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Azalea Park’s plants suffering

The Brookings-Harbor Parks and Recreation Commission on Thursday received some bad news: the azaleas at Azalea Park are not thriving, and an expert urged quick action to ensure their survival.

Previous efforts by the city to help the plants often sparked complaints from visitors, said Tony Baron, director of the Parks and Recreation Department.

“In the past two and a half years that I’ve been here, we’ve attempted to prune the azaleas three times and every time, people walk through the park and see it going on and call us to complain,” Baron said. 


Committee: No home rule for Curry

The Curry County Home Rule Charter Committee has officially announced it believes running the county under general law works just fine.

The group was formed in January 2014 shortly after the defeat of a measure calling for a change in government from one of general law to that of a home rule charter. A ballot question proposed to have five, part-time volunteers serve as county commissioners and a full-time, paid administrator. The measure failed 2,153 to 3,627.


Senate committee adds rural funding

Sen. Ron Wyden at Budget Committee hearing.
The Senate Budget Committee approved an amendment today to include special rural funding programs in the federal budget.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, is a member of the Senate Budget Committee and provided a video of his statement on the amendment.

The link to his statement is in a You Tube video at this link. 


A peek at how port earns, uses money

Port of Brookings Harbor Commissioner Jim Relaford is ready to talk numbers: In the next two weeks, Relaford, treasurer of the port commission, will hold two public meetings where he will discuss the economic development of the port and answer questions people might have about how the port earns — and spends —money.

The first meeting will be held today (March 18) at 5 p.m. at the Bell and Whistle Coffee Shop, located next to the port’s main office on Lower Harbor Road. The second meeting will be held at a still-to-be-determined location in Brookings on the following Wednesday.


Parent: Bag fee could benefit schools

At a recent Gold Beach City Council meeting, resident Amy Timeus proposed an idea that could make the small town a leader in sustainability in the state of Oregon — while also providing a major service to the school district.

It’s a two-pronged approach: Ban plastic grocery bags and charge a fee for paper bags, with some money going to the schools.


Some fish surviving Pacific dead zone

GRANTS PASS (AP) — Scientists say they have found that some fish can survive in low-oxygen dead zones that are expanding in deep waters off the West Coast as the climate changes.

While the overall number and kinds of fish in those zones are declining, some species appear able to ride it out, according to a study published this month in the journal Fisheries Oceanography.

The study focused on catches from 2008 through 2010 of four species of deepwater groundfish -- Dover sole, petrale sole, spotted ratfish and greenstriped rockfish.


Search for Connor Ryan: Boy survives nighttime ordeal


Submitted photo/aerial image courtesy of Google Maps Connor Ryan, 11, gives a thumbs up from his hospital room in Portland Tuesday evening. He was found injured and unconscious on a rock just off Harris Beach State Park at 2:30 a.m. Monday. He may come home later this week.

It was 2:30 a.m. Monday and Brookings resident Bruce Ward, with flashlight in hand, clamored to the top of a 50-foot offshore rock at Harris Beach. He was looking for 11-year-old Connor Ryan, who had been missing for eight hours.

While dozens of other citizens and law enforcement officers spread out across town in search of the boy, Ward felt prompted to climb the rock — although he knew that others had done so earlier that night.

“I just had a feeling. A prompting by the Spirit,” Ward said. “I checked one side of the rock and followed a trail on the other side. Then I stopped on the ocean side and shined the flashlight down into  a crevice. There he was. About five feet down. Curled up into a ball and not moving.”


County running out of money

The county has scrimped and saved enough money that, with taxes and other revenue, it might be able to eke its way to June 30, 2016.

But then it’s over, County Accountant Gary Short told Curry County commissioners in an overview of the county’s fiscal status Wednesday morning.

Budget talks have begun throughout the state, and Curry County is particularly challenged, Short noted during the workshop. There is little revenue, many unknowns — and a May tax question that could at least save public safety in the county.


Volunteers help with taxes

Submitted photo State AARP Tax Aide coordinator Bill Ensign, middle, honors two Brookings volunteers for their many years of service. Joanne Wasbauer, right, has been in the program for 20 years; Barbara Wright for 24 years.

Doing taxes — with the myriad of forms and complex questions — can be a major source of stress for many people, but a small group of volunteers at the Chetco Activity Center are ready to help — for free.

The AARP Foundation’s Tax Aide program, which is run out of the Chetco Activity Center, provides tax aid service for low- to medium-income people. The number of clients helped last year was 860, officials said.

The Activity Center has provided this service to the Brookings area since the late 1980s, and trains volunteers to assist citizens in preparing their tax returns. The program, which operates by appointment only, begins accepting clients in mid-January, and volunteers begin working on tax returns the first weekend in February through April 15. Open Tuesday through Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. and every other Saturday, the program is busy and appointments fill up quickly.


Changes for Hospice, rummage activities

For at least a decade, bargain hunters have flocked to the super-sized, semi-annual rummage sales in Gold Beach presented by the Curry Home Health and Hospice.

That’s all about to change.

The building on the north bank of the Rogue River that Hospice traditionally uses for the rummage sales is going to be sold (the hospice leases the building), and the nonprofit is looking for a new location, said Hospice Executive Director Ed Charlton.


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