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Message in a bottle: A letter from Japan

Long before there was Internet dating, there might just have been secret notes tucked into wine bottles and tossed asea.

That’s what’s been surmised from what has been translated from a two-page note Steve Johnson of Brookings found while walking near Pistol River Tuesday.

“You usually don’t find that much garbage on that beach,” he said of the long stretch of mostly log-strewn sand. “I picked it up, saw the message inside; I just put it in my sack of garbage, and sorted through it and pulled it out when I got home.”

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Law levy looms over budget talks

Commissioner discussions regarding the county’s financial situation are all leading up to talks about the 2015-2016 budget, which might be dramatically different if voters reject Sheriff John Ward’s proposed tax question on the May 19 ballot.

The tax question has yet to be approved by the state for inclusion on the ballot; it would ask voters to approve a property tax increase of $1.34 per $1,000 assessed valuation for those living in cities and $2.52 per $1,000 for those in unincorporated parts of the county.

Revenue would be used to fund law enforcement activity in the county, and would serve as the first step to give Ward and his citizen’s committee three years to draw up a special law enforcement taxing district separate from county operations.

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Candidates file for May 19 election

Curry County voters will have the opportunity to elect people to several different positions in the May 19 Special District Election, including seats on the school board, port commission and multiple fire protection district positions. 

There are 13 districts on the ballot for the upcoming election. The deadline to file for candidacy with the county is March 19.

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Students explore online options

On a recent school day a handful of students were taking online classes in a small building on the edge of the Brookings-Harbor High School campus as part of the OPTIONS program, an alternative to the traditional classroom.

The program offers students from the elementary to high school, a chance to work in a quiet setting where they can work independently or with assistance to complete some or all of their coursework. OPTIONS stands for Online Programs Technologically Individualized Offering New Solutions.

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Event celebrates Brookings history

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Cynthia Brookings Bachman, right, husband Bob and son Sterling, will be honored guests during celebration activities scheduled today (Feb. 28).

Folks are invited to take a step back into time today (Feb. 28) with the celebration of the 100th birthday of the Central Building between Center and Wharf streets on Highway 101.

Festivities begin at 10 a.m. 

Activities will include tours of the old building — a structure town fathers wanted burned down — a self-guided walking/driving tour of homes and businesses from the ensuing logging era, and a presentation of photos from decades ago of a young mill town growing up.

Brookings was named after financial backer Robert Somers Brookings, who cofounded the company town with his cousin John E. Brookings, a lumberman. 

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Brookings’ Central Building: 100-year celebration!

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Submitted photo The Central Building, pictured here in 1923, is one of the oldest standing buildings in downtown Brookings. It is the only building in the city listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

When Eldon Gossett applied for an occupancy permit for the Central Building he’d purchased in the middle of Brookings in the 1970s, city officials told him to forget about it.

“They all leaned back in their chairs, and finally one said, ‘Mr. Gossett, that building has to go,’” he related. “You must torch the building. We don’t want it in town.”

The fire marshal from Coos Bay showed up, who reiterated what town leaders had said.

So Gossett contacted the state fire marshal.

“He looked at it and said, ‘I wish we had a lot more buildings like this in Oregon,’” Gossett said. “This one’s in really good shape.’ It’s a great building, a magnificent building.”

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City seeks source of beach pollution

City officials are using the help of AmeriCorps volunteer Austin Dunn in their search for the source of the fecal coliform that resulted in warnings to Mill and Harris beachgoers last summer.

Dunn has been bushwhacking through underbrush and skirting private property to collect storm water samples throughout the city.

“Austin’s work will help us better understand why some of our beaches have exceeded safe levels of fecal bacteria and strategies on how to mitigate this issue in the future,” said Public Works Director Loree Pryce.

Mill and Harris beaches are monitored by the state throughout the summer, and the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program issues advisories accordingly. Last summer, high fecal bacteria levels prompted the agency to advise people to avoid contact with the water that flows into the ocean from the creeks there.

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Brookings port drops discussion of annexation

The Port of Brookings Harbor’s Board of Commissioners has decided not to pursue a study that examines the possible effects of annexation of the port to the city of Brookings. 

Meanwhile, the city is pursuing its own study and has invited the port to participate.

At its Feb. 17 meeting, port commissioners Roy Davis, Sue Gold and Mike Manning voted against the port doing its own study. All three have adamantly opposed the idea of annexation. Commissioner Tim Patterson, who had proposed a vote on the study, decided that it was best to wait and see what kind of study the city might pursue.

Commissioner Jim Relaford, while a proponent of exploring the possible annexation of the port, said the port’s study would not give the board any new information, and therefore it was not worth pursuing. 

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Sheriff Ward tackles law levy questions

Sheriff John Ward made his first plea to arguably his toughest audience when he spoke to members of the Brookings Harbor Tea Party at the Best Western Beachfront Inn Saturday afternoon.

It’s the first of many such speeches he and the newly formed Political Action Committee (PAC) will present in the upcoming three months to educate the public about what he needs to keep the jail open and the community safe.

“When I was appointed sheriff, I was told we were only funded through June of 2015,” he said. “That we are basically in dire straits. We have to find a way to stabilize and provide services.”

When Ward took office late last year, he immediately set about trying to set up a special taxing district for law enforcement, separate from county operations.

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Post office woes

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Customers line up Friday at the Brookings post office, where increased business has sparked parking complaints.

The lines at the Brookings post office in December have nothing on the lines there today.

What was routinely a queue of a half-dozen people on any given day has now turned into at least a dozen, wending from the front of the line to the front doors of the facility on Spruce Street. Tuesday after the President’s Day holiday weekend, scores of boxes were piled against the wall and on the far counter, ready to be sent out.

The closure of the post office in Harbor is largely to blame, as hundreds of people have had to transfer their mail delivery to the Brookings facility. There are no plans to reopen the Harbor office, whose postmaster decided to retire after decades of service.

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