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Holiday plans for downtown Brookings

As the holidays draw closer, several groups are getting together to decorate Brookings and Harbor.

The group of volunteers called  “A Coastal Christmas in Brookings-Harbor” is spearheading an effort to decorate Brookings parks, storefronts, and parts of Highway 101.

“We’ll be decorating for the parade and ‘Santa chats,’” said Kathy Breshears, a member of the group. “We’ll have many more lights than last year, because we got some money from the Tourism Promotion Activities Committee (TPAC). 

The group will decorate Highway 101 from Dairy Queen to Ray’s Food Place, but encourages all store owners — and private residences — to decorate their buildings as well.


Quality of waterways questioned

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) informed Curry County commissioners Wednesday that it must update its water quality plan for the Rogue River, which is among many waterways in the county that don’t meet clean water standards.

The plan is required under the federal Clean Water Act, said Bill Meyers, the DEQ coordinator for  the upper basin of the Rogue River. The state is the agency designated to make sure plans are crafted, implemented and enforced. Once a plan is created, it is evaluated every year and updated at the end of five years.


Split vote dooms CHD annexation

Voters in the south half of Curry County Tuesday voted overwhelmingly against Measure 8-84, killing a proposed annexation of that area into the Curry Health District.

Voters both in the existing district and those living outside the district had to approve separate ballot measures (8-83 and 8-84) for the annexation to proceed. The district extends north from the Pistol River area to just south of the Coos County line, and east to include Agness.


Blue whale carcass draws crowd to Ophir beach

The decaying body of a blue whale washed ashore Monday near the Ophir rest area about 7 miles north of Gold Beach. Photo by Randy Robbins.

A large, dead blue whale measuring approximately 80 feet and weighing nearly 20 tons made landfall in Ophir, about 7 miles north of Gold Beach on Monday, according to Russ Stauf, Rogue Watershed manager.

The rare beaching attracted a crowd all day Tuesday, with motorists parking along Highway 101 at the Ophir rest stop, some walking across the sand for a closer look.


Struggling nonprofits seek city assistance

Three Brookings non-profit organizations struggling with financial, organization and management issues are seeking assistance from the city of Brookings ranging from forming a partnership to the outright purchase of facilities.

Late last month, the board of directors of the financially-strapped Chetco Activity Center (CAC) laid off its executive director and a cook, citing financial challenges.

This week, City Manager Gary Milliman said he was contacted by a board member of the CAC asking if the city would be willing to assume ownership and operations of the center.

“I advised them that we would need to review their financials,” Milliman said, “and suggested a meeting between representatives of the city and the CAC board.”


Volunteers needed to set up Brookings light display

The organizers of the annual holiday lights display at Brookings’ Azalea Park are calling volunteers to help string thousands of lights this weekend.

The display, Nature’s Coastal Holiday, usually draws thousands of visitors throughout December.

Setup for the event will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Volunteers will meet at Kid Town, at the corner of Old County Road and Lundeen Lane.

“It is a great family volunteer opportunity,” said board member Lorie Botnen. “Also a great way to display your own creativity with lights galore.”


Langlois cat tests positive for rabies

A cat in Langlois tested positive for rabies Oct. 20 — the first cat to do so in Oregon since 1999, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced Wednesday.

The cat has been euthanized and scientists with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are analyzing its brain to determine the type of rabies it has and what animal might have transmitted it. Results should be available next week.

According to Brody Hodges, environmental health coordinator with Curry Community Health, the cat exhibited no symptoms until that day.

“It just jumped up and attacked her,” he said. “It bit her twice.”


County attorney Herbage retiring

Curry County Attorney Jerry Herbage, the longest-serving county counsel in the state and longest-tenured employee in the county, announced Thursday his intent to retire.

His last day with the county is Nov. 30.

His departure is one of many in a long string of challenges the county faces. Among them are financial shortfalls, a threatened lawsuit by an employee, low employee morale and turnover, and a divided county commission board.

Herbage says it’s just time. 

“When a person like me retires, it’s something you talk over with your spouse, something you plan for, you just kind of feel it’s time,” Herbage said Friday. “So, it’s time.”


Arts students bring new life to BHHS campus

Brookings-Harbor High School students use school colors to decorate a hallway as part of a beautification project.

The students and staff at Brookings-Harbor High School will soon learn the true meaning of the phrase “seeing is believing,” as BHHS art students begin the massive project of giving the school a new, refreshed look.

Art teacher Sheryl Tuttle is supervising two projects: a complete overhaul of the senior hall and commons area inside the school, and decoration of the outside courtyard between the locker rooms and the cafeteria. 

The project was proposed and planned by Senior Clarice Baumbach.



Sales of recreational pot in Curry County steady

Jason Pryor at High Tide Dispensary in Harbor weight marijuana buds for a customer.

It has been nearly a month since the sale of recreational marijuana became legal in Oregon and within the first week, Oregonians spent $11 million on legal weed, breaking the record among the states that allow recreational sales.

Although lawmakers and regulators are still debating the details of the rules surrounding marijuana sales in the future, and cities are deciding whether or not to add taxes to the already heavily state-taxed merchandise, sales of recreational marijuana are already booming in Curry County.

“This is the time of year that we are usually preparing to close for the season,” said Ryan Campbell, manager at Club Sockeye in Wedderburn, north of Gold Beach. “But thanks to recreational (sales), it appears that we will be able to stay open all season.” 


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