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Smith River elude suspect caught

CRESCENT CITY —Authorities believe they’ve caught up with the other man who led them on a chase into Smith River earlier this month that resulted in a school lockdown and two-day, townwide search. 

Suspected to be the person who shot at law enforcement from the passenger seat of a stolen vehicle during a high-speed pursuit, Brandon Proctor, 27, was apprehended at Wildwood Lane and Madison Avenue in Crescent City on Wednesday night by Del Norte County sheriff’s deputies, who made the arrest without incident, sheriff’s officials said. Proctor, who said he is a Smith River transient, was spotted as deputies made contact with another unrelated subject.

A press release from the Sheriff’s Office says that Proctor’s arrest was the result of three weeks’ investigation in collaboration with the District Attorney’s Office and that “substantial time and resources” had been spent to ensure that the suspect would be identified, apprehended and detained on felony charges. 

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Insurance accepts county payments, employees covered

The 47 “non-represented” employees of Curry County — elected officials, department heads and those in the road department — have health insurance for now, as the trustees who oversee the plan have accepted the county’s payment for Commissioner Tom Huxley’s premiums.

Huxley, who was sworn into office in January, ran on a platform to cut county expenses. He started by declaring he would take only a $10,000 stipend — county commissioner base salaries are closer to $65,000 — and declining his pension and health insurance benefits.

Federal law requires employees to sign an I-9 form verifying their citizenship by the end of the first day of employment. Additionally, the employer — the county — has three days to verify the documentation or risk fines.

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Batty retires after 31 years with city

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Mike Batty shows public works sign signifying he will not be working during his retirement.

Brookings public works employee Mike Batty is retiring after 31 years with the city, and for his years of hard work, he was acknowledged at a luncheon with a bright orange street construction sign reading NO MORE WORK AHEAD.

His last day is Tuesday; he and his wife are moving to Mesa, Arizona, to be closer to family.

“Back before there was anyone here, there was, well, Mike,” said Public Works Supervisor Richard Christensen. “In 1984, he was reading water meters by hand — and probably with an abacus.”

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Physician told to cease treating pain patients

The Oregon Medical Board late last year gave Maciej Druzdzel, M.D., of Gold Beach, 90 days to voluntarily cease treating chronic pain in all patients except those in hospice care, pending the completion of an investigation into the doctor’s ability to “safely or competently practice medicine.”

In December, Druzdzel was issued an Interim Stipulated Order, which is an agreement from the physician to practice under certain terms. It was reported in the Oregon Medical Board’s (OMB) winter report.

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Lighthouse tours begin Friday

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Tourists take pictures and approach the westernmost lighthouse in the contiguous states.

SIXES — The Cape Blanco Light Station offers a special opportunity during spring break for students and families to tour the facility from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 27, 28 and 29.

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PenAir lands deal

Del Norte County Regional Airport officials will sign an agreement Friday or early next week with PenAir, securing service beginning in September to the isolated Wild Rivers Coast area in Crescent City.

The airport is significant to the economy of both Crescent City and Southern Oregon, noted Susan Daugherty, airport program manager, who spoke at a Rotary Club of Brookings-Harbor luncheon in Harbor Tuesday.

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Feds include subsidies to rural counties in Medicare bill

GRANTS PASS — U.S. Rep. Greg Walden said Tuesday that House Speaker John Boehner has agreed to include a two-year extension of subsidies to Oregon timber counties in a bipartisan agreement to overhaul the way doctors are paid by Medicare.

The Oregon Republican said the agreement made good on a commitment he and Boehner made last December to secure an extension of the Secure Rural Schools program by March 31.

The House is expected to vote on the Medicare bill Thursday. It then would go to the Senate, where it would have to be resolved with a different version.

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FEAST focuses on food systems

This Saturday, Curry and Del Norte County residents will have the opportunity to get involved with an important discussion: How to support the local food movement.

The Wild Rivers Coast Southern Cross-Border FEAST is an event conceived by several agricultural and community organizations on both sides of the border, including the Oregon Food Bank, St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church and Gardenshare, and the Del Norte County and Adjacent Tribal Lands Food Council.

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Emergency department approved for Brookings

Brookings is about six months away from having its own Emergency Department (ED) at Curry Health Network’s clinic on Fifth Street after city officials received news Tuesday afternoon that the state has granted a temporary rule toward establishing such a facility.

The ruling has been posted with the Secretary of State, making it effective today (March 25).

“It could be less than six months because (Curry Health Network CEO) Wayne (Hellerstedt) has indicated he wants a smaller one started,” said Mayor Ron Hedenskog, “like an initial Emergency Room. I’m excited.”

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Walden: County payments secured

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Rep. Greg Walden
 For the second time in a week, an Oregon member of Congress has announced progress on extending federal payments to counties, including Curry County.

Today, it was Congressman Greg Walden, a Republican in the House leadership, who said there is a two-year deal for the payments that will be included in a Medicare reform bill.  Last week, it was Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat, who won a vote to approve payments in the Senate Budget Committee.

For a link to a video of Walden's statement, please click here.

To see last week's announcement from Wyden, please click here. 

The press release issued by Walden's office is below:

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