Update from Kate: Mental Health Training for Our County Police

Under the 20/20 Plan, written by Illinois Valley residents, public safety is the number one priority, and coordinating mental health services, and sensitivity, with law enforcement is a key strategy. After two years of building an excellent relationship with Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel, who regularly attends the IV Public Safety Task Force, and afterI have had many other meetings with Shelly Uhrig, the Chief Operating Officer of Options, our mental health provider, trust is high and collaboration is proving worthwhile. So when I asked the Sheriff and Options to meet to discuss how to help IV’s indigent population, both groups said yes right away. On Thursday February 6 a group of IVPSTF folks went to Options in GP and met with their COO and their ED, as well as the Sheriff and Undersheriff. Although the resources are not in place to provide much immediate help to people we see on our streets, we all learned a lot about what (long) path we might take to help people in the future.

But convening has tremendous positive effects. People meet who had not known each other. Resources are discovered, and common goals can be reached. Shelly Uhrig offered Sheriff Daniel a series of evidence-based trainings for his patrol personnel, so that if a person is encountered who suffers from mental illness, officers will be far more likely to recognize the problem and respond appropriately, compassionately, and effectively. In the next few months, Josephine County Sheriff’s office patrol personnel will better understand what mental illness looks like, and I expect that the results will be profound.

Thank you to Sheriff Daniel and to Options for your cooperation!

-Kate Dwyer, Strategic Plan Implementation Coordinator

Passing the Torch: a New Executive Director for Illinois Valley Community Development Organization

Cave Junction, OR: The Board of Directors of the Illinois Valley Community Development Organization (IVCanDo) is pleased to announce that Kenny Houck has been named the new Executive Director.  Houck succeeds Menno Kraai who served in the position for eight years. Kraai, who also serves as the General Manager of the Historic Oregon Caves Chateau, will continue in that position for one more season.

It is not Houck’s first run as a leader of IVCanDO.  He held the position of Interim Executive Director in 2001 when the organization was called the Illinois Valley Community Response Team. Since then, Houck has held positions on the IVCanDO Revolving Loan Fund Board of Directors including 3 years as the Board Chair.  He has also served on IVCanDo’s Board of Directors including 2 years as the Board Chair.

Kraai is confident in the Board’s decision: “I have a great deal of faith in our new director.  He has a lot of experience in our programs and projects.  We are looking at an exciting future with more projects focusing on people, place, and prosperity.  We have a good team and have developed excellent partnerships that continue to blossom and benefit the Illinois Valley.”

Houck praises Kraai’s successful tenure as Executive Director:  “He has led the organization through a strong period of growth and we are very glad to have him continue to manage the Chateau.  The Illinois Valley and southwest Oregon are in a time of transition, full of both challenges and opportunities.  IVCanDo has long played an important role in our local economic and community development and I look forward to building on that success.”

When Kraai announced his retirement from the position, the IVCanDo Board of Directors approached the transition with a deliberate, step by step process.  They held two retreats directed by Community Consultant, Roi Crouch and a succession plan was made.  The board was looking for an Executive Director who was committed to the area and held a depth of knowledge about the history of the valley.

Houck’s past experience speaks to his commitment here.  He has led several key projects in the valley for IVCanDo including the formation of the Kerby Water District, the Light Industrial Park at the Illinois Valley Airport, and the Pavilion Project at Illinois River Forks State Park.  Since these projects, Houck has held the positions of Business Development Coordinator for the Illinois Valley Business Entrepreneurial Center/Rogue Community College – Small Business Development Center and IVCanDo’s Community Development Manager.

The Illinois Valley Community Development Organization is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working to develop, implement, and evaluate a living Illinois Valley Strategic Plan that encourages stable community development and aims to improve local economic, social, and cultural conditions through cooperative programs and partnerships in rural southwest Oregon.


