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Walking for a cure

The first lap of the Relay for Life is taken by cancer survivors during the annual American Cancer Society fundraiser at the Brookings-Harbor High School track.

The Curry County Relay for Life didn’t reach its $60,000 goal, but it was so close that organizers figure if they schedule one more fundraiser, the goal will be exceeded.

The annual event held at the Brookings-Harbor High School track last weekend raised $57,314, only $2,686 from the goal.

According to Kristin Villavicencio, this year’s event co-chair who will serve as chair of the 2014 Relay for Life, the additional fundraiser will be sometime in August.

“The event was a huge success in the fact that we brought several new teams to the Relay for Life this year and more who plan on getting started for next year,” Villavicencio said.  “Also, there was a Gold Beach presence at this year’s relay which we haven’t seen in awhile. We look forward to seeing more of them at next year’s event.”

Relay for Life fundraising, which benefits the American Cancer Society, began earlier this year with the amount growing as the event at the track drew near.

Teams raising funds gathered at the track for their final fundraising push which began with a survivor luncheon followed by opening ceremonies. 

Festivities included a color guard and the national anthem sung by Alyssa Gallian, followed by speeches by American Cancer Society dignitaries and Grand Marshal Roger Gabrielson, who thanked all those who supported him through his cancer battle. Villavicencio and Dorothy Marshall sang “Courageous” while the survivors lined up on the track for the first lap. When the survivors neared the end of the lap, members of the Brookings-Harbor High School cheerleading squad presented each walker with a sunflower.

Each team’s members took turns carrying a baton around the track for the next 19 hours.

Fourteen teams set up campsites on the football field and decorated them. A group of judges came down from Coos Bay to choose which campsite was best decorated. They also chose their favorite baton.

The best campsite was the Good Sam Dream Team and the award for the best baton went to Town & Country Animal Clinic.

While a team member was walking the track, other team participants took part in activities, such as various themed contests, a cardboard box competition, a Mr. Relay pageant and a Midnight Madness team captain party.

Winning the competitions were Good Sam Dream Team, spirit award; C&K Market, Mr. Relay; Town & Country Animal Clinic, cardboard box contest; and Good Sam Dream Team, birthday wagon contest.

Highlighting the nighttime events was the somber Luminaria Ceremony. Paper bags decorated in memory of a loved one who has battled cancer, whether they survived or not, were placed around the inside of the track.

“We had a record number of luminaria at our luminary ceremony this year with almost 400 on the track,” Villavicencio said. 

While names were read, everyone at the event walked a lap holding a candle.

For more information about the American Cancer Society, call 800-227-2345 or visit http://www.cancer.org.


Innominata tour celebrates 20 years

Don Hamilton admires his tropical brugmansia tree.
Last Saturday, under nearly flawless, warm sunny skies. Mother Nature offered up some of her “best dressed children in Gold Beach.

It’s called the Garden Tour and this year marks the 20th anniversary of the event hosted by the Gold Beach Innominata Garden Club, a non-profit organization that promotes the annual self guided tour through several local homeowners’ gardens to help fund community AND state-wide projects. 

Hamilton home

The first two stops were located approximately 5 miles up the North Bank Rogue River Road, off of Cedar Valley Road, where Don Hamilton first welcomed visitors to his astounding hillside manor. Hamilton has lived there for 10 years and his home is a veritable paradise of floral finery.

Exotic primitive species — tower of jewels, hanging fuchsia trees, brugmansia — are found interspersed among more traditional blooms such as bottle brush, shasta daisies, and honeysuckle. Cobblestone paths weave their way up and down hillsides opening up to panoramic vistas of the Rogue River canyons below. Hummingbirds zip to and fro while bees work overtime on thousands of flowering plants. If tranquility could be packaged it would look like Hamilton’s elegant home.

St. Marie home

A little farther up Rumley Hill, Dale and Diana St. Marie’s home has wonderful 700 year old growth trees guarding its entrance. A majestic redwood towers nearby; it’s considered to be a youngster — merely 100 years old.

A wide assortment of apple trees span large vistas of neat, manicured lawns. 

The St. Marie home features an attractive wrap-around deck.  A greenhouse is full of starts, and raised flower beds feature a menagerie of edibles: blueberries, tomatoes, lemons, pole beans, sweet meat squash, sunflowers, strawberries and more.

Like their neighbor Hamilton, the St. Maries enjoy pristine views of the river below from high above.

