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Sheriff, Huxley clash

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Tom Huxley/John Ward

Growing tension between Curry County Commissioner Tom Huxley and Sheriff John Ward exploded this week, with Huxley accusing Ward of unethical behavior and Ward accusing Huxley of dirty politics.

The trigger was a letter to the editor that was published in the April 11 Curry Coastal Pilot. 

In his letter, Brookings resident Ed Ajimine expressed his distrust of Ward’s ability to spend public funds, based on the hiring and subsequent “promotion of” and “pay raises” for then-Sheriff’s deputy and now Lt. Mick Espinoza. 

Espinoza resigned from his last job, as a deputy for the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, during an internal investigation. Also, he was charged with and pleaded guilty to driving under the influence prior to starting the job in Curry County. Both former Sheriff John Bishop, who hired Espinoza, and Ward have expressed their confidence in Espinoza’s abilities to do his job. 

Ward believes that Huxley played a part in the crafting of Ajimine’s letter to undermine public support of the sheriff’s law levy on the May 19 ballot. 

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Eat Fresh and drink Local

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Ann Moore of Brandy Peak Distillery serves Nichole Cuoco a blackberry liqueur made at the facility.

The occasion, at Brandy Peak Distillery, northeast of Brookings, was the second part of a project initiated by Travel Oregon to grow experiential culinary and agriculture-based vacations — whether it be learning how to milk a goat, a family outing to pick blueberries or a “treasure hunt” for ingredients to make a fresh dinner culled from local farms.

“People want to come to an area — they want to taste the area,” said Cathy Boden of the Curry Watersheds Partnership, under which the Eat Fresh and Local program was born. “They want to experience where the greens are coming from. They don’t want to just do, they want to learn, and they don’t mind coming out to the farm to learn how to milk a goat. There’s a demand for it.”

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