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Police report spike in car burglaries

The Brookings Police Department has seen a spike in breaking and entering of vehicles in the past few weeks both within the city of Brookings and out in the county, and officers are now looking into factors that could be causing the uptick in thefts.

Several weeks ago, police officers reported an influx of criminal activity in the Brookings area coming from Del Norte County, and officers suspect the increase in break-ins may have a Del Norte tie as well.


Captain is sole survivor in crab boat wreck

The Eagle III, shown here in dry dock at the Port of Port Orford, broke apart Tuesday night near the entrance to the Port of Coos Bay. Submitted photo.

The captain of the Port Orford-based fishing vessel Eagle III is the sole survivor after his boat broke apart on the north jetty near Coos Bay Tuesday night, dumping all four of the crew into the icy water.

Captain Glenn A. Burkhow Sr., 52, of Port Orford, swam to the jetty and climbed to safety, according to the U.S. Coast Guard and the Coos County Sheriff’s Office.

Crewmember Blain Steinmetz, 52, of Port Orford, died and was found by the Coast Guard on the jetty shortly after the wreck

At 2 p.m. Wednesday, the Coast Guard stopped searching for the Joshua W. Paulus, 31, and Daniel N. Matlock, 37, both of Port Orford.


Climate change talk

Retired science professor Alan Journet links climate trends to temperatures and rain in Brookings.

In a room in which there were so many people they had to sit on the floor, retired biology and environmental science professor Alan Journet outlined the climate trends taking place in the Pacific Northwest — and the near- and long-term possibilities that will occur if nothing is done to curb carbon emissions.

Journet, a founder of Jacksonville-based Southern Oregon Climate Action Now, was not in Harbor Monday night to convince people that global warming or climate change is real.

“I was a skeptic,” he said of his collegiate days when he first heard about the emerging science in the 1970s. “It wasn’t until much later I started taking this much more seriously.”


Report: Oregon cities face challenges

The League of Oregon Cities’ fourth annual “State of the Cities” report indicates municipalities — from the bustling Portland to teeny Dunes City — continue to face fiscal challenges from issues beyond their control.

But businesses are holding their own, according to chamber of commerce officials and local store owners.


County officials list top priorities

Curry County commissioners outlined their goals for the coming year at a workshop Tuesday — primarily listing a continuation of items they addressed in 2015 and a few accomplishments upon which they can build.

Commissioner David Brock Smith took almost an hour to outline his plans to continue work with various entities to secure funds for dredging, housing, and economic development opportunities.

Many of his plans will again take him to Salem to advocate on behalf of Curry County interests, including the state’s land use system, getting the federal government to pay timber subsidies it owes O&C counties and transferring federal lands to local entities to manage.


Brookings man dies in solo car crash

Authorities investigate an accident south of Gold Beach Sunday in which a Brookings man died. Submitted photo.

Brookings resident Michael K Gillette, 64, died Sunday, Jan. 17, when the motorhome he was driving crashed into a ditch on Highway 101 about five miles south of Gold Beach.

According to a news release from the Oregon State Police, emergency personnel responded to the report of a single vehicle crash near milepost 336 at about 11:45 a.m.

Preliminary information indicates the 2007 Gulfstream motorhome was traveling southbound when it left the roadway and crashed. 


Sinkhole party

Staff of the Fireside Grill in Harbor, including owner David Allen, center, hoisting his son, Gabriel, are maintaining a positive attitude despite a sinkhole that has swallowed part of the eatery’s parking lot.

David Skaggs has heard all the jokes and rumors about the sinkhole in the parking lot of the Fireside Diner in Harbor, so on Jan. 21 he’s going to hold a party to help people get over their apparent fear of the hole — and help the restaurant owner, whose business is lagging because of it.

The back-to-back storms that began in December caused a joint connecting two old pipes to fail under the parking lot there, creating a 40-by-50-foot hole. Crews continue to suck water from the hole, while others are working downstream, trying to remove asphalt chunks and other debris from the pipe leading to the Chetco River.

The hole has attracted its fair share of attention — and generated all kinds of rumors, Skaggs said.


County mulls mass gathering permit fee

Mass gatherings — events that draw 3,000 or more people — will soon have to obtain a permit from the county if commissioners approve an ordinance addressing such events.

Although some details still have to be worked out, the permit would likely cost $3,000 for events that last longer than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours. Events taking longer will be addressed in the planning department, with permit costs determined through that process.

Annual events might see a discount of $500 each year after the first three years.

The county doesn’t have an ordinance to address mass gatherings, and has operated under state laws until now. State regulations say counties can charge up to $5,000 for such a permit, but only to recoup costs of its part in any given event.


Airport water bill a mystery

Inexplicably high water bills at the Brookings Airport has Curry County Airport Manager Julie Schmelzer worried a leak there might cause a sinkhole in the runways.

“We have a problem,” she told county commissioners at a workshop Wednesday. “Well, we have a lot of problems at the airport, but our water bill there is out of control.”

Last April, the airport paid $29 for water, before its use began a gradual upward creep. And in July, that creep became exponential. In November, the bill was $355.


Clarence Branscomb, a member of an elite U.S. Army jungle warfare unit known for fighting behind ene

Clarence Branscomb was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame for his service to the United States. Submitted photo.

Clarence Branscomb, a member of an elite U.S. Army jungle warfare unit known for fighting behind enemy lines during World War II, died on Dec. 22, 2015. He was 97.


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