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Adapt will provide mental health services for Roseburg School District

A recently signed agreement with Adapt will make way for mental health services for students in the Roseburg School District.

The memorandum of understanding between the school district and Adapt was approved by the school board at its board meeting on Aug. 8 and was signed Tuesday by Adapt officials, paving the way for it to provide core mental health services to students in the district.

The district will make referrals to the school mental health therapist, and Adapt will do assessments, individual and limited family therapy, group therapy, skills training, clinical consultation, medication referrals and crisis response in cases of self harm, suicide or threats to others.

Rick Barton, the director of student services for Roseburg Public Schools, said district officials actively pursued bringing mental health services back into the school district because of the growing need.

“We think by having mental health therapists in the schools, it eliminates a lot of the potential to not be able to get services due to transportation, and it’s more readily available for students that were typically unable to reach meetings,” Barton said.

The projected need is for eight full time therapists, but the district will only be able to get half that number to start the year and will increase it to eight as recruiting allows.

The school year will begin with 1.5 full-time equivalent therapists assigned to Roseburg High School, a part-time person at Rose Elementary School, Fremont Middle School and Jo Lane Middle School. The district will also have a part-time person at Fullerton IV Elementary, which is a site that has some of the district’s specialized programs. There will also be a part-time person at Fir Grove Elementary because of a significant upswing in service needs, Barton said.

Adapt CEO Greg Brigham said what he likes about the program is that it puts the therapists where the kids are.

“It’s important, and there’s a greater need than is currently being served with expanding general capacity and it’s also making access easier by providing it in a setting where kids normally conduct their daily life,” Brigham said.

Roseburg School District Interim Superintendent Robert Freeman said the challenge is to get licensed therapists to come to the area, but he agreed that the need is definitely there. But he added that it’s a nationwide problem, not just in Douglas County.

“We’re asking teachers to continue the rigor of trying to teach academics, and due to lack of qualified personnel to deal with mental health needs, they’re having to try to teach the rigorous academics to students while students are struggling with their own mental health needs so as a district we recognize that to support the entire child we need to tend to their mental health needs as well as their academic needs, and this is an attempt to do that,” Freeman said.

The contract has already started as of Aug. 8, and the district plans to add more therapists as Adapt is able to hire more people.

Adapt will bill insurance and responsible parties for the mental health services that are provided for the students and their families.

“That includes Oregon Health Plan and private insurance,” Barton said. “The funds received from those services should equitably offset the cost of the mental health therapists within the school.”

Barton said in the start-up phase, the district could have a shortfall between funds received for services and the cost of the staff providing the services, until there are enough cases to cover the cost, but when the program is up to full speed, they hope the insurance payments will cover the cost.

The contract is for a year, and will automatically renew in one year increments unless terminated with 60 days written notice.

Ready for release

It’s almost noon and Diana Wales has to run.

She’s got a delivery of 500 fish waiting at her doorstep that will soon be food for the baby green herons taking up residence in her guest bathroom.

Wales found herself the caretaker of more than a dozen birds after hearing a couple years ago that green herons had been nesting in downtown Roseburg.

With long, pointy beaks and an upright tuft of white feathers on the top of their heads, the birds look like something prehistoric.

Wales, who is the president of the Umpqua Valley Audubon Society, decided to do a pub crawl and green heron bird watch downtown last year, and again this spring.

“It was just very fun, and amusing and cool,” Wales said.

She made up flyers with tips on what to do if you encounter one of the birds. She said people wanted to do the right thing, but didn’t always know what that was.

“And what is it? A chicken? A pterodactyl?” Wales laughed.

But her flyers worked.

“Then in August (last year) I started getting calls from people seeing juveniles running around downtown,” Wales said.

She called up Umpqua Wildlife Rescue, but they had no one to help rehabilitate them. So she took the job upon herself. She took a class with the rescue group earlier this year and learned the proper ways to rehabilitate wildlife.

“We’ve had 16 birds this season, and each one we’ve done something different,” Wales said. “We’re learning as we go.”

Inside her home, Wales has two dog kennels stacked on top of each other. Inside, the herons’ heads are thrown back, their speckled bodies perfectly still.

“I’m invisible, I blend in totally with the environment. You cannot see me,” Wales joked about the birds’ stillness.

At first she started feeding the birds bait fish, then she had to figure out how to get live fish so the birds could acclimate to what they’d be eating in the wild.

Wales said Petco was the only place in town that stocked the feeder fish, but didn’t have the amount she would need.

“They need 60 fish per day, per bird. They don’t stock that,” Wales said.

So, she ordered some fish on the internet from Missouri.

On Friday, 1,000 little, orange fish were swimming in a plastic bag inside of a blue tote on her porch, acclimating to the water.

Wales is trying to keep the bird food from going belly up.

