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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.” 


Body of missing man found

Roy Fritts

The body of a Brookings man missing for more than a week was found Friday along the Winchuck River, about 9 miles east of Highway 101, authorities said.

The cause of death of Roy Fritts, 45, has yet to be determined, but the initial investigation points toward hypothermia and a possible fall from a steep area, said Curry County Sheriff John Ward.


Fire season ends

A firefighter burns bush to thwart the advance of the approaching Collier Butte fire in August.

Fire officials this week proclaimed fire season over in Curry County, which fared better than areas in Oregon and Northern California that were devastated by wildfires. 

 “It definitely could have been worse,” Coos Forest Protective Association prevention specialist John Flannigan said of the 2015 fire season. “Some of our indices (humidity, temperatures, etc.) were in record territory for a long time. We had closures that both the public and industry had to put up with; it was a bad situation.”

The third year of drought helped feed the Collier Butte Fire southeast of Gold Beach — the only major wildfire in Curry County. It was started by a lightning strike Aug. 2 and burned more than 16,000 acres in the Biscuit Fire area before it was extinguished thanks to a rainstorm in September.


New dredge for Brookings port

A new dredge, currently in Bandon, will remove debris from ports up and down the south coast of Oregon. Submitted photo.

The Port of Brookings Harbor is the operator of a new dredge purchased by the state of Oregon to serve south coast ports from Reedsport to Brookings. 

Brookings port officials spearheaded the effort to purchase the dredge and the state selected the port to oversee its operation along the coast, said Port Manager Ted Fitzgerald.

The dredge, an Ellicott 360 Swinging Dragon, is in Bandon this week, dredging 40,000 cubic yards of debris at the port. 


State OKs preliminary rules for pot sales

Local medical marijuana dispensaries were quick to expand their offerings when sales of recreational cannabis became legal earlier this month. But under a new set of “preliminary” state regulations issued last week, that will have to change before 2017.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), the agency in charge of regulating marijuana sales, said stores offering both medical and recreational marijuana are operating under temporary authority from the medical end of the program. 

The preliminary regulations — outlined in a 70-page document — are said to address the health, safety and security of products; most of its rules are relatively uncontroversial, OLCC members agree.


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