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Tough times for GB chamber

Lack of money and the recent layoff off its executive director are the latest challenges facing the struggling Gold Beach Chamber of Commerce, which also saw four of its board members leave in the last month.

“It has been pretty much a steady exodus over the last month,” said Jodi Fritts, Gold Beach city administrator and chamber advisory member.

The chamber, according to its website, serves 200 members along the Central Curry coast

Fritts sighed as she discussed that trouble-plagued chamber, one of the city’s long-standing business promotion groups.

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Curry County Trash Dogs revisit popular dumpsites

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Volunteers with the Trash Dogs on Saturday collect garbage dumped on the embankment along South Bank Chetco River Road

Curry County’s Trash Dogs spent their Valentine’s Day knee deep in trash in the woods — and they wouldn’t have had it any other way.

The group has been hauling dumped garbage — from regular household garbage to appliances — from U.S. Forest Service lands for almost a decade; Saturday’s venture was the 141st foray into the forest.

A dozen volunteers revisited popular dumpsites they hadn’t visited in about a year, starting up the South Bank Chetco River Road, said leader Ed Gross. 

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Sheriff’s law levy before the board

Curry County commissioners today (Feb. 18) will consider whether to present Sheriff John Ward’s proposed law enforcement levy to voters on the May 19 ballot.

The commissioners have spent hours in various meetings this month poring over the sheriff’s proposal. If they approved it during their regular meeting today, it then goes to the County Clerk and then the state for final approval.

Ward is asking voters to approve a property tax increase of $1.34 per $1,000 assessed valuation for those living in Curry County’s three cities, and $2.52 per $1,000 for those in unincorporated areas.

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Brookings competes for disaster prep federal funds

The city of Brookings has entered a competition in hopes of winning federal funds to complete tsunami repair work at the Port of Brookings Harbor and retrofit the bridge over the Chetco River to better handle earthquakes.

It’s part of the National Disaster Resilience Competition offered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The competition provides funds for eligible communities and counties that experienced federally-declared disasters from 2011 to 2013, with the goal of recovery and resiliency for the future.

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Chamber eyes visitor center

Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce President Arlis Steele is negotiating with Travel Oregon to assume management of the Crissey Field Visitor Center on a more permanent basis since the state agency announced it would close the facilities in the winter.

The center is owned by the state, managed by the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation, which in turn leases space to Travel Oregon.

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Commissioners scrutinize sheriff’s levy

Curry County commissioners on Wednesday picked their way through every question and concern regarding the sheriff’s proposed tax levy to fund law enforcement, ensuring it was perfect before they decide if they will send it on to the state for final approval.

Commissioners will vote whether to put the proposed levy on the May 19 ballot during their regular meeting on Feb. 18

During Wednesday’s workshop, Commissioner Susan Brown said she was leaning toward supporting putting it on the ballot because it is a citizen-driven request. Commissioner David Brock Smith said he was ready to vote in its favor. But by the end of the workshop, Commissioner Tom Huxley was not completely sold on it, saying he needed a day to sleep on some of the changes the board proposed.

“This is citizen-driven; it’s the boards’ job to move it forward and put it on the ballot for the citizens,” Brown said.

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DeFazio, TV chef champion GMO bill

Federal elected officials, including Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), joined American celebrity TV chef Tom Colicchio to introduce legislation Thursday that would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to clearly label genetically-engineered food.

The legislation, called the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, would help consumers make informed choices about what they eat and resolve concerns about the emerging patchwork of state labeling standards. 

Three states — Connecticut, Maine and Vermont — have mandatory labeling laws, and in the past two years, more than 60 bills and ballot initiatives were introduced throughout the United States.

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Local Radio Shack not on closure list

After recently declaring bankruptcy, many branches of the national electronics retail chain Radio Shack will be closing their doors, or will be bought out by other companies. However, the Brookings branch of the store will remain in business.

“There are 4,400 stores owned by Radio Shack that are affected,” said owner Al Rosichelli. “The independent franchises like me are not affected.”

Nevertheless, he said that there could be some changes in the store, located at the corner of Chetco Avenue and Mill Beach Road

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County lodging tax on hold

Curry County commissioners agreed Wednesday to research more information about transient lodging taxes, discuss their findings at a later workshop and postpone any idea of trying to get a question on the May 19 ballot.

Commissioner Susan Brown has been trying since she was sworn onto the board in 2014 to examine implementing a transient lodging tax (TLT) on hotels, inns and other places to help offset some of the $3.5 million shortfall the county faces since timber subsidies ended last year.

The state charges a 1 percent lodging tax, and with numbers from 2013, and using a hypothetical 6 percent tax, Brown determined the county could gross $613,000. By state law, 70 percent of that goes to tourism efforts, 25 percent goes to the county’s general fund and the remaining 5 percent reimburses lodge owners for collecting the tax.

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Oregon Governor Kitzhaber resigns

 

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Gov. John Kitzhaber

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber today announced his resignation, effective next Wednesday, Feb. 18, amid a growing ethics scandal involving his fiancee, a green-energy consultant suspected of using their relationship to land contracts for her business.

“I am announcing today that I will resign as Governor of the State of Oregon,” he wrote in a statement released today.

The Pilot will report more details as they come in. Meanwhile, here is a copy of Kitzhaber’s resignation letter:

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