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SkyWest ringing in the new year with flight cuts

’Tis the season of travel, though unless you’re a magic reindeer with a fog-piercing nose, flying has not been the most reliable way in and out of Del Norte this December.

Just over a month since it announced plans to drop commercial air service to the area, Crescent City’s only carrier, SkyWest Airlines, is ringing in the new year with widespread cancellations and delays primarily due to weather in San Francisco, airline officials say.

Meanwhile, other air carriers with hubs in Portland and Seattle are considering taking over Crescent City flights in 2015, a move that may shift connections to the north and cut Bay Area fog out of the picture, according to local airport officials this week. 

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Early Christmas presents

Photo submitted by Andy Martin

Jordan and Ryan Vernand, of Ventura, California, catch a pair of king salmon while fishing the Sixes River on Dec. 16 with guide Andy Martin. The father and son fished four rivers in four days catching salmon and steelhead on the Smith, Chetco, Elk and Sixes rivers. For more fishing news, see Page 6A.


Public health agency on a roll

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Ken Dukek, CEO of Curry Community Health, tours an exam room inside the new Brookings facility this week.

Ken Dukek has taken what was once the county’s public health system and, within a couple of years, transformed it from a top-heavy, money-losing proposition into first-class, nonprofit medical facility for everyone.

While many physicians’ offices are turning away new patients these days, Curry Community Health’s Integrated Community Services is taking anyone who needs medical, mental health or addictions assistance. 

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Efforts to save post office continues

Harbor resident Barbara VanCleave wants the U.S. Postal Service to know what it might be getting itself into if it closes the door of the little facility in the Brookings Harbor Shopping Center next month.

In one day, VanCleave counted more than 300 customers who walked through the door there.

She wonders how many additional people the post office in Brookings would have to hire if it were forced to accommodate all the Harbor post office box holders.

And she can’t even imagine how long the wait would be to conduct transactions at the already-busy windows at the Brookings post office.

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Water issue plagues proposed golf course

The Pacific Gales golf course at Knapp Ranch north of Port Orford has run into another hurdle, this time involving water — or the legal lack thereof, it was discovered in a recent Curry County commissioners meeting.

But Pacific Gales Project Manager Troy Russell, doesn’t see water as an issue whatsoever, he said Thursday.

According to the Ocean Coast Alliance (ORCA), which has fought the golf course proposal on environmental grounds since its inception, the developers have always claimed there were three water permits — for groundwater, reservoir and surface water — available on that land.

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Hospital lawsuit moving forward

CRESCENT CITY — More than 50 people packed into a Del Norte Superior Court room this week as a lawsuit against Sutter Coast Hospital moved forward, marking the latest chapter in an epic controversy over plans to halve the hospital’s bed count in order to increase funding for federally-insured patients through the Critical Access Hospital program. 

At issue in this lawsuit is whether Del Norte’s only acute care hospital is being managed to benefit local residents or the multi-billion dollar Bay Area-based corporation that operates it, Sutter Health. 

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Teacher gets online grant to purchase art supplies

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Student Silas Pieper makes homemade snow globes using supplies purchased with grant money obtained by Brookings teacher Victoria Snow.

Standing at a table covered with red and green construction paper, scissors, and shiny bows, as her students looked on in excitement, Victoria Snow demonstrated how to make homemade snow globes and Christmas ornaments.

Many of the art supplies, which allowed the students to complete several holiday art projects, came as the result of a donation that Snow obtained by applying for a grant through an online donation program for teachers.

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Loan delay may benefit hospital

Curry Health Network officials continue to work closely with the USDA to obtain a $10 million loan to build a new hospital in Gold Beach.

The process is taking longer than originally expected, but hospital officials hope to get final approval by the end of February or mid-March.

“We’ve had to jump through a few more hoops, and we’re expecting a final list of questions from the USDA later this week, but everything looks good,” said health network interim CEO Wayne Hellerstedt.

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Bill could affect Curry land use rules

A bill to be proposed in the next state legislative session could give Curry County more local control in its business development plans by allowing it and other counties to opt out of the statewide land-use planning system in 2015.

The proposal would allow counties with populations of less than 50,000 that experienced little to no growth since the last census to opt out of state land use regulations. The theory is that other uses could be put on lands for which that use might not otherwise be designated. 

Some zoning, for instance, mandates that farm land with even one water right can only be used for farmland, thus removing all other uses on the land — and any possible financial benefit to the landowner.

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Outreach store, shelter closes

The Shabby to Chic thrift store in Brookings has been sold after doing business there for about six years.

The closing was expected to take place last week. It is unknown who the new owners are or what plans they might have for the building at the corner of Center and Chetco avenues.

The two-story building featured a thrift store downstairs that helped fund Outreach Gospel Mission in Harbor; upstairs had three bedrooms available for women seeking temporary housing.

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