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Brookings fireworks show a go

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Fireworks explode over the Port of Brookings Harbor in 2015. The show draws several thousand people to the area every July 4. Photo by Earle Sidelle.

The annual fireworks show at the Port of Brookings Harbor will happen July 4 — but coordinator Rick Bremer, post commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 966, said he still has to come up with $13,000 to pay the fireworks company.

The money will likely have to come out of his own pocket, or that of the VFW, he said.

Bremer has struggled to raise enough money for the fireworks show for several years, trying to secure sponsorships from corporations and donations from local businesses and individuals.

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Great white encounter

Tiffany Berg and her father, William Molini, were nearing the Port of Brookings Harbor after a day of halibut fishing in September 2013, when their 17-foot boat was attacked by a great white shark.

The experience resulted in Berg’s cellphone video footage being featured during the Discovery Channel’s popular television show Shark Week: Wrath of a Great White Serial Killer three years later.

The show airs at 9 p.m. June 28 on the Discovery Channel, and focuses on the “mysterious presence of great white sharks off Oregon and far Northern California,” show host Jeff Kurr said. The video, taken from Berg’s cellphone, can also be seen at https://youtu.be/HJ82OK3fNdU .

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County approves $59M budget

The Curry County Board of Commissioners approved its $59 million budget — 93 percent of which is passed through to special districts — and honored Sheriff John Ward’s request for an additional three road deputies for fiscal year 2016-2017.

Exact figures regarding those special district funds were unobtainable because the county has yet to fill its accountant position, left open when Gary Short left in March.

The three new deputy positions Ward requested were cut from this fiscal year’s budget in last year’s discussions. They will cost about $300,000 the first year — and less in subsequent years as equipment is a one-time expense — and all of that money will come from the county’s Road Fund reserves. An additional $120,000 is allocated for 911 services, as it relates to deputies’ communications on the road.

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Brookings set to OK Mill Beach hours

Brookings officials hope they have come to a happy medium regarding the hours the park at Mill Beach will be open to the public.

The city council will discuss Monday a proposed ordinance that would extend the closure hours at the popular park to midnight. Other city parks open a half-hour before sunrise and close a half-hour after sunset.

Mill Beach never had official operating hours until two years ago when the city developed the park at the bottom of Macklyn Cove Road; as part of that construction, signs were erected indicating it would close at sunset.

The issue came to light when Councilor Jake Pieper took his family there and noticed the hours — and was not pleased. He noted that residents and visitors have historically had access to the beach there at all hours of day or night, and that such places are getting more regulations imposed upon them over time.

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Fire season: Another dry summer ahead

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A firefighter burns bush to thwart the advance of the approaching Collier Butte fire in August 2015. File photo.

It’s shaping up to be another dry summer in the West, but Curry County’s wet winter could be the singular saving grace in a land of low-running creeks and dusty agricultural lands.

Fire season officially begins Friday, June 24, Coos Fire Protective Association (CFPA) announced this week. Three fires have already burned in Oregon, including a 2,094-acre fire 13 miles north of Sisters, a 21,776-acre fire in southeast Oregon and another west of The Dalles. All but the fire in Owyhee Canyon in southeast Oregon — to which CFPA has already deployed one crew — are in mop-up operations.

Nine fires are burning in California after severe heat waves moved in this week — temperatures surpassed 100 degrees in much of that state. 

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Curry sees increase in summertime employment

If traffic on Highway 101 is any indication — bringing runners, concert-goers, fishermen, RVers, campers and many others to Curry County — summer tourism is in full swing.

It also means many who have been looking for work are finding it after a dismal commercial fishing season this year.

According to Annette Shelton-Tiderman, workforce analyst with the state Employment Department, Curry County’s “leisure and hospitality” industry — arts, entertainment, recreation, lodging and restaurants — comprise 17 percent of the county’s workforce in the summer months.

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North jetty makeover

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Steve Beyerlin uses a brush mower to clear an unkempt area along the north jetty of the Rogue River last weekend. Submitted photo.

A group of Gold Beach residents spent part of last weekend clearing an area along the north jetty of the Rogue River that was overgrown with tall grass, weeds and blackberry bushes.

“It looks really very nice. Everyone needs to find the time to take a quick look, and tell their friends, too!” said Gold Beach resident Eva Beyerlin.

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New fence goes up around Brookings skate park

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The city installed a fence this week around the skate park at Bud Cross Park to thwart bicyclists from using and possibly damaging the cement facility.

The city of Brookings is constructing a fence around the skateboard facility in Bud Cross Park, restricting access to bikes to reduce the city’s liability.

City officials said they expect the fence will be completed by next week at a cost the of $13,870. The fence is the latest attempt to keep bicyclists, particularly BMX bikers, out of the bowl.

“The purpose of this project is to address two primary concerns,” City Manager Gary Milliman said in a press release. “The first concern is safety. It is simply not safe to allow a mix of skateboard and bicycle users in the skate park bowl.”

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Curry needs to slash more from budget

Curry County’s financial status, its paucity of general fund monies and its imminent need to slash more has been noted by state officials.

The Oregon Secretary of State office warned state officials in its biannual audit that four counties, including Curry County, face extreme economic hardships and the state might have to act.

According to Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins, the office noted that most counties — five additional counties were on the watch list in 2014 — have dramatically improved since the last audit was conducted.

The audit also specifically indicates it does not offer solutions for counties experiencing financial challenges, she said.

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Gold Beach to handle permits

Curry County’s Community Development Department is so busy, it will sign an agreement with Gold Beach to issue conditional use and subdivision use permits, among other administrative duties.

“Our staffing level we have is pretty abbreviated,” Director Caroline Johnson told county commissioners in a regular meeting Wednesday. “The level of permits we have coming exceeds the time we have to process them.”

She said Gold Beach’s planners could take on the work — at a price her department can “accommodate” — and free her time up for long-term projects and budget management for which she was hired.

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