RiverStars Performing Arts presents SuperReal

RiverStars Performing Arts, a program of the Illinois Valley Community Development Organization, presents our 4th holiday show, SuperReal, Saturday, December 9th at 7:00 PM and Sunday, December 10th at 5:00 PM in the Lorna Byrne Cafeteria.  Tickets are Pay-What-You-Can and there will be a talkback with the artists after the show.  Don’t miss your chance to see our town, onstage in this hilarious holiday romp about Scroogia, the Texas carpetbagger who has come to put our local economy asunder.   Fortunately, Scroogia meets her match in Tom and Jerry, the local cartoon and comics shop owners.  Now if they can just get her to laugh, they will free Cavetown from a villainous takeover.

SuperReal brings Cavetown’s own superheroes and villains under the lights in a delightful comic book format.  You’ll meet RiverRock, HotJock, MoneyMaxer, G.A.S. (Generic Attractive superhero) and the Guacamole Man.  Most powerful of all….Sparkwoman ends up saving the day!  The performers get real as they dance through Act 2.  A mysterious grandpa intervenes in excessive texting binges and introduces the philosophies of folk hero Utah Phillips.  The performers ultimately end their powerful journey of self-realization that lands them in the dance “I,” by Kendrick Lamar.

The process to create this show began in April 2017, when RiverStars performers began drawing comic strips about their town from their own imaginations.  Throughout the summer, they gathered comics from visitors at the Cave Junction Farmer’s Market.  Using these as research, the group then participated in two expansive weekend development sessions workshopping the comics, re-writing and editing.  Finally, this work was crafted into an original script by RiverStars performers and teachers, influenced by their town, for the stage show of SuperReal.

Arts Educator, Lindsey Gillette comments, “the work of the program participants and community members has been impressively detailed.  The inside jokes and winks to the audience are all locally sourced.  If there’s one thing the residents of the Illinois Valley can agree on, it’s that we value our autonomy and the sense of belonging in this place.  This show brings that to the stage.”  Lead Educator, Gina Angelique adds that, “What is most awesome is to see how the RiverStars performers have grown, and become their own source for heroic potential. There is something magical and powerful about witnessing their hard work culminate in a solid and moving theatrical product.  Watching them dance and act brings deep pride and confidence that the future is in good hands.”

RiverStars Performing Arts is in its 4th year of providing dance and theatre classes and performing opportunities to Illinois Valley youth.  The program’s success feeds from its dynamic partnership with Three Rivers School District, the Illinois Valley Community Development Organization and dancefarm.  SuperReal was was made possible in part by a grant from Oregon Humanities (OH), a statewide nonprofit organization and an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, which funds OH’s grant program.  Additional funding was provided by the Oregon Community Foundation and the Collins Foundation.

Cave Junction Christmas Tree Lighting

Cave Junction, Ore.: Please join us, Saturday, November 25, 2017, at 5 pm, for the annual lighting of the town Christmas Tree. This event is brought to you by the Illinois Valley Chamber of Commerce, to be held at the junction of Caves Highway and Redwood Highway.

• The Mayor will light the tree at promptly 5 pm.
• There will be a special snapchat filter available in the area of the tree during the event.
• Christmas caroling for all to start right after the tree light.
• Santa will make a guest appearance.
• Cocoa and cookies will be available for the kiddos.
• There will be a bake sale offering homemade goodies to take home, with profits going to the Rotary club’s “Cookies with Santa” program.
For more information or to volunteer please contact Angie Graves, Chamber Coordinator, 541-592-3326

Mission: The Illinois Valley Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to strengthening the identity and enhancing the image of Illinois Valley business by providing services to its members that allow them to grow and prosper.

RiverStars Performing Arts receives Multi-Year Grant Award

Cave Junction, OR: RiverStars Performing Arts is pleased to announce it has received a three-year grant award from The Oregon Community Foundation in partnership with the Ford Family Foundation. The grant initiative is called the K-12 Student Success: Out of School Program and it focuses on “bolstering student attendance and academic success among Oregon’s middle school students of color, rural and low-income students.” It appeals to existing programs of any discipline that are using best practices and offering summer engagement options.

“This award allows us to expand our programming to include an advanced dance class and weekly summer classes. We are also looking at ways to include academic support,” says Project Lead, Lindsey Gillette. Over the course of the grant, evaluation efforts will help track the effects of the programming. Hard data, like grade point averages and attendance records are of interest, but reflective data about the participant’s self-esteem and resilience will also be sought.

