Sean Shea provided live accompaniment. Sinclair said the overwhelming support she received made the whole thing possible.

“I get to watch these kids learn and grow as they learn it and perform it and come out of their shells. (There are) kids that don’t think they can do anything that we are asking them to do and by the end, not only do they do a brilliant job, but they have fallen in love with acting and singing and dancing,” Sinclair said. “It’s really wonderful.”

Sen. Wyden reflects on passage of Oregon wilderness protections

Idleyld Park conservationists Frank and Jeanne Moore represent what’s best about Oregon and deserve the honor of having their names attached to nearly 100,000 acres of Forest Service land that will now be managed to protect wild salmonids, said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon said in an interview with The News-Review on Friday.

The Frank and Jeanne Moore Wild Steelhead Special Management Area was created as part of a large public lands package signed into law by President Donald Trump on Tuesday. The package, which includes an array of bills regarding lands around the country, had received broad bipartisan support in the House and Senate.

Wyden had pushed to ensure several wild Oregon places were included in the bill, including the one named for the Moores. He said the couple deserve recognition for their vision of protecting some of the wildest and most beautiful parts of the North Umpqua River, and an area critical for salmonids.

Frank Moore is a World War II veteran who has been awarded the French Legion of Honor medal and inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. Jeanne Moore is a longtime organizer of the annual Glide Wildflower Show whose discovery of rare plants led to conservation of the Limpy Rock area in the Umpqua National Forest.

“Frank and Jeanne richly deserve this honor,” Wyden said. “For years and years to come people are going to be able to come and enjoy the Frank and Jeanne Moore area, a special sanctuary where you can’t mess with the incredible fish runs that Frank treasured.”

He said the Moores are “vintage Oregonians.”

“They really are Oregon at its best, and I am so proud to have been able to play a part in putting this together,” he said. He said he’s also working on creating a special event to honor them.

Some conservatives have resisted the package’s additional protections for Oregon wilderness, saying they will limit logging and that an inability to log in fire-prone areas could lead to a wildfire disaster on the scale of the Camp Fire that destroyed Paradise, California in November. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River, fought to remove protections on forestland near Bend to ensure it could be logged as a fire prevention measure.

Walden, rather than Wyden, was asked to attend the presidential signing ceremony of the public lands package. Asked what he thought about that, Wyden said he was “kind of struck by that,” but he’d leave it at that.

Wyden said conserving areas like the steelhead management area won’t increase fire risk for Oregonians.

“We picked places carefully that didn’t do that, didn’t create new fire risks,” Wyden said.

Wyden also noted that legislation he sponsored to eliminate federal borrowing from fire prevention funds will take effect in October. The borrowing, which had been common, involves taking money from fire prevention funds to pay for fighting forest fires. It has in the past curtailed prevention efforts like thinning overstocked timber stands that present a fire hazard.

Wyden said on his watch, Oregon has become the state with the most protection for wild and scenic rivers of any of the lower 48 states. Alaska has more, but Wyden said he told Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski recently that Oregon will catch up with them.

Wyden said the newly passed river protections will protect vital Oregon industries that need fresh water, from fishing to craft beer to tourism. He mentioned being approached by a man who had started a business constructing kayaks, and who was selling them around the state and even in other countries. Wyden said it’s important to encourage businesses like that.

“Recreation has the potential to be a major economic engine for rural America and rural Oregon,” Wyden said.