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State OKs scenic bikeway on coast


The Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission designated the Wild Rivers Coast Scenic Bikeway — a 60-mile loop that begins in Port Orford and meanders along the Elk River — into its State Scenic Bikeways system this week.

The designation means the area will get publicity through Travel Oregon, the state’s tourism board, and open up to bicyclists a route that starts with rugged and rocky ocean views, wanders through old-growth forests, goes to the craggy bluffs near the Cape Blanco Lighthouse and ends back in Port Orford, the oldest town on the Oregon Coast.


Authorities capture two suspected car thieves


Authorities capture one of two men suspected of stealing a car in Gold Beach and driving it to Brookings.

Two men suspected of stealing a car in Gold Beach, and possibly another in Bandon a day earlier, were arrested this morning in Brookings.

One of the suspects was captured immediately; the second was captured about an hour later, at 10:40 a.m., when a Brookings police dog found him hiding in vegetation in the area of Railroad Street and Mill Beach Road.


Landing the lingasaurus

Photo by Dick Moore

Brookings resident Cindy Fox displays a 42-pound lingcod she caught while fishing off the Brookings Coast Saturday. A 6-pound lingcod first took the herring that Fox was using for bait but, while she was reeling it in, the small ling become bait itself, attracting the attention of the 42-pound giant. 

Drought prompts city caution

Water flows in the Chetco River are at a 50-year low, prompting Brookings city officials to examine its departments’ water use and consider curtailing water sales to people outside the city should the river reaches 100 cubic feet per second (cfs).

As of Monday, the Chetco River was flowing at 107 cfs. Normal for this time of year is about 300 cfs

The drought is already impacting some in the Brookings-Harbor area.


Missing woman alive after four days

Search and rescue personnel retrieve Joyce Huffman from a tangle of gorse plants near her house, four days after she was reported missing by her husband. Submitted photo.

Port Orford resident Joyce Huffman, the subject of a massive search and rescue effort last weekend, was in good condition Tuesday and expected to return home later this week.

“She’s tough,” said Joyce’s husband Ray. “She was pretty dehydrated, but she’s doing fine.”

Ray contacted the Curry County Sheriff’s Office at about 4:15 p.m. Thursday to report that his wife had been missing from their property on the top of Hensley Hill for about an hour.


New interim school chief hired for Gold Beach

Roy Durfee

The Central Curry School Board this week hired Roy Durfee as interim superintendent for the 2015-16 school year.

Durfee, of Carlton, will begin his term July 1 and will serve as both the district superintendent and principal of Gold Beach High School. His salary is $105,000.

“In my opinion, Mr. Durfee was a standout applicant,” said board chair Scott McNair. “He was approachable from the get-go, and his experience stood out for me. He worked his way up from a teacher to assistant principal, and then a principal and superintendent.”


Marijuana legal in Oregon in seven days

Recreational marijuana becomes legal in Oregon in seven days,  but that doesn’t mean anything goes.

State officials are spending $350,000 to help new and current users learn the rules.

The campaign, called “What’s Legal?” launched earlier this month with a website, paid media advertising and a social media blitz. The tagline: “Educate before you recreate.”

The follow questions and answers may help:


New bill would raise Curry property tax

If Curry County voters don’t want to fund their own basic county services, the citizens of Oregon might just force them to, in a Constitutional amendment proposed for the November ballot.

House Joint Resolution 21 would raise the minimum permanent property tax rate in all counties to $2 per $1,000 assessed valuation — unless they already meet that criteria. The bill moved to the Senate Rules Committee last week.

If voters statewide approved the amendment, it would not affect those counties whose permanent rates are at or above that $2 per $1,000 assessed valuation rate, but property owners in 13 counties — including Curry — would see their property tax rates increase; in some cases, substantially.


Council OKs $9.2 million plan

Gold Beach City Administrator Jodi Fritts, right, discusses the city’s proposed 2015-16 budget with the council, including Mayor Karl Popoff, left, earlier this week.

The Gold Beach City Council this week approved a $9.2 million budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year, a $2 million drop from the current budget of $11.4 million.

The smaller budget comes after the recently-completed wastewater treatment facility and includes the lay off of a 30-hour a week municipal clerk.

The elimination of the clerk position will save about $20,000 per year and Fritts hopes to set aside that savings for the next two or three years in order to hire a police officer.

“We are in good shape financially overall, but I’m concerned about public safety costs as expenditures are outpacing revenues,” City Administrator Jodi Fritts told the Curry Coastal Pilot.


Curry Health District annexation talks begin

The county’s first public hearing regarding a resolution determining whether to annex southern Curry County into the existing Curry Health District stirred up some confusion about who gets to vote about what on a proposed Nov. 3 ballot measure.

At Wednesday’s Curry County commissioners hearing, the first of at least two required to be held, was continued until July 1, at which time accurate district boundaries will be outlined, and a second hearing will be held July 8 to take public input.

The Curry Health District, which operates Curry General Hospital in Gold Beach and the Curry Medical Center in Brookings, wants to put on the November ballot a question asking residents in the south end of the county to join the district.

If voters approve the question, it will expand health services to the most populous part of the county and spread the expense of doing so among all Curry County property owners.


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