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More advisories about polluted beaches likely

Warnings about high levels of unhealthy bacterial on local beaches are likely to increase dramatically next summer — but only because the federal government is tightening its criteria regarding contaminants that can make beachgoers ill.

This past summer, for the first time in many years, Curry County beaches had no contaminated-water advisories issued; they usually follow a summer rainfall that washes pathogens into creeks that run to the ocean.

Mill and Harris beaches are most often cited, and are usually contaminated with fecal bacteria emanating from a variety of upstream sources. 


Voters to decide lodging tax, health district annexations

Election officials will begin mailing ballots for the Nov. 3 election Wednesday, Oct. 14.

Only three measures are on ballots this fall: one, asking for voter approval for a transient lodging tax in unincorporated areas of the county; the other two related to annexation of the southern end of the county into Curry Health Network’s hospital district in the northern end.

Approximately 13,080 of Curry County’s estimated 22,335 citizens are registered to vote. And nine of them — in the military or currently out of the country and whose ballots were mailed to them in September — have already cast their ballots.


Brookings man dies in surf

Brookings resident Andrew Jason Paul, 33, was declared dead, most likely from drowning, after his body was spotted floating facedown in the waves in Gold Beach Sunday morning, authorities said.

A Gold Beach Police officer responding to a 8:30 a.m. 911 call arrived at the scene near Fifth Place and spotted Paul’s body in the surf. The officer and a Curry County Sheriff’s deputy pulled the body out of the water and moved up the beach away from the incoming tide.

Authorities said Paul was as a frequent visitor to Gold Beach and was likely the victim of the season’s first round of high surf. The National Weather Service had issued a warning last weekend about high surf, up to 18 feet high, along the Oregon Coast.

Authorities urged people to use caution when walking on the beach and look out for sneaker waves.


Woman robbed at gunpoint

Authorities on Friday were searching for a man who robbed a Harbor woman at gunpoint while she was walking on West Benham Lane at 6:20 a.m.

At the same time authorities in Curry and Del Norte counties were searching for two men, one of them possibly the robbery suspect, who led sheriff deputies on a high-speed chase south on Highway 101 into California at 10:30 a.m. 

The suspects, who ditched the vehicle near Fort Dick and fled into a brushy area near Kellogg Beach, remained at large as of Friday evening. 

The robbery victim knew the suspect, identifying him as Johnnie Roberson 31, of Brookings, according to Curry County Sheriff John Ward.


Bike path a tourism milestone for Curry

A section of the new path offers a view of Cape Blanco Lighthouse. Submitted photo.

Curry County will make Oregon Coast history next week when it unveils its newest addition, a 60-mile bike path that runs through the north part of the county.

The Wild Rivers Coast Tourism Collaborative will host a ribbon-cutting at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, at Port Orford’s Battle Rock Park to honor the Oregon Coast’s first designated scenic bikeway — a project several years in the works for local tourism entities.

The bike path begins at Battle Rock Park in Port Orford, then heads east along the Elk River. Turning around at Butler Bar Campground, the path heads back to Highway 101 and then to Cape Blanco State Park, before ending at the Port Orford Heads State Park.


Committee for health district annexation addresses questions

Friends of Curry Health Network Political Action Committee held its first town hall meeting Thursday night in Harbor, outlining the reasons it believes voters should annex into the hospital district.

PAC members also answering pointed questions from critics and tried to better explain some misconceptions about the proposal.

Voters in the Curry Health District — roughly from Pistol River north to Langlois and east to Agness — will vote on Measure 8-83 Nov. 3, asking them if they want to annex the south end of the county into the health district. Voters in the south will be asked in Measure 8-84 if they want to join the district. Both measures must be approved or the annexation will not go through.


Crowds sign the beam of new hospital

People line up outside the metal structure of the new hospital to sign the last steel beam before it is put in place.

GOLD BEACH — The last steel I-beam, painted a bright white and already adorned with scores of signatures and good wishes, will be bolted to the penthouse of the new Curry General Hospital in Gold Beach next week.

Dozens of citizens were on hand Thursday at the construction site to sign the beam, whose placement will represent the last part of the skeletal steel work going into the four-story facility. People interested in adding their signature to the beam can do so at the hospital throughout the weekend.


BHHS official: Fundraising calls a scam

Curry County businesses should be aware of a possible fundraising scam involving Brookings-Harbor High School.

Two local businesses have received phone calls in the last few days from a person claiming to be soliciting money on behalf of the high school’s athletic department, but the calls are a scam, said Athletic Director Buell Gonzales.


Fishing the Chetco

Photo by Laurie Calef

Fishing action on the water and from the jettiy around the Port of Brookings Harbor has been busy for days as fall salmon season heats up. See Saturday’s Fish report for more local fishing news. 

Salt plagues drinking water

Harbor Water offered free, potable water to its customers last Friday and again Tuesday as it continues to battle salinity levels that have been yo-yo-ing from “okay” to “ick” since mid-summer.

“Let people know I’ll be out again at 9:30 a.m. Saturday,” said Jeff Patten, owner of A+ Water, who was contracted by Harbor Water PUD to provide drinking water to residents via his tanker truck. 

Harbor Water purchased the water from the city of Brookings and hired Patten to fill up his tanker and distribute it at the parking lot of the Harbor Fire Station at 98069 Benham Lane.


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