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New sheriff, same issues

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Curry County Sheriff John Ward is sworn into office Wednesday by county Judge Jesse Margolis.

John Ward has been Curry County Sheriff for four days, and already he’s facing many tough decisions — the first of which is how to close the county jail.

It must be closed because Curry County, like many Oregon timberland counties, is no longer receiving millions of dollars in federal subsidies. For years, the 18 Oregon counties received tax dollars to replace revenue lost when the forests were closed to protect endangered species. Those federal funds provided the bulk of the county’s operational monies.

Adding insult to injury, three tax proposals posed to Curry County voters in the past two years failed at the polls. The first one asked for a property tax increase to fund county government. The second was a tiered property tax separating the cities from unincorporated areas of the county. The third, on a Sept. 16 special ballot, asked voters to fund only the jail. 

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Officer saves little girl from busy road

Two Harbor women were arrested — one facing drug and child neglect charges — after an off-duty Brookings Police officer found an 18-month-old girl wandering alone on South Bank Chetco River Road near Salmonberry Road Thursday morning.

Officer Dustin Watson, a father of two daughters, said he was alarmed to see the toddler when he drove around the corner. She was wearing only a diaper and T-shirt.

“A couple of cars had passed her, and I said, ‘Wait a minute. That’s not a deer; that’s not an animal. It’s a little baby,’” he said.

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Brookings explores possible tax on marijuana

Call it the toke tax.

Brookings city leaders Monday will discuss the possibility of enacting a tax on medical marijuana and recreational pot if voters approve Oregon’s Measure 91 in November.

The issue is on the agenda for a 4 p.m. workshop Monday at City Hall.

“Quite a number of other cities are taking this up,” said Brookings City Manager Gary Milliman, who has been following discussion among other city officials on listserve, an electronic mailing list.

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Board launches efforts to fix day-to-day operations

The Brookings-Harbor School Board is making efforts to reverse years of inadequate internal operation systems that it believes led to low employee morale, inconsistent hiring procedures and a myriad of other problems.

“We found that we’re lacking a lot of the systems and processes to run on a day-to-day basis,” board chairman Bruce Raleigh said after a special board meeting Wednesday.

“Our ultimate goal is to have an expert come in and find where we can improve,” he said.

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Skating the coast

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Three vie for superintendent job

The Brookings-Harbor School District board has narrowed its search for an interim superintendent to three candidates.

The candidates will visit the district on Oct. 8 and 9. The board hopes to fill the position by Nov. 1.

“We have some top-quality candidates who are really going to help us,” said school board chairman Bruce Raleigh.

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Brookings resident champions health care experiment

Brookings resident Georgia Nowlin is part of a “grand experiment” being rolled out by Gov. John Kitzhaber as part of his promise to help Oregon Health Plan and Medicaid patients get medical services they need and address healthcare needs to all Oregonians from a global viewpoint.

“A lot of people are looking to Oregon to see how it works out,” she said of AllCare, a new “global budgeting” method that allocates funds to physical, mental and dental providers.

The program will be explained at a meeting at Kidz Zone on Railroad Street in Brookings, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7.

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Harbor water getting better, but still salty

A+ Water Company will continue to provide free potable water for Harbor residents this week, after tests taken last Thursday showed salinity in residents’ water supply hasn’t yet fallen to a palatable level.

According to Harbor Water District Superintendent Dave VanCleave, water samples taken from the Chetco River at the intake valve last week showed the salinity was still about five times the acceptable level, but had dropped by at least 1,000 percent since the sea-water intrusion happened in mid-September. 

Current levels are even tolerable, VanCleave noted, although he might have quite a few voicing their dissent to that opinion.

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County fair sets 2015 dates

The Curry County Fair board has set its new dates for 2015, so as to not coincide with the Cape Blanco Country Music Festival.

 The fair will be held a week prior to Labor Day weekend, from Aug. 27 to 30, fair officials announced Monday.

And the popular event will be even bigger, as the date change has enabled the contractor to free up new rides. Paul Maurer Shows officials said the company will bring back the Zipper, Giant Wheel, Drop Tower and Gravitron.

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