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City partners with students on aquatic center plans

Brookings Parks Supervisor Tony Baron learned this month that if you give a class of college students maps, cardboard, laser cutters, a few surveys and a basic premise, the designs they can craft for proposed recreation center are limitless.

Baron is assisting the Community Recreation Center Task Force in their goal to get an aquatic and recreation center built in town, and he enlisted the University of Oregon architecture students to develop ideas for what such a facility could include.


Medal for deputy who saved teen’s life

Survivors Deputy Terry Brown and Joshua Peterson give a thumbs up from a hospital room last June.

Curry County Sheriff’s Deputy Terry Brown’s efforts to save a Brookings teen from drowning in the ocean last year has garnered another recognition: the Carnegie Medal.

The award, issued to 20 recipients annually by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, is given throughout the U.S. and Canada to individuals who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save another life.

“We don’t do it for the awards or recognition — it just what we do, but it’s nice to be appreciated,” Brown said Tuesday.


Cities back sheriff’s law levy

“Two cities down and one to go,” said Gold Beach Mayor Karl Popoff Tuesday when he heard the city of Brookings joined Port Orford in resolutions in support of Ballot Measure 8-81.

The ballot question asks voters May 19 to approve a three-year property tax increase of $1.34 per $1,000 assessed valuation for those living in cities and $2.52 per $1,000 for those in unincorporated Curry County. Revenue generated by the levy will fund the Sheriff’s Office separate from county operations, giving Sheriff Ward’s Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) time to craft a special law enforcement district.

The county faces a $3.5 million shortfall since timber subsidies ended last year.


No local flights starting next week

CRESCENT CITY — Soon-to-be-grounded local passengers will need to find another means of travel for the spring and summer, as the last scheduled flight out of Crescent City is set for April 6. 

A quick online search for flights April 7 and onward produced zero results: “We’ve searched more than 400 airlines that we sell, and couldn’t find any flights from Crescent City ... (to) San Francisco,” travelocity.com states when prompted, going on to suggest “adjust(ing) your arrival or departure to a nearby airport.”


Man dies after boat capsizes

GOLD BEACH — A 56-year-old Cottage Grove man died and his 36-year-old nephew was treated for hypothermia after the boat they were in capsized near the mouth of the Rogue River in Gold Beach Saturday morning.

First responders gave Thomas Whiting CPR for more than an hour before he was pronounced dead at the scene, and Charlie Johnson was transported to Curry General Hospital.

According to Curry County Sheriff John Ward, two 911 calls were received from witnesses to report that an 18-foot boat with the two men and a yellow Labrador retriever had capsized near the north jetty as it was trying to cross the bar.


New CEO for Curry Health Network

GOLD BEACH — Virginia “Ginny” Razo will be joining Curry Health Network (CHN) on May 4 as chief executive officer, succeeding Interim CEO Wayne Hellerstedt.

Razo most recently served as interim CEO of Tahoe Forest Health System in Truckee, California, one of the most prestigious critical access hospital systems in the United States, according to a CHN press release. 

CHN is comprised of Curry General Hospital, Curry Medical Practice and Shore Pines Assisted Living in Gold Beach; Curry Family Medical in Port Orford; and Curry Medical Center, Rush Surgery Center and Brookings Psychiatry in Brookings.


Smith River elude suspect caught

CRESCENT CITY —Authorities believe they’ve caught up with the other man who led them on a chase into Smith River earlier this month that resulted in a school lockdown and two-day, townwide search. 

Suspected to be the person who shot at law enforcement from the passenger seat of a stolen vehicle during a high-speed pursuit, Brandon Proctor, 27, was apprehended at Wildwood Lane and Madison Avenue in Crescent City on Wednesday night by Del Norte County sheriff’s deputies, who made the arrest without incident, sheriff’s officials said. Proctor, who said he is a Smith River transient, was spotted as deputies made contact with another unrelated subject.

A press release from the Sheriff’s Office says that Proctor’s arrest was the result of three weeks’ investigation in collaboration with the District Attorney’s Office and that “substantial time and resources” had been spent to ensure that the suspect would be identified, apprehended and detained on felony charges. 


Insurance accepts county payments, employees covered

The 47 “non-represented” employees of Curry County — elected officials, department heads and those in the road department — have health insurance for now, as the trustees who oversee the plan have accepted the county’s payment for Commissioner Tom Huxley’s premiums.

Huxley, who was sworn into office in January, ran on a platform to cut county expenses. He started by declaring he would take only a $10,000 stipend — county commissioner base salaries are closer to $65,000 — and declining his pension and health insurance benefits.

Federal law requires employees to sign an I-9 form verifying their citizenship by the end of the first day of employment. Additionally, the employer — the county — has three days to verify the documentation or risk fines.


Batty retires after 31 years with city

Mike Batty shows public works sign signifying he will not be working during his retirement.

Brookings public works employee Mike Batty is retiring after 31 years with the city, and for his years of hard work, he was acknowledged at a luncheon with a bright orange street construction sign reading NO MORE WORK AHEAD.

His last day is Tuesday; he and his wife are moving to Mesa, Arizona, to be closer to family.

“Back before there was anyone here, there was, well, Mike,” said Public Works Supervisor Richard Christensen. “In 1984, he was reading water meters by hand — and probably with an abacus.”


Physician told to cease treating pain patients

The Oregon Medical Board late last year gave Maciej Druzdzel, M.D., of Gold Beach, 90 days to voluntarily cease treating chronic pain in all patients except those in hospice care, pending the completion of an investigation into the doctor’s ability to “safely or competently practice medicine.”

In December, Druzdzel was issued an Interim Stipulated Order, which is an agreement from the physician to practice under certain terms. It was reported in the Oregon Medical Board’s (OMB) winter report.


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