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Residents plan protest of Ray’s store closure

After C&K Markets announced on Wednesday it would close its Ray’s Food Place location in Smith River, local residents lost no time in organizing a response. 

There will be a meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 24, at the Community Hall, 241 First St., Smith River. 

Organizers of the meeting say that everyone is invited and that a representative from C&K Market Inc., which owns Ray’s Food Place, will be present to answer questions and respond to community concerns.  

The Smith River Ray’s Food Place will close on Aug. 4 due to rising transportation expenses and competition, company representatives said in a written statement.

“We would like to thank the Smith River community for its support of our Ray’s store over the past 21 years,” Greg Sandeno, president and CEO of C&K Markets., said in a written statement. “We encourage customers seeking a local choice for groceries in Del Norte County to choose Shop Smart Foods in Crescent City.”

C&K also owns the Shop Smart Foods chain.


Kites take to the skies today, Sunday

Rod Thrall, of Newberg, tried getting his giant rainbow — an 18-by-12-foot kite with a 120-foot-long tail – back into the air after winds died Friday afternoon at the kite field at the Port of Brookings Harbor.

Colorful kites will be soaring, diving, careening, twirling, spinning and carving through the skies this weekend at the 21st annual Southern Oregon Kite Festival — Rainbows in the Sky — at the Port of Brookings Harbor kite field.

The event is different from other popular festivals in that it is an invitational, with the most diehard professionals from throughout the world manning the strings.

The event begins today (July 20) at 10 a.m.

On the field

Out on the field, five teams will demonstrate their skills, including the popular iQuad, Bay Area Sundowners, Too Much Fun, Rogue Slackers and Despo-Shampo.

Team iQuad — John Barresi, T.K. Barresi, Steve DeRooy, Willow Robin, “Bazzer” Poulter and “Monkey” Hathoway — formed in 2006 after attending their World Sport Kite Champions in Berck sur Mer, France. The team is continually lauded by the Kite Trade Association for its promotional efforts in the field.

The Bay Area Sundowners — Barry Nash, Gordon Osterlund, Kenny Osterlund and John Quitugua — have been soaring since 1980, crediting their popularity to flying “trains” — something that held them back in their early days of competition.

Too Much Fun, including Mark Lummas, Jeanette Lummas and Ron Despojado, feature tight choreography and foot-tapping tunes that keep crowds enrapt.


Rapids claim another life


A second rafter has died trying to navigate the “Picket Fence” white water rapids in the Rogue River this week, it was reported Thursday afternoon.

According to Sheriff John Bishop, Steven Boyd, 66, of Walla Walla, Wash., was thrown from his raft Wednesday afternoon and struck his head on the boulders below. It is unknown if that contributed to his death, as others in his raft were able to escape with minor injuries.

Boyd is the second rafter to die in the Blossom Bar rapids in five days. Steven Hoyer, 56, of Spartanburg, S.C., drowned there July 12.

Both Hoyer, Boyd and their respective crews were experienced rafters.

Bishop and Marine Deputy Ted Heath responded to Foster Bar, 26 miles from Gold Beach. Blossom Bar is another 25 miles from there and accessible only by helicopter or motorized boat.

Medical helicopters were dispatched to the site, but when Heath and Bishop arrived and determined Boyd had died, they cancelled the response.

An investigation is ongoing, as is another into Hoyer’s death.

Blossom Bar is rated a Class IV rapid and extremely difficult to navigate in current water conditions, Bishop said. The river was flowing at 1,720 cubic feet per second Thursday afternoon.

Rep. DeFazio elected ranking member of house committee

Peter DeFazio

After a five-month political battle based in part on federal timber policies, Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., was elected Thursday the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee.

DeFazio, whose district includes Curry County, has served as a member of the committee for 26 years and is next in line in committee seniority behind Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass. During his tenure, DeFazio has served on every subcommittee, chaired a special task force on energy, and been involved in legislative battles impacting districts nationwide.



Longtime librarian retires


Brenda Jacques is retiring from her post as reference librarian.

