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Coast Guard to honor Curry County rescuers

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Brookings Police Officer Kyle Kennedy, right, tries to deliver a lifeline to Deputy Terry Brown, rescue swimmer Logan Couch and 14-year-old Joshua Peterson at Harris Beach in June 2014. Pilot file photo.

Participants in the rescue of a young teenager near Harris Beach in June 2014 will be recognized Monday by the Coast Guard in a 10 a.m. ceremony at Chetco River Station in Brookings.

The prestigious Gold Lifesaving Medal will be presented to Terry L. Brown, an Oregon native currently residing in Salem, for extreme and heroic actions in recognition for saving 14-year-old Brookings resident Joshua Peterson on June 2, 2014. 

Logan Couch, Sheriff John Ward and Brookings Police officer Kyle Kennedy were also involved in the rescue, and will receive the Silver Life Saving Medal, Certificate of Valor and the Meritorious Public Service Award, respectively, during Monday’s ceremony.

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Brookings OSP officer injured in highway accident

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OSP Officer Dean Trent received a minor head injury after his patrol vehicle was hit from behind by an alleged drunk driver early Wednesday morning.
 

Local Oregon State Police Trooper Dean Trent escaped major injuries early Wednesday morning after his patrol car was rear-ended by an alleged drunk driver speeding on Highway 101 north of Brookings.

Trent received a head injury in the accident and was transported to Curry General Hospital, where he was treated for a concussion and released, officials said.

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Port plant brings jobs

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A seafood processing plant is under construction at the Port of Brookings Harbor, next to the commercial fishing docks. Photo by Grant Fraley.

The new structure under construction at the Port of Brookings Harbor will soon allow seafood caught by commercial trawlers to be processed locally, creating about 25 new jobs. 

Located next to the cold storage facility on Lower Harbor Road, the facility is being built and will be operated by Brookings-based buyer B.C. Fisheries. It is scheduled to open in time for shrimp season.

“Completion of the plant will be done around June, but we’ll be operational by April 15,” said Mike Manning, a port commissioner and owner of B.C. Fisheries, at a meeting Feb. 16.

Processors will initially focus on cooking and peeling Oregon pink shrimp, sending the product to distributors on the West Coast. In the future, however, they hope to process other types of fish.

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Counterfeit money still a problem in Curry

Counterfeit bills are still circulating throughout Curry County and being used in local businesses, a problem Brookings Police began to see late last year. 

Police Chief Chris Wallace said several companies in the Brookings area began to see a surge in the use of fake bills, shortly after they began to appear in Del Norte County. While officers have not yet caught any of the perpetrators using counterfeit cash, Wallace warned individuals and business owners to be aware, and to take extra precautions when accepting bills.

“The problem we’re having is that technology has gotten so good, it’s getting harder for smaller businesses to detect them,” Wallace said of counterfeit bills.

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Chetco River development project moves forward

The Brookings City Council Monday approved in a 4-1 vote the annexation of the Tribble property along the Chetco River after addressing matters related to the impacts the project could have on the estuary there.

The development is proposed to have 59 residential units on 13.3 acres of land on the Chetco River near Thompson Hill Road.

The property owner, Ron Tribble of Roseburg, tried to have the property rezoned from commercial and industrial to residential while it was under the county purview, but failed. So he brought it to the Brookings City Council to consider annexation and a zone change.

The issue has since bounced back and forth from the state appeal board, LUBA, and the city, as a small group of opponents believe that water quality, salmon and estuary health will be compromised.

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Curry residents facing foreclosure may get financial help

Oregon will receive more than $36 million from the federal government to help homeowners who are struggling to avoid foreclosures — possibly including scores of Curry County residents, Sen. Jeff Merkley announced Monday.

The funds are administered through the Oregon Homeownership Stabilization Initiative and divided up depending on who applies for them, said Alison McIntosh of the Oregon Housing and Community Services Agency in Salem.

“This ($36 million) is an expansion, an investment in that program,” she said. “We just need to find the folks who need it.”

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New Brookings group focuses on climate change

Bill Vogel and Cynthia Freeman are trying to attack a global problem at the local level.

The two were inspired by Al Journet of the group Southern Oregon Climate Action Now, who spoke in Harbor last month about global warming and its implications on worldwide ecology.

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Curry gets FEMA funds for Harbor sinkhole, landslide

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Crews with Tidewater Contractors use excavators to dig dirt and mud from at the edge of a ravine, seeking the collapsed culvert responsible for causing a sinkhole near Highway 101. Photo taken from video by Cody Miller (http://tinyurl.com/jetroco)

Curry County is eligible for more than a quarter-million dollars in federal emergency disaster funds after torrential rainfall in December resulted in mudslides, sinkholes and flooding throughout the area.

President Obama has approved $25 million in funds to be spent in Curry, Coos, Lane, Clatsop, Columbia, Lincoln, Linn, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Washington and Yamhill counties after back-to-back storms battered the coast late last year.

Damage here was initially reported to total $253,821, and a second assessment will be conducted this month to determine actual cost damages.

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Legislature OKs minimum wage hike

Many workers throughout the state will get raises over the next six years as the legislature approved a Senate Bill 1532 establishing new minimum wage levels in an unprecedented tiered system based on where employees live.

Over the six-year plan, employees in sparsely populated areas such as Curry County will see their wages increase gradually, eventually earning a minimum of $12.50. In that same time, those in the Portland area will earn the highest minimum wage rates in the nation, of $14.75. Those in a middle tier that includes Bend and Eugene would make $13.50.

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New concert hall for Brookings

After 30 years of hosting classical music concerts in various Brookings churches, the nonprofit Friends of Music is going to build it’s own concert hall in downtown Brookings.

Friends of Music purchased the vacant lot at the corner of Fern Avenue and Spruce Street earlier this month for an undisclosed amount.

“We’ve been thinking about doing this for 10 years and we finally decided to jump out there and do it,” said Mark Newhouse, president of the nonprofit. “This is going to be a positive thing for the community and for us.”

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