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Sen. Merkley hosts town hall Thursday

Curry County’s own Trash Dogs will be feted at Thursday’s town hall event held by U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, to acknowledge the volunteers’ work collecting illegally-dumped garbage on national forest lands.

The 5 p.m. event at Southwestern Oregon Community College will also feature discussion about “what needs to be done to strengthen the state and nation,” according to Merkley’s office. 

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Quake retrofit funds for Riley Creek School

 The Central Curry School District will receive nearly $1 million dollars in grant funding to retrofit Riley Creek Elementary School to better withstand the impact of a major earthquake.

The money will be used to reinforce the school with a series of posts, roof beams and safety glass for the windows currently framed with standard glass, said Riley Creek Principal Tom Denning.

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Brookings studies ways to fix failing sewer pipes

Maintenance demands at the Brookings wastewater treatment plant and deteriorating pipes in town are worse than originally thought, and could result in the city implementing higher sewer rates — or asking voters to approve a sales tax to pay for needed work.

 “Our infrastructure is failing faster than we’re maintaining it,” said Mayor Ron Hedenskog at a city council workshop Monday evening. “We need to take steps to do something about it.”

Public Works Supervisor Richard Christensen told the council that the aging infrastructure is in worse shape than the council might think.

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New law allows drivers to pump gas

Beginning Jan. 1, 18 Oregon counties have the authority to permit gas stations to offer self-serve between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., following a bill signed into law by Governor Kate Brown in June. 

The change will allow gas stations in counties with populations of less than 40,000, including Curry County, to permit customers to pump their own gas during designated hours, should the gas stations choose to do so.

As of Thursday, officials at several Curry County fuel stations said they were not making changes right away — and many were unsure if they will change their policies at all.

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Mother hopes son is still alive

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Derick Christie

Danette Christie’s 23-year-old son Derick has been missing for 35 days. 

It’s possible the Brookings man could be dead. It’s possible he is alive. It’s the not knowing that is a nightmare.

“It’s horrible,” Danette said earlier this week. “We’re hopeful, but we fear the worse. Some are presuming he’s dead, but I’m not ready to accept that. We still want people to look for him.”

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New airline flies as runway project takes off

In 2015 Crescent City’s little airport by the sea sent its passengers north to Portland for the first time, aboard a newcomer carrier’s Saab 340. All the while, it saw that its runways were made safer and settled into the related task of digging out acres upon acres of wetlands.

The Anchorage-based PenAir won the hearts of transportation officials near and far in March, when it beat out two smaller airlines in the bid to take over area skies for SkyWest. 

SkyWest, the carrier that had flown from Crescent City to San Francisco and sometimes Sacramento for years, retired its turbo props in favor of larger jets in April. 

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Local man survives two nights in woods

A Whaleshead area man was alive but suffering from hypothermia Thursday after search and rescuers found him in the woods several miles from his home.

Casey Kirkendall, 29, spent two nights in the forest after walking away from his home on Whaleshead Road, authorities said.

Kirkendall’s family reported him missing to the Curry County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday, the day after he was last seen walking from the house following a family dispute, said Lt. Michael Espinoza.

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Changes at Azalea Park ballfield underway

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Within the next four years, the eastern side of Azalea Park will have undergone enough changes to make it a destination for sports teams up and down the Wild Rivers Coast. 

The Brookings Parks and Recreation Department has recently entered a four-phase reconfiguration plan for its ball fields in Azalea Park which will include changes and additions to its baseball fields, adding a multi-use field and making general improvements to the sporting areas of the park. 

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Crews repair, monitor rain-damaged areas

This week, sunken grades along Highway 101 have been patched, one lane is open on Carpenterville Road, and state transportation officials are keeping watch over other precarious spots after back-to-back winter storms dumped more than 2 feet of rain over Curry County in December.

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Brookings considers 2016 projects

Brookings might add a second story to city hall, and develop an access point to the ocean from Tanbark Road, among many other projects, if the city council pursues the long-term goals outlined in its strategic plan.

The council prioritized and updated the plan Dec. 23 and will discuss how to accomplish the goals at a 4 p.m. workshop Monday.

It plans to tackle a master plan for its sewer system early this year. A similar master plan was done in 2014 for water and involved locating and evaluating the status of the systems.

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