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Education
Roseburg library readies for summer reading program

Aurora Oberg, a youth services librarian at Roseburg Public Library, has been preparing for summer reading since November.

More than six months later, the Roseburg Public Library will officially launch its summer reading program “A Universe of Stories.” The program runs from June 18 until Aug. 30, and there will be activities scheduled for children, teens and adults.

“Since November, I’ve gathered ideas,” Oberg said. “I have ideas of what we’ll do in general.”

Oberg said she often turns to Pinterest for inspiration.

Alexa Ligon joined Oberg on June 1 to help with preparations for the program and will stay through the summer.

The library will also host events on July 20 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Space is the predominant theme throughout the summer’s program, but there will be some events around other universes.

The Harry Potter universe is one of them.

“I’m most looking forward to Harry Potter day (on July 27),” Oberg said, adding that she pre-made wands with her siblings. “We’ll have herbology class and maybe potions.”

The primary final countdown, however, is for “A Universe of Stories,” which is a summer reading program at libraries nationwide that can be modified to local interests.

The library will also give patrons a chance to view our universe on July 18 when it holds a solar telescope viewing with Paul Morgan at Umpqua Community College.

There will also be a day about rockets, but Oberg said she was still figuring out the logistics on how to do that inside the library.

A display of space-themed books will also be inside the library.

“I have ordered a bunch of new books that are space themed,” Oberg said. “To really bolster the space component of our collection.”

There will be more than 100 new picture books, nonfiction books about space, biographies on astronauts and teen fiction of outer space.

Children will also get a reading log to track their progress over the summer and can earn prizes after reading for five, 10, 15 and 20 hours.

After logging 20 hours, readers will receive a book. If they read more than 20 hours they can receive an extension log to be entered into a drawing for a gift card.


Roseburg_government
Chamber of Commerce corrects Roseburg officials on visitor center operations

The visitor center in Roseburg is still open, but people who attended the City Council’s meeting on Monday would have thought otherwise after several city officials said the center was closed.

The city decided to end its $600,000 contract geared at tourism promotion with the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce earlier this year after councilors raised concerns about the chamber’s performance — councilors questioned whether the chamber was using online and social media to promote tourism effectively.

Chamber CEO Debbie Fromdahl asked the city Tuesday to clarify officials’ comments after The News-Review reported their comments indicating the visitor center closed when the chamber’s contract expired in May. City Councilor Ashley Hicks criticized the city at the meeting for not keeping the visitor center open ahead of tourist season.

COURTESY OF ROSEBURG AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 

Fromdahl

“The visitor center is NOT closed,” Fromdahl said in an email to City Recorder Amy Sowa.

The center remains open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with an hour break from 12-1 p.m., she said.

Fromdahl said she and former City Manager Lance Colley informally agreed that the chamber would continue to operate the visitor center while the city searched for a new contractor because the chamber has an interest in promoting tourism.

“There has been no discussion” between the chamber and the city regarding the visitor center since her conversation with Colley, she said. “Certainly if someone called and asked us what’s going on or if they had driven by or popped in, then they would see somebody on the floor.”

She assumed the extent of that agreement was not relayed to city staff or the City Council before Colley retired in April, she said. The city has not found a new city manager yet.

“I’m not quite sure why there was that assumption,” Fromdahl said.

The only change to visitor center operations, Fromdahl said, is that it wouldn’t be open on weekends — two visitor services staff, whose positions were previously funded by the city contract, were laid off in May, when the contract officially expired.

“I was upstairs in the building working on both Saturday and Sunday this past weekend,” Fromdahl wrote in her email. “Since I was alone in the building, the doors were kept locked. It was heartbreaking to hear the doors being rattled.”

When Mayor Larry Rich asked at the meeting Monday what happens when visitors inquire about local activities, nobody brought up the chamber’s continued efforts.

Community Development Director Stuart Cowie said staff will have to evaluate a short-term plan with Anvil Northwest — the new visitor services contractor. Interim City Manager and Public Works Director Nikki Messenger said the city will need to refer visitors to existing online resources until a long-term plan for the center and tourism marketing is created.

On Tuesday, shortly after Fromdahl notified the city that the visitor center is still open, Sowa emailed city department heads and media saying the chamber is still operating visitor center phones and preparing visitor materials for Graffiti Weekend.

Cowie said he was pleased to receive the information.

“The fact that (Fromdahl) is doing it is great,” he said. “We couldn’t be more happy, and definitely pleased and grateful that they’re willing to continue to do that.”


