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Summit: Mental health a top priority

Mental health and a steady source of funding — not deputies on the road, jail expenses or even budget challenges — is gradually proving itself to be the top concern of law enforcement officials throughout Oregon’s 36 counties.

That emerged again in the third Public Safety Summit held in Columbia County that attracted scores of sheriffs, district attorneys and elected officials from the surrounding areas last week to discuss challenges facing counties’ budgets in general and law enforcement in particular.


County’s campgrounds attracting regular business

The much-vaunted reservations system that County Parks Director Ken Dukek dreamed of implementing for Boice Park at the north end of the county was scrapped this week — and not by county officials looking to save money.

“I really got my butt kicked on this one,” he told county commissioners Wednesday morning. “They (park users) absolutely did not want it.”


A new place to live

Sixes resident Janet Lurell Baily and her dog, Brutus, currently live in a metal trailer with no running water or working septic system. Her new home could arrive by the end of this month.

Janet Lurell Baily says she feels like she just won the lottery. She bets no one — no one — is as excited as she was Friday. And it’s just going to get better this summer. 

“I’m getting a brand-new place to live,” the Sixes woman exclaimed. “These people are angels without wings. These people have given me hope.”

Bailey is the first of what is hoped to be dozens of residents in Curry County who qualify through the ReHome Oregon program to receive new manufactured homes to replace the leaking, moldy, failing homes in which they currently live.


Gas tax would pay for road work

Brookings city officials will draft a measure this month to ask voters to approve a 1- to 3-cent gasoline tax to help pay for street maintenance throughout town.

The idea was discussed at a work session Monday evening. The council did not mention when the question might be on the ballot.

Depending on the tax rate, revenue generated could total between $250,000 and $300,000 a year. And all of it, by state law, would go to street maintenance, construction and repair.


Brookings’ stormwater system due for repairs

The city of Brookings needs $10 million in stormwater infrastructure repairs over the next 10 years, it was announced at a city council work session Monday.

The news came on the heels of various studies of the system after the storms and flooding in November 2012, and will be included as part of the update of the city’s infrastructure master plan.

According to Aaron Speakman, engineer with The Dyer Partnership of Coos Bay, the master plan is designed to assist the city in managing its storm water infrastructure for the next 20 years. The master plan was updated last in 2008, and since then, the city has experienced a “significant amount of damage,” Speakman wrote in his executive summary.


142 cities, 26 counties pass pot moratoriums

SALEM — Cities and counties across Oregon spent the past two months rushing to adopt temporary bans on medical marijuana dispensaries, after a new state law created a brief window for officials to pass the moratoriums.

By the May 1 deadline, the map of cities and counties with moratoriums on the retail outlets looked like a patchwork quilt spread across the state: 142 of 242 cities and 26 of 36 counties had reported bans to the Oregon Health Authority by Friday, and the agency expects to receive more reports.


Home Rule Charter?

Curry County Commissioner David Itzen, middle, and State Rep. Wayne Krieger, right, outline their stance against Measure 8-76 to a television reporter from Medford-based KDRV on Wednesday.

Voters in Curry County have just over two weeks to decide how to cast their vote on ballot Measure 8-76, which asks citizens to change the form of government by which the county operates.

It’s been a contentious issue over the past couple of months, with those for and against the initiative holding forums, engaging the community on social media and even accusing each other of disseminating false information about the question.

The measure was created by an offshoot of County Commissioner Susan Brown’s Financial Independence Committee formed to address the monetary woes of Curry County. 


Judge Beaman seeks reelection

Shala McKenzie Kudlac (left) and Cynthia Beaman (right)

Incumbent Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Beaman has served on the bench for nearly seven years and it’s the variety of her work and the ability to make a positive difference in people’s lives that makes the job exciting.

“As a judge in Curry County, I preside over all different types of matters. The variety of the work is what keeps me interested,” Beaman said.

Beaman, 47, of Brookings, has been serving as judge in Coos and Curry counties since 2007, when she was appointed by Governor Ted Kulongoski after the retirement of Judge Richard Mickelson. 


Kudlac challenges Beaman for judge seat

Shala McKenzie Kudlac (left) and Cynthia Beaman (right)

After nearly nine years of being an attorney, Sixes resident Shala McKenzie Kudlac is ready to take the next step — challenging incumbent Cindi Beaman for the Circuit Court Judge seat in the May 20 election.

“It is time to take the next step towards assisting individuals and the community from a higher level,” Kudlac said.

“As judge I can reach more people and be a positive influence on this area ... I think a judge should be active in the community and lead by example without ever using their position as judge beyond the bench.”


New quake data won’t halt plans for hospital

The Curry Health Network (CHN) district board plans to forge ahead and build its new hospital on the site of its existing facility despite dire new warnings about earthquakes and tsunamis, their likelihood and predicted severity.

“We have a deadline; we have a building here that’s worn,” said district CEO Andrew Bair. “The fire marshal has said, ‘We’ve turned a blind eye to it long enough. Fix it or you can’t provide care there.’ That’s really the driving factor.”


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