Munson home

Just past the south end of the Patterson Memorial Bridge, a sharp left takes tour-goers up the sharp paved incline of Tom Cat Hill. Loni Munson’s beautiful home is perched high above terraced switch back paths, offering up a riot of colorful blooming plants interposed with eclectic artist renderings made by Munson herself.

A stunning design feature is a retaining wall topped with bowling balls in silver, black, maroon, pink, and sky blue sparkle colors. 

From atop her porch where the artist lovingly builds perfect-scale, miniature doll houses, stunning views capture the mouth of the Rogue, the city of Gold Beach, and the ocean beyond. Below her vantage point are neatly kept bark mulched pathways with fantastic cement pavers created by Munson with colorful decorated glass art work embedded into each stepping stone They wind their way through potted succulents, clematis, annuals and more.

A koi pond is in the early excavation stages. 

Library and church

These two stops both afforded neat gardens midway through the tour. At the Gold Beach Library an English garden is a nice addition to the newly completed venue. It is dedicated to longtime Gold Beach community volunteer Anita Harper. Benches are placed in close proximity as a thoughtful gesture.

At Bethany Lutheran, behind the church, looking like a rainbow staked to the earth are row after row of dahlias. More than 55 different varieties being tended to by Bob Chibante whose hoe is busy keeping wanna be weeds at bay. Chibante also sells dahlia bulbs at this location and is preparing the flowers for the first annual Wild Rivers Dahlia Society “Rogue In Bloom” show slated for August 24 and 25 at the Event Center on the Beach in Gold Beach.

Dalrymple home

Clay and Teri Dalrymple live south of Gold Beach in nearby Hunter Creek.

The Dalrymples have a massive vegetable garden that would make the folks at V-8 jealous! In addition, Clay has a tremendous assortment of delicate flowering orientals, a must-see collection that is both eye-appealing and soothing to the senses. A greenhouse nearby is packed full of all stages of ripening tomatoes, some a week away, others ready to top a sandwich or salad right now.

Ferguson home

Heading down the coast in the direction of Brookings is Eighty Acres Road and the last tour stop — the Ferguson Ranch. Lori and Mike Ferguson have horses, donkeys, and ducks for a western-themed background.

Wood decks showcase mixed flower arrangements, potted corn stalks, and an attractive passion plant whose purple alien looking flowers hug a wire fence.

A nifty forest garden is cut in near the homestead with indigenous plants — rhodies, azaleas, ferns, hydrangeas, and spearmint on display all under the welcome shade of a large pine.

Linda Stokes, spokesperson for the Innominata 2013 Garden Tour was upbeat about the show. “ It was absolutely fabulous. We had over 100 attend.

“Kudos to the homeowners who opened up and shared their homes. We all had a great time.”

The Gold Beach Garden Tour funds local projects such as 4-H camperships and snack pack, pocket park maintenance, airport planters, handling the fair floral entrees, decorating the historic Hughes House for Christmas, and more.

For more information about the Gold Beach Garden Tour, contact Stokes, 541-247-2689.

Preparing the park

Youth load a wheelbarrow to spread wood chips around Stout Park. Photo courtesy Vi Burton
Lots of wheelbarrows, rakes and shovels were in action when the young men and women from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Brookings ascended on Stout Park Wednesday evening to spread wood chips around the trees and bushes.  

The city is sprucing up the park in preparation for the Festival of Art in Stout Park, which is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 3 and 4.  This was a community service activity for the youth.


Pulling for indoor recreation

A team of Pelican Bay State Prison correctional officers pull against, and defeat, a team of personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard Station Chetco River. Photo courtesy Julianne Leighton
Overall attendance and donations were down  at the third-annual Friends of Brookings-Harbor Aquatic Center Fourth of July Barbecue and Field Day but, overall, organizers said the event was a success.

“I believe the Fourth of July Barbecue and Field Day event was well received again this year,” said Juliane Leighton, FBHAC chair.



Shannon Warner’s chili was chosen the best by the judges. The Pilot/Bill Schlichting
Although there were more cooks this year than in many years past, the number of people attending the event was down.

As a result of the lower attendance, the 16th annual Chili Cookoff at the Port of Brookings Harbor boardwalk raised only $1,005 for Oasis Shelter Home in Gold Beach, down from $1,334, in 2012, which was below the $1,456 raised the year before that.


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