Community Services Consortium

Serving Linn, Benton, and Lincoln counties in Oregon. Helping people. Changing lives.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Career Tech Drone Class Makes Buzz

By Kendall S. Cable
Freelance Writer

Lincoln County, OR… At first listen it would appear bees were swarming Lincoln City’s Kirtsis skate park last Monday. Low frequency buzzes bounced off the heights and depths of the lunar-like cement structures. The sounds’ source, however, was not of the insect variety, but rather mechanical as seven students from Lincoln City Career Technical High School (Career Tech) guided their drones through the damp, coastal air.

As part of a pilot program, students enrolled in Career Tech’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses were presented the opportunity to learn about and earn licenses for flying drones. Divided into 100 and 200 level courses, students are introduced to such concepts as: knots, cloud clearance, visibility, drone repair, and mapping. Inside a brick and mortar classroom only, such subjects may glaze over an eye or two. With the addition of hands-on repairs and flying, student learning becomes interactive.

“Whatever we do here is fun,” said Teacher Chuck Getter. A pilot and PhD marine science researcher, Getter will use drones to teach Career Tech students ecology while working for the City of Lincoln City to map invasive species and monitor coastal erosion on beaches. “I am really trying to introduce high paying jobs in technology and science,” Getter explained. “There is nothing wrong with trade jobs that take as much training as this.”
By the end of a year, students may sit for the Federal Aviation Administration Part 107 Drone License Test funded by the school, Getter shared. Said licensure would open job opportunities in areas such as mapping, videography, and study and monitoring of invasive species. As incentive to complete the program, students are awarded the drones on which they trained during several runs throughout the school year.

“It is cool,” Junior Jacob Helton remarked. “It is not something everyone gets to do normally. It makes it more interesting and makes me want to learn it.” Jacob served as the group’s mechanic (one of eight jobs available) during last Monday’s drone flight and repaired propellers, and switched out engines and batteries. He said he is interested in pursuing a job as a mechanic in the future.

Jacob’s brother, Tyler, concurred. “It makes it more fun,” he said. “Especially since I get to fly drones.” Tyler, a freshman, explained their cousin uses a drone to help film the television show “Gold Rush.”

To help keep the program growing Career Tech staff are applying for Measure 98 funding, which is geared at improving high school graduation rates. To learn more about Career Tech and/or the drone program, call (541) 351-8551 and/or visit the website at Community Services Consortium (CSC) is the parent organization of Career Tech, which is part of CSC’s Workforce and Education Department.


Photo 1: Photo by Kendall S. Cable: Lincoln City Career Technical High School Student Seth Martin inspects his drone after a few flights while at Kirtsis skate park.     Note: (Student with blue hair)

Photo 2: Photo by Kendall S.  Cable: Trainer drones are used for students to learn how to maneuver and maintain. Teacher Chuck Getter said more expensive drones, such as the Phantom used for class, are easier to fly after learning on the drone pictured.

Photo 3: Photo by Kendall S. Cable: Lincoln City Career Technical High School Junior Jacob Helton serves as the drone class mechanic. Helton repairs propellers, engines, exchanges batteries and performs other duties to make sure drones are in working order.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Congratulations Keith Kolkow - City of Albany Human Relations Awardee

Since 2011, the Albany Human Relations Commission (HRC) has recognized individuals and Albany organizations or businesses that have worked to promote harmonious relations among the citizens of Albany. Selection of award recipients are based on a demonstrated commitment to promoting human relations, diversity, and/or equality through community programs and activities in Albany.

The ceremony for the 2016 Human Relations awards was held [Wednesday, April 26th] during the Albany City Council meeting and [CSC's] very own Keith Kolkow won the award for the individual category! As a committed community member of the City of Albany, Keith is involved in many committees and volunteers countless hours for various events throughout the year.

Stand Down for Homeless Veterans Changes Location

By Kendall S. Cable
Contributing Writer

Albany, OR…  United States Navy Veteran Kevin Rose, 68, and his wife of Halsey were living out of a car in 2015. The veteran, who served in Vietnam as a gunner’s mate, set his sights on finding a way out of their situation.  Rose contacted Community Services Consortium (CSC), where he not only was assisted with housing, but also learned about the area’s Stand Down for Homeless Veterans event.

Stand Down for Homeless Veterans is a nationwide movement locally coordinated by CSC in which businesses, agencies, and community partners offer services and items to homeless and low-income veterans. However, all veterans are encouraged to participate. This year, the third annual event will be held September 21 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Linn-Benton Community College, 6500 Pacific Blvd. SW, in Albany. This is a change of venue from Lebanon in years past.

“We decided to move to Albany to be closer to I-5, also Benton County,” said Dina Eldridge, CSC Housing Services Manager. “We just think most of the VA (Veterans Administration) providers are based in Albany. We just hope we get a bigger turnout since it is easier to find.”

Last year 93 veterans, including Rose, attended the event where 56 agencies and organizations offered a hand up such as: mental health and addiction counseling; employment; VA health insurance opportunities; dental van; Samaritan Health Service health screenings; clothing; hygiene products; housing through CSC; camping gear from the Department of Defense; IDs with Legal Aid assistance; free food; benefit assistance from Social Security; and more, according to Eldridge.

“I have never seen such a turnout for veterans my whole life. It was awesome last year,” said Rose. “I never, ever heard of anything like this.”  Rose received clothes sleeping bags, cots, sunglasses, and a haircut. “Stand Down is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen. It was the first haircut I had in years.”

Around the same time, Rose and his wife also moved into a rental home with CSC’s assistance. He said he is thankful for the help he received from CSC Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF)Case Manager Connie Barkdull, Eligibility Clerk Scott McKee, and Department of Labor Disabled Veterans Outreach Representative Stephen Hickson.
Additionally, Rose said the event served as a place for veterans to meet other veterans. He feels this is very important, especially to younger veterans.

“They should go, if not for anything else, to talk to one another,” Rose encouraged. “There are a lot of vets that still need help. I’d like to see them get it.”

This year’s event is in the planning stages. Sponsorships and cash donations from local businesses and groups who want to help veterans are sought. Food, services, and haircuts are just a few areas of need. Eldridge explained the United States Department of Labor provides limited funding, but the money is specifically earmarked and does not cover such services as the dental van. Transportation for veterans to and from the event is also being coordinated.

Interested businesses and agencies can contact CSC Case Manager Connie Barkdull at 541-928-6335 x 312 or for more information.  Landlords interested in renting to veterans can contact Eldridge at 541-928-6335 x 324 or  Homeless veterans in need of housing contact McKee at 541-704-7638,, or CSC is a community action agency for Linn, Benton, and Lincoln Counties.


Photo Credit: Photo by Community Services Consortium Staff

Stand Down for Homeless Veterans in Lebanon was attended by 93 veterans in 2016. Homeless and low-income veterans are encouraged to attend this year in Albany.

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