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The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
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January 18, 2012     The New Era Paper
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January 18, 2012
 

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Page 8 VCl Jl (_ciiM| JNITV l? T. r. - January 18, 2012 -Boy Scout leader Huck Thomas, above, assists Scouts Ashton Davis of Al- bany, right, and Jeffrey Lafferty of Crawfordsville in lashing Wooden poles together during a merit badge fair Saturday hosted by Troop 395 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for troops from Linn, Lane and Benton counties. Below, Jacob Redfern of Sweet Home, left, and Taylor Cramer of Albany make belts. Below left, Colby Gregg of Albany breaks a red-hot spike with the help of Scoutmaster Jonathon Mattson. Above left, Sweet Home Junior High science teacher Liz Johnson helps John Shaver of Sweet Home handle Nero, an American alligator. The activities were aimed at connecting Scouts to experts to help them complete requirements for merit badges in a variety of areas, including drafting, electronics, Worm citizenship, railroading, coin collecting, leatherworking and more. Photos by Sean C. Morgan m Calls From page 1 had 2,001 medical calls in 2006 while running 390 fire calls, the most in Sweet Home's history. The district has had a history of increasing its call load by 200 to 300 about every three years, and then call loads stabilize at the new level. But the district broke that pattern after the last general increase in 2004, when the number of medical calls increased above 1,900 for the first time, up from 1,689 in 2003. From 2004 to 2011, the number of medical calls has been in the 1,900 to 2,000 range, while the district has recorded a little more than 200 fire calls per year, with the exception of 2006. The district call loads peaked in 2006, Beaver said, and in the past four to five years, the total number of calls has ranged around 2,100 to 2,200. Unusually, the district's call levels didn't slow down in the last three months of 2011, Beaver said. They're continuing at a fast pace so far this year too. Thirteen days into the new year, the district was pushing 80 calls. The district is handling the call loads all right, Beaver said, and he plans to keep staffing levels where they have been the past several years. "I'm not planning on reducing the work force," Beaver said, but that's subject to funding resources, which is a crapshoot these days. The district employs a fire chief, an administrative assistant, six full- time paramedic-firefighters, tUree battalion chiefs and six internt. It has three resident volunteers and about 50 regular volunteers. "Fire equipment is the best we've had in decades, and that's all because of the equipment bond we passed back in 2006." The district hasn't purchased a new ambulance since 2008, Beaver said. He is unsure whether the district can afford a new one this year, but he is planning to budget for it, purchasing it if funding permits. "Other than that, I don't have plans for budgeting any apparatus," Beaver said. The district will have toll Council begin using narrowband digital radios next year, so it will finalize the implementation of its new communication equipment this year. The Federal Communications Commission has mandated the use of narrowband to help handle the growing number of other uses for the airwaves, such as cell phones. All of the district's apparatuses have narrowband radios, and the district has many narrowband- capable portable radios, Beaver said. It still needs one radio for an ambulance and probably another half dozen portable radios. The district is ahead of many others in complying with the upcoming change, Beaver said. The fire service currently uses four frequencies, Beaver said. In the next couple of months Fire Four, one of the district's channels, will switch to narrowband to begin testing. "I'm hoping we're going to be as good as we are now," Beaver said. "I don't know that's going to be possible. We're taking a wideband and trying to maintain the same level of communications with narrowband." The narrow band technology may require more repeaters, he said. The district and others using the 9-1-1 dispatch center have already been paying for the upgrades. The district has already gone through some fairly extensive testing with Motorola, Beaver said, and they're about 96 percent sure that communications will continue working at the same level. From page 1 up by probably 10 percent year, Johnson told the council. Typical residential custom - ers, who use a 35-gallon can, have been paying $20.70 per month. They will pay $21.59 per month, an increase of 80 cents per month. If rates increased by the full consumer price index, they would have increased by $1.22 per month, Johnson said. Costs at the transfer station will increase from $18 for 500 pounds or less to $18.75. For loads greater than 500 pounds, the cost increases from $59.50 per ton to $62 per ton. Sweet Home Sanitation last raised rates within the city in 2009, when the council approved a 3.5 percent increase in residen- tial and commercial rates. The second ordinance local- izes the law against possession of less than an ounce of mari- juana. Currently, the violation is based on state law. Localizing the law allows the city to keep most of the fine, said City Attorney Robert Sny- der. Right now, all of the fines, $500, are sent to the state gov- ernment. The fine for the ordinance increased at the first of the year to a presumptive $650, Snyder said. The fine can range from $520 to $2,000. Under the ordinance, the city will send a smaller assessment, approximately $60, to the state while retaining the remainder. The ordinance allows first- time offenders to take diver- sion, and it allows the Municipal Court to suspend licenses after conviction. The ordinance will take ef- fect on Feb. 9. Present and voting for the ordinances were Marybeth An-" gulo, Mayor Craig Fentiman, Jim Gourley, Mike Hall, Greg Mahler and Scott McKee Jr. Ron Rodgers was absent. In other business, the council: Approved a request for $700 from Reece Meyers to help with his Eagle Scout project, constructing and installing.two picnic tables and two standing charcoal park grills to be used at Strawberry Park. The funds are from the Spe- cial Fun Parks and Recreation Program, and it is restricted to parks and recreation projects. The projected cost of the project is $1,600, said Commu- nity Development Director Car- ol Lewis. All other funds will be donated or supplied by Meyers. The project is scheduled to begin at the end of the month. Meyers based his project on input from Community Develop- ment staff as to what is needed in the city parks. Reappointed Bud Mather to a new two-year term on the Traffic afety Committee. His term will end on Jan. 9, 2014.