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Health district annexation proposal progresses

The Curry County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution Wednesday, after much discussion about taxation, representation and equity, to put on the November ballot a question to annex the southern end of the county to Curry Health District (CHD).

The resolution was the first step to getting a question on the ballot; the city of Brookings approved one last month that has been accepted by the state with a few corrections.

This was the second public hearing at the county, as required by law, and gave time to hospital officials to get correct maps of the two areas in question.


Chalk artists work their magic on Harbor wall

Others soon join the effort to decorate the wall on Thursday.

On Thursday morning, Melissa Buffa and Tim Dufour Jr. were just beginning the outlines of their mural, sketching out their designs in chalk on the block-long wall.

Drivers, bikers and joggers passed the wall on Benham Lane at the south end of the Port of Brookings Harbor, looking on in curiosity and, once they realized what the artists were doing, appreciation.

By 3 that afternoon, the mural was complete — a six foot-tall recreation of the genie from Disney’s “Aladdin,” with fireworks and the words “Happy 4th of July” arched over the top of the scene.


Big ling = Happy fishermen

Photo by Andy Martin

Medford resident Don Stow, left, and Joey LeFebvre of Wild Rivers Fishing In Brookings, hold a trophy lingcod Stow caught Sunday out of the Port of Brookings Harbor. The big ling hit a large herring that LeFebvre jigged up at the boat docks the day before. 

Board OKs $58 million budget

Curry County commissioners adopted its $57.98 million budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year during a special meeting Monday, two days before it must have one in place for the upcoming year.

The budget is slightly higher than that of last year’s — $57.3 million — but dramatically smaller than that of, say, 2010-2011, the heyday of Curry County’s revenue stream, when it was $75.6 million, noted County Accountant Gary Short in his budget message last month.

The bulk of the property tax revenue, in either case, merely transfers through the county to special districts, including schools, fire departments, libraries and scores of others. The county ultimately keeps about 6 percent, or $1.4 million for its general fund, from which all county services are supposed to be funded.


Harbor sanitary district hires Rhodes as manager

The Harbor Sanitary District board on Monday voted to hire outgoing board chairman George Rhodes as the new general manager with a one-year, $60,000 salary. 

In the same meeting, the board agreed to pay $26,000 in accrued sick leave to recently-terminated general manager Kelly Beebe (formerly Kelly Wilson). 

The board meeting attracted about 20 people, some concerned about the recent firing of Beebe, as well as rumors that the board was considering annexing the district to Brookings.

Rhodes, acting as board chair, was quick to quell the rumor about annexation.


Music returning to Gold Beach schools

WANTED: Choral music teacher for Gold Beach’s public schools. Salary: $78,000, with additional $10,000 for music supplies for both campuses. 

Following the recent approval of a $8.5 million budget, the Central Curry School District is determined to find a district-wide music teacher, following four years without one.

Administrators seek someone who will be able to teach choral music at Riley Creek Elementary School and Gold Beach High School.


Proposed act aims to protect rivers from mining

U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio and Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley came through this week for the folks who live at the headwaters of Hunter Creek and the North Forks of the Pistol and Smith rivers.

The three officials introduced the Southwestern Oregon Salmon and Watershed Protection Act of 2015, which prompted the agencies to conduct a “mineral withdrawal,” which temporarily removes the area from the permissive parameters of the Mining Act of 1872.

That act says mining is the “best use” to occur on U.S. Forest Service lands, and has drawn the ire of many other users of the forest, including recreationists, environmentalists and fishing folk, among others.


Firm raises cash to light Rogue bridge

Paul Hill, CEO of Freeman Marine, holds an aluminum plaque, with the words “Turn on the Lights,” that will be placed on the bridge.

For County Economic Development Director Julie Schmelzer, lighting the Isaac Lee Patterson bridge — at a cost of $10,000 — is all about Gold Beach making a big splash for motorists coming into town.

But for the 140 employees of Freeman Marine Equipment, who helped raise the money, it’s all about community.

The firm, owned by Advantec Global Innovations of Canada, has a core value summarized in two words, said Paul Hill, CEO of the company in Hunter Creek.


Neighbors protest radio tower request

Residents in the Dawson Tracts north of Brookings tried to convince the city council Monday night that the sky is not the limit when dealing with ham radio towers and how tall they can be.

The city was poised to add to its municipal code provisions to allow amateur radio towers up to 70 feet in height when they heard opposition about it.

Ham radio operators are often hobbyists who use a radio frequency that isn’t used by law enforcement or airlines to talk to others around the world. They also are presumably the only ones with the equipment to provide communications in mass casualty incidents, such as hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis that often wipe out other systems.


Suspects run from police

A Curry County Sheriff’s Deputy John Ensley keeps an eye on car theft suspect Travis White, who was the passenger in a truck reported stolen in Gold Beach Wednesday.

Authorities were busy this week chasing suspects wanted in two separate incidents in Brookings and Harbor.

On Friday morning, a man wanted for probation violation eluded capture by Curry County Sheriff’s deputies searching an area of Harbor, including an RV park behind Rogue Credit Union building.

A sheriff’s detective attempted to stop and talk to resident David Scoma, 50, at 9:35 a.m., near the corner of Highway 101 and Hoffeldt Lane, but the man ran off, said Sheriff’s Lt. Mick Espinoza.


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