As the years tick by, one thing is certain: change comes regularly—and often in the blink of an eye. The Independent has undertaken to track those changes and offer the following review, just in case these were events that you’d like to remember though there are probably some you’d rather forget. Not everything that happened was pleasant and not all will be long remembered, but we include some of the events that shaped life in the Upper Rogue area.
As 2012 began, we said a sad farewell to the Premier West bank in Shady Cove. It was one of eleven branches that made an exit in the Northwest area. Shady Cove also said farewell to council person Lois Holland, after she had served many years in that capacity. Lois also left another familiar role as well, namely that of playing Mrs. Claus during the Christmas events in town. She remained as president of Board of the Charter school in Prospect, having raised several foster children, many of whom attended classes there.
For the good part of the spring, Prospect school board meetings were filled with angst, as parents squared off with the board and with Principal Jennifer Pettit. According to some parents, charges were filed against the Principal, though no official disposition has been made of the case.
It was also farewell to Bunny Lincoln, Eagle Point City Planner, who retired after many years in City Hall. Bunny retired near the end of February, but has remained in the area and continues to participate in a number of local events. A less familiar name, Dena Roberts also left city hall after a number of years there. She left to be closer to family on the east coast. Reported in the pages of the Independent, Nancy Leonard was involved in burying a time capsule in Centennial plaza which will be reopened sometime when the next generation of Eagle Pointers inhabits the city.
City administrator Dave Hussell retired and was replaced by Henry Lawrence who came to Eagle Point from Ontario Oregon. With so many changes in city hall, the face of Eagle Point has changed as well.
In February, five Butte Falls students qualified for the FBLA at the state level after 15 of the 20 competing in Klamath Falls received ribbons in that competition.
Ashley Long of Eagle Point ingested Helium at a party in Medford and that resulted in her death. Once thought to be a funny way to amuse friends, the young lady took her turn and lasted just long enough for medical teams to transport her to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. It was a shock and hopefully a wake-up call as well.
Randy and Kathy Sell of Eagle Point received Scouting’s highest volunteer award during a ceremony in Jacksonville. The couple earned the coveted Silver Beaver award, following many years of service to the Boy Scouts. Henry Lawrence officially took over the reins from Dave Hussell in Early April, signaling another change for the City. Lawrence quickly familiarized himself with the city and established himself as someone that pays close attention to detail.
In March, one of the patriarchs in Agricultural education, Mel Morris, was stricken with a stroke that left him paralyzed on the left side. Since that time, he has improved, partly, no doubt, to the positive attitude and the fact that he works continuously to improve his range of motion. Mel was making good progress when he suffered a second stroke, but he continues to work his way through this one as well. One of his major sports in the hospital was shooting ducks off the wall with a laser light, a good way to both exercise, to improve hand-eye coordination and take it out on rival U of O fans as well.
About the time Mel was stricken, Hillside elementary school was opened for business. It was 10 years from the time the old Junior High burned and the insurance and finances were settled. Lynn Scott is principal at the new school.
After several years and much fanfare, the White City Boys and Girls club is closed. Known as the place to be for after school studies and a safe place for children, the closure was due to budget cuts in the organization. It is not the first nor will it be the last organization to make adjustments due to lack of funds.
As the excitement was building for the April 11 cutting of the ribbon on the New Hillside Elementary, another storm was building within the school district. Teachers, aides and support personnel had been negotiating for more than one year without a contract and the storm gathered as the pot was about to boil over.
Cindy Hughes becames the new city recorder for the City of Eagle Point. She had been an executive assistant for many years and brought extensive experience to the job. Before joining the city of Eagle Point, she was an executive secretary in the Jackson County Board of Commissioners office.
In May, Teachers and classified employees of District 9 struck to preserve pay and benefits. The community was divided on the issue, some on the side of the striking teachers, some opposed to the idea of the schools being shut down and the school year disrupted. For many days, the picket lines formed in front of the schools and in front of the District Offices on Royal Avenue. Many bargaining sessions went well into the waning hours of the night before breaking up, only for bargaining teams to freshen up for another round. The strikers finally returned to the classrooms, which by then had been staffed with replacement teachers. Though the union went back to work, there was still tension, persisting to this day. Recall elections were attempted first of the three board members siding with the administration, and rumors persisted that other recall ballots were calling for the removal of the other two members of the board as well.
Historic Elk Trail School became a casualty of budget cuts, over the objections of several members of the public. Talk of the school closing had been circulating for a long period before the actual event.
On June 13, ownership of the Independent changed for the first time in 30 years. Nancy Leonard, long suffering from illness, finally decided to sell the paper and enjoy what time she had left. Ralph McKechnie purchased the paper and assumed the leadership. McKechnie had been a long-time contributor to the paper and reporter.
Also in June, the graduation from Eagle Point High School went off without a hitch despite dire predictions during the strike.
Keeping with his promise to meet with local citizens, county commissioner Don Skundrick attended a town hall meeting in Butte Falls and other communities around the upper Rogue area.
Shady Cove celebrated the 75th year of existence of Spam with the usual cookouts, duck races, trolley rides and many games and tours of the city. There were also musicians and displays and, of course, spam steaks, roasts and ground meat dishes to sample.
Vintage Faire was a big success again this year. All ages enjoyed
the festivities, with the Old Time Fiddlers, the Dutch oven cook-off, quilters,
food, Trolley rides and so much more providing a wide range of events for all
Carl’s Jr. opened in Eagle Point May 24. Clay DeVette was elected president of the Eagle Point Chapter of FFA, succeeding Shae Rogers following the FFA Banquet on May 23.
Clarisse Pitto passed away May 31, creating a void in the Upper Rogue area. Clarisse was well known for her work on many projects, including the Upper Rogue historical Society.
Prospect celebrated the Mill Creek Memorial on (of all days) Memorial Day, with their famous Bed Races, numerous displays and a parade. On hand was a Bald Eagle, compliments of Wildlife Images. The Eagle has been recuperating since a gunshot had brought it down.
White City also celebrated the day with a parade through the town. It is one of the highlights in this unincorporated city.
Augustina Lewis from Eagle Point was the winner of the $1000.00 giveaway for both Eagle Point Hardware & Rental and Shady Cove Hardware & Rental. The drawing was held June 9th, after the Eagle Point store opened
Bunny Lincoln, retired planner for the city of Eagle Point, became the grand Marshall of the July 4 parade.
In a final push the boosters club was looking for the balance of funds needed to begin surfacing the field at Eagle Stadium.
Many more happenings followed during the next six months and we will visit those in the next issue.