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Donation gives visitor center one-month reprieve

An anonymous donor has contributed funds to keep Crissey Field State Park visitor center open through the month of January, County Economic Development Director Julie Schmelzer told commissioners Wednesday.

The amount of funding was undisclosed.

The announcement was made as part of an update Schmelzer gave the county commissioners regarding the work in her department to keep the welcome center open, an idea to develop an egress corridor in case of a natural disaster — and more immediate concerns such as the county’s strategic and crisis plans.


Customers pack Brookings port landmark Fely’s Cafe during final days

Fely Johnson hugs a customer during an emotional Sunday afternoon, when her cafe closed for good.

It was all hugs and tears — and colossal hamburgers topped with roasted onions — at Fely’s Cafe in Harbor Sunday, where the restaurant owner and her staff worked the stove and the crowds on the last day at the popular eatery.

It was standing-room-only all weekend. Friday, the little cafe at the end of Sporthaven Beach went through 90 pounds of beef. Saturday, they ran out of food.

And Sunday, it was all over.

“Thanks for everything,” Brookings resident Sherri Scott whispered to Fely Johnson, echoing what many were lined up in the dining area to say. All who were asked said they were there to say their farewells — and promise they’d be first in line when she reopens.

“This is hard,” Johnson said, her eyes welling. “That is hurting me the most. I cannot say much. I’ll cry.” 


County studying transient lodging tax

Curry County commissioners will discuss in upcoming workshops and meetings the idea of implementing a Transient Lodging Tax (TLT) and how the revenue — an estimated $150,000 — would be spent.

 Commissioner Susan Brown, who has been trying to promote the idea throughout her year-long tenure, obtained tax figures from the Oregon Department of Revenue and extrapolated how much revenue could be garnered if a tax were implemented to include hotels in the unincorporated parts of the county.

Gold Beach and Brookings have 6 percent TLT taxes; Port Orford’s is 7 percent.


Officials evaluate county efficiency

Newly sworn-in County Commissioner Tom Huxley hadn’t even sat down for his first workshop Monday and he was already expressing his desire to get the county’s agendas, committee lists and contacts, and website up to date — yesterday.

“I printed out the committee list two months ago, and it’s all changed,” he said. “The website is not up to date. That’s where I go, is the website, and I can tell you, it’s not close to being accurate.”

His sentiments — and others — have been voiced by several in the community in the past year. Much of the clean-up and updating hasn’t been done because of the county’s financial situation.


Sea bird die-off puzzles scientists

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists are investigating the deaths of large numbers of seabirds along the Pacific coast in the wake of harsh winter weather the past several weeks.

Common murres and Cassin’s auklets have been found dead on coast beaches in greater numbers than usual. Preliminary information obtained through necropsies conducted at ODFW’s pathology lab in Corvallis indicate the birds are extremely emaciated, likely related to exhaustion and starvation caused by exposure to cold temperatures and heavy wind.


Katelyn's Cause delivers

Police Chief Chris Wallace, wife, Molly, and daughter, Kennedy, deliver $12,000 worth of gifts to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland.

The children at Portland’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital were delighted again this year with donations from the Brookings Police Department and the community.

Brookings Police Chief Chris Wallace and his wife, Molly, traveled to Portland in mid-December to deliver gifts to children battling cancer. The couple was joined by former Curry County Sheriff John Bishop and current Sheriff John Ward and their families. 


Women arrested after 30-minute car chase

Two Crescent City woman believed to be shoplifters are facing multiple charges in Curry and Del Norte counties after being chased by authorities from Brookings to Crescent City on New Year’s Day.

Krystal Star Evans-Thompson, 33, and Tiffany Elizabeth Maple, 20 were arrested without incident at 9:50 p.m. Thursday after a Brookings Police K-9 and his handler found them hiding in the bushes off Elk Valley Road.


New crosswalk planned for Chetco Avenue

The Brookings City Council will discuss the new crosswalk at Lucky Lane and Chetco Avenue where almost five months ago, an elderly woman was struck and killed while crossing the highway.

The meeting will be held at a city workshop beginning at 4 p.m. Jan. 8 at City Hall.


Brookings announces goals for 2015

The Brookings City Council will discuss its own version of New Year’s resolutions — the draft Strategic Plan — at its first workshop of the year, at 4 p.m. Thursday.

In a four-page document, city officials outlined their hopes and dreams under their four goals. The goals include to:

•have an effective, responsive, ethical city government that is fiscally sustainable;

•have a safe community;

•influence economic development and improve quality of life;

•and maintain effective intergovernmental relations.


Final days for Fely’s Cafe

In 2007, fans of Fely’s Cafe stage an impromptu protest of its pending closure then. Today, there will be no reprieve for the popular eatery, which closes Sunday at the Port of Brookings Harbor.

On Tuesday morning, three customers sat in Fely’s Cafe, sipping coffee and chatting. Getting up to leave, one customer gave owner and chief cook Fely Johnson a hug, saying, “We’ll look you up the next time you’re in town.”

That may be a difficult promise to keep.

Fely’s Cafe, a landmark at the Port of Brookings Harbor, will close its doors at the end of business Sunday. The cafe is a well-loved institution among Brookings and Harbor residents, as well as tourists.

The closure is a result of port plans to renovate the Sporthaven Beach area where Fely’s Cafe stands, as well as the cafe’s noncompliance with federal regulations. 


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