Courtesy photo by Adrien H. Tillmann  

Cuban band Orquesta Akokán


Glide
House passes amendment that would protect Wolf Creek Job Corps

An amendment that would protect Civilian Conservation Centers like the Wolf Creek Job Corps in Glide passed in the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday on a bipartisan 313-109 vote.

The amendment, authored by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Springfield, would undo an earlier decision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to close or alter 25 CCC’s. Nine were slated to close. The remaining 16, including Wolf Creek, were to be managed by private contractors under the Department of Labor. They are currently managed by the U.S. Forest Service, which is part of the USDA.

DeFazio

The move could have been damaging to Wolf Creek’s most popular training program, which trains students in forestry conservation and firefighting.

Across the country, CCCs provide training to more than 3,000 young people and are among the highest performing Job Corps centers, DeFazio said. About 1,200 CCC students provided the equivalent of 450,000 hours of wildlife support during the height of the 2017 fire season.

“The decision to effectively end the Job Corps CCC program is shortsighted and will have a tremendous negative impact on Southwest Oregon,” DeFazio said in a press release. “Civilian Conservation Centers are unique and incredibly successful facilities that operate under the Job Corps program with a mandate to help conserve and develop public resources and to respond to natural disasters. The program also helps train thousands of at-risk youth from low-income and rural communities, providing them with cutting-edge vocational training and pathways out of poverty. I am proud this amendment passed with strong bipartisan support and urge the Senate to include it in its appropriations bill as well.”

Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, have also introduced legislation into the Senate attempting to block the shift to private management of CCCs.


Education
Roseburg school board says farewell to administrators Paterson, Emerson

Roseburg Public Schools’ board of directors said goodbye to administrators Lee Paterson and Robert Emerson during Wednesday’s meeting.

Paterson was appointed as interim superintendent in October 2018. He took over for Director of Human Resources Robert Freeman, who was assigned the interim superintendent role when the board placed former Superintendent Gerry Washburn on administrative leave in August.

Freeman said Paterson “righted the ship and settled things down, and is going to be missed.”

DBain / Contributed/  

Lee Paterson

Freeman presented Paterson with a crystal apple, with the words “belonging, influence, adequacy” inscribed on the base.

“Not many 70-year-olds would’ve stepped into the job we asked you to do, Lee,” Board Director Micki Hall said. “The job was to help the district heal from a rather tumultuous few months and you have done more than that. Your gentleness, your sense of your belonging, gave us a sense of belonging, gave us a sense of influence and made us feel much more than adequate and I thank you for that.”

Crystal Apple Awards are typically presented by the school board to a staff member who has gone above and beyond the call of duty in making a significant contribution to the school.

“Lee has given us a direction to apply your philosophy in all aspects of education and in life, and for that, we are very grateful,” Freeman said.

Paterson said he was humbled and honored. “This has been a capstone event in my career,” he said.

“Thank you for this opportunity you have given me to serve you and our community again. As you all know I have given my entire adult life to education,” Paterson said. “To be recalled to this position, at this time, when you felt I could be of help is a huge compliment.”

Jared Cordon, who was selected as the district’s next superintendent, will begin on July 1, although he has been in frequent contact with administrators and board members in recent weeks.

Emerson was the director of teaching and learning with the district for three years. He will return to New Mexico to be closer to family.

“Mr. Emerson, thank you for all that you did for this district,” Board Director Rodney Cotton said. “I personally will miss you a great deal. I know we’ll have wonderful people moving forward, but you were someone that we really needed at the time and I wish you the best.”

During the meeting, the board also adopted the 2019-20 budget, approving a healthy and safe schools plan, renewing an agreement with Umpqua Community College, rescinding an outdated nutrition policy and adopting instructional materials for middle school social studies.

Dani Jardine also gave the board an update on the Regional Education Network and the collaboration grant.

Roseburg High School Principal Jill Weber and RHS Assistant Principal Adam Blue held a presentation about the use of a mobile app in case of emergencies. The school had been piloting the RAVE panic button app, which allows staff members to contact appropriate people in case of an active shooter, a fire, medical event or another emergency situation.

Freeman said he is continuing to work on an updated extracurricular salary schedule. The board was also presented with a sample policy on commercial advertising created by the Oregon School Boards Association, as requested during a discussion at the May 22 board meeting. Directors Micki Hall and Rebecca Larson were not present for the May 22 meeting, and both said they do not like the presented policy.

“I think there’s something in the middle,” Larson said, noting that the sample policy allowed for nearly all advertising and the current policy allows for no advertising.

Director Rodney Cotton suggested creating a subcommittee with board members and administrators to work on a new policy. Then, Fremont Middle School sixth grader Aaron Winn talked to the board about how he had watched three movies for the final week of instruction and only two of his instructors were still teaching courses.