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Man's body found at Brookings' Mill Beach

Oregon State Police (OSP) and the Brookings Police Department are trying to identify the name and cause of death of a man they believe washed ashore at Brookings’ Mill Beach on Tuesday.

As of noon today (Dec. 9), authorities have not identified the body and are asking anybody with information to contact the OSP’s Gold Beach Office at (541) 247-6641.

Authorities received a call of a body that had washed ashore at Mill Beach at 11:04 a.m. Tuesday, according to OSP Sgt. Dave Aydelotte. Brookings and OSP officers responded to the scene, as did members of the Curry County Major Crime Team. The Curry County Sheriff Department sent a detective to assist as well.

 

No further information is available at this time.


Wild weather continues

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The quickly rising Chetco River knocked over an abandoned travel trailer at Nook Bar sometime Monday night or Tuesday morning. The Curry County Sheriff’s Department responded Tuesday morning and a tow truck was called to pull the trailer from the water. Photo by Andy Martin.

A series of storms promising high surf and five to seven inches of rain today through Thursday night prompted agencies to issue flood alerts and high surf warnings in Curry County.

The National Weather Service issued a high wind warning Tuesday afternoon calling for gusts of up to 50 mph through 7 a.m. today. The NWS forecast also forecast one to 2 inches of rain overnight into today.

The winds were expected to decrease on Wednesday, but more rain was expected, with up to three inches of rain forecast by Wednesday evening and another three inches on Thursday. 

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Public invited to Williams’ memorial

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Elmo Williams poses during a Brookings screening of the Academy Award-winning movie “High Noon” in 2011. Pilot file photo.

In true Hollywood style, Saturday’s public memorial service for Brookings resident and Hollywood legend Elmo Williams will be more like a tribute, featuring live music, video, costumes and a cast of family and friends sharing memories of the man and lauding his community endeavors.

The event, at the Brookings Elks Lodge, is scheduled, appropriately, for noon— a nod to the classic western movie “High Noon,” for which Elmo received an Academy Award as film editor.

People attending the event are asked to be seated by 11:50 a.m. A bell will be rung just before noon to prepare the audience.

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A health network in trouble

Facing a major financial meltdown, Curry Health Network CEO Ginny Razo said Monday the warning signs were there, and she should have seen them from the beginning.

Razo was hired by CHN in May, succeeding interim CEO Wayne Hellerstedt.

The hospital is in financial dire straits, with less than two weeks cash-on-hand for operations, and has implemented a “reduction of force” plan — essentially layoffs with promises that employees will get their jobs back if the financial situation improves. Other cuts to keep the district solvent are expected.

“I’m not going to say I wasn’t culpable,” Razo said. “I had feelings when I interviewed, and in the first six months, but I didn’t have the information to declare an emergency and stop the wagons. I had been seeing flashing red lights for awhile and didn’t have the courage to confront it.”

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Hospital closes ‘hold room’ to cut costs

Curry Health Network’s recently announced cost-reduction strategy is already affecting other agencies, particularly concerning the closure of the “hold room” at Curry General Hospital.

Mentally unstable patients — those with Alzheimer’s, dementia, who are on drugs or have mental illnesses — are stabilized and evaluated in the hold room to determine the best care for their situation. Sometimes they are held for a few hours — perhaps in the case of a lost dementia patient — and can be held for days in more severe cases.

Ken Dukek, CEO of the nonprofit Curry Community Health, said he wasn’t notified until last Friday that the room will be closed.

“There was no discussion; it was just a decision the hospital made,” he said. “We were not prepared for it — we had to get in touch with law enforcement and come up with a temporary protocol. We’re in shock. We were not very well prepared to deal with it.”

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Officials scratching heads over loose dogs

Curry County Sheriff John Ward and Pennies for Pooches Director Mark Curran are struggling to solve a reoccurring problem of loose dogs in the community

The challenge arises about every two years, and is frustrating of late again, they agree.

Dog-catching typically falls under the auspices of a county animal shelter, which is often under the direction of the Sheriff’s Office. But Curry County spun the shelter off to the non-profit Pennies for Pooches as a cost-saving measure about three years ago.

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Freak winds wreak havoc

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A work crew removes a tree near the Brookings Post Office that was knocked down by a freak gust of wind Thursday.

Another storm front promising high winds and heavy rain is forecast for Curry County this weekend, just days after a freak gust of wind damaged several businesses and property in downtown Brookings.

The National Weather Service is predicting 100 percent chance of rain after 4 p.m. today (Dec. 5), accompanied by wind gusts of up to 40 mph. The rain will continue through Monday, but wind speeds are expected to drop Sunday. Rain is predicted most of next week, NWS officials said.

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Scientists tracking radiation off Oregon

Nuclear radiation in the sea from a Japanese nuclear power plant devastated by the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami in 2011 is starting to show up on North America’s West Coast shorelines, scientists report.

But, they said, it poses no threat to humans or animals.

According to Delvan Neville, a radioecologist with Oregon State University, Canadian researchers noted in late September that Cesium-137 was six times the concentration of that prior to nuclear bomb tests over the ocean decades ago, and twice that of more recent levels in ocean waters whose radiation levels have been decreasing since those tests ended in 1963.

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Post Office says no to newspaper pot ads

PORTLAND — The Curry Coastal Pilot and other Oregon newspapers have pulled ads for medical and recreational marijuana after the U.S. Postal Service issued a memo stating such ads in papers that are mailed to subscribers might be violating federal law.

“It’s really frustrating for newspapers, but we really don’t have a choice because we might be violating the law,” Pilot Publisher Cindy Vosburg said Friday.

On Thursday, four Oregon legislators sent a pointed letter to U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan demanding answers about the memo.

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Lawmakers seek funding for ports

Oregon and Washington legislators this week requested increased federal funding for Northwest ports, including those in Curry County, which they hope will be included the Office of Management and Budget’s 2017 budget proposal.

Oregon’s Rep. Peter Defazio and Washington’s Rep. Rick Larsen sent a letter to Shaun Donovan, director of the OMB, seeking funding to maintain coastal and port waterways.

“Small ports and harbors are some of our nation’s most valuable assets and critical to maintaining and creating jobs in these states,” the letter said.

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