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Fitzgerald resigns from port post

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Ted Fitzgerald

Manager accepts position at harbor in San Juan Islands

Ted Fitzgerald, who has managed the port since 2008, has resigned his post and will serve his last day as the port director June 30. 

He will take a job managing the Port of Friday Harbor in San Juan County, Washington, starting July 1.

Fitzgerald informed Board of Commissioners Chair Roy Davis of his intentions to seek other work in late March.

“I informed Roy of my impending resignation because of concerns I had earlier voiced,” he said. “Because of the board’s failure to implement necessary changes in its conduct to improve governance.”

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Most favor motor ban on Chetco River

Most of those in attendance at an Oregon Marine Board public hearing Monday night said they favor a petition to ban motorized boats on a section of the Chetco River from Miller Bar to just below Social Security Bar.

How written comments lean on the issue have yet to be determined.

The petition was filed April 7 by an array of boaters, fishing guides and residents who are complaining that the number of boats in that stretch of water — particularly motorized side drift boats — has created conflict among all fishermen and ruined the pristine atmosphere of the river, among other concerns.

The Oregon Marine Board regulates the operation of boats for safety, congestion, protection of property rights and traditional uses. It does not regulate fish habitat, impacts on fish, water quality, fishing or styles of fishing, such as angling, bank or drift fishing.

“We’re boating people,” said Rachel Graham, the policy and environmental manager for the agency. “Anything to do with fish, we defer to Fish and Wildlife. Anything (but boating) is outside our authority.”

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Gold Beach council supports mining ban

The Gold Beach City Council pledged its support to protect several local waterways from nickel mining, it was announced at the Monday meeting.

After hearing a request from Hunter Creek resident Dave Lacey last month to write a letter of support for a mining ban, the council submitted a letter to the U.S. Forest Service on May 20, pledging the city of Gold Beach’s support for the ban on nickel mining. 

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Rehearsing for the ‘big one’

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Volunteers with the Community Emergency Response Team and Coos Forest Protective Association do a head-to-toe evaluation of a mock victim during Friday’s Cascadia earthquake drill in Curry County.

Friday was a great day for an earthquake — even if it was merely a drill.

“Bring it on,” said said Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member Dave Kuehn, looking up to the still, blue sky.

Scores of HAM radio operators, Coos Forest Protective Association firefighters, CERT and Red Cross members, the Curry County Medical Reserve, law enforcement and others gathered in Gold Beach to set up a mock emergency situation in anticipation of the day when the Cascadia subduction zone rips. It was part of a statewide Cascadia Rising exercise to practice — and find glitches — for the response that will be needed in a large quake and its subsequent tsunami.

The Cascadia subduction zone is located about 30 miles off the coast, from Northern California to Alaska, and is long overdue to release built-up stress. Earthquake experts don’t know when it will rip — only that it will.

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No quick fix for saltwater intrusion

Dave VanCleave, superintendent for the Harbor Water District, is looking to the skies and smiling these days.

Rain.

“Rain would not hurt my feelings,” he said. “It can rain all it wants.”

VanCleave and other district officials have been working all winter to find a way to prevent saltwater from seeping into the community’s municipal water system during drought years.

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County board votes 2-1 to fire technology director

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IT Director Todd Weeks, center, with his attorneys, claim that Huxley has created a “toxic” work environment at the county offices.

Curry County commissioners on Thursday voted 2-1 to fire Information Technology Director Todd Weeks, citing a lack of communication and insubordination in his dealings with the county’s Geographical Information System.

Week’s last day was Friday.

Commissioners Tom Huxley and Susan Brown voted for Week’s termination. Commissioner David Brock Smith voted against the motion.

The decision comes one month after Weeks filed a $9.3 million civil suit against the county — specifically Huxley and Brown — in federal court citing harassment, civil rights violations and other claims. 

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Real-life cliffhanger

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Brec Bane and his rescuer use ropes to climb nearly 100 feet up the side of a cliff at Natural Bridges. Submitted photo.

An Ohio man who was clinging to an unstable ridge and the embankment above at Natural Bridges was rescued by Curry County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue volunteers Sunday afternoon.

Brec Bane, 23, had slipped from the trail, fell 50 to 100 feet to the ledge and was facing the possibility of falling another 150 to 200 feet to the rocks on the beach below.

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City mulls formation of new tax district

Brookings city officials might ask the Brookings-Harbor School District or the Port of Brookings Harbor if either is interested in partnering with the city to create a recreation district to fund everything from the proposed community center to increased trash pick-ups in parks.

The idea, presented by Mayor Ron Hedenskog at a workshop Monday afternoon, was brought about when city Parks Director Tony Baron outlined all the work his small staff has to do, as the city adds more amenities to its portfolio.

“I never thought (a parks district alone) would fly because there’s no way the people outside the city would ever pay for parks they get for free,” Hedenskog said, noting that the larger taxing districts encompass more people.

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County, state prep for major earthquake

Curry County Emergency Services Coordinator Don Kendall is busy preparing for the “Big One.”

He’s busy because the Cascadia subduction zone — the big earthquake fault that parallels the coast from Northern California to Alaska — is slated to rip sometime Friday morning.

Well, in practice, anyway.

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Congratulations BHHS graduation class of 2016!

At least 800 people gathered at the Brookings-Harbor High School football field this afternoon (June 4)to witness the graduation of 106 seniors. See full story in Wednesday’s Curry Coastal Pilot.

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