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Holiday weekend relatively mellow

Azalea Festival weekend was all quiet on the emergency services front, despite crowds that packed the Port of Brookings Harbor, a rambunctious parade and three days of people partying along the banks of the Chetco River.

Harbor Fire and Rescue volunteers were called from the Memorial Day celebrations at noon Monday at the port to respond to a report of a 1995 Jeep that was on fire about 1.5 miles up Mt. Emily Road, said Chief John Brazil.

“A Brookings man was just driving around and thought his engine was overheating,” Brazil said. “He pulled off to the side of the road and realized something was on fire.”

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Brookings man linked to Harbor car thefts

Authorities have arrested a Brookings man suspected of burglarizing several vehicles in Harbor and running from Curry County Sheriff John Ward.

Curry County Sheriff deputies, assisted by Del Norte authorities, arrested Cody Center, 25, in Smith River on May 24. Center also had two Curry County warrants for his arrest.

He was taken to the Curry County Jail on counts of unlawful entry into a motor vehicle, theft in the first degree and failure to obey a police officer.

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A salute to the fallen

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U.S. Marine Corps League member Dave Hitzman salutes after reading names of soldiers killed in Vietnam.

Thirty veterans of the Vietnam War and their well-wishers gathered Friday evening in front of Brookings City Hall for their annual Memorial Day Roll Call ceremony — reading the names of the men and women killed in the war.

Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 757 President Bill Farrell acknowledged those who have suffered daily since returning from Vietnam, and remembered those who never came back. He gave special remembrance to local veterans who died in the war.

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Curry gets $250K to battle tree disease

Curry County Commissioner David Brock Smith spent much of last week in Salem with the Oregon Emergency Board — and has returned with a pledge from the state for $250,000 to fight the steady march of Sudden Oak Death here.

The money is for the new state Sudden Oak Death (SOD) Task Force, which will convene soon to plan an attack to keep the pathogen at bay — or preferably eradicate it from the county altogether.

SOD has reached epidemic proportions in Curry County and if left unchecked, could ultimately hit the financially hard-strapped county with even worse economic woes for growers — from trees to cranberries — unable to ship their product out of the area.

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County mulls ways to make Cape Blanco Airport viable

A new 2-cent state tax on airplane fuel, expected to generate about $5 million per biennium, could help the Cape Blanco Airport take off as a viable facility for economic development and better serve as a base during natural disasters.

The state-owned airport is located west of Sixes.

Mitch Swecker, director of the Oregon Department of Aviation, made a presentation about the airport and the money that will be available to it and similar airfields throughout the state this October, at a work session of the Curry County Board of Commissioners Wednesday morning.

Grants can be used for improvements to the airport, and up to $150,000 can also be used to match Federal Aviation Administration 10 percent grant-match requirements on other projects — at a time when the FAA is diverting funds to larger airports and leaving smaller ones behind, Swecker said.

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Pilot injured in plane crash

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Firefighters watch as a tow truck pulls the airplane from a ravine near the runway at the Brookings Airport Wednesday morning.

A Grants Pass man is being treated for injuries after crashing his single-engine plane at the Brookings Airport at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. 

Robert Earl Stonebrook, 78, was landing his plane at the south end of the runway when it touched the ground and veered to the right, taking a nosedive into the nearby ravine. He was alone in the plane.

 

Stonebrook, who has a home in Brookings, walked away from the plane, a 1965 Champion Citabria 7ECA, but then was transported to Sutter Coast Hospital. At 1:30 p.m. he was transported from Crescent City to Rogue Valley Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition Thursday.

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Dori Randall: Champion for children, theater

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Dori Randall was known as “Miss Dori” by hundreds of children who visited the public library or participated in local theater. In April, nearly 100 people attended a ceremony to rename the theater she founded to the Dori Randall Performing Arts Center.

Brookings resident Dori Randall, who influenced the lives of countless children and adults during nearly 20 years of community volunteer work, died Saturday after a 10-month battle with breast cancer. She was 59.

Randall, known by many as “Miss Dori,” was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and left Brookings in July 2015 to be with family in Colorado, where she received medical treatment and eventually hospice. She died peacefully in her sleep, according to family members.

Her death, while expected by many, left her friends and acquaintances mourning the loss and recalling their favorite experiences with Randall.

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101: Veterans memorial highway

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Middle East veterans Dominick Imperatrice and Drew Kelley look up at sign revealed by Tony Voudy while veterans of earlier wars look on. The Pilot / Bill Schlichting

The entire length of Highway 101 on the Oregon Coast has been designated as a memorial highway and two of 10 road signs honoring U.S. veterans of Middle East wars were unveiled Monday in Harbor and Port Orford.

“It’s a wonderful way to honor our veterans who have served our country,” said Tony Voudy, officer for Curry County Veteran’s Services (CCVS), which purchased the signs.

“Oregon is the only state that dedicates their highways in honor of their veterans, and the conflicts in which they served,” Voudy said.

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Mill Beach access proposal draws fire

Mill Beach-area residents filled the Brookings City Council hearing room Monday evening to urge the board to reconsider its idea of allowing unlimited access to Mill Beach’s small park at the base of Macklyn Cove Road.

The issue was brought up by Councilor Jake Pieper after he took his family to the popular beach and saw a sign posting dawn-to-dusk hours of operation. He feels people are being increasingly limited in their recreational opportunities and advocated leaving that road and park — the city’s only easy access to the beach — open longer than other city parks.

But residents in the area — many who said they’d recently moved here — said ever since the sign went up two years ago, problems with homeless people, trespassing, loud noise and bonfires have decreased.

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Brookings Azalea Festival begins Thursday

Brookings’ 77th Azalea Festival kicks off for a five-day run starting with a book sale on Thursday, continuing with a parade on Saturday, and ending with Memorial Day services on Monday.

The event features the Party at the Port with music, vendor booths and carnival attractions; an art show (see story on Page 1B), quilt show, a flower show and sale and more.

Readers will find a full schedule of events and locater map in a special section inside this issue. The section also features stories and photos about the grand marshal, the Azalea Scholarship Pageant and the pioneer citizens.

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