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1954-62: Three ownerships for Brookings-Harbor Pilot

On Aug. 19, 1954, readers of the Brookings-Harbor Pilot were greeted with news of the sale of the newspaper under the front page headline: “Pilot Change Announced.”

Minna Akers had sold the newspaper to Joe Murphy and Ray (“Bud”) Pisarek.

The two men had been friends since college in Wisconsin and had some newspaper experience under their belts before they moved with their families to Brookings, taking up occupancy in the Jochen apartments on Harris Heights Road.

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Curry unemployment rate still high

Oregon’s unemployment rate keeps falling — it’s now at 5.1 percent compared to 11.6 percent at the worst point of the Great Recession — but it’s not all rainbows and lollipops in some of the state’s rural communities, including Curry County.

Curry is among six counties with the the highest unemployment rates in the state, at 8.4 percent. The others with rates higher than 8.0 include Grant, Crook, Klamath, Lake and Wallowa counties.

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Fireworks show will fizzle without sponsors

It’s a problem they’ve run into for a few years now, but it’s looking more and more likely that the Brookings Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 966 will no longer be able to sponsor the annual July 4 fireworks show at the port — they’re struggling to come up with the funds.

For the past four years, the VFW has shouldered the task of raising the $25,000 needed to finance the show. They collect money from citizens while sitting outside local grocery stores, and solicit donations from area businesses. 

The VFW contracts with Oregon company Homeland Fireworks, which requires a down payment of $8,000 by March 15. VFW Post Commander Rick Bremer said he’s concerned the group won’t be able to gather enough donations in time to meet that deadline, especially if the last few years are any indication.

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The Pilot celebrates 70 years

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We’re having a birthday. The Pilot, that is. Or perhaps it’s more of an anniversary. March 7 marks 70 years of publishing for this newspaper.

That’s 70 years of recording the community’s history, and also 70 years in the lives of those whose worked to make it happen. 

During the first 35 years the newspaper changed ownership five times and had nine publishers. As I see it, those first 35 years were the “mom and pop” years, where the individuals and families who owned the paper did their best to keep moving it forward, or at least to get a paper out every week.

The second half of the Pilot’s life, since July 1, 1981, has been under the ownership of Western Communications, Inc., headquartered in Bend. The sale of the newspaper at that time allowed it to grow, expand from weekly to twice-weekly publication, and survive the challenges that newspapers have faced in recent years.

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Brookings’ transient problems on the rise

Brookings police officers have been called to an increasing number of incidents with transients upsetting people, harassing businesses — even disrupting church services — in the past couple weeks.

City Manager Gary Milliman, who monitors the police radio traffic periodically every day, said he’s noticed they are being summoned to at least one, and often multiple, calls relating to transients.

In the past two weeks, he said, they have included an “extremely agitated” transient yelling obscenities at passersby near the Redwood Theater. Officers told him he could remain on the bench if he quit yelling at people.

Bank employees called to report that a transient was hiding in the shrubs near the ATM and scaring customers; he was ordered to leave the area.

Police were called to a gas station’s convenience store where a transient was holding shut the front doors so customers couldn’t leave. In that case, the transient had already been removed from the property; they gave him a ticket — his ninth, in two days. This time, he was taken to jail.

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New cattery is the cat’s meow

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A cat named Lucky enjoys the afternoon sun at the feline shelter in Gold Beach.

You could call it “Catnap City, USA.”

Sunlight streams through a large window at the Curry Animal Shelter’s new cattery in Gold Beach, and the felines are making the most of it. Balls of fur are curled up, stretched out, in general making themselves comfortable on couches, in carpeted houses atop poles and in wooden crates attached to the upper walls.

The 23 cats have just one thing on their mind, sleeping.

The cattery is a perfect place for these domesticated cats to land after becoming lost, abandoned or given up for adoption. 

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Deadline nears for potential politicians

The race is (almost) on.

Citizens interested in running for various open government seats in the May 17 primary election have until Tuesday, March 8, to register at the County Clerk and Recorder’s office in Gold Beach.

Many have already signed up to run for office, said County Clerk Reneé Kolen.

County Commissioner David Brock Smith plans to vie to keep his Seat No. 2. It is being contested by Brookings Mayor Ron Hedenskog and Christopher Paasch of Gold Beach, a former owner of a thoroughbred horse breeding and training company in the East and currently a metal arts sign company owner.

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Congress considering bills about federal forest land

Curry County Commissioner David Brock Smith, long a proponent of reinvigorating the local timber industry, isn’t keen on two bills that propose transferring federal lands to state management.

The bills will be heard Thursday in Congress.

Both bills would allow states to take over management of the federal lands within their boundaries and use parts of them for economic pursuits, including timber harvesting.

 Smith argues that neither proposal addresses the numerous different characteristics of Western lands, and that such a transfer shouldn’t — can’t, he said — be handled in one broad sweep.

“It’s more complicated than that, he said, noting that Oregon has 15.7 million acres of land managed by nine BLM districts and covering a variety of landscapes, including grasslands, wetlands, forests and desert. “Having a bill that does not address the uniqueness of the lands within our individual states could cause more bureaucratic issues and exacerbate the problems it intends to help.”

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City: Tourism videos a hit

Thousands of people have viewed the city of Brookings’ YouTube, Facebook and Oregon Lifestyle videos since their debut in August 2015, the city’s Tourism Promotion and Advisory Commission reported earlier this month.

The Great Place for a Romantic Getaway video has been viewed by more than 32,800 people on Facebook, shared by 1,471 of those and “liked” by 300 viewers.

The Brookings Lifestyle video, featured on KOBI TV, was also viewed by 14,781 people.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I think the viewership has been really good,” said City Manager Gary Milliman. “People like to see new things. One of the motivations is to add one video each year to the library.”

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Prescription drug abuse a big issue in Curry

Curry County’s prescription drug abuse problem is so bad, the state has awarded Curry Community Health’s Behavioral Health department a $500,000 grant to combat it.

“It’s based on need,” said Jan Barker, addictions director for the organization. “And Curry County fell into the top 10 counties in Oregon that have this problem. That fact that the state is willing to give us a grant for that speaks loudly.”

The Strategic Prevention Framework Partnerships for Success grant was issued through the state health authority.

The news did not surprise Barker.

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