Staffing the reference desk has had its ups and downs over the last 25 years, but for Brenda Jacques it has been more than interesting. It’s been a love.

“It’s been wonderful,” Jacques said. “People come in and want to know where something is, how to do something and I get to help them. Reference is really fun. My husband says I get to play Trivial Pursuit every day.”

Jacques is calling an end to all of the research fun and retiring to chase other dreams.

“I have plans to travel to Machu Picchu  and fly over the Nazca Lines,” she explained. “I want to fly over those; it’s someplace I’ve always wanted to go.”



Man dies negotiating "Picket Fence" on Rogue

A Spartanburg, S.C., man drowned two days shy of his 57th birthday near the Blossom Bar rapid of the Rogue River last Friday.

According to Sheriff John Bishop, volunteers from the Agness Fire and Rescue Department and Sheriff’s Marine Deputy Ted Heath responded to the 4 p.m. report of a possible drowning at Foster Bar, about 50 miles up to Rogue River from Gold Beach.

Reports indicate Steven D. Hoyer was trying to negotiate the channel at the top of Blossom Bar known as “Picket Fence,” and while trying to get his raft free, he slipped and fell into the river. Occupants of a private powerboat recovered Hoyer several hundred feet downriver and conducted CPR on him for about 30 minutes while help was en route.



Brookings man held following California pursuit

Joshua A. Bond

A Brookings man sought in connection with the kidnapping of a Crescent City man was arrested in north-central California after a car chase.

Joshua A. Bond, 24, was driving a 1997 Buick Regal in Willows on Thursday when a California Highway Patrol officer attempted to stop him, the CHP stated.

Bond led authorities on a chase during which he threw a pistol out of his vehicle, the CHP stated.

 After he was stopped, Bond was found to be in possession of numerous weapons, including a shotgun and a 9mm sub-machine gun, the CHP stated. Bond also possessed a pound of methamphetamine and a half-pound of marijuana, the CHP said.

Bond was arrested on suspicion of evading a peace officer, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance for sale, transporting a controlled substance, and possession of a controlled substance while possessing a loaded firearm.

Bond is suspected of involvement in the kidnapping and beating of a Crescent City man last month.

Bond and two other people approached a man’s vehicle, pulled him out, beat and bound him, then threw him back into the vehicle and drove him to Kerby where he was able to escape, authorities said.

The two suspected accomplices  remain at large.

Bonnie Steele, 35, of Smith River and Mike Waters, 30, of Crescent City are being sought in the kidnapping.

Sky-high event ready for liftoff

A crowd enjoys last year's festival at the Kite Field.
The skies over the kite field at the Port of Brookings-Harbor will be a rainbow of colors at the 21st annual Southern Oregon Kite Festival scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, July 20 and 21.

The free event is an invitational kite festival which attracts nationally and internationally renowned kite flyers and kite makers to the community where they perform and display their kites. More than 30 kite flyers are guests of the community and entertain the spectators with routines choreographed to music, creating an atmosphere of fun and excitement for attendees of all ages, kite festival organizers said.

Returning this year are Team iQuad and The Bay Area Sun-downers, two of the top kite flying teams in the world. Among the many other celebrated kite pilots attending are Ron Despojado, Rod and Cindy Thrall, Al Washington, Ron Gibian, and Penny Lingenfelter.


Once upon a bloom

A “century plant” on the corner of Chetco Avenue and Fern Street in downtown Brookings sends up a 15-foot-tall stalk in preparation to bloom. The succulent rarely blooms and dies soon after it does. The Pilot/Jane Stebbins
It took years for the cactus at the corner of Fern Street and Chetco Avenue in Brookings to store enough energy to bloom.

It will do so over the next couple of weeks, and then shrivel up and die.


Few dollars for Sheriff’s Office

Minimum and adequate.

Those two words have Sheriff John Bishop and Curry County’s three commissioners exasperated as they work to find a solution to fund the Sheriff’s Office.


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