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Fiber optic cut impacts coast phone service

UPDATE: Frontier Communications reported at 6 p.m. that full service has been restored. 

A fiber optic line was cut this morning (Aug. 26) between Myrtle Point and Coos Bay, leaving some people in Curry County without phone service.

Emergency 911 lines are operational, but if something changes and callers don’t get an answer, they should call the business line at 541-469-3118.

Frontier Communications does not yet have an estimate as to when repairs will be made, but an update will be posted here when the Pilot is notified.

Phones affected at this time include landlines calling long-distance and landlines calling some cell phones. People who receive an “all circuits are busy” message are urged to try the call again, as sometimes the calls go through on the second attempt.

“This has happened before,” said Brookings Police Lt. Donny Dotson. “It’s hit or miss right now.”


Curry County: Fair opens Thursday

Exhibits featuring livestock, arts and crafts, and culinary creations will be part of the Curry County Fair Thursday through Sunday. Carnival rides and demonstrations are scheduled daily.

The fair opens Thursday and continues through Sunday at the Event Center on the Beach in Gold Beach.

Fair Manager Ron Crook promised “the best line up I think we have ever had!” 

Crook said his fair employees and volunteers have been working hard to bring everyone “another great fair experience.”


Keeping a check on the Chetco

Carl Page places probes at various places in the Chetco River to check on water temperature and quality. He downloads the data to a laptop for study.

Traveling down the Chetco River in a kayak isn’t the most typical day to spend a workday, but it’s certainly not a bad one.

For fisheries biologist Carl Page, though, it’s a fairly regular occurrence. Page, a Smith River resident, has been collecting data from the Chetco River for about six years, placing devices called temperature probes at various points along the lower nine miles of the river.

Page’s goal in collecting data, he says, is not so much for current projects but for future reference. In the event that the river needs to be maintained in the future, he said, it’s important to record what it’s like right now. 


Smoke increases as firefighters corral blaze

Smoke filled the Brookings-Harbor skies Tuesday, more than it has in weeks past, but fire officials say it was due to weather patterns directing smoke from three distant wildfires toward the coast.

Clearer skies were predicted for today (Aug. 26), officials said.

The Collier Butte Fire, deep in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness east of Gold Beach, had grown to almost 11,000 acres as of Tuesday afternoon, most of it inside containment lines. More than 230 firefighters are battling the lightning-caused blaze that started Aug. 2. Using six engines, seven water tenders, two helicopters and two dozers, firefighters had the blaze 40 percent contained.


Curry County Fair: Childers: ‘The Voice’ of the ArenaSports

The distinctive voice of Curry County resident and announcer Chad Childers will fill the sports arena during this week’s Curry County Fair for the MotorSports activities as well as the “Lucky 7 Bulls & Barrels” on opening night Thursday.

Childers, a former Illinois resident who now resides in Port Orford, was such a hit with fans at last year’s fair, organizers said they wanted to bring him back and add to his announcing duties.

“He is very knowledgeable about the area, the fair, the sponsors, and the events,” said fair spokeswoman Mureen Walker.


Dick Keusink: Farewell to a newsman

Dick and Polly Keusink celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary with friend and family in 2008.

Long-time Brookings resident Dick Keusink, a journalist for 69 years and former owner of the Curry Coastal Pilot, died Wednesday at the age of 93. 

Affectionately called Papa Dick by his family and friends, Keusink was a community fixture in Brookings ever since he and his wife, Polly, moved from Los Angeles to Brookings and purchased the Pilot in 1962. At that time, the Brookings-Harbor area population was about 1,800, compared to more than 14,000 today.

For 43 years, Dick and Polly were involved in various community organizations and events. Their efforts included the Seacrest Bonsai Club, the Pelican Bay Radio Club, the annual Chetco River Checkup and a host of Rotary Club activities that impacted local youth. Dick’s hobbies included beekeeping, gardening, and collecting vinyl records.

“I met Dick Keusink when my family first moved to Brookings, 27 years ago. He was cheerful and helpful and always interested in how my family and I were doing and what was “new” in our lives,” said Les Cohen, former Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce president and Rotary member.  


Jury: Brooking blameless in flood case

A jury this week found the city of Brookings blameless in a lawsuit regarding flood damage to oceanfront properties during a large storm in November 2012.

The case, in which four sets of Buena Vista Loop homeowners claimed the city hadn’t done all it could have to plan for a major flood, involved 10 days of testimony from engineers and city employees. The jury also listened to 911 tapes that related various problems encountered by citizens throughout the city during what some called the area’s 100-year storm.

“We are pleased with the outcome of this case, but are not celebrating it,” said Mayor Ron Hedenskog, in a prepared statement.


No fires at beaches, state parks allowed

With the Collier Butte Wildfire still spreading east of Gold Beach, and fires around the state showing no mercy, both local and state officials have declared “no campfires” on local beaches and state parks and campgrounds.

The ban includes but is not limited to designated fire pits, tiki torches and candles. The state park ban doesn’t apply to propane stoves and/or charcoal briquettes for cooking, but there may be local fire restrictions that do limit propane stoves and briquettes.

“Our goal is to avoid any accidental fires on OPRD property that would further tax limited firefighting resources,” said MG Devereux, deputy director of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. 

“Most communities have sent local firefighters and equipment to help with wildfires throughout the state. An unintentional fire in a state park would add an unnecessary burden to firefighting efforts,” he said.


City seeks funds for shared water pipe with Harbor

If ever there’s a time Harbor and Brookings should pull together, it’s right now, said Brookings City Manager Gary Milliman.

The city is seeking funds through a National Disaster Resilience Competition for an alternative water source project that would benefit both residents of the city and the Harbor Water District. It’s part of President Obama’s billion-dollar program to make cities more resilient to disasters, including floods, fire, earthquakes and tsunamis, among others.


Wildfire Update: The battles continues

A firefighter Tuesday ignites vegetation to create a containment line ahead of the Collier Butte Fire east of Gold Beach.

About 150 wildland firefighters have been relocated from the Collier Butte Fire east of Gold Beach to other fires throughout the West as fires threaten communities in what many officials are calling the worst wildfire season on record.

Almost 100 uncontained fires rage throughout the nation, stretching thin crews, helicopters and planes, water tenders and support personnel. Other fires are in need of vast numbers of resources to protect lives and homes, and crews and aircraft are being reassigned to protect them.


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