Corvallis Parent: Fall Festival Kid Events, Coyle Outside Discounts Play, Free Preschool Runs Behind, Menstrual Dignity Act in Full Force

Call us biased, but we cannot wait for the Fall Festival Book Sale in the Main Meeting Room of the Linn Benton Public Library, located at 645 NW Monroe Ave.. It starts tomorrow and runs September 23-25.  

This is a great and inexpensive way to build your kiddo a library of their own with books they can enjoy throughout their lives, and then read to their own kiddos one day. Reading promotes thought and creativity, as well as offering us a well-rounded group of adults to lead the country when we’re older and busy playing Bingo.   

The Book Sale runs on Friday, Sept. 23, from 2:00-3:00 p.m. for Members only, then continues from 3:30-5:00 p.m. for the general public; on Saturday, Sept. 24, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for general public, and Sunday, Sept. 25, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for general public. Note that while the available books might be slim pickings on Sunday, they are also half price.  

You can become a library Member at the library or by clicking here.  

Fall Festival: The 49th Annual Corvallis Fall Festival is coming this weekend, and it’s a great way to welcome the cold weather with art, music, and an entire zone just for kids.  

The Art Discovery Zone includes a Young Artist Marketplace, a Kids Create area, and a Family Stage that will be rocking all weekend. Young performers, puppets, a sneak peek of “Elf” from the Majestic, and more will be gracing this stage, so there’s decidedly something for every child and every child-at-heart adult. The full schedule is here  

According to Donele Pettit-Mieding, Executive Director of the Corvallis Fall Festival, “This year’s art-making opportunity includes the NEW Kids Create collaborative installation artwork, co-sponsored by Parks & Rec. The theme this year is Kids See: The Undersea World. A couple of fantastic arts educators, Donna Jepsen-Minyard & Briana Graham, have created a beautiful ocean backdrop to which kids can add their own artwork. Once complete, the installation will be available to view in public locations in Corvallis [and] will return for us all to enjoy next year at the festival – our website will be updated with locations following the festival. Parks & Rec will join us with more art-making activities & Toyota of Corvallis will have their Art Car that families can make their mark on, as well.”  

Pettit-Mieding added, “Within over 170 art booths, kids will also find artisans who create things like unique hand-made puppets and a face-painter this year! On Saturday, they’ll enjoy perusing the Young Artist Marketplace, where kids ages 8-18 sell their own handmade creations and everything is priced below $25.” 

This Fall Festival will run September 24-25. On Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and on Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Corvallis’s Central Park, located at 650 NW Monroe Ave.  

To avoid a quagmire of traffic, the Fall Festival is offering free shuttles from Samaritan Square, located at 815 NW 9th St. for quick and easy jaunts into the festival without that search for a parking spot.  

Free for all, and fun for all. 

Parks & Recreation News: the Corvallis Parks & Rec Department is offering outdoor programming fees for 50% to 75% off their normal prices.   

With a $25,000 contribution from Coyle Outside – which was awarded a grant from Oregon Community Summer Grant Program, registration fees have been discounted to allow more kids the opportunity to play outdoor sports and experience outdoor programs.   

You can find a list of available sports and activities here.  

Promised Preschool Runs Behind: If you’re one of the many families who expected to have your child begin free preschool this September, then you are really not alone.   

The program – which was supposed to be administered by the Early Learning Division (ELD) – has been postponed due to staffing issues. It’s a common enough topic these days as most workplaces are still looking for people to fill positions, yet the level of understaffing at the Division has caused a delay for thousands of kids and continues to create chaos for parents who had planned to be back to their jobs as well.  

Launched in 2016, Preschool Promise was developed to offer free preschool to children ages three-to-four whose family lived at or below 200% of the poverty limit. According to the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMS), the annual income to be considered at the poverty level is $26,500 as of 2021 – meaning a family would need to earn $53,000 or less in a year to be eligible for free preschool.  

In 2022, the ELD took over contracting services from a larger entity, and chose to include an additional 2,000 students into its rolls. However it has yet to submit up to 248 contracts to preschool providers in the free program, saying they will get the grant agreements out as soon as possible. 

One added frustration for many parents is that they don’t have a specific date on which they can plan to have things worked out and their children in school.  

If your child is eligible for free preschool, you can look over the rules and a list of preschools made available throughout Oregon here. Upon cursory glance, the primary location available to families in Benton County is at Linn-Benton Community College in their Early Learning Hub.  

Menstrual Dignity Act Takes Fire: As many parents are probably aware, Oregon’s Menstrual Dignity Act went into effect at the start of this school year. The act requires that all K-12, college, and university bathrooms – including those marks “Boys” – have a supply of free menstrual products available for their students.  

One mother in Southern Oregon wants to overturn this law, claiming that the money spent on tampons and pads should be used for books and school supplies in K-12 schools.   

An article by OregonLive reported “the Oregon Legislative Revenue Office estimated in 2021 that the state would redirect about $5.6 million from the State School Fund in the first biennium — real money but a tiny fraction of the overall budget of $9.3 billion. It’s enough to pay for about 30 teachers per year in a statewide system of 31,000.  

Cherylene Stritenberg of Medford, a member of the school board for the Eagle Point School District, tried to narrow the rule to “at least” two bathrooms at a school as a means to save money. The petition was favored by four of every five respondents, yet the Oregon Department of Education unanimously rejected Stritenberg’s petition.  

Stritenberg plans to continue to push for this petition at the legislative level.  

By Sally K Lehman 

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