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County Commission candidates square off

The Curry County Board of Realtors got a preview of what people might see at the first of many county commissioner candidate forums this fall when County Commissioner David Itzen faced off with candidate Tom Huxley at a board meeting Thursday.

The two were asked five questions culled from the real estate board, ranging from their opinion of the possible state designation of the Chetco River as a “scenic” waterway to how county government can be fixed.


Sheriff puzzled by voters' rejection of jail levy

Sheriff John Bishop

Tuesday’s defeat of Measure 8-78 — which would have provide funds solely for the county jail — has Sheriff John Bishop befuddled.

He didn’t think it would be defeated by the margin it did — even wider than the last referendum that asked for a larger tax increase. He understands that people are on tight budgets, and that many citizens don’t trust the county commissioners and are mad that they voted themselves a raise in June.

But he doesn’t get why the people don’t understand the necessity of a jail.


Two walk away from Highway 101 crash


Two people escaped major injures this morning after the SUV they were driving in veered off Highway 101 in Harbor, knocked down a telephone pole and narrowly missed hitting a storefront.

The identity of the two is unknown at this time, but the vehicle had Oregon license plates.

Emergency crews responded to the call of an accident in front of Floors ‘n More and Chetco RV Park at 10:46 a.m. When they arrived they found a black Nissan Pathfinder lodged against an embankment between the parking lot of Rogue Credit Union and the Floors ‘n More store. 

The vehicle left a trail of debris after leaving the northbound lane, jumping the curb and cutting across at least two properties. The vehicle crossed two driveways, knocked out a real estate sign, narrowly missed a parked car, a 50-foot-tall electronic sign post, a dumpster and a delivery van parked in front of Floors ‘n More.

The driver and passengers were being treated by paramedics at the scene, while waiting for an Oregon State Police officer to arrive.



No second chance for Fely’s Cafe

Fely Johnson has been serving breakfast lunch at her small cafe at the port’s Beachfront RV Park since 1993.

The popular Fely’s Cafe at the Port of Brookings Harbor’s Sporthaven Beach will stay open until January, 2015, but after that it will have to close for good.

“There’s not much I can do about it. I’m not the one that’s in control of it,” cafe owner Fely Johnson said Tuesday morning.

The reason is twofold: The port is planning to renovate the building that holds the cafe; and the cafe is in noncompliance with certain federal regulations by which the port must abide.

“There really is no easy way to handle this,” Port Commissioner Jim Relaford said Tuesday. “We’re doing whatever we can to make it as easy as possible for Fely, but it has to happen.” 


New store raises concerns

The Brookings-Harbor community is soon to be bookended by two discount stores: the Dollar Tree at the south and Dollar General to the north.

The general merchandise and grocery company pulled a building permit from the city of Brookings last week, and surveyors were scurrying over the intersection of Easy Street and Chetco Avenue in preparation for construction.

“Our sweet spot is small-town America,” said Dan MacDonald, senior director of corporate communications of the firm. “We’re very successful in meeting the needs of folks in smaller towns.”


Schafer misses court appearance

Wedderburn resident Marlyn Schafer failed to appear in court last Friday to be arraigned on charges of aggravated theft, or theft over $10,000, from the Gold Beach Senior Center over the past six years.

She did, however, show up in court Monday morning, which is considered a “voluntary appearance” because her case was not on the docket, according to Assistant District Attorney Jake Conde, who is prosecuting the case.

Schafer served as the treasurer for the nonprofit organization since she was appointed to the board in 1998. She has also served as city councilor and mayor of Gold Beach, Curry County commissioner and on numerous other boards.


Care centers, restaurants deal with salty water

The residents of Sea View Senior Living Community in Harbor have a new activity in their exercise regimen: Rain dancing.

Executive director Jan Ramelli was only half-joking when she said that.

More than 1,500 Harbor Water District customers have heard that their tap water is brackish and that those with illnesses related to sodium — or those who don’t like the taste — should purchase bottled water.

High ocean tides and low water levels in the Chetco River have combined far enough upriver to result in salt intrusion to the community’s intake well.


Voters reject county jail levy

Ballot Measure 8-78 lost Tuesday night on two fronts: it didn’t get the minimum 50 percent turnout as required for a special election, nor did it get the majority of votes to win.

The measure lost 3,548 to 2,634, with 47.8 percent of eligible voters casting ballots.

The measure asked voters to approve a property tax hike of 68 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation to fund the jail — and only the jail.


Drinking water update

As of today (Monday, Sept. 15), Brookings tap water remains safe to drink and will likely remain so, city officials said.

Meanwhile, tap water in Harbor still contains some ocean water and, while it does not pose a health hazard to most people, Harbor residents with sensitive stomachs or on low sodium diets are encouraged to drink bottled water or obtain water from an alternative source.

The salt water intrusion into Harbor’s water is likely to continue until significant rain increases the flow of the Chetco River and keeps the ocean tides at bay.


Residents speak up about Chetco River designation

South Coast residents love their Chetco River — and weren’t shy about saying so during an Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department meeting Thursday night.

The meeting was held to solicit input about the scenic, natural and recreational values of the river and if the 14 miles from Loeb State Park, 8 miles upriver from Highway 101, to the Steel Bridge should be designated as a state Scenic River.


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