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House fire injures one, displaces family

Red Cross assists in house fire

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    Fire damages Springfield College of Beauty

    The blaze is believed to have originated in a wall thermostat

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      Commissioners vote unanimously to establish community-led performance audit committee

      The Lane County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the creation of a new independent Performance Audit Committee on Tuesday, January 12. Three members of the public will make up the majority of the committee. Two commissioners will also sit on the committee. The Board of Commissioners is expected to discuss the selection process for the public members of the committee at its January 26 meeting. The new Performance Audit Committee replaces the temporary audit committee that met six times in 2015 and recommended the new committee structure. Commissioners also approved the temporary audit committee’s recommendation for a new set of policies for the performance audit program. “Having a citizen-majority audit committee watch over the auditor and advise the Board of Commissioners will help ensure the auditor is independent,” said Commissioner Pat Farr. “The committee is also responsible for making sure the program functions well.” A performance auditor reviews programs to provide fair information regarding the degree to which programs and services are effective. The aim is to improve the organization. The Board of Commissioners hired Shanda Miller as Lane County’s performance auditor in early 2015. The county hired its first performance auditor in 1986. The position was vacant between 2010 and 2015. In 2014, Commissioners decided to bring back the performance auditor position. Policies for the performance audit function were last updated in 1986. The performance auditor’s priorities for the first half of 2016 are to review the financial health of the County, review mental health services, and implement an anonymous hotline for County employees to report suspected fraud, waste, and abuse.

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        Dutch Bros. incident leaves police questions

        By Darcy Wallace After a spate of burglaries at a Thurston-area Dutch Bros. coffee stand Dec. 10, 16 and 23, a similar incident Jan. 11 leaves police with questions. According to Springfield Police sergeant Rich Charboneau, the last five weeks have yielded four incidents at Dutch Bros., but an in-progress robbery downtown Jan. 11 was the first time anyone had seen a potential suspect. It’s not known whether these are related or separate incidents. But on Monday, according to Springfield Police an employee arrived to work 4:16 a.m. at the drive-through kiosk at 222 South 5th Street, and that employee approached interrupted a burglary in progress. The employee startled the suspect who was inside the business building, police said. The suspect in turn made a threatening gesture with an undisclosed object, placing the employee in fear of serious physical injury. The suspect then fled, getting into a vehicle waiting about a block away to the south, Springfield Police reported. The only description of the suspect Jan. 11 was of a white male in his 30s or 40s, wearing a black “hoodie” sweatshirt. The vehicle he fled in was described as a gray compact sedan, similar to a Ford Focus. The male also left with an undisclosed amount of cash, police said. At the three incidents in December, all were reported at the Thurston Dutch Bros. where an employee discovered the business broken into. So far, police have not made any arrests, according to Charboneau. “This is the first event (at recent Dutch. Bros locations) where a suspect had been seen,” said Keith Seanor of Springfield Police. “The previous incidents in Springfield were burglaries and discovered after the fact.” Police asked anyone who may have information to contact the Springfield Police Department Investigations Bureau at 541-726-3721.

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          Lively sends 2016 update

          John Lively sent out a newsletter on what he sees as the most pertinent issues facing the Oregon legislature.

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            State of Lane County Address

            State of the County Commissioner Jay Bozievich January 4, 2016 Please stand for the presentation of the colors and remain standing for our national anthem Citizens, elected officials, friends: Thank you for coming to hear the state of Lane County. First I would like to recognize the other elected officials and public servants in the audience who are also responsible for the wellbeing of our county. I want to thank the Elmira High School Choir even though they had to cancel due road conditions in the outlying areas of the district like Walton and Noti. I would also like to thank Tanna Stafford from Junction City High School for providing that stirring rendition of our national anthem and the Veneta Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall for presenting the colors. I specifically asked for veterans to present the colors to highlight our progress in serving veterans over the last year. Commissioner Farr began that effort as chair in 2014 when he joined with mayors Piercy and Lundberg for Operation 365 – an ambitious effort to house 365 veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in a single year. That is an effort that our Board supports, along with a renewed focus on identifying long-term solutions to poverty and homelessness. I am proud to say that although we are still putting the numbers together, it appears that Commissioner Farr, Mayor Piercy and Mayor Lundberg have been successful in that ambition and we are on target to achieve our goal. Congratulations to you and your partners! I began 2015 by announcing that it would be a year focused on resilience. Resilience is defined as “the capacity or ability to recover from, or adjust easily to, disaster, misfortune or change.” Most people think of infrastructure like bridges and roads when they think of resilience, especially after the publicity of the New Yorker article on the Oregon Resilience Plan and the pending Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami. Resilience is more than that. It is also about organizational and financial systems that have the capacity to withstand upheaval and uncertainty. It is about building a diverse economy that will weather downturns in a single sector. It is about developing a sense of community, so that folks will be ready to care for one another if times turn difficult. Lane County has continued to build resilience throughout 2015. Our citizens and staff have worked together improving systems, implementing innovative ideas, working collaboratively, and strengthening our community. I have already mentioned the collaborative effort between the County, the City of Eugene and the City of Springfield in housing veterans so that they are more prepared to deal with the change that life after service brings. Our Veterans Service Officers in Health and Human Services also provided service to 5,113 clients, 833 of those clients were served by our rural outreach in the cities of Florence, Cottage Grove and Oakridge. Our Veterans Service Officers connected their clients to new benefits valued at almost nine ($9) million dollars annually and one-time retroactive compensation of seven ($7) million dollars in Fiscal Year 14/15. The total compensation and payments received the federal fiscal year of 2014 for all veterans and their families in Lane County was over one hundred forty million dollars ($140 million) – the highest of any county in Oregon! Let me repeat that, after reminding everyone that Lane County is fourth in population in Oregon and the largest county has more than twice our population. Lane County has the highest compensation and benefits for our veterans of any county in Oregon! In Lane County we work hard for those that served our country so they receive the benefits they have earned and to lead a more resilient and fulfilling life. I would like to ask all of the veterans and active duty personnel present to please stand so that we can thank you one more time for your service to our country. A healthy community is also more resilient and Lane County along with our partners at Trillium did much in 2015 to improve access to health care for our most vulnerable citizens. We opened our sixth primary care clinic, less than 18 months after opening our fifth clinic. The Delta Oaks Clinic provides space for six primary care providers and will co-locate a behavior health specialist – continuing our efforts to integrate mental health services with physical health services. County staff was able to go from concept and grant award to opening in less than eight months, on time and under budget! Our Health and Human Services Department continues to expand behavioral health services and integrate them into not only our physical health system but also into our criminal justice system. This year the Board approved the Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice System Plan that provides a blueprint to intervene and provide mental health services as early as possible to those in the criminal justice system and get them the treatment needed rather than house them at greater expense in our jail or the state prison system. The Public Safety Coordinating Council and the Board approved a budget and grant applications under the new Oregon Justice Reinvestment Act to provide mental health and addiction treatment diversion programs to those involved in the criminal justice system as well as re-entry programs that will prevent recidivism. Our continued efforts to improve mental health outreach and to divert…

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              Springfield man killed in crash near Veneta

              A Springfield man died in a fatal vehicle crash Dec. 25 southeast of Veneta.

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                City seeks waste water commission applicants

                The Springfield City Council is seeking applications from citizens interested in serving on the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission.

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                  Tracking ID UA-67277954-1