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Local woman dies in auto accident

Brookings resident Kathleen Petersen died in a fiery crash on Interstate 5 near Grants Pass Thursday night when the car she was driving the wrong way on the freeway hit a semi-truck head on, according to the Oregon State Police.

The semi-truck caught fire and burned at the scene, blocking the freeway for several hours. The driver, Jose Garcia, 41 of Compton, California, escaped with a broken arm and other unknown injuries.

Petersen, 64, was pronounced dead at the scene, OSP reported.


Brookings VFW Post hosts ceremony

Rick Bremer, center, salutes the flag during Tuesday Veterans Day ceremony in Brookings.

The front lawn of the Brookings Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 966 was covered with small American flags on Tuesday, drawing about 40 visitors to the ceremony inside to honor military veterans for their service. The veterans enjoyed speeches, cake and coffee as their families gathered to celebrate and thank them. 

Post Chaplain Ray Cardy led the audience in opening and closing prayers. 

“What does Veterans Day mean to me?” he asked. Recalling his own service in Desert Storm, Cardy talked about the importance of thanking veterans, and giving them a warm welcome when they return from service.


Klahr, marijuana legalization activist, dies

Jim Klahr

Jim Klahr lived just long enough to see his dream of legalizing marijuana come true.

The Harbor resident died at 1 a.m. Sunday in Portland after battling liver problems brought on from a “rock and roll lifestyle” in his youth, he said in a June interview with the Pilot. He was awaiting a liver donor at Oregon Health Science University when he died.

Klahr, whose 63rd birthday was Nov. 5, was best known for his advocacy on the marijuana front, but he was also an accomplished musician, small-business owner and politician.

Klahr was a contender for the state representative seat on the November general election ballot — he was on another ballot two years ago — and fought for decades in California and Oregon to change legislation to legalize first, medical marijuana and later, recreational pot.

Marijuana eased the pain of Klahr’s liver problems, but he hadn’t used the herb for more than 12 years, as it would have disqualified him for a liver transplant that required he test free of drugs. 


Coastline smoking ban plan shelved

SALEM (AP) — A plan to ban smoking on Oregon’s beaches that ran into substantial opposition has been shelved.

Officials said it would have been tough to enforce the prohibition along the 362 miles of Oregon coastline, all of which is public and much of which is wild and isolated.

The department proposed the rule in February as a way to reduce secondhand smoke and litter.


Stagelights receives $25K grant for school instruments

Brookings’ middle and high school music students will soon have at least 40 new string instruments in hand because of a $25,000 grant awarded this week to Stagelights Musical Arts Community.

“That is fantastic news,” said John Webster, band teacher for both Azalea Middle School and Brookings-Harbor High School.

“Our string program was really hurting and this is going to make a big difference in the lives of so many children,” he said. 

Stagelights, a Brookings-based non-profit that provides music education and outreach, will use the grant to purchase at 20 violins, 12 violas, 4 cellos and 4 double bass. 


Fundraisers set for Brookings’ Brissette, Powers

Two Brookings residents were recently diagnosed with cancer, and their families are looking for the support of the community. 

This Saturday and next, friends of Gavin Brissette and Julie Powers are hosting fundraisers where Brookings residents can donate to help the families as they seek treatment.


After the rain

Photo by Rob Carillo


Marijauna legalized: Now what?

Oregon voters on Tuesday decisively approved a measure to legalize recreational marijuana, but there are many unanswered questions for both those looking to use the drug and those who plan to sell it legally.

“Right now, I can’t say much to people because I don’t have any true, hard facts,” said Jason Pryor, owner of High Tides Wellness Center, a medical marijuana dispensary in Harbor.

On Thursday, Pryor said a number of regular customers and new people have visited his store with many questions since the passage of Measure 91.

“With the stigma coming off, more people are coming in, wanting to know what’s happening, putting their feelers out,” he said. “It’s the talk of the town. People are kind of giddy.”

It’s the same thing on social media sites such as Facebook, where many Curry County residents sought answers on when and where they could purchase marijuana, and how much they can buy.


Officials pursue separate surveys

Curry County Commissioners David Itzen and David Brock Smith plan to use Commissioner Susan Brown’s voter survey as a template for a second Oregon Kitchen Table citizen poll.

Brown’s survey, which she has been working on since February, was slated to go online Friday (Nov. 7) at www.currycountysurvey.com; it asks respondents to rate county services and solicits input about its weaknesses.

Feeling Itzen and Smith were procrastinating about its release, Brown announced this week she would distribute the survey without the blessing of the board. 


Welbourn charged in death of city walker

A grand jury Thursday indicted Wayne Eugene Welbourn of Gold Beach on charges of criminal negligence homicide for his part in the death of Brookings pedestrian Joyce Marie Betties, 73, Aug. 22.

Welbourn, 82, was driving a 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe north on Chetco Avenue and when he struck Betties as she was attempting to cross Highway 101 from Chetco Lane that afternoon. He was not injured in the crash, said Brookings Police Sgt. Terry Murray. 


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