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The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
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September 19, 2012     The New Era Paper
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September 19, 2012
 

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- September 19, 2012 Your COMMUNITV Page 5. .a mana pl By Sean C. Morgan Of The New Era The U.S. Forest Service Sweet Home Ranger District will complete a final draft of its Cool Soda restoration and management plan at the end of the month, o The document will be available for view- ing atthe Ranger District office on Oct. 1. The Ranger District will host a field trip to the Cool Soda area in October, so that members of the planning group and the public can view the area with plan in hand. A draft of the plan was presented on Aug. 21, and officials are preparing the final draft for presentation to the public. Following the pre- sentation, the plan will enter the National Envi- ronmental Policy Act process, giving the public the opportunity to comment on the plan. The draft is the result of a series of meet- ings with members of the public, Cascade Tim- ber Consulting, conservation organizations and various agencies, cooperatively developing plans for the Soda Fork drainage area, which is owned by the Forest Service and private in- terests, primarily the Hill family, whose land is managed by CTC. "There are a lot of things we can do, but instead, they'll be connected with the private land," said Sweet Home District Ranger Cindy Glick. Those pal:ticipating in the meeting ex- amined the current conditions of the land and identified the benefits that can be drawn from it. Based on that information, they developed proposed projects to be included in the plan. CTC is already working on plans using an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife grant to enhance wildlife habitat, which also will help protect seedlings in the Soda Fork area, by planting vegetation favored by deer and elk. CTC isn't bound by the same regulations that bind the Forest Service, Glick said. so it can implement things more quickly. Other possible projects include trails, protecting lands of interest to Native Ameri- can tribes and harvesting timber and other for- est products, such as bear grass and firewood, which could help fund restoration projects. Still others include the removal of noxious weeds, replacement of undersized culverts and hauling away sidecast to stable waste areas. "What we're hoping is that we'll gener- ate all kinds of different work," Glick said. The plan involves tending the forest as well as get- ting forest products output from the land. The plan will enter the NEPA process in October and November. The Forest Service will host a field trip to the Cool Soda area in October. Members of the public will have the op- portunity to comment then, Glick said. "Hope- nearing final draft stag Photo by Scott Swanson This view, from the top of Iron Mountain, shOws portions of the Cool Soda area. Particularly evident are the clear-cut Cascade Timber Consulting land several miles to the west of the mountain. fully, they'll like it." CTC, has "been outstanding working with us," The process was meant to involve the peo- Glick said. "I think it's been inspiring having pie, agencies, conservation groups, research- worked With all these different people." ers, industry groups and citizens, who would For more information about the process normally comment and address their concerns or to view the plan when complete, contact the and desires. Sweet Home Ranger District at (541) 367-5168 The major property manager in the area, or stop by the office at 4431 Hwy. 20. From page 1 Canfield said one reason for her appearance at the trustees meeting was a scheduled board discussion of raises for district administrators - which ended up being tabled to give Board Chairman Jason Redick a chance to discuss it with high school Principal Keith Winslow. Canfield noted that, while the teachers received step wage increas- es in their contract, ratified in June, and Schrader was given a 1 percent raise in August, classified employees agreed in contract negotiations last spring "to take no steps because they told us they had no money." But the union proceeded under the understanding that employees who qualified for health insurance benefits would continue to receive those benefits, she said. Instead, the district has reduced the hours of five employees who were taking full- time insurance benefits, removing their eligibility for such benefits. Schrader said the district and union "weren't in agreement" on the interpretation of the meaning of 6˝ hours when the school year started. Part of the problem; he said, is that the contract with the union was written when the school week was 40 hours• Some employees, he said, were confused over whether insur- ance is based on hours per day or hours per week. The district's posi- tion is that it is the latter. "If we had a person that works only two days a week for 14 hours at seven hours per day, should they receive full coverage?" he asked• "Another person who works four days a week, six hours a day, only gets 75 percent. That just doesn't make sense• It's total hours per week, not per day." Canfield agreed that there is a difference in interpretation. "We interpret it to be by the day because that's what the contract states," she said, adding that she is not aware of any classified em- ployees who only work two days a week. "We calculate by how many hours we work per day. Insurance has never been calculated based on the week. That's where the hang-up ance coverage. is. It comes down to interpretation of "From the very beginning we what we're talking about•" said this isn't going to affect any- Canfield said the contract states body's insurance, we haven't taken that employees must work at least 6 anybody's insurance away. If they 1/2 hours per day - 26 hours a week qualified