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City seeks source of beach pollution

City officials are using the help of AmeriCorps volunteer Austin Dunn in their search for the source of the fecal coliform that resulted in warnings to Mill and Harris beachgoers last summer.

Dunn has been bushwhacking through underbrush and skirting private property to collect storm water samples throughout the city.

“Austin’s work will help us better understand why some of our beaches have exceeded safe levels of fecal bacteria and strategies on how to mitigate this issue in the future,” said Public Works Director Loree Pryce.

Mill and Harris beaches are monitored by the state throughout the summer, and the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program issues advisories accordingly. Last summer, high fecal bacteria levels prompted the agency to advise people to avoid contact with the water that flows into the ocean from the creeks there.


Brookings port drops discussion of annexation

The Port of Brookings Harbor’s Board of Commissioners has decided not to pursue a study that examines the possible effects of annexation of the port to the city of Brookings. 

Meanwhile, the city is pursuing its own study and has invited the port to participate.

At its Feb. 17 meeting, port commissioners Roy Davis, Sue Gold and Mike Manning voted against the port doing its own study. All three have adamantly opposed the idea of annexation. Commissioner Tim Patterson, who had proposed a vote on the study, decided that it was best to wait and see what kind of study the city might pursue.

Commissioner Jim Relaford, while a proponent of exploring the possible annexation of the port, said the port’s study would not give the board any new information, and therefore it was not worth pursuing. 


Sheriff Ward tackles law levy questions

Sheriff John Ward made his first plea to arguably his toughest audience when he spoke to members of the Brookings Harbor Tea Party at the Best Western Beachfront Inn Saturday afternoon.

It’s the first of many such speeches he and the newly formed Political Action Committee (PAC) will present in the upcoming three months to educate the public about what he needs to keep the jail open and the community safe.

“When I was appointed sheriff, I was told we were only funded through June of 2015,” he said. “That we are basically in dire straits. We have to find a way to stabilize and provide services.”

When Ward took office late last year, he immediately set about trying to set up a special taxing district for law enforcement, separate from county operations.


Post office woes

Customers line up Friday at the Brookings post office, where increased business has sparked parking complaints.

The lines at the Brookings post office in December have nothing on the lines there today.

What was routinely a queue of a half-dozen people on any given day has now turned into at least a dozen, wending from the front of the line to the front doors of the facility on Spruce Street. Tuesday after the President’s Day holiday weekend, scores of boxes were piled against the wall and on the far counter, ready to be sent out.

The closure of the post office in Harbor is largely to blame, as hundreds of people have had to transfer their mail delivery to the Brookings facility. There are no plans to reopen the Harbor office, whose postmaster decided to retire after decades of service.


Voters to decide Sheriff’s law levy

Curry County voters will get the chance to approve or reject the sheriff’s proposed levy on the May 19 ballot, the Curry County Commission decided in a 2-1 vote Wednesday.

Commissioners Susan Brown and David Brock Smith approved the ballot measure, but Commissioner Tom Huxley did not, saying there may be ways other than taxing citizens to address the county’s fiscal crisis. 

Huxley’s dissension caused Sheriff John Ward to proclaim that he would seek a new commissioner-liaison for his office. Huxley is the current liaison.

“I can’t have a commissioner being my liaison and not supporting any initiatives to fund this when he doesn’t have a funding solution himself,” Ward said. “It concerns me that we didn’t have a unanimous vote from all three commissioners. It concerns me that we did not have the support needed from our commissioner-liaison, and having him vote not to approve the measure going to the vote of the people.


Crescent City airport lands three bids

The bids are in, and a new aircraft carrier may soon be flying area skies; the question that remains is, how soon.

Three airlines submitted proposals to the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide federally subsidized service to Crescent City, meeting the Feb. 17 deadline, which was extended to give airlines more time to make a pitch.  

“We’re a success story,” Del Norte County Regional Airport Director Matthew Leitner said after hearing that the proposals had come through. “We will continue to offer good service.”

In the running are two companies flying the nine-seat Pilatus PC-12 and another flying a 30-seat Saab 340. All three have proposed flying passengers in and out of the area at levels comparable to SkyWest, which has long held the contract. 


Tough times for GB chamber

Lack of money and the recent layoff off its executive director are the latest challenges facing the struggling Gold Beach Chamber of Commerce, which also saw four of its board members leave in the last month.

“It has been pretty much a steady exodus over the last month,” said Jodi Fritts, Gold Beach city administrator and chamber advisory member.

The chamber, according to its website, serves 200 members along the Central Curry coast

Fritts sighed as she discussed that trouble-plagued chamber, one of the city’s long-standing business promotion groups.


Curry County Trash Dogs revisit popular dumpsites

Volunteers with the Trash Dogs on Saturday collect garbage dumped on the embankment along South Bank Chetco River Road

Curry County’s Trash Dogs spent their Valentine’s Day knee deep in trash in the woods — and they wouldn’t have had it any other way.

The group has been hauling dumped garbage — from regular household garbage to appliances — from U.S. Forest Service lands for almost a decade; Saturday’s venture was the 141st foray into the forest.

A dozen volunteers revisited popular dumpsites they hadn’t visited in about a year, starting up the South Bank Chetco River Road, said leader Ed Gross. 


Sheriff’s law levy before the board

Curry County commissioners today (Feb. 18) will consider whether to present Sheriff John Ward’s proposed law enforcement levy to voters on the May 19 ballot.

The commissioners have spent hours in various meetings this month poring over the sheriff’s proposal. If they approved it during their regular meeting today, it then goes to the County Clerk and then the state for final approval.

Ward is asking voters to approve a property tax increase of $1.34 per $1,000 assessed valuation for those living in Curry County’s three cities, and $2.52 per $1,000 for those in unincorporated areas.


Brookings competes for disaster prep federal funds

The city of Brookings has entered a competition in hopes of winning federal funds to complete tsunami repair work at the Port of Brookings Harbor and retrofit the bridge over the Chetco River to better handle earthquakes.

It’s part of the National Disaster Resilience Competition offered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The competition provides funds for eligible communities and counties that experienced federally-declared disasters from 2011 to 2013, with the goal of recovery and resiliency for the future.


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