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Transition underway at sheriff’s office

Curry County Sheriff John Bishop has promoted two of his men as part of a transition before his last day Sept. 30.

Lt. Jail Commander Dave Denny will now be a sergeant in parole and probation, replacing Kris Bishop, the sheriff’s wife; Jail Deputy Mike Espinoza will then take over Denny’s job as jail commander.

“He’s asked for (the position), and it makes sense because he works closely with parole and probation,” the sheriff said of Denny’s move. “He’ll have a learning curve, but he’s the easiest to put in there to train. He’s a good fit because he works so closely with corrections already; he knows the back-end of sanctions.”

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Source of Mill Beach pollution remains elusive

Oregon Public Health officials have issued a second health advisory for water at Mill Beach after tests revealed a higher-than normal level of fecal bacteria.

The advisory does not have scientists overly concerned at this point, as Mill Beach has only had an incident rate of 12.5 percent for the year, said Aaron Borisenko of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Usually, it hovers around a 15 percent incident rate.

The bacterial level was found to be 763 colony-forming units per milliliter of water on Aug. 6, Borisenko said. The acceptable level is 158 units per ml.

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County says gaining voters’ trust is key to passing jail tax

Curry County commissioners always talk about making everything they do obvious to the public, and now might take it a step further in a resolution outlining exactly where tax revenue will be spent if voters approve a jail ballot measure next month.

It worked for Lane County, after its board of commissioners put a ballot measure to voters asking for a tax increase to fund juvenile services and jail beds, and commissioners here believe it could help provide them with enough “accountability and transparency” to allay trust issues voters have with the board and get the measure approved at the ballot box.

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City seeks way to resolve DIA issues equitably

The Brookings City Council plans to notify all property owners who hold Deferred Improvement Agreements (DIAs) that they plan to call them in soon.

The problem is, many of those who have them don’t even know it.

“The purpose is to get these off the books, and not surprise property owners — some of whom are four property owners removed,” said City Manager Gary Milliman at a town work session Monday. “Part of the effort is to increase awareness. When we dealt with DIAs on Hassett Street, half the property owners indicated they’d never heard about it.”

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Advisory issued for Mill Beach

A public health advisory was issued today due to higher-than-normal levels of bacteria in ocean waters at Mill Beach, located in Brookings.

Water samples indicate higher-than-normal levels of fecal bacteria, which can result in diarrhea, stomach cramps, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses. Direct contact with the water should be avoided in this area until the advisory is lifted, especially for children and the elderly, who may be more vulnerable to waterborne bacteria.

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Country’s local impact

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Brookings Byron Bishop, 11, shares the limelight on stage with mega-country artist Brad Paisley during last weekend’s Cape Blanco Country Music Festival near Port Orford. Photo courtesy of Tammy Ross Photography.

Country music fans weren’t the only ones bearing face-splitting grins last weekend; retailers throughout the north end of the county were smiling, as well. 

The throngs of music fans that descended on Sixes for Bi-Mart’s Cape Blanco Country Music Festival arrived in a flurry of excitement and left behind enough money to help retailers break sales records.

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Board picks temporary super to lead district

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Tenneal Wetherell

The Brookings-Harbor School board on Monday appointed Tenneal Wetherell as superintendent-of-record until the district can find an interim leader for the school district.

The superintendent position became available when Brian Hodge resigned last week.

“The new administrative staff is fabulous and committed to working together and moving forward,” Wetherell told the board. “I will do everything I can to support them.” 

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Council cracks down on signs

The Brookings City Council decided Monday afternoon to more vigorously enforce an ordinance that bans signs — garage sales, lost pets, upcoming events and others — taped to light poles throughout town.

The tape used to hold them down — often duct tape, to combat high winds — leaves behind a sticky residue, and in some cases, wire chips paint from the poles.

“This weekend alone, signs were staked up in the park, there were garage sale signs, tarp and tool signs, art festival signs — including one that covered an entire park bench,” said City Manager Gary Milliman. “There was quite a proliferation of signs on public property. There was even signs on — ON — stop signs.”

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City looks at possible performing arts center

Brookings City Council will investigate the possibility of transforming a vacant bowling alley into a performing arts center, but a variety of factors must be considered before it could ever become reality, the group agreed Monday.

“The Harvard student said right now it wouldn’t work,” said Mayor Ron Hedenskog of a recent feasibility study that indicated the local arts groups aren’t yet strong enough to financially support such an endeavor. “But I think it’s a great idea. It doesn’t mean I’m ready to kill anything.”

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Fire destroys High Hopes vessel

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Harbor firefighter Bart Kast talks with witnesses while a fishing boat High Hopes is consumed by flames in a parking lot at the Port of Brookings Harbor Saturday. Photo courtesy of Martin Shepherd.

The 24-foot recreational vessel High Hopes was completely destroyed in a fire at the public boat dock Saturday afternoon.

According to Port of Brookings Harbor Director Ted Fitzgerald, the owner, Robert Phillips of Brookings, had just filled the tank of his 2005 Trophy with fuel and launched the boat in the water. Phillips was trying to start the motor and, failing to do so, pulled the boat from the water.

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