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Brookings K-9 retires

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Kalmiopsis Elementary School students say goodbye to K-9 Officer Charger on Monday, the dogs last day of working as a drug-sniffing canine after seven years.

Brookings K-9 officer Charger raced around the third grade classroom Monday, greeting students as they cheered “Charger!” and “Good dog!” and reached out to pet him.

It was the last day on the job for Charger, who is retiring after serving the Brookings Police Department for seven years as a drug-detector.

His handler, Officer Dustin Watson, along with several other police officers, brought Charger to teacher Ken Olsen’s class at Kalmiopisis Elementary to visit with students one last time —  and for a special cake decorated with photos of the canine.

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Veteran suicides spur local action

Curry County loses, on average, three or four veterans a year — to suicide.

According to Jim Newman, an Associate Vietnam Veteran of America member, the statistics alone are startling.

Veterans constitute 8.7 percent of Oregon’s population (about 331,000), but account for about 23 percent of its suicide deaths. Suicide is the leading cause of death among veterans ages 45 or younger. For males ages 18-24 years, the rate of suicide among veterans was eight times that of non-veterans: 130 per 100,000 population compared to 15 per 100,000 among non-veterans.

And there are more veterans per capita — 2,998 — in Curry County than anywhere else in Oregon.

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