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Pacific Gales golf course moving forward

Pacific Gales golf course property with a northern view toward Cape Blanco near Port Orford.

The Curry County commissioners approved Elk Rivers Development’s proposal for a golf course — again — with 22 conditions related to its construction north of Port Orford.

Three comments and one rebuttal to the appeal were received by deadline last week. The latest appeal required the county include wordage addressing how lighting should be shielded to keep the night skies as dark as possible.

The county has approved the project several times, but appeals, mostly from the environmental group Oregon Coast Alliance, have delayed its implementation. It is likely ORCA will again appeal the decision to the state Land Use Board of Appeals.


Citizen group pursues law levy

Sheriff John Ward’s Citizen Advisory Committee is going to have to meet every week for the next month if it is going to meet the deadline to get yet another tax levy on the May ballot to fund law enforcement in Curry County.

The group is considering asking voters to approve a temporary, split-rate tax that would serve as a “bridge” until they can draft a Law Enforcement Special District separate from the county.


The state of Curry County

County Commissioner Chair Susan Brown presented the State of the County address Wednesday, concentrating on the accomplishments of 2014 and acknowledging, but not detailing, the challenges the board faces in the new year.

Brown noted that for years, elected leaders have been reacting to the economic recession and subsequent loss of funding.


Rising costs prompt hike in animal shelter fee

The county’s animal shelter will raise its adoption rates for impounded dogs to $100 from $65, the first increase it’s sought in four years.

The seemingly dramatic rate increase request prompted newly-sworn in Commissioner Tom Huxley to request Penny for Pooches Executive Director Mark Curran be summoned to the meeting to explain why it was needed.


Brookings school board invites citizens into superintendent search

The Brookings-Harbor School District will host a public meeting from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, January 15, to gather input from the community regarding the search for a permanent superintendent. 

The meeting will take place at the Kalmiopsis Elementary School Library. 


Donation gives visitor center one-month reprieve

An anonymous donor has contributed funds to keep Crissey Field State Park visitor center open through the month of January, County Economic Development Director Julie Schmelzer told commissioners Wednesday.

The amount of funding was undisclosed.

The announcement was made as part of an update Schmelzer gave the county commissioners regarding the work in her department to keep the welcome center open, an idea to develop an egress corridor in case of a natural disaster — and more immediate concerns such as the county’s strategic and crisis plans.


Customers pack Brookings port landmark Fely’s Cafe during final days

Fely Johnson hugs a customer during an emotional Sunday afternoon, when her cafe closed for good.

It was all hugs and tears — and colossal hamburgers topped with roasted onions — at Fely’s Cafe in Harbor Sunday, where the restaurant owner and her staff worked the stove and the crowds on the last day at the popular eatery.

It was standing-room-only all weekend. Friday, the little cafe at the end of Sporthaven Beach went through 90 pounds of beef. Saturday, they ran out of food.

And Sunday, it was all over.

“Thanks for everything,” Brookings resident Sherri Scott whispered to Fely Johnson, echoing what many were lined up in the dining area to say. All who were asked said they were there to say their farewells — and promise they’d be first in line when she reopens.

“This is hard,” Johnson said, her eyes welling. “That is hurting me the most. I cannot say much. I’ll cry.” 


County studying transient lodging tax

Curry County commissioners will discuss in upcoming workshops and meetings the idea of implementing a Transient Lodging Tax (TLT) and how the revenue — an estimated $150,000 — would be spent.

 Commissioner Susan Brown, who has been trying to promote the idea throughout her year-long tenure, obtained tax figures from the Oregon Department of Revenue and extrapolated how much revenue could be garnered if a tax were implemented to include hotels in the unincorporated parts of the county.

Gold Beach and Brookings have 6 percent TLT taxes; Port Orford’s is 7 percent.


Officials evaluate county efficiency

Newly sworn-in County Commissioner Tom Huxley hadn’t even sat down for his first workshop Monday and he was already expressing his desire to get the county’s agendas, committee lists and contacts, and website up to date — yesterday.

“I printed out the committee list two months ago, and it’s all changed,” he said. “The website is not up to date. That’s where I go, is the website, and I can tell you, it’s not close to being accurate.”

His sentiments — and others — have been voiced by several in the community in the past year. Much of the clean-up and updating hasn’t been done because of the county’s financial situation.


Sea bird die-off puzzles scientists

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists are investigating the deaths of large numbers of seabirds along the Pacific coast in the wake of harsh winter weather the past several weeks.

Common murres and Cassin’s auklets have been found dead on coast beaches in greater numbers than usual. Preliminary information obtained through necropsies conducted at ODFW’s pathology lab in Corvallis indicate the birds are extremely emaciated, likely related to exhaustion and starvation caused by exposure to cold temperatures and heavy wind.


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