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County officials list top priorities

Curry County commissioners outlined their goals for the coming year at a workshop Tuesday — primarily listing a continuation of items they addressed in 2015 and a few accomplishments upon which they can build.

Commissioner David Brock Smith took almost an hour to outline his plans to continue work with various entities to secure funds for dredging, housing, and economic development opportunities.

Many of his plans will again take him to Salem to advocate on behalf of Curry County interests, including the state’s land use system, getting the federal government to pay timber subsidies it owes O&C counties and transferring federal lands to local entities to manage.

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Brookings man dies in solo car crash

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Authorities investigate an accident south of Gold Beach Sunday in which a Brookings man died. Submitted photo.

Brookings resident Michael K Gillette, 64, died Sunday, Jan. 17, when the motorhome he was driving crashed into a ditch on Highway 101 about five miles south of Gold Beach.

According to a news release from the Oregon State Police, emergency personnel responded to the report of a single vehicle crash near milepost 336 at about 11:45 a.m.

Preliminary information indicates the 2007 Gulfstream motorhome was traveling southbound when it left the roadway and crashed. 

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Sinkhole party

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Staff of the Fireside Grill in Harbor, including owner David Allen, center, hoisting his son, Gabriel, are maintaining a positive attitude despite a sinkhole that has swallowed part of the eatery’s parking lot.

David Skaggs has heard all the jokes and rumors about the sinkhole in the parking lot of the Fireside Diner in Harbor, so on Jan. 21 he’s going to hold a party to help people get over their apparent fear of the hole — and help the restaurant owner, whose business is lagging because of it.

The back-to-back storms that began in December caused a joint connecting two old pipes to fail under the parking lot there, creating a 40-by-50-foot hole. Crews continue to suck water from the hole, while others are working downstream, trying to remove asphalt chunks and other debris from the pipe leading to the Chetco River.

The hole has attracted its fair share of attention — and generated all kinds of rumors, Skaggs said.

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County mulls mass gathering permit fee

Mass gatherings — events that draw 3,000 or more people — will soon have to obtain a permit from the county if commissioners approve an ordinance addressing such events.

Although some details still have to be worked out, the permit would likely cost $3,000 for events that last longer than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours. Events taking longer will be addressed in the planning department, with permit costs determined through that process.

Annual events might see a discount of $500 each year after the first three years.

The county doesn’t have an ordinance to address mass gatherings, and has operated under state laws until now. State regulations say counties can charge up to $5,000 for such a permit, but only to recoup costs of its part in any given event.

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Airport water bill a mystery

Inexplicably high water bills at the Brookings Airport has Curry County Airport Manager Julie Schmelzer worried a leak there might cause a sinkhole in the runways.

“We have a problem,” she told county commissioners at a workshop Wednesday. “Well, we have a lot of problems at the airport, but our water bill there is out of control.”

Last April, the airport paid $29 for water, before its use began a gradual upward creep. And in July, that creep became exponential. In November, the bill was $355.

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Clarence Branscomb, a member of an elite U.S. Army jungle warfare unit known for fighting behind ene

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Clarence Branscomb was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame for his service to the United States. Submitted photo.

Clarence Branscomb, a member of an elite U.S. Army jungle warfare unit known for fighting behind enemy lines during World War II, died on Dec. 22, 2015. He was 97.

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Crescent City Walmart not one of 154 closing in U.S.

Crescent City’s Walmart store apparently isn’t one of the more than 100 across the nation, including nine in California, targeted for closure.

Walmart announced Friday it planned to close 269 stores worldwide, including 154 stores in the U.S.

“I had no idea. It came as a complete surprise,” said Crescent City Walmart Manager Peter Davis. 

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Heading out to sea

Photo by Grant Fraley

The crew of a Brookings crab boat takes advantage of a relatively-calm ocean to cross the bar at the Port of Brookings Harbor. 


Voters to decide marijuana tax

The Gold Beach City Council decided Monday to ask voters in November to approve a 3 percent tax on sales of recreational marijuana within city limits.

The action, 4-1 with Councilor Becky Campbell dissenting, followed several months of discussion about how to handle Oregon’s new law regarding the substance. 

City Administrator Jodi Fritts will now begin drafting an ordinance, which will be placed on the November 2016 ballot for voter approval. The tax will not affect medical marijuana sales in the city. It will require a simple majority vote.

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Six vie for seat on Brookings council

For a job that doesn’t pay anything, a vacant Brookings City Council seat has attracted its fair share of citizens interested in the work.

The deadline is Jan. 15; applications can be picked up at City Hall on Elk Drive.

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