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Glide nonprofit contemplating possibility of community recreation park

GLIDE — Glide Revitalization, a nonprofit organization that has played a key role in helping the community’s recovery from last summer’s Archie Creek Fire, is mulling the possibility of developing a family recreational facility on often-unused property owned by the Glide School District.

The nonprofit, which currently has its offices in the old Glide Middle School main building, produced a rough mock-up using an aerial photo of what it would like to do with the athletic fields below the high school. The area stretches from the Glide Rural Fire Protection District offices to Alexander Lane and from the high school to the old middle school parking lot along Glide Loop Road.

The idea includes renovating the long-ignored tennis courts near Alexander Lane into a combination pickle-ball/racquetball facility, adding an outdoor pavilion with restrooms, a public splash pad, a pre-kindergarten and childcare playground, batting cages near four new baseball fields, a football field, a ropes course, and a tiered amphitheater along the hillside which leads up to the high school.

Glide Revitalization Executive Director Allison Doty said that the preliminary ideas were just that: ideas.

“This is not a true proposal,” Doty said Tuesday. “We’re still really far away.

“The school board asked what we might be able to put on the property, and we got dimensions of different items for what we could do,” she said. “We haven’t done any community studies or feasibility studies.”

While Glide Revitalization had been seeking a grant for funding that would help get the development process off the ground, that grant was denied as the nonprofit does not own the property. The nonprofit is entertaining the thought of a long-term lease with the school district — which owns the property — to kickstart a potential development plan.

“We’re going to need a longer-term lease to get the grant approval, and we won’t have another opportunity to apply for another six to nine months,” Doty said.

Glide School Board chair Bret Davis said the board first heard about the nonprofit’s idea at a Dec. 14 work session.

“They approached us about their current lease (of the middle school property) and were possibly looking at extending that,” Davis said Wednesday night. “There are still a lot of questions. Because of the short timeline, it’s been 11 days since we saw the proposal. We’re still working on answers to a lot of those questions.”

“This is still all speculative,” Doty added.

The Glide School Board has another work session scheduled for Jan. 11, which Davis said, “may be nothing. Who knows?”

Roseburg man created, and poses in, Christmas nativity scene

Six years ago, Melton Hefner of Roseburg felt called to create a full-sized nativity scene in his front yard.

The first year, he put a baby Jesus in a manger inside the stable he’d built. The second year, he created a couple of wise men and a camel from plywood.

This year, he retired and had time to make all the other characters, Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and all.

Each year, he himself joins the display dressed as a wise man in a costume his wife Darcy Hefner sewed for him out of cloth they picked up at Goodwill. They created his crown by wrapping a crown-shaped round piece with cloth and adding rhinestones from the Michaels craft store.

“The original idea was to build the manger and get the neighbors to come over and dress up. I think nothing of dressing up like a wise man, but apparently, the neighbors didn’t want to sit out there dressed up in the cold, rain or snow. I ended up kind of being the only one,” he said.

Starting at the beginning of December, Hefner poses with his nativity scene at his home at 472 W. Berdine St. once a week in the early evening, from 5:30 to 7:30 or 8 p.m. In the days leading up to Christmas, he goes out every evening.

This year, though, the neighbor across the street has joined him. Diane Nicolay dresses up in an angel costume she had from a play she’d been in years ago.

Hefner built the characters out of 3/4 inch plywood. He brings up a picture online of a camel or wise man, or whatever he’s making. Then he draws out the image onto a piece of plywood and cuts it out.

“Then I just sit in my garage there and paint them for hours at a time,” he said.

Lights shine on the display at night.

When people stop to look, he hands them small scrolls he’s made with Bible verses about the Christmas story and candy canes.

He said often people thank him for creating the nativity scene. It’s more than the usual lights on a house, he said.

“It’s the real, true meaning of Christmas,” he said.

He often asks the kids who stop at the nativity if they know the story of Jesus’s birth. Frequently, he said, they don’t.

To Hefner, the story means everything. It’s one of the central tenets of the Christian faith, that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary and laid in a manger because there was no room in the inn.

“We have to keep telling the story, otherwise the story’s just going to go away,” he said.

Douglas County averages 25 COVID-19 cases per day, vaccination numbers see spike

The Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team is reporting 128 new positive and nine presumptive cases of the coronavirus, as well as a significant bump in the percentage of county residents who have completed or at least begun the vaccination process, according to Wednesday’s report.

In past weeks, only vaccination doses issued through from state had been tracked among Oregon counties’ vaccination status by population, while federally provided doses — most specifically on tribal lands and at veterans care facilities — had been excluded.

As of Tuesday, the Oregon ALERT IIS tracking system updated that federal dosage data with local data, which provided a near 12% jump in Douglas County residents who have at least started the vaccination process.

The new ALERT IIS chart added 14,642 uncounted federally provided doses to Douglas County’s vaccination chart, which increased the county’s partial vaccination rate for all county residents age 18 and older to an estimated 72.5%. The additional federal vaccines added for Douglas County were nearly equal to the rest of Oregon’s 36 counties combined.

“For many weeks, we have endured repeated questions from the public and media about, ‘Why we were so far behind?’ the county said in its Wednesday report. “This new report clears up the discrepancy and provides the validation of our actual vaccination data we have been waiting for since the beginning of the vaccine rollout.”

Umatilla (9,022) and Jefferson counties (4,768) also saw sizable increases in the addition of federal doses administered. However, for Douglas County to reach its goal of having 80% of residents 18 and older fully vaccinated, there are still an estimated 6,932 residents who would need to start the vaccination process, which on the county’s daily average would take another 254 days. according to data from ALERT IIS.

As for the county’s most recent cases, there were 128 new confirmed positive COVID-19 tests and nine presumptive positives. Two deaths were reported while one was rescinded as it was inadvertently reported twice by Oregon Vital Records.

The two new deaths included a 52-year-old man who was fully vaccinated and a 76-year-old man who was unvaccinated.

A total of 22 county residents were hospitalized due to complications from the coronavirus, 19 locally and three out of the area. At CHI Mercy Medical Center, the past week saw an average of five COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit and three in the progressive care unit.