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No support for mayorís proposed sales tax

Brookings Mayor Ron Hedenskog’s hope to get a sales tax proposal on a ballot next year died Monday night when he realized he had no support for it from the city council.

Hedenskog wanted the council to direct city staff to figure out what a viable tax rate might be to pay for projects — both needed and optional — throughout town. Some of his ideas included helping build an aquatic and community center, creating more park amenities, providing funds to get Curry Health Network’s emergency room open in town and improvements and repairs to the wastewater treatment plant.

“If you put anything about any funding of the ER to voters in this city — that’s an instant balk,” said Councilor Bill Hamilton. “That will provide enough lead right there to sink your balloon.”

Hamilton said the overwhelming rejection of a recent ballot question asking voters to join to health district — currently, it only extends as far south as Pistol River — would be enough to sink a proposed sales tax vote.

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Dolphin rescue: Stranded, but not alone

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A group of people Wednesday struggle to move a stranded dolphin closer to the ocean after it beached itself near the mouth of the Winchuck River south of Brookings. Photo by Sarah Fu.

Mike Gaynes couldn’t help but notice the cluster of people on Sandpiper Beach near the Winchuck River trying to rescue a common dolphin that had beached itself on the sand Wednesday.

“There were a couple dozen people, including many small children, trying to push the dolphin back in,” he said. “They did it twice, and both times it immediately beached itself again.”

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Kaufman enters race for Oregon house seat

Gold Beach City Councilor Tamie Kaufman announced Wednesday that she intends to run as a write-in candidate for State Representative for House District 1.

That puts her in competition with two others who have filed and will appear on the May 17 primary ballot: County Commissioner David Brock Smith and Nesika Beach resident Terry Brayer.

Current Rep. Wayne Krieger filed to run for the position late last year, but at the last minute, withdrew his name from the race March 8.

Kaufman said she’s been preparing for the seat for the past two years. When she spoke with Krieger in early 2015, she was told there were about six Republicans interested in the position; she told him she wouldn’t run against him until he retired from the position.

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Repairs to collapsed culvert continue

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Excavation continues from the middle of Highway 101 into the landscaped area at the South Coast Center to install a new culvert nearly 40 feet underground. Photo submitted by ODOT.

Deep breaths, people.

It’s probably going to be another month before work is complete on the culvert repair on Highway 101 in Harbor and drivers can smoothly travel through the area.

Until then, drivers will have to continue using the detour over the gravelled Shopping Center Avenue between Zimmerman and Hoffeldt lanes.

New sidewalks, curbs and driveways won’t be done until mid-summer.

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Authorities seek ID of body found on beach

Law enforcement is seeking information in hopes of identifying a man whose body washed up on the beach in the Port Orford area Wednesday afternoon.

According to Curry County’s Sheriff’s reports, officials received a call from a resident who reported that he’d found the remains of a body while walking along the beach between Rocky Point and Humbug Mountain, south of Port Orford.

The man’s body was found in a pile of driftwood along the shoreline. It appeared it had been there for “quite some time,” and could only be identified as a male, reported Sheriff John Ward.

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Oregonís road fund fix includes higher fees

The Governor’s Transportation Vision Panel announced its short-, mid- and long-term funding ideas for backlogged highway maintenance throughout the state — some of which could affect Curry County through car registration fee increases to pay-per-mile driving charges.

“It’s a good exercise to take a look at all of the options to address the funding shortfall,” said Brookings City Manager Gary Milliman of discussion at the Southwest Area Transportation Committee meeting last week. “There are thousands of culverts like the one in Harbor waiting to happen. Thousands of bridges don’t meet seismic standards. Highway maintenance exceeds revenue. We need to look at a whole range of how we prioritize projects and make the best use of funds.”

Among the concepts crafted by the panel are an increase in gas taxes and vehicle registration fees to address the “immediate funding crisis” of roads; indexing inflation rates to existing taxes and user fees; creating a bicycle excise tax or implementing a per-mile road use charge on vehicles.

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Derelict vessel makes landfall

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Oregon Parks and Recreation employees investigate a boat that came ashore Monday near Coos Bay. Submitted photo.

Whales weren’t the only things bobbing on the ocean waves off the coast of Oregon this past week.

A “derelict vessel” believed to have floated 8,000 miles after the tsunami in Fukushima five years ago caught a current Monday night that veered it north to Horsfall Beach, south of Coos Bay, dampening local excitement that it might land near Gold Beach.

The boat was spotted last Thursday, at which point the U.S. Coast Guard was able to secure a tracking beacon to the 20-foot vessel floating in the ocean about 12 nautical miles off Gold Beach Thursday. 

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Oregon GOPs could hold sway in primary

If the presidential primary race remains close through March and April, Oregon Democrats and Republicans could attract the attention of the presidential candidates.

That last happened in 2008, when Oregon issues took front and center for the close race between then-Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as Clinton worked to stop Obama’s momentum late in the race for the Democratic nomination.

Clinton this year leads over her Democratic rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. But with the Republican Party fractured between front-runner Donald Trump and his two remaining challengers, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Oregon Republican voters could hold an unusual amount of clout over who becomes the eventual nominee.

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Subway robbery suspect arrested

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Alexander White
 

Gold Beach police and Curry County Sheriff’s deputies apprehended a man late Monday night after he allegedly robbed the Subway restaurant in Brookings at gunpoint and fled north to Gold Beach.

Alexander M. White, 23, of Grants Pass, was arrested without incident.

And Subway employee Jordan Grenert is feeling like the luckiest person on Earth.

The 16-year-old was cleaning up with a coworker at about 8 p.m. Monday when the motion detector indicated someone had entered the restaurant. The lobby area is open until 9 p.m., and the drive-through until 10.

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Oregon's marijuana tax revenue higher than expected

Oregon collected $3.48 million in the first month of taxing recreational marijuana, outpacing early estimates made when advocates proposed legalizing the plant for adults over age 21 in 2014.

If what’s happened in Washington and Colorado happens in Oregon, the Beaver State has more green days ahead.

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