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Court ruling may affect cities’ public immunity

The city of Brookings’ insurance carrier is asking its policy holders not to build new skateboard parks — and even to consider limiting or discontinuing the use of existing facilities.

The advice came in light of a state Supreme Court ruling early this month regarding a municipality’s immunity in the recreation arena, said City Manager Gary Milliman.

The case involved a blind jogger who stepped in a hole while running through a Portland park. Rather than suing the city directly, she sued the city’s maintenance employee, who had dug the hole to repair a sprinkler.

The court ruled in her favor.

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State senate candidate: Jeff Kruse

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Jeff Kruse

Jeff Kruse has been a public servant for 40 years, and he’s not ready to quit any time soon. The Republican incumbent for State Senate, District 1, is now a familiar name to Curry County residents, and he is running again, for his fourth term as a senator.

Prior to his service in the senate, Kruse, 64, served for eight years in the Oregon House of Representatives. He also has been involved with the Boys and Girls Club, city and land use planning, and issues related to healthcare and education — issues he says are close to his heart.

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State senate candidate: Jessica Kensinger

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Jessica Kensinger

Jessica Kensinger, of Brookings, has had a lot of experience in the public eye, and she hopes to put that experience to use as a Republican candidate for State Senate, District 1.

Kensinger, 34, has been trying to get involved with local government for a few years. She said her status as a relative newcomer to public service has made it difficult to get involved, and she’s been inspired to make local involvement easier for others.

“The people at the bottom are not really welcome,” she said. “You can work your way up, but then you become a part of the problem.” 

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State senate candidate: Timm Rolek

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Timm Rolek

Brookings resident Timm Rolek has never sought public office, but he’s used to working as a leader in his professional career. Rolek, who is running for State Senate as a Democrat, identifies his one major vision as an elected official: strengthening cooperation between the state and local level.

“I’ve always been a big-picture guy,” said Rolek, 57. “But if I had to boil [my priorities] down, I’d say education is the biggest. Education is an incubator for the economy, environmental, everything. You can’t talk about business, economic development without prefacing the conversation with what we are doing with education.” 

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Future marijuana stores in Gold Beach must apply for license

Members of the Gold Beach City Council agreed Monday to change their policy regarding marijuana facilities within the city. All marijuana dispensaries — both medical and recreational — now will be required to apply for a business license. 

The change follows another major decision for the city regarding marijuana: in February, the council voted 4-1 (with Councilor Becky Campbell dissenting) to ask voters to approve a 3 percent tax on recreational marijuana on the November ballot. The tax would not be applied to medical marijuana sales.

Both decisions venture into new territory for the city of Gold Beach. In the past, councilors chose not to regulate marijuana businesses because they did not want to be out of compliance with federal marijuana laws. The city also had a moratorium on medical marijuana which expired in April 2015. 

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Brookings man loses envelope with cash

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Long-time resident Patrick Hoch hopes the person who may have found his money will return it. Photo by Jayati Ramakrishnan/Curry Coastal Pilot.

Patrick Hoch was a bit flustered when he left his home to meet a man to buy a newer, upgraded wheelchair in Brookings.

He had chrome cleaning supplies on his mind.

He had the money for the purchase of the new chair — money he’d saved for about four years — in an old, tattered envelope.

And after he purchased the new wheelchair, he went into Bi-Mart and pulled his wallet out to check to see if he was the Lucky Tuesday winner.

He wasn’t, but the envelope was still there — he’s sure of it.

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Building a new general

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So far, 3,272 cubic yards of concrete and 756 tons of structural steel have been used to build the facility.
 

Nearly a year after the ground-breaking ceremony, construction of the new hospital in Gold Beach is on time and on budget, according to Curry Health Network officials.

Funded in part by a $10 million bond approved by voters in the Curry Health District in November 2013, and a $20.9 million federal loan, the $32 million, 62,000-square-foot facility is slated to complete by the end of the year. It will replace the existing Curry General Hospital, nicknamed “The General,” that was built more than 60 years ago.

Despite a wintery mix of rain and high force winds for six to eight weeks that temporarily slowed construction, Curry Health Network’s Facility Operating Officer David Sanford has hopes that by the new year the hospital will, indeed, be open to care for the community.

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County board candidates face off

Citizens got their first glimpse into the goals of seven of the eight candidates running for two Curry County commissioner seats at a Brookings-Harbor TEA Party forum Saturday at the Best Western Beachfront Inn in Harbor.

The candidates for each seat — Eric Hanson was absent — were asked the same questions before the audience was permitted to pose additional ones.

They were asked if they had read the county’s charter and understood the roles and responsibilities of a commissioner, what opportunities they would use to reduce expenses at the county, how citizens would benefit under their leadership, and what their top priority is regarding the county.

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Trash Dogs struggle with abandoned vehicles

The Trash Dogs are more than ready to traipse into Curry County’s forests and collect illegally dumped trash — but the uptick in abandoned vehicles has made the job overwhelming, said volunteer leader Ed Gross.

“Most of these vehicles appeared to be lived in for a short while, and then repeatedly moved to out-of-the-way locations where they are ultimately abandoned,” he said. “Others are just pulled out and dropped off along a convenient public roadside. Compounding the blight are the loads of trash stuffed in the abandoned RVs and camp trailers.”

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Pilot explores allegations against candidates

As the day nears for ballots to hit the mail, the rumors are hitting the fan.

As a general rule, the Curry Coastal Pilot tries to stay out of the fray, but when rumors are spreading throughout the community — especially with today’s social media — it is necessary to check into serious allegations and report findings.

Through searches of news articles and Oregon-based court documents and crime databases, we found nothing more serious about the eight county commissioner candidates than minor vehicular violations, most involving parking or speeding.

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