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News In Brief

Indy council supports muffled engines

INDEPENDENCE — The Independence City Council voted unanimously to submit a resolution supporting the Oregon Marine Board’s action on unmuffled engines on the Willamette River.

Boating activity has increased on the Willamette in the Independence area as more people use the Independence boat ramp, economic development director Shawn Irvine said at the Feb. 14 council meeting.

“As with most of these types of problems, there are probably a few bad actors responsible for most of the complaints (of noisy boats),” Irvine said. “The Marine Board’s rulemaking would give local and regional law enforcement better tools to ensure compliance and coexistence with other river users.”

Independence Police Chief Bob Mason said he thinks the tool would be helpful.

“I could see us in the future getting involved in some of this if it affects our riverfront,” he said.

Councilor Kathy Martin-Willis said that, especially with the hotel and residential units being developed at Independence Landing, it may help to have more enforcement for loud boat engines.

The Marine Board is taking public comment on the issue through Feb. 28. For more information: www.oregon.

gov/OSMB, Agency info, rulemaking and public notices.

Dallas district moves to improve ELL

DALLAS — The Dallas School District has established a plan to improve its English Language Learner program in response to the state labeling it a “target” district.

Dallas received the designation in the Oregon Department of Education’s ELL report released last year.

Target district status means the state has determined Dallas’ ELL program needs work, though not to the extent “transformation districts” require. Dallas will be listed as a target district for four years and receive assistance during that time.

Steve Martinelli, the district’s director of instructional services, said he still isn’t sure why the district was designated as a target district.

“We spent many, many, many days trying to determine the data they used to indicate we were that struggling in this program,” he said.

He said district officials stopped searching and decided to simply take the money to use to improve its program.

The state is providing $90,000 that the district will use to implement a three-part plan. Martinelli said most of it be used for professional development and allow teachers to spend time implementing new techniques in the classroom. The second step is to purchase new curriculum, and the third part is to engage ELL families.

The state will re-evaluate the program and, if there’s enough improvement, it will remove the target designation.

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