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Pirate festival weekend

Children celebrate their inner pirate during a free-for-all swashbuckling activity at last yearís festival.

For those with pirate garb gathering dust in the closet, this is the weekend to dig it out — or risk death by walking the plank — for the fifth annual Pirates of the Pacific Festival this Friday through Sunday at the Port of Brookings Harbor.

Organizers Bruce Ellis and Mike Moran are looking forward to seeing more people than ever this year. In the past, it has drawn thousands of visitors.


Another successful country music fest

The second annual Cape Blanco Country Music Festival was even bigger this year, drawing a crowd of 18,000 and fans from around the country.

“We are ecstatic with how the festival went,” said Anne Hankins, president of Boots ‘N’ Beach LLC, the festival promoter that organized the event. “We increased from 14,000 last year and sold out.”

Hankins added that the main issue with the show, traffic congestion, largely resolved itself by the second day of the festival.

“Last year, with only about 14,000, people could just come in. This year, with more crowds, there was a traffic backup on Friday. But everything worked out by Saturday,” Hankins said.


Heat, sea salt affect water supplies

Rain, high temperatures, fires, salt intrusion and water quality — these things are the talk of the town this week in Curry County.

An unexpected downpour of rain to the east of Brookings raised the water level in the Chetco River Saturday afternoon — but the dry lightning it produced farther inland was blamed for dozens of fires ignited in the forest, as well.

The rain boosted water levels in the Chetco River from a record low of 50 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 57 cfs, according to the gauge monitored by the U.S. Geological Society.

But the high temperatures earlier in the week — 100 at the Pilot offices and a reported 105 in Harbor — also increased demand from water customers, said Brookings City Manager Gary Milliman. 


Brown, citizens brainstorm county priorities

While Curry County Commissioner Susan Brown’s public forums last week were about clarifying issues concerning the county’s fiscal situation, this week’s round of meetings was all about brainstorming.

Brown came to this week’s public forums in Brookings and Harbor equipped with a series of ideas, and she was ready to discuss ways to save the county money — and, possibly, create new revenue.

“We’ve had great discussion over the last two weeks,” Brown told a group of about 15 in Harbor Tuesday. “We’ve had some wonderful, wonderful input.”


SMART at Head Start

A SMART volunteer spends one-on-one time with a second-grade student. Submitted photo.

The first grade boy struggled to pronounce a word in the book he was reading — once, twice and finally a third time before the man stepped in to help.

“So close!” the volunteer said encouragingly.

The child beamed and starting reading another sentence from the book, stumbling over a few words, but not giving up. Finished with the book, the boy ran to the shelve to fetch another.

“Dinosaurs! Dinosaurs are my favorite!” the boy exclaimed.

“Mine, too!” the man said.

It’s a familiar scene wherever students and adult volunteers participate in the SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) program.


Police investigate theft of 20 handguns

The Gold Beach Police Department is investigating the theft of 20 handguns stolen early Wednesday from the Rogue Outdoor Store.

“We have a very limited suspect description,” said Police Chief Dixon Andrews. “We immediately put out a teletype within the region, letting people know the guns are out there.”

The theft was discovered when a citizen, driving to work around 7 a.m. Wednesday, passed the store and saw the door open. The citizen notified authorities, who contacted the store’s owner. 

The owner, Jim Carey, arrived immediately and confirmed the store had been robbed, Andrews said.


Wildfire officials on alert

This past week’s record-breaking temperatures, combined with threats of lightning in the weather forecast, have wildfire officials on edge.

“We’re looking at a formidable fire weather forecast,” said Oregon State Forester Doug Decker. “The benefit of any recent moisture we’ve received has now evaporated, and we’re looking at record-breaking temperatures, extremely low humidities and dry lightning: the trifecta of bad wildfire conditions.”

Temperatures reached 102 Wednesday in Harbor, many sources said. Brookings hit a high of 100, breaking the previous record of 97 for that day. For the weekend, the coast is expected to see cooler temperatures in the mid- to high-70s, partly cloudy skies, fog and less wind — but still no rain in the next 10 days. Temperatures inland are predicted to be in the triple-digits again this week, which could bring lightning to the coastal areas, said Oregon State Forester Doug Decker. 


Saltwater threatens Harborís tap water

Usually the dogs are the first to indicate something’s up with the water.

But Thursday, Jim Relaford of Harbor made his morning cup of coffee and tasted salt. His need for coffee, however, overrode his revulsion of salt, so he didn’t spit it out.

“It’s back with a vengeance,” he said of the salt.


Lack of civility continues to plague county meetings

A lawsuit, complaints to the Department of Justice and possible mediation have done little to quell the animosity at county commissioner meetings this year, it was noted in a workshop Wednesday.

The issue came up after Commissioner Tom Huxley asked for a general consensus on an item he proposed to research and either revise or replace various parts of county guidelines.

Connie Hunter of Brookings, who usually addresses veterans issues or economic development, noted that nothing will get down at the county level unless the board members start being civil to one another.

“You,” she said, pointing to Commissioner Susan Brown, “have never been uncivil to me. You,” she nodded to Commissioner David Brock Smith, “have never been uncivil to me. But you,” she said to Huxley, “I’m hoping we can grow those competencies.”

Huxley and Smith often trade barbed snips at each other during meetings, but the general environment in county offices is one of low morale and apprehension since January, many employees say.


Breakfast correction

In the Wednesday issue, the Pilot reported that campers at the Cape Blanco Music Festival will be able to enjoy the Fisherman’s Breakfast, an all-you-can-eat breakfast for $8 on Sunday, Aug. 2. The breakfast is available Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 7 to 11 a.m. All proceeds go to the Curry Anadromous Fishermen. The Pilot regrets the error.

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