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Changes ahead for Azalea Festival

Several groups that host events during Brookings’ Azalea Festival every Memorial Day weekend will hold a meeting Thursday to discuss how to advertise and coordinate this year’s festival, in light of some recently-announced changes that affect the event.

The meeting is at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, at the Chetco Community Public Library, 405 Alder Street. 

At a January meeting, leaders of the Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce announced that they will take a step back from the Azalea Festival this year, focusing only on the parade.


New volunteer group aims to help local nonprofits

It started out as an informal brainstorming session, but the Brookings-Harbor Nonprofit Cooperative has turned into a shared resource for charitable organizations looking to publicize their events, organize volunteers and tell citizens about the work they do.

“In October, we started these volunteer socials, with a group of us getting together regularly and talking about the needs of the nonprofits in the area,” said Scott Clapson of the Chetco Activity Center. 

“I’m a really firm believer in collaboration and listening to each other,” Clapson said. “And there’s so many nonprofits in this area. So we thought, how do we start cooperating, sharing calendars?”


New sign for Harbor

Left to right: County Commissioner David Brock Smith, County Assessor Jim Kolen, Port Commissioner Roger Thompson, former county commissioner David Itzen and Port Manager Ted Fitzgerald.

A new sign greets drivers coming into Harbor these days — the first sign the community has ever had announcing the entrance to it and the Port of Brookings Harbor.

It’s part of the county’s Unincorporated Community Pride Sign Project and the state transportation department’s City/County Entrance Program, said Commissioner David Brock Smith, who spearheaded the project.

The sign is posted on logs wrapped with donated rope, eliciting a nautical theme. It reads “Welcome to Harbor” and “Home to the Port of Brookings Harbor.”


County wrestles with pot regulations

Citizens at a Curry County commissioner workshop Wednesday requested the board take a wait-and-see attitude before implementing any new regulations regarding land use and growing marijuana.

The state is fine-tuning its rules — currently comprising 78 pages — that address setbacks from neighbors, security lights and the unmistakable skunk-like odor that emanates from the plants.

The county planning commission agreed in a recent meeting that the county has three options: to wait to see what the state does before approving additional regulations the state might have overlooked, pass rules of its own or deny recreational marijuana growing permits altogether.

“It’s a land-use compatibility issue,” said Curry County Planner Nancy Chester. “We’d only be telling the state that our zoning allows this particular activity. They have tons of regulations they then put on it.”


Cash for quake alert system

No one, no technology, can predict an earthquake.

But Congress this week bet $8.2 million that researchers from the University of Oregon, University of Washington, UC-Berkeley and Caltech might be able to improve upon Berkeley’s ShakeAlert warning system that is the closest prognosticators have come to a crystal ball.

That’s good news for residents of Curry County and those on the West Coast from Mendocino County to British Columbia who live near the Cascadia Fault, which has the potential to create a destructive earthquake.


Senate passes 3-tiered wage plan

SALEM — Advocates for a higher minimum wage in Oregon came one step closer to their goal Thursday.

After more than six hours of debate and opposition from all Republicans and one Democrat, the Oregon Senate voted 16-12 to pass a bill that would split the state into three regions with different minimum wage rates for each.

The bill heads next to the House, where Democratic leaders have largely supported the effort.


Highway 101 lane reopens as sinkhole fix continues

One lane of northbound traffic on Highway 101 was reopened Thursday as work continues on repairs to the landslide and sinkhole between Hearing Health Care and the Fireside Diner in Harbor.

The one-lane southbound access will remain as it has been since Feb. 3.

Until Thursday, northbound traffic had been detoured from Highway 101 to Benham Lane to Lower Harbor Road since the beginning of February.

“We realize people acclimate to the detour, and if we don’t put up signs that say, ‘Don’t take a left,’ people might take a left,” said ODOT spokesman Jared Castle.


Sheriff issues scam alert for Curry County

A scam hit Curry County Thursday — the second in a week — involving a male caller identifying himself as an officer with the Sheriff’s Department and telling the victims they owe the office large sums of money.

The caller has told people that, if they do not pay the money, a bench warrant will be issued for their arrest. The suspect has also asked victims to meet them to exchange the money.


Northbound 101 opens

One lane of northbound traffic on Highway 101 will open at 9 p.m. tonight (Feb. 11) as work continues on repairs to the landslide and sinkhole between Hearing Health Care and the Fireside Diner in Harbor.

The southbound access will remain as it has been Feb. 3 when state transportation agency officials closed the southbound lanes in front of an encroaching sinkhole. Traffic has been detoured from Highway 101 to Lower Harbor Road since the beginning of February.

Two signs will be placed at Benham Lane to alert drivers to the change.


Woman, dog rescued

Search and rescue volunteer Ryan McGinnis helps stranded April Sachanowski and her dog climb nearly 200 feet up an oceanside cliff Monday. A small army of about 10 people are pulling on the ropes from the top of the cliff.

A Brookings woman and her rottweiler who spent the night trapped by the high tide at the base of a seaside cliff were rescued Monday afternoon by a search and rescue worker who rappelled down to her.

April Sachanowski, 34, and her 100-plus-pound dog, Achilles, were exhausted but otherwise uninjured after the ordeal, which began when the pair took a walk late Sunday evening at Mill Beach.

According to her boyfriend, James, the couple and their dog were staying at nearby Blue Coast Inn when April decided to take a walk. The extremely low tide that afternoon allowed her access to a boulder-strewn area north of Mill Beach, below Collis Lane. As the tide came in, she scrambled to a ledge about 50 feet above the water, where she stayed overnight.


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