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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.


Group busy on special district for public safety

Curry County Sheriff John Ward’s Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) regrouped Wednesday in Gold Beach, this time to start the process of creating a special district for county public safety.

Discussion is based on the assumption that voters will approve Measure 8-81 on May 19, which asks to increase property taxes for three years to provide law enforcement in Curry county and give the CAC enough time to create the special taxing district separate from county operations.

Ideally, they’d like to have the district — operations, a board overseeing it and numerous other elements — crafted by October, so a measure to make it official can be put on a ballot next May.

Ward’s department and the jail are the major players affected by the county’s revenue shortfall that came to a head last year when timber revenues were discontinued. In recent years, voters have rejected every property tax ballot measure to fill that shortfall, which in 2012 forced county commissioners to spin off entire departments to nonprofit organizations.

The CAC first met late last year to determine how to create a special district, but immediately learned it would need much more time to do so.


Manhunt suspect: I’m not the guy

A law officer stands guard outside Smith River School Tuesday as a precaution while other authorities search for a suspect in the surrounding neighborhood.

A man who was the target of an ongoing Smith River manhunt stemming from a high speed car chase contacted authorities Tuesday evening to tell them that he’s not the man they’re looking for.

Daniel Buchert, 41, of Crescent City, got in touch with the Del Norte Sheriff’s Office after seeing his name pop up on social media, to tell them that he wasn’t involved in Monday’s car chase and manhunt nor the subsequent search Tuesday afternoon that briefly caused the lockdown of Smith River School.

According to Sheriff’s Commander Tim Athey, Buchert came to the station voluntarily and was being interviewed by sheriff’s investigators. 


Brookings PD officer injured in car chase

A 29-year-old Crescent City man faces charges of attempted aggravated murder after he allegedly hit a Brookings Police officer with his car, breaking his leg, during a car chase Sunday night.

According to Oregon State Police (OSP) reports, officers Zane Van Zelf and Gavin McVay were each trying to pull over a vehicle driven by Marshall B. Randall on a traffic infraction at 11 p.m. Sunday when he led them on a chase north through Brookings to House Rock Road.

The officers were forced to fire at Randall when he backtracked on the dead-end road, striking Van Zelf with his silver 1982 Honda en route.


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