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Walden: County payments secured

Rep. Greg Walden
 For the second time in a week, an Oregon member of Congress has announced progress on extending federal payments to counties, including Curry County.

Today, it was Congressman Greg Walden, a Republican in the House leadership, who said there is a two-year deal for the payments that will be included in a Medicare reform bill.  Last week, it was Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat, who won a vote to approve payments in the Senate Budget Committee.

For a link to a video of Walden's statement, please click here.

To see last week's announcement from Wyden, please click here. 

The press release issued by Walden's office is below:


Whale Watching Week!

Migrating gray whales can often be spotted breaching off the Southern Oregon Coast this time of year.

Gray whale numbers usually peak about the last week in March —  just in time for the Spring Whale Watch Week, scheduled today through March 28.

Nearly 160 gray whales pass along the coast each day and whale watchers may see their 12-foot blow — or spout — from the shore. 

Trained volunteers will be at 24 “Whale Watching Spoken Here” sites along the Oregon Coast from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day. 


Clamor over Huxley’s decision

Curry County Commissioners David Brock Smith and Susan Brown voted Wednesday to have the county pay fellow Commissioner Tom Huxley’s monthly insurance premiums — $110 a month — after hearing from employees how his refusal to accept health benefits is affecting theirs.

Huxley abstained from the vote.

Forty-seven “non-represented” employees — elected officials, department heads and those in the Road Department — could lose their current insurance because Huxley, in an attempt to save the county money, is keeping his campaign promise to eliminate what he sees as “Cadillac or Rolls Royce” employee benefits.


Azalea Park’s plants suffering

The Brookings-Harbor Parks and Recreation Commission on Thursday received some bad news: the azaleas at Azalea Park are not thriving, and an expert urged quick action to ensure their survival.

Previous efforts by the city to help the plants often sparked complaints from visitors, said Tony Baron, director of the Parks and Recreation Department.

“In the past two and a half years that I’ve been here, we’ve attempted to prune the azaleas three times and every time, people walk through the park and see it going on and call us to complain,” Baron said. 


Committee: No home rule for Curry

The Curry County Home Rule Charter Committee has officially announced it believes running the county under general law works just fine.

The group was formed in January 2014 shortly after the defeat of a measure calling for a change in government from one of general law to that of a home rule charter. A ballot question proposed to have five, part-time volunteers serve as county commissioners and a full-time, paid administrator. The measure failed 2,153 to 3,627.


Senate committee adds rural funding

Sen. Ron Wyden at Budget Committee hearing.
The Senate Budget Committee approved an amendment today to include special rural funding programs in the federal budget.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, is a member of the Senate Budget Committee and provided a video of his statement on the amendment.

The link to his statement is in a You Tube video at this link. 


A peek at how port earns, uses money

Port of Brookings Harbor Commissioner Jim Relaford is ready to talk numbers: In the next two weeks, Relaford, treasurer of the port commission, will hold two public meetings where he will discuss the economic development of the port and answer questions people might have about how the port earns — and spends —money.

The first meeting will be held today (March 18) at 5 p.m. at the Bell and Whistle Coffee Shop, located next to the port’s main office on Lower Harbor Road. The second meeting will be held at a still-to-be-determined location in Brookings on the following Wednesday.


Parent: Bag fee could benefit schools

At a recent Gold Beach City Council meeting, resident Amy Timeus proposed an idea that could make the small town a leader in sustainability in the state of Oregon — while also providing a major service to the school district.

It’s a two-pronged approach: Ban plastic grocery bags and charge a fee for paper bags, with some money going to the schools.


Some fish surviving Pacific dead zone

GRANTS PASS (AP) — Scientists say they have found that some fish can survive in low-oxygen dead zones that are expanding in deep waters off the West Coast as the climate changes.

While the overall number and kinds of fish in those zones are declining, some species appear able to ride it out, according to a study published this month in the journal Fisheries Oceanography.

The study focused on catches from 2008 through 2010 of four species of deepwater groundfish -- Dover sole, petrale sole, spotted ratfish and greenstriped rockfish.


Search for Connor Ryan: Boy survives nighttime ordeal


Submitted photo/aerial image courtesy of Google Maps Connor Ryan, 11, gives a thumbs up from his hospital room in Portland Tuesday evening. He was found injured and unconscious on a rock just off Harris Beach State Park at 2:30 a.m. Monday. He may come home later this week.

It was 2:30 a.m. Monday and Brookings resident Bruce Ward, with flashlight in hand, clamored to the top of a 50-foot offshore rock at Harris Beach. He was looking for 11-year-old Connor Ryan, who had been missing for eight hours.

While dozens of other citizens and law enforcement officers spread out across town in search of the boy, Ward felt prompted to climb the rock — although he knew that others had done so earlier that night.

“I just had a feeling. A prompting by the Spirit,” Ward said. “I checked one side of the rock and followed a trail on the other side. Then I stopped on the ocean side and shined the flashlight down into  a crevice. There he was. About five feet down. Curled up into a ball and not moving.”


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