The independent. (Vernonia, Or.) 1986-current, October 07, 2004, Image 1

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

U.S. Postage Paid
Vernonia, OR 97064
Permit No. 37
Vol. 19, No. 19
“Voice of the Upper Nehalem River Valley”
October 7, 2004
Fun for Everyone!
Ordinances occupy Council
Smiling faces were seen everywhere during the Vernonia Salmon Festival on October 2.
These folks were enjoying one of two tractor-drawn hay rides that shuttled between
salmon viewing sites and festival activities. For more photos, see pages 12 and 13.
Vernonia City Council re-
pealed an ordinance, Septem-
ber 20, that would have re-
quired R&R Motors to install
sidewalks, because a survey of
lot lines found that Highway 47
encroaches onto a portion of
the R&R property. The city will
work with ODOT and the prop-
erty owner to acquire room for
Council discussed a flyer
from Waste Management that
sets new rates effective Sep-
tember 25. Discussion cen-
tered on a $3.00 charge to re-
cycle, if not paying for some
other level of disposal. Recycle
services are to be provided free
of charge as part of the regular
curbside garbage service. The
City will continue working with
Waste Management on trans-
fer station issues.
A list of surplus property was
presented and unanimously
approved as surplus so the
items can be sold via E-bay.
Ordinance 631 on rules and
regulations for the Vernonia
Airport operation was amended
to disband the Airport Commis-
sion and the position of Airport
Manager. This will bring airport
operations in line with opera-
tions of other parks and proper-
ties. A workshop is scheduled,
October 20 at 7:00 p.m., for or-
dinance review for municipal
airport park.
A timeline for filling the City
Administrator position aims to
make the final selection by the
first of December. The job has
been posted in several outlets.
Please see page 18
School board has many topics for consideration
The Vernonia School Board
meeting on September 16 had
a relatively large audience of
concerned citizens, several of
whom gave formal statements
to the board or asked questions
and made comments during
the meeting.
Rosemary Curtis read a
statement to the board chastis-
ing them for closing Lincoln
Grade School prematurely. She
told the board that it was “criti-
cal that we do something now”
and suggested that LGS be re-
opened. She said that her son
is in the “smallest, dreariest,
most crowded classroom” she
had ever visited. Curtis re-
ceived applause from the audi-
ence for her closing comment
that she was very upset about
the facility and about bullying
on the playground and was
“close to pulling her kids out [of
public school] to home school”.
Krahn asked Curtis to dis-
cuss her concerns with WGS
principal Nate Underwood. Un-
derwood told the board that he
had not received any calls from
concerned parents on these is-
sues and encouraged parents
to call him. Underwood also
said he had significantly fewer
discipline issues this year and,
that while arranging recesses
was a logistical problem, there
were more adults available be-
cause all of the staff is in one
Natalie Rombach, this year’s
student representative to the
board, said that a new method
of increasing both class unity
and school spirit is being tried
this year. Classes will earn
points for a range of activities
throughout the year, with less
focus on competition during
Safety issues
Superintendent Mike Fun-
derburg told the board he had
contacted a loss control spe-
cialist from Special Districts As-
sociation of Oregon (SDAO) to
conduct a safety-related survey
on August 17. He presented
their recommendations and re-
ported on action taken to im-
prove the safety of the facility.
The recommendations were
each assigned a priority for im-
provement related to the poten-
tial for serious injury or acci-
dent, from major priority (immi-
nent danger or potential for se-
rious injury or extensive proper-
ty damage) to minor priority
(low probability of injury or
property damage).
Three items were designat-
ed as major priorities, two of
which have been corrected.
The play structure and funnel
slide at Lincoln, initially rated as
moderate priorities, were up-
graded to major. The equip-
ment has been either moved
and correctly installed at Wash-
ington, or removed. The third
high priority item concerned the
trees in the playground. The
board agreed, August 12, with
a recommendation from the
maintenance committee and
Funderburg that the trees be
removed. As of October 1, the
trees remain.
Several risks identified as
moderate priority pertained to
construction of the concession
stand and have been correct-
ed. Others concerned shop
equipment that has now been
either repaired or disconnect-
ed. A lack of adequate house-
keeping in the weight room was
also rated as a moderate con-
cern. Funderburg said that
users were told the facility
would be closed if teachers do
not require that it be properly
Minor priorities included old
canvas fire suppression hose
cabinets, mat storage, fluores-
cent tube covers, and fencing
between the playground and
adjacent woods/roadway. Ac-
cording to Funderburg, all have
been addressed except the
fencing, due to lack of funds.
Middle School Project
Funderburg reported that
plan concepts for the new
school have been simplified,
and asked the board to set pri-
orities for what they want in the
building. Because of increased
steel prices, Funderburg said,
the size of the building has had
to be reduced. The current pro-
posal includes a cafeteria for
about 250 students, but he rec-
ommends considering room for
350 or more students, to allow
for growth. A larger cafeteria,
smaller gym, and four class-
rooms would get all students
out of the basement, he said.
Gordon Heironomous asked
about multiple use cafeteria/
gym rooms. Funderburg ex-
plained that the gym and cafe-
teria are used for different stu-
dent groups at the same time
and, though a multi-use room
works in grades K-5, it does not
work in grades 6-12. Board
member Phil Doyle said that
the board’s first priority is to get
students out of the WGS base-
ment. After that need, the board
agreed that the biggest kitchen/
conference room possible
would be the best use of avail-
able funds.
Please see page 18