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Lack of civility continues to plague county meetings

A lawsuit, complaints to the Department of Justice and possible mediation have done little to quell the animosity at county commissioner meetings this year, it was noted in a workshop Wednesday.

The issue came up after Commissioner Tom Huxley asked for a general consensus on an item he proposed to research and either revise or replace various parts of county guidelines.

Connie Hunter of Brookings, who usually addresses veterans issues or economic development, noted that nothing will get down at the county level unless the board members start being civil to one another.

“You,” she said, pointing to Commissioner Susan Brown, “have never been uncivil to me. You,” she nodded to Commissioner David Brock Smith, “have never been uncivil to me. But you,” she said to Huxley, “I’m hoping we can grow those competencies.”

Huxley and Smith often trade barbed snips at each other during meetings, but the general environment in county offices is one of low morale and apprehension since January, many employees say.


Breakfast correction

In the Wednesday issue, the Pilot reported that campers at the Cape Blanco Music Festival will be able to enjoy the Fisherman’s Breakfast, an all-you-can-eat breakfast for $8 on Sunday, Aug. 2. The breakfast is available Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 7 to 11 a.m. All proceeds go to the Curry Anadromous Fishermen. The Pilot regrets the error.

Country on the coast

Fans crowd the stage during last year’s Cape Blanco Music Festival. PIlot file photo.

Curry County will welcome back an array of country music stars and their fans this weekend as the second annual Cape Blanco Country Music Festival begins at 3 p.m. Friday afternoon in Sixes. 

The event, located in open fields north of Port Orford and right outside of Cape Blanco State Park, is expected to draw more than 20,000 music fans.

The festival will feature 13 performances from both major country music stars and up-and-coming artists from 3 p.m. Friday through Sunday afternoon.

Performances will start in the afternoon each day, with performances every two hours leading up to the headliners. The spotlight will belong to Blake Shelton Friday night, with country duo Florida-Georgia Line headlining Saturday and sibling act The Band Perry closing things down on Sunday evening.


City will borrow cash to fix street

The Brookings City Council Monday evening voted to borrow $650,000 from the state and dip into its Urban Renewal funds and System Development and System Replacement funds to pay its share of the reconstruction of Railroad Street

The $3.1 million project, expected to begin in 2018, is already in the design stages, said City Manager Gary Milliman. It will feature a driving lane in each direction, left turn and bike lanes and sidewalks from Oak to Center streets.

The federal grant that is funding 60 percent of the cost requires the city to match the remaining $1 million; the city can obtain the $650,000 loan at a 2.05 percent rate. Annual payments from 2018 to 2020 will be $30,000. In 2021 they will increase to $92,721. The loan will be paid off in 2028.


Curry County beaches test clean

Nine salt-water sites tested earlier this month along Curry County’s southern coastline were deemed clean by the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program, it was announced this week.

Two water tests — taken from fresh water about 100 meters from the mouth of Harris Creek — came back as higher than acceptable, but the state only issues health advisories for marine waters.

A few times a year, local beaches become contaminated with e. coli — recently determined to originate from an array of sources including wildlife, older septic systems and dogs at the beach.


Brown OKs bill allowing marijuana sales Oct. 1

SALEM (AP) — Oregon will allow marijuana sales to adults beginning Oct. 1, nearly a year sooner than originally planned.


U.S. House Oks bill to prevent state GMO labeling measures

SALEM — A bill in Congress co-sponsored by Democratic U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader passed House vote this month amid opposition from the group that unsuccessfully pushed for labeling genetically modified food in Oregon last election.

The bill would overturn and prevent state and local governments from passing their own GMO labeling requirements. It may not overturn a ban on GMOs in Southern Oregon’s Jackson County.

Schrader was one of 15 Democrats who co-sponsored the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act as what he called a conservation measure that would avoid confusion around bioengineered crops that are more insect and drought resistant and may produce higher yields. Schrader is an organic farmer from Canby.


Curry community college celebrates 20 years

Administrators, staff and students of Southwestern Oregon Community College’s Curry County campus celebrated its 20th year in the college district on Monday — and the hard work and dedication it took to reach that milestone.

“One of the biggest accomplishments for the college was getting the campus built,” said Janet Pretti, Executive Dean of the Curry County campus. “It took a lot of effort — it was not a small feat.”

She referred to the move from its location on Redwood Street in Brookings to a large site off Highway 101 north of Brookings.

“I don’t know if you remember, but there was a lot of rock up here,” laughed Dr. Patty Scott, president of SWOCC, as she recalled the college’s process in trying to find a permanent location for the Curry Campus. 

Scott addressed the group of about 30 people, including instructors, board members and students, both former and current. 


Let loose the hounds!

Dogs enjoy the open space provided by the new dog park at Brookings’ Stout Park Wednesday.

“Let loose the hounds!” Mayor Brookings Ron Hedenskog exclaimed during Wednesday’s grand opening of the city’s first official dog park at Stout Park. 

The event was attended by nearly a dozen dogs of all shapes, sizes and ages, who brought along their humans to celebrate the completion of a project created by Brookings-Harbor High School student Spencer Loring.

“I feel like it’s a great accomplishment,” said Loring, who thought of the idea to complete his Eagle Scout requirement. “It was a lot of work and I’m glad it’s complete.”


Citizens question senator’s apology

Cedar Valley residents whose property was illegally sprayed by herbicides don’t think much of a public apology issued this week by Oregon Senator Jeff Kruse, who denigrated them on the Senate floor this spring.

“Number one,” said resident Kathryn Rickard, he didn’t actually apologize for what he said. “He said he knew for a fact we were alcoholics and drug addicts. He doesn’t know me. He’s apologizing to make himself to look better. Yeah, he’s contrite — because he’s getting so much flack from everyone.”

Residents of the community near Gold Beach were illegally sprayed by a chemical aerial applicator almost two years ago and Steve Owens, of Pacific Air Research, was found guilty of obstructing the state investigation and lying about the work he did.

Owen and the Oregon Department of Agriculture — which regulates and investigates chemical applications — settled “out of administrative hearing” to a one-year suspension of his personal pesticides license. His business license will likewise be suspended for one year. There was no fine.

The residents fell victim to symptoms ranging from dizziness to skin burns; a dog lost so much weight it had to be euthanized and a horse was said to have gone blind.


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