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Changes for Salmon Run golf course

Deteriorating conditions at Salmon Run golf course and a failure to pay county taxes have resulted in Wild Rivers Golf Management losing its lease to operate the popular city amenity, Brookings City Manager Gary Milliman announced Friday.

The course has temporarily closed and will reopen April 5 under new management. 

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Volunteers scour Oregon beaches

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Curry County residents Larry and Kitty Demry with some of the trash collected at Harris Beach Saturday. Submitted photo.

More than 60 volunteers showed up at the Harris Beach Rest Area Saturday and collected 2,730 pounds of trash along local beaches as part of SOLVE’s annual statewide beach cleanup.

Much of the debris they collected this year arrived on winter storms and originated from the 2011 Japan tsunami, reported Angela Stewart of Oregon State Parks.

“Groups from the Rogue Valley and dedicated locals all were fascinated with the odd floats and debris that had printing and characters that ‘looked’ like Japanese (writing),” she said. “We had some good Samaritans, too. A cellphone and wallet were reunited with their owners.”

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Ferry Creek options are expensive

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Ferry Creek Reservoir is east of Brookings above North Bank Chetco River Road. Photo courtesy of the city of Brookings.

The city of Brookings is rethinking its ideas about Ferry Creek Reservoir above the north bank of the Chetco River after reports indicate it will cost substantially more to repair it and add it to the municipality’s water supply than originally thought.

Limited testing done there has indicated repair of the dam could cost about $4 million — or more, depending what is found in future study of the structure, which was built in 1913. 

The city entered a nationwide Disaster Preparedness Competition late last year in hopes of securing money to improve the reservoir as an emergency backup supply of water for wildfires, to help supply Harbor with potable water during times of drought when saltwater sometimes intrudes into its system and provide for more water overall for city growth.

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Homeless handouts garner stiff fines

People who hand money or food from their cars to panhandlers in Brookings will be subject to a fine up to $750, the city council decided Monday when it passed an ordinance to address traffic safety and “offensive or threatening” solicitation.

Brookings has been discussing the issue since a similar law enacted by Curry County almost two years ago mostly ended panhandling in Harbor, particularly at the entrances to the South Coast Center. Panhandlers, however, merely moved north, across the bridge and into Brookings.

Putting the onus on those in the vehicles enabled elected officials to avoid freedom of speech issues that are often brought up when such ordinances are proposed.

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No support for mayorís proposed sales tax

Brookings Mayor Ron Hedenskog’s hope to get a sales tax proposal on a ballot next year died Monday night when he realized he had no support for it from the city council.

Hedenskog wanted the council to direct city staff to figure out what a viable tax rate might be to pay for projects — both needed and optional — throughout town. Some of his ideas included helping build an aquatic and community center, creating more park amenities, providing funds to get Curry Health Network’s emergency room open in town and improvements and repairs to the wastewater treatment plant.

“If you put anything about any funding of the ER to voters in this city — that’s an instant balk,” said Councilor Bill Hamilton. “That will provide enough lead right there to sink your balloon.”

Hamilton said the overwhelming rejection of a recent ballot question asking voters to join to health district — currently, it only extends as far south as Pistol River — would be enough to sink a proposed sales tax vote.

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Dolphin rescue: Stranded, but not alone

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A group of people Wednesday struggle to move a stranded dolphin closer to the ocean after it beached itself near the mouth of the Winchuck River south of Brookings. Photo by Sarah Fu.

Mike Gaynes couldn’t help but notice the cluster of people on Sandpiper Beach near the Winchuck River trying to rescue a common dolphin that had beached itself on the sand Wednesday.

“There were a couple dozen people, including many small children, trying to push the dolphin back in,” he said. “They did it twice, and both times it immediately beached itself again.”

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Kaufman enters race for Oregon house seat

Gold Beach City Councilor Tamie Kaufman announced Wednesday that she intends to run as a write-in candidate for State Representative for House District 1.

That puts her in competition with two others who have filed and will appear on the May 17 primary ballot: County Commissioner David Brock Smith and Nesika Beach resident Terry Brayer.

Current Rep. Wayne Krieger filed to run for the position late last year, but at the last minute, withdrew his name from the race March 8.

Kaufman said she’s been preparing for the seat for the past two years. When she spoke with Krieger in early 2015, she was told there were about six Republicans interested in the position; she told him she wouldn’t run against him until he retired from the position.

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Repairs to collapsed culvert continue

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Excavation continues from the middle of Highway 101 into the landscaped area at the South Coast Center to install a new culvert nearly 40 feet underground. Photo submitted by ODOT.

Deep breaths, people.

It’s probably going to be another month before work is complete on the culvert repair on Highway 101 in Harbor and drivers can smoothly travel through the area.

Until then, drivers will have to continue using the detour over the gravelled Shopping Center Avenue between Zimmerman and Hoffeldt lanes.

New sidewalks, curbs and driveways won’t be done until mid-summer.

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Authorities seek ID of body found on beach

Law enforcement is seeking information in hopes of identifying a man whose body washed up on the beach in the Port Orford area Wednesday afternoon.

According to Curry County’s Sheriff’s reports, officials received a call from a resident who reported that he’d found the remains of a body while walking along the beach between Rocky Point and Humbug Mountain, south of Port Orford.

The man’s body was found in a pile of driftwood along the shoreline. It appeared it had been there for “quite some time,” and could only be identified as a male, reported Sheriff John Ward.

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Oregonís road fund fix includes higher fees

The Governor’s Transportation Vision Panel announced its short-, mid- and long-term funding ideas for backlogged highway maintenance throughout the state — some of which could affect Curry County through car registration fee increases to pay-per-mile driving charges.

“It’s a good exercise to take a look at all of the options to address the funding shortfall,” said Brookings City Manager Gary Milliman of discussion at the Southwest Area Transportation Committee meeting last week. “There are thousands of culverts like the one in Harbor waiting to happen. Thousands of bridges don’t meet seismic standards. Highway maintenance exceeds revenue. We need to look at a whole range of how we prioritize projects and make the best use of funds.”

Among the concepts crafted by the panel are an increase in gas taxes and vehicle registration fees to address the “immediate funding crisis” of roads; indexing inflation rates to existing taxes and user fees; creating a bicycle excise tax or implementing a per-mile road use charge on vehicles.

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