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Weather stymies construction of new Gold Beach hospital

Steady rain and high winds have put construction of the new hospital in Gold Beach “weeks and weeks” behind schedule, it was announced at a special meeting of the Curry Health District (CHD) Tuesday night.

So far, Erdman Healthcare Real Estate Solutions, the design-build firm contracted to handle construction, has only been able to pour two of the four concrete floors, said Curry Health Network CEO Ginny Razo.

“We’re supposed to do one tomorrow (this past Wednesday) another this weekend, but the weather …” she said. “Some equipment is showing up now, and they didn’t get notified to slow it down. The building should be skinned in by now. I anticipate Erdman will rapidly work to get this on track. The most important thing is to get that building skinned so we can get the important work done indoors.”

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Financial officer disputes report of fiscal crisis

Ken Landau, who recently resigned as Chief Financial Officer for Curry Health Network (CHN), has quite a different take on the hospital district’s dire financial straits.

He and CEO Ginny Razo amicably agreed to part ways in November after she learned there was a “significant shortfall” in the budget she was led to believe could leave to the district’s insolvency by the end of the year.

Not so fast, Landau said.

“I have never stated that Curry Health Network would be insolvent by the end of the year,” he wrote in an email to the Pilot. “In the October financials, I showed we would be out of cash by June 2016 without recommended adjustments.”

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Christmas Light Parade cancelled

Weather has cancelled the Christmas Light Parade and Santa visits planned for Saturday, Dec. 12, according to a post on the Facebook page of A Coastal Christmas in Brookings.

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Wild weather pummels Curry County, more rain expected

Other than minor flooding, slides and trees down, Curry County weathered an overnight storm that dropped up to an inch of rain in some areas and created wind gusts of up to 60 mph.

 

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Man's body found at Brookings' Mill Beach

Oregon State Police (OSP) and the Brookings Police Department are trying to identify the name and cause of death of a man they believe washed ashore at Brookings’ Mill Beach on Tuesday.

As of noon today (Dec. 9), authorities have not identified the body and are asking anybody with information to contact the OSP’s Gold Beach Office at (541) 247-6641.

Authorities received a call of a body that had washed ashore at Mill Beach at 11:04 a.m. Tuesday, according to OSP Sgt. Dave Aydelotte. Brookings and OSP officers responded to the scene, as did members of the Curry County Major Crime Team. The Curry County Sheriff Department sent a detective to assist as well.

 

No further information is available at this time.


Wild weather continues

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The quickly rising Chetco River knocked over an abandoned travel trailer at Nook Bar sometime Monday night or Tuesday morning. The Curry County Sheriff’s Department responded Tuesday morning and a tow truck was called to pull the trailer from the water. Photo by Andy Martin.

A series of storms promising high surf and five to seven inches of rain today through Thursday night prompted agencies to issue flood alerts and high surf warnings in Curry County.

The National Weather Service issued a high wind warning Tuesday afternoon calling for gusts of up to 50 mph through 7 a.m. today. The NWS forecast also forecast one to 2 inches of rain overnight into today.

The winds were expected to decrease on Wednesday, but more rain was expected, with up to three inches of rain forecast by Wednesday evening and another three inches on Thursday. 

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Public invited to Williams’ memorial

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Elmo Williams poses during a Brookings screening of the Academy Award-winning movie “High Noon” in 2011. Pilot file photo.

In true Hollywood style, Saturday’s public memorial service for Brookings resident and Hollywood legend Elmo Williams will be more like a tribute, featuring live music, video, costumes and a cast of family and friends sharing memories of the man and lauding his community endeavors.

The event, at the Brookings Elks Lodge, is scheduled, appropriately, for noon— a nod to the classic western movie “High Noon,” for which Elmo received an Academy Award as film editor.

People attending the event are asked to be seated by 11:50 a.m. A bell will be rung just before noon to prepare the audience.

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A health network in trouble

Facing a major financial meltdown, Curry Health Network CEO Ginny Razo said Monday the warning signs were there, and she should have seen them from the beginning.

Razo was hired by CHN in May, succeeding interim CEO Wayne Hellerstedt.

The hospital is in financial dire straits, with less than two weeks cash-on-hand for operations, and has implemented a “reduction of force” plan — essentially layoffs with promises that employees will get their jobs back if the financial situation improves. Other cuts to keep the district solvent are expected.

“I’m not going to say I wasn’t culpable,” Razo said. “I had feelings when I interviewed, and in the first six months, but I didn’t have the information to declare an emergency and stop the wagons. I had been seeing flashing red lights for awhile and didn’t have the courage to confront it.”

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Hospital closes ‘hold room’ to cut costs

Curry Health Network’s recently announced cost-reduction strategy is already affecting other agencies, particularly concerning the closure of the “hold room” at Curry General Hospital.

Mentally unstable patients — those with Alzheimer’s, dementia, who are on drugs or have mental illnesses — are stabilized and evaluated in the hold room to determine the best care for their situation. Sometimes they are held for a few hours — perhaps in the case of a lost dementia patient — and can be held for days in more severe cases.

Ken Dukek, CEO of the nonprofit Curry Community Health, said he wasn’t notified until last Friday that the room will be closed.

“There was no discussion; it was just a decision the hospital made,” he said. “We were not prepared for it — we had to get in touch with law enforcement and come up with a temporary protocol. We’re in shock. We were not very well prepared to deal with it.”

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Officials scratching heads over loose dogs

Curry County Sheriff John Ward and Pennies for Pooches Director Mark Curran are struggling to solve a reoccurring problem of loose dogs in the community

The challenge arises about every two years, and is frustrating of late again, they agree.

Dog-catching typically falls under the auspices of a county animal shelter, which is often under the direction of the Sheriff’s Office. But Curry County spun the shelter off to the non-profit Pennies for Pooches as a cost-saving measure about three years ago.

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