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New digs for online program students

For the last year and a half, students in the Brookings-Harbor School District have had the choice of taking some or all of their classes through an online program called OPTIONS. Now, students of the program have a newly remodeled building in which they can work. 

The public will have a chance to view the students at work and tour the new facility, located at 564 Fern St during an open house at 8:30 a.m. Thursday. Refreshments will be provided, and visitors can park in the lot near the high school track.

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GB voters to decide fire truck levy

Gold Beach city councilors decided Monday to ask voters again to decide a fire truck levy to be placed on the city’s May 19 ballot.

In November 2014, voters rejected a similar levy to purchase a new fire truck 427 to 382. 

If the latest levy passes, the city would allot $60,000 per year from taxes for the next seven years toward a new fire truck. New trucks usually cost between $400,000 and $700,000. 

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Lessons in environmental justice

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University students visiting Curry County film and interview Cedar Valley resident Katheryn Rickard for a documentary about the chemical spraying of herbicides in the residential area near Gold Beach.

Nick Sanchez is on a mission — and he’s ready to fight the state to accomplish it.

The University of Oregon student came to Curry County last year to hear the stories of Cedar Creek residents who were sprayed by herbicides in a timber operation in October 2013 — and he came away determined to spread the word and help change state law that seemingly turns a blind eye.

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Sheriff’s tax proposal on hold

Curry County commissioners postponed a decision to place a law enforcement tax hike on the May 19 ballot Wednesday, citing their need for more time to discuss the issue. 

But Sheriff John Ward doesn’t have more time, he said.

His Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) has held five public meetings in which they debated at length a realistic level of law enforcement Ward needs to keep his community safe. In the end, they recommended Ward ask the Curry County Board of Commissioners to place on the ballot a question asking voters for a property tax increase of $1.34 per $1,000 assessed valuation for those living in the cities and $2.52 per $1,000 for those in unincorporated Curry County. The three-year tax is the first step toward the creation of a special district for law enforcement.

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No sign of measles in Curry County

Oregon has been host to only one person with the measles — a Lane County man who was among those who caught it at Disneyland last month — and health officials want it to stay that way.

In recent years, the virus has taken its toll across the United States as parents have opted out of vaccinations for their children, citing philosophical and religious reasons.

In Oregon, a total of 17 people were diagnosed with measles from 2000 to 2012, but there were six in 2013 and five last year.

Nationwide, 644 people contracted the disease last year — the largest single-year count since 1994. This year, 68 cases have been reported nationwide.

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Jail decision has GB manager fuming

Gold Beach residents and officials are seeing first-hand the impacts of the county’s financial problems in that a jail with a reduced number of beds is resulting in an increased number of released prisoners on the streets.

City Administrator Jodi Fritts is angry that Sheriff John Ward created a matrix by which his deputies determine who will be held in the county jail and who will be released. Ward implemented the matrix, which keeps the worst offenders in jail but releases the least dangerous, in an attempt to stretch his limited dollars to the end of the fiscal year, June 30.

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Curry coast escapes brunt of winter storm

Brookings city work crews scrambled Friday to clear plugged culverts and storm water drains, but otherwise Curry County escaped the brunt of a storm that caused major flooding and downed trees in areas of Grants Pass and Medford.

The second wave of the storm was expected to bring an additional 2 to 4 inches of rain to the Southern Oregon Coast this morning through Sunday evening, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

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City crews respond to storm-flooded areas

Brookings city crews worked through the night and were scrambling this morning to clear culverts and storm water drains as the latest winter storm dropped at least 1.5 inches of rain since midnight.

A total of 5.37 inches has fallen in downtown Brookings since Monday, and an additional 2 to 4 inches is expect today through Saturday night, according to the National Weather Service.

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Heavy rains begin tonight

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Just when you thought the rain might be over, a second storm is headed our way, bring with it a prolonged period of rain — in some places, up to 10 inches — for the entire coast of Oregon.

Moderate to heavy rainfall beginning today is expected to come from the north, spread into Northern California by Thursday and continue through the weekend.

With the rain forecast come warnings for high winds, heavy surf, possible flooding and the potential for slides.

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Lifeline with some kick

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The line throw, which operates like a gun, uses CO2 canisters to fire a safety line.

For hours last summer, treacherous rip currents kept a Brookings teenager and his would-be rescuer, a sheriff’s deputy, from reaching the shore.

Today, the Brookings Fire Department has a new lifesaving device that could have cut that rescue effort down to mere minutes.

The CO2-operated line throw, which fires just like a gun, uses canisters of compressed air to shoot up to 500 feet of rope. If someone is in a place inaccessible to rescue crews, the fire department can “shoot” the rope out, giving the person something to hold onto while rescuers reel in that person.

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