The high temperatures have been an issue, and an earlier shipment of fish was sent to Indianapolis instead of Wales’ home. When she did get the shipment, many of the fish had already died.

Once Wales gets to a point where the birds have done all the rehab they’re going to do at her house, she takes them over the Brenda Weber’s.

Weber is with Umpqua Wildlife Rescue and has been mentoring Wales as she takes on the heron endeavor.

The women put the herons into an outdoor flight cage that Weber has at her house. In a small pool, they release the fish.

Weber said she’s done some heron rehab in the past, but “Nobody has done it with the intensity and interest that they have,” she said referring to Wales.

The Umpqua Wildlife Rescue is a group of wildlife rehabilitators that are licensed by the state and federal government to do their work.

Weber said the organization is an umbrella that supports local rehabilitators with things like food, caging and veterinary care.

She said the herons have been nesting in town for years as the parents keep returning to the same area.

The women are hoping the birds that are released will find a new nesting ground. Wales has several release sites picked out, including Ford’s Pond in Sutherlin and two sites along the Umpqua Rivers.

“I’m getting hooked on this,” Wales said.

Umpqua Wildlife Rescue’s hotline is 541-440-6895.

CCegavske / Contributed photo 

Kristi Rifenbark

Alyssa McConnel throws hat in ring for Douglas County commissioner

The former director of the Downtown Roseburg Association, Alyssa McConnel, filed Tuesday to run for Douglas County commissioner.

She’s the eighth to file for the seat, which was vacated by Gary Leif. Leif is now the interim representative for state House District 2.

McConnel said she wants to be commissioner because she has a passion for public service.

“I like listening to the people and acting on it, and I want good things for Douglas County,” she said.

She said Douglas County has a revenue problem and she believes new ideas can lead to new revenue sources. She said government contracts need to be looked at closely and there may be new ways to make money off county-owned land. She also said she has the energy to be “super transparent” with the public.

The more the government is open with the people about its process, its budget and its spending, the more trust people have in the government, she said.

“Right now we kind of lack trust in government bodies,” she said.

McConnel said she’s been staying up late at night Googling ideas for how to fix the county’s budget problems. She said she’d like to see the county make more effort to publicize and explain the different county job descriptions, meetings and committees on social media so that younger people can figure out what the county is doing and become more engaged. She said working to restore federal timber harvests is important, but said it’s also important for the county not to get tunnel vision.

She said the county also needs “plans B, C, D, E and F” for improving the economy. She also suggested county commissioners should reach out to successful counties in other places to see how their governments make money.

McConnel was ousted as director of the Downtown Roseburg Association in April. Ninety business owners and employees subsequently signed a petition supporting her. Documents from the Oregon Employment Department later revealed she had been fired after making comments critical of the city of Roseburg. She had questioned whether the DRA was getting a good deal in its contract with the city to provide parking enforcement downtown.

McConnel said she brought a lot of volunteers and new revenue in for the DRA while she was its director. And she attended Roseburg City Council meetings “almost religiously” for the last two years while she served as the DRA director. She was also formerly on the Myrtle Creek Chamber of Commerce board, a member of the Myrtle Creek Parks Commission and a salesperson at The News-Review.

She said her experience shows she has energy and a commitment to motivating people that sets her apart from the other candidates. She said she doesn’t want to be a politician.

“My goal is just to be the leader that Douglas County deserves,” she said.

Sheriff's office looking for men who burglarized deceased war veteran's home

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is looking for two men who burglarized the Glide home of a deceased war hero last month.

After investigating, deputies learned that Soren Sorenson, 41, of Glide, and a man named “Matt” were responsible for the burglary and theft of knives, ammunition, fishing gear and campaign ribbons belonging to Maj. Gen. Marion E. Carl of the United States Marine Corps.

Neither men have been found.

Deputies first began investigating the burglary on July 22 and developed leads on Aug. 2. After visiting two Glide residences, deputies found evidence related to the burglary and were led to the location of the stolen fishing gear.

Kalianna Gilkey-Sorensen, 19, Brady Anderson-Vierra, 20, and Kelly Crawford, 56, all of Glide, were arrested and charged with theft by receiving.

The campaign ribbons and knives have not been recovered.

Carl — the namesake of the Roseburg airport — was a World War II fighter pilot in the Pacific.

He received numerous medals including the Navy Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merit and Air Medal.

In 1998, he was murdered inside of his home during a robbery.

The man responsible for his death for his death was sentenced to life in prison in 2015.

The Glide home remained in possession of Carl’s family, and still housed personal items, war memorabilia and medals.

One of the stolen knives was described as having the major general’s name inscribed on it.

The sheriff’s office is asking anyone with information on the location of the campaign ribbons, knives, Soren Sorensen or “Matt” to contact the sheriff’s office at 541-440-4471.