PSA: SNAP benefits, grants, school board vacancy

New rule to curtail SNAP benefits

A new federal rule, finalized Dec. 5, could affect nearly 4,500 Supplemental Nutrition Program recipients in Linn County. 

The rule will restrict states’ ability to allow certain adults to receive benefits for more than three months in a three-year period if they aren’t working or training at least 20 hours a week.

The change is expected to affect 700,000 SNAP recipients nationally once it takes effect in April.

Oregon, like most states, has used waivers to extend benefits for longer than three months to a group of SNAP recipients known as “able-bodied adults without dependents” if they live in areas with high unemployment and limited job opportunities. 

That group includes individuals ages 18 through 49 who don’t have disabilities, don’t have children or other dependents and are considered able to work.

Oregon has approved waivers for 31 counties for ABAWD work requirements, which will now expire on March 31. Federal changes to eligibility requirements for waivers will limit the areas in Oregon that meet the requirements starting April 1. As a result, this means only six counties may be eligible to receive the waiver.

Areas requesting federal waivers must have unemployment rates at least 20 percent higher than the national rate but not less than 6 percent. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates unemployment rates for people without a high school diploma or GED are often more than double average unemployment rates. 

In addition to administrating SNAP benefits, the Department of Human Services provides workforce development and training opportunities so Oregonians can secure a living-wage job. 

More information on those programs can be found here www.oregon.gov/DHS/ASSISTANCE/FOOD-BENEFITS/pages/index.aspx.

Grants available for arts, culture

The Linn County Cultural Coalition is accepting proposals for grants to fund projects that will promote and improve access to the arts, to history and local heritage, and for humanities-related activities in Linn County. 

The LCCC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization affiliated with the Oregon State Cultural Trust, a statewide entity established to promote and strengthen cultural activities in Oregon.  Through local coalitions such as Linn County’s, it distributes funding to all 36 Oregon counties and nine federally recognized Native American tribes. 

The coalition may allocate up to $18,000 for grants in this funding cycle. Grants typically range between $250 and $2,500. Project proposals are considered on a case-by-case basis and may not be awarded the full amount requested. 

Proposals must address the arts, history and heritage, and/or humanities in a manner that promotes and protects cultural activities and assets of Linn County. 

Proposals must be submitted and signed by an authorized officer of a sponsoring 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit sponsoring organization. Organizations or individuals who do not have their own tax-exempt status may be sponsored by a nonprofit organization that does. 

The LCCC’s goal is to increase county residents’ access to rich and diverse arts, humanities and historical heritage in a manner that celebrates community pride and individuality. Its goal is to disseminate funds as widely as possible to communities throughout the county. For details, see the Linn County Cultural Plan at www.linnculture.com. 

Locally, funding from the LCCC has helped support the Lebanon Community Foundation’s Star Spangled Celebration and LAFTA productions. 

Deadline for completed applications is Feb. 7, 2020. Coalition members will review the applications and make decisions on awards within a few weeks of that date. 

Grant applications are available at www.linnculture.org and the County Parks Department, 3010 Ferry St. SW, Albany; Albany Visitors Association, 110 3rd Ave. Scio City Hall, 38957 NW 1st Ave.; KGAL radio, 36991 KGAL Drive, Lebanon; and The New Era, 1313 Main St., Sweet Home.  

They should be submitted by mail to Brian Carroll, Linn County Cultural Coalition, P.O. Box 69, Albany, OR, 97321 or dropped off at the Linn County Parks office, 3010 Ferry St. SW, Albany. 

For further information, contact: Rebecca Bond at (541) 928-0911, or Brian Carroll at (541) 967-3917 or [email protected].

School Board looking to fill vacancy

The Lebanon Community School Board is accepting applications to fill a vacancy for Zone 5. 

The position was held by Nick Brooks, who resigned last month. Zone 5 includes the following precincts: a portion of Precinct 36, a portion of  precinct 50, precinct 57, and portions of precinct 74, 88 and 108.

Candidates must reside in the Lebanon Community School District and have done so for at least one year, and candidates must be qualified voters of the District. Pursuant to Board Policy BBE, preference must be given to candidates residing within Zone 5.

The selected candidate will serve the remainder of the position’s current term through June 30, 2021 and would be eligible for reelection in May 2021 for a four-year term.

The Candidate Application Form is available at the district’s website at www.lebanon.k12.or.us or at the Office of the Superintendent at 485 S. Fifth St. Applications must be returned to the Office of the Superintendent by 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

Public interviews of candidates will be held at the School Board meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13. Candidates should plan to attend this board meeting. The board may vote to fill the vacancy during the meeting. 

For additional information or questions, contact Ruth Hopkins, executive secretary to the Superintendent/School Board, at (541) 451-8458 or [email protected].

Foundation makes grants to schools

The Lebanon Schools Foundation, in partnership with the Lebanon Community School District, has awarded nearly $9,000 in grants. 

The foundation awarded $3,500 in eight mini-grants to support innovation by teachers in the classroom. Projects include senior job fair supplies, classic novel cover design, a math and reading skills program called “they are learning but I think they are playing,” Scalawags First Robotics Team 1359, Oregon Battle of the Books, Literacy in Action, Read with Your Lab Team and Agriculture and the Natural Resources Elective Wildlife Stewardship Project.

The goal of the foundation is to benefit the children of the Lebanon Community School District by supporting and enhancing their educational experience. Applicants were required to submit a detailed project plan and budget to the foundation for consideration. 

Foundation members and Supt. Bo Yates reviewed and scored the applications and the highest scoring projects were selected for funding.  

In addition to the mini-grants, the Lebanon Schools Foundation has also awarded the following musical scholarships:

♦ Gladys Stone Wright Fund, $800 in musical instruments to Hamilton Creek School Band and Seven Oak Middle School Band.

♦ Virgil Wills Memorial Band Fund, $3,100 for  instrument repairs at all schools, some instrument supplies and music classroom sets for Lebanon High School, Hamilton Creek School and Seven Oak Middle School.

♦ Lebanon Community Chorus Music Education Fund, $2,000 to be used for four $250 scholarships to the Music In May Honor Choir Festival. It also will be used for  more instruments and music room supplies in multiple schools.

To learn more about the Lebanon Schools Foundation, please feel free to contact the Foundation at: http://lebanon.k12.or.us/our-district/lebanon-schools-foundation.