The awarding foundations have identified middle school as “a key transition point and an opportunity to combat socioeconomic, geographic and racial inequities in student success.” Founding Lead Educator for RiverStars, Gina Angelique explains, “We hope to prove that our program leads to better academic success including better graduation rates and show positive impacts on the social development of our participants too. The arts are not a luxury, they are critical to a well rounded education that empowers youth to be agents of social improvement, and we are thrilled this grant will help us continue with our work.”

The grant amount for the first year is $35,694. While this and other grants provide much of our funding, we are always accepting donations from our local community. Donations are tax deductible and can be mailed or delivered to 201 Caves Hwy, Cave Junction, OR 97523.

This grant is a part of a concerted effort between the Illinois Valley Community Development Organization and dancefarm to bring substantial monies to the Illinois Valley for theatre and dance education. This latest award brings the total to more than $350,000 since the effort began over three years ago. These monies not only mean that Illinois Valley youth have opportunities in the arts, but that quality arts education jobs are available here. More than ten arts jobs have already been made available to the valley.

RiverStars Performing Arts provides dance and theatre classes and performance opportunities to Illinois Valley youth. The group’s productions are original, student and local artist penned pieces about our community. You may recognize our group from flash mobs at the Cave Junction Farmers’ Market or bi-annual productions reflecting local antics in iconic “Cavetown.” RiverStars Performing Arts is a program of the Illinois Valley Community Development Organization in partnership with Three Rivers School District and dancefarm.
Follow us on Facebook.com/ivriverstars

Dell’Arte presents: The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen: The Dell’Arte Holiday Tour
December 8th at 7:00
Lorna Byrne Middle School Gym

BLUE LAKE, CA: The Dell’Arte Company’s annual holiday show tour, now in its 37th year, ushers in the festive season with an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen. The timeless tale of a child’s spirit triumphing over impending darkness, The Snow Queen will play on December 8th at Lorna Byrne Middle School at 7:00 pm. Keeping with tradition, admissions for this performance is free thanks to the generous support of local schools, Wildberries Marketplace, Stephany Joy of Re/Max Humboldt Realty, Pierson Building Center, Coast Central Credit Union and Ramone’s Bakery and Cafe. The audience is asked to contribute non-perishable food items, which the cast collects and donates to local food banks in collaboration with local non-profit, Food for People.

When a magical mirror shatters and two pieces fall into the heart and eye of young Kai, his friend Gerda must embark on a journey of a lifetime to set things right and eventually embrace the power within her. The Snow Queen is an enthralling holiday spectacle for the whole family and features an assortment of magical characters, which include a trio of bumbling trolls, a talking tree and a flying reindeer.

The Dell’Arte Company’s adaptation of The Snow Queen is directed by Dell’Arte’s Producing Artistic Director Michael Fields and is a bold re-telling of the classic holiday tale that comprises of original music and robust physical storytelling created and performed by this year’s international cast. Featured are: Matilda Lindström from Finland, Gaia Mencagli from Denmark and Gaby Haught, Eric Jones, Natashia Marshall, Chase Perkins, Fay Steddum and Jacob Timmons from the US.

Dell’Arte strives to make family holiday entertainment available to both rural and urban communities that rarely see live professional theatre. Venues range from large, lofty theatres to local elementary school cafeterias. The Dell’Arte Holiday Show reaches approximately 5,000 – 8,000 people each year, including many school-age children. This production will tour throughout Northern California, with stops in Orick, Arcata, McKinleyville, Eureka, Cave Junction, Klamath, Bridgeville, Scotia, Point Arena, and Trinidad.

Free Tickets will be available at the Dell’Arte office or venue door only for this performance: Lorna Byrne Middle School (Dec. 8 at 7:00 p.m.)
More information can be found at dellarte.com, or phone Dell’Arte at (707) 668-5663. Please email Tushar Mathew at tushar@dellarte.com if you require further information.