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Increase in transient complaints sparks debate about community kitchens

Brookings officials and church representatives this week were quick to squelch rumors that police wanted to shut down community kitchens because of an uptick in crimes and calls from concerned citizens about transient activity in the area.

At the same time, representatives of the kitchens agreed to send a delegation to the city to discuss the issue — and possible solutions.

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Sen. Merkley addresses local issues at town hall

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U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, right, presents Trash Dogs volunteers Ed Gross, middle, and Harve Timeus an American flag that had been flown over the nation’s capitol, as a symbol of appreciation for the Dogs’ efforts to collect illegally dumped trash in national forests.
 

U.S. Sen Jeff Merkley greeted a standing-room-only crowd Thursday night to address local issues ranging from small-port dredging and homelessness to international trade agreements that weaken the U.S. middle class.

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County financial chief retiring

County Accountant Gary Short is finally delivering on his promise to retire.

For months, he has been telling Curry County commissioners that the 2015-2016 budget was the last — the absolute last — he will work on. He cites challenges with the county’s teetering fiscal status, increased “takings” from the Road Fund to pay for other county functions, and general frustration at crafting budgets with little to no funding.

“And I’m 72 — it’s time!” he said Thursday.

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Five arrested in Gold Beach during drug, theft investigation

Authorities on Wednesday arrested five Curry County residents, with four facing drug possession charges, after serving a search warrant at a home at 95906 Euchre Creek Road in Gold Beach.

According to Curry County Sheriff’s Lt. Mick Espinoza, the arrests were the result an investigation into allegations that the residents at that address were in possession of stolen property and possibly in possession of illegal narcotics.

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Crab season: Hunting the Dungeness

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A crew member on the Brookings-based Equinox fishing vessel tosses pots overboard in preparation for the season.
 

About 30 fishing vessels left the Port of Brookings Harbor at 8 a.m. Monday, launching the 2016 crab season after a month of delays.

Several were already back with their first haul that night, having laid traps in the water Jan. 1.

As many fishermen had predicted, harvest has been fairly slow.

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Sen. Merkley hosts town hall Thursday

Curry County’s own Trash Dogs will be feted at Thursday’s town hall event held by U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, to acknowledge the volunteers’ work collecting illegally-dumped garbage on national forest lands.

The 5 p.m. event at Southwestern Oregon Community College will also feature discussion about “what needs to be done to strengthen the state and nation,” according to Merkley’s office. 

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Quake retrofit funds for Riley Creek School

 The Central Curry School District will receive nearly $1 million dollars in grant funding to retrofit Riley Creek Elementary School to better withstand the impact of a major earthquake.

The money will be used to reinforce the school with a series of posts, roof beams and safety glass for the windows currently framed with standard glass, said Riley Creek Principal Tom Denning.

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Brookings studies ways to fix failing sewer pipes

Maintenance demands at the Brookings wastewater treatment plant and deteriorating pipes in town are worse than originally thought, and could result in the city implementing higher sewer rates — or asking voters to approve a sales tax to pay for needed work.

 “Our infrastructure is failing faster than we’re maintaining it,” said Mayor Ron Hedenskog at a city council workshop Monday evening. “We need to take steps to do something about it.”

Public Works Supervisor Richard Christensen told the council that the aging infrastructure is in worse shape than the council might think.

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New law allows drivers to pump gas

Beginning Jan. 1, 18 Oregon counties have the authority to permit gas stations to offer self-serve between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., following a bill signed into law by Governor Kate Brown in June. 

The change will allow gas stations in counties with populations of less than 40,000, including Curry County, to permit customers to pump their own gas during designated hours, should the gas stations choose to do so.

As of Thursday, officials at several Curry County fuel stations said they were not making changes right away — and many were unsure if they will change their policies at all.

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Mother hopes son is still alive

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Derick Christie

Danette Christie’s 23-year-old son Derick has been missing for 35 days. 

It’s possible the Brookings man could be dead. It’s possible he is alive. It’s the not knowing that is a nightmare.

“It’s horrible,” Danette said earlier this week. “We’re hopeful, but we fear the worse. Some are presuming he’s dead, but I’m not ready to accept that. We still want people to look for him.”

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