last year, they qualify this - for the district to completely cover year. If we paid 100 percent last the cost of their insurance benefits, year, we're paying 100 percent this Those who work between five and year. If they had full coverage last 6.4 hours per day qualify for 75 per- year, they should still have full cov- cent coverage of premiums by the erage this~year. district, and those who work four "If Velma knows of an em- to 4.9 hours qualify for 50 percent ployee whose insurance has been coverage, reduced, I'll look into .that." She said those who don't qual- Canfield promised that the ify for full coverage were, last year, union will bring up the insurance able to pay the increased personal issue when contract talks start next costs of their insurance by working year. the extra day. She said the district "This will be a hot topic when initially agreed to let employees in we go to negotiations in spring," she that situation work an extra half hour said. "This is the one issue we could a day so they could qualify for full not agree on in in-term bargaining coverage. Of the approximately 15 people she knows of who fall into that cat- egory, five were actually expected to enroll, she said. As of last Friday, The Sweet Home Planning one of them isn't taking health in- Commission will meet with the City surance at all because that employee Council Oct. 2 to discuss a proposed lost a day's wages and didn't get the outdoor lighting ordinance that has extra half hour they were promised, been a particular interest of Planning she said. Commissioner Eva Jurney. That employee would have had Planning Director Carol Lewis to pay another $590 per month to said commissioners, in their month- have insurance with a $1,000 de- ly meeting on Sept. 10, considered a ductible, final draft of the proposed ordinance "This is the part that kills me," that would encourage energy con- Canfield said. "All the district had to servation, moderate glare and "light do was pay $12,900 and we wouldn't trespass," and reduce the amount of be having this issue right now." light shining into the sky at night. Shrader said he talked to an She said the issue arose from employee last week whose hours "citizen concern about neighbor- had been cut before last school year, hood lights," particularly from Jur- from 100 percent to 75 percent of ney, who asked the city to consider full-time. This year her daily hours an ordinance regulating nighttime went up, though her weekly hours lighting before she joined the corn- were reduced. The question was mission• whether she qualified for more in- In her case, light from a neigh- surance coverage, boring property shines into Jurney's "That's a different scenario," windows, Lewis said. he said. "In that case I- kind of feel Another consideration is the like it wasn't because of the four-day so-called "Dark Sky" movement, school week but because of other is- "a fairly big national movement of sues. I'll get to the bottom of those folks who want to make the skies issues." dark at night again," she said. Canfield said the outcome will The ordinance, as it currently be the result of how the district in- stands, would also require that out- terprets the contract, door lighting be installed in a man- Schrader said the district is not ner that locates the beams within going to reduce employees' insu.l'- last spring. We told the district that the unions." we were going to live by the lan- In her address to the board, guage of our contract. Canfield also blasted the move to "The district is making moneya four-day school week, which the off the people who don't take insur- union has opposed from the begin- ance. It seems silly to me that we ning. She called it"an almost unilat- even have to have this conversa- eral decision." tion." She said "a majority of local Union members, along with residents stated clearly in the sur- • employees represented by other lo- veys that were done that there was cal unions, met with Oregon Labor no interest in Shortening the school' Commissioner Brad Avakian on week, thereby shortening our chil- Tuesday, Sept. 11, for a picnic at dren's' educational opportunities. Ashbrook Park, for a pre-election "We are here tonight to tell rally, you enough is enough. This school Avakian is running for re-elec- board and the current superintendent tion against state Sen. Bruce Starr. have made decisions in the last few Canfield said the meeting was "re- months regarding the educational ally an eye-opener," adding that she opportunities for the children in our came away with the perspective that community that we believe will have Starr "wants to do right-to-work, an extremely negative impact on our like they did in Wisconsin - break children and our community." Planners, council to meet over lighting ordinance the property in which the fixture is located, that unshielded lights be limited to less than 1,800 lumens (the amount produced by a 120-watt incandescent bulb), opaque tops or shields for lights with aa output of 1,500 lumens or more to prevent up-lighting, and adjustment of mo- tion detector lights so they cannot be triggered by movement outside the property on which they are located. It would prohibit ground- mounted or mobile searchlights, continuously flashing lights, other than for temporary lighting, or any lighting that might be confused with emergency, warning or traffic signal lighting. Lewis saLd the proposed ordi- nance raises some difficult issues, such as how to control "light tres- pass." "When you talk about light trespass, how do you stop light from crossing a property line?" she asked. "It just seems unreasonable to some of us - how do you stop light?" If the council is interested in proceeding after the workshop, which will be at 7 p.m. on Oct. 2 in the City Council chambers, Lewis said "full-blown" public hearings would be held at both the Planning Commission and City Council lev- els. RPH Mon.- Fri. 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday 9 a.rn. - I p.m.