School officer

The Brookings City Council will discuss the idea of providing a school resource officer — possibly armed — to protect students on the three school grounds in town.

The discussion will take place 3:30 p.m. Monday, March 5, in a workshop at city hall.

The city used to provide such an officer in the mid-1990s as part of a joint partnership with the school district. Both entities split the cost, records show. It dissolved in 2005 when the school district could no longer pay its share, said Police Chief Chris Wallace.

Only one officer is needed, as the elementary, middle and high schools are all within short walking distance of one another.

And, Wallace noted, while the city is merely discussing the feasibility of the idea, the school district has not yet requested an officer be provided.

The issue is being revisited after another school shooting, this time in Florida on Feb. 14, that killed 19 people. The incident has reignited discussion about gun control, legislation, arming teachers and plans for mass school walkouts and protests at state capitols and in Washington, D.C.

When the program was active here, its goals were to provide a positive image of police officers for students, share information regarding law enforcement, health, safety, drugs and alcohol; create a safe atmosphere on campus and provide help when problems arose.

An officer providing those duties would earn, in 2018, about $90,000, of which $50,000 would be wages and the remainder for benefits.

Planning commission

The city of Brookings is seeking applicants to fill a volunteer position on the planning commission.

The Brookings Planning Commission meets at 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every other month at city hall. Applicants must be registered to vote and live within the city limits.

Positions are filled by a city council vote upon recommendation by the mayor.

Interested applicants may pick up an application at the city hall payment counter, 898 Elk Drive from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, or online at, under “Forms & Guidelines.”

For more information, call 541-469-1103. To learn more about this and other city volunteer opportunities, visit the Volunteer Opportunities page on the city’s website at


A supertanker firefighting jet will be available as needed for the next fire season, State Rep. David Brock Smith, R-Port Orford, noted in an update of legislative work in the short session this week.

The retrofitted 747, filled with firefighting slurry, was instrumental in keeping some major fires under control last fire season until the U.S. Forest Service grounded it in mid-July, noting the federal agency would only grant permission to aircraft that could carry between 3,000 and 5,000 gallons of retardant.

Smith has been working with Jim Wheeler, the president of Global Supertanker Services — the firm that owns the only such plane in the nation — to secure a contract so the behemoth airplane can help when needed.

Wheeler said the jet can drop a line of retardant 3 kilometers long and about a half-mile wide. It can hold 19,600 gallons of slurry or water.

He said he was frustrated when the forest service grounded the plane, particularly as the fire season was just reaching its peak. In Curry County, the Chetco Bar Fire burned more than 191,000 acres, resulting in numerous citizens blaming the forest service for letting it burn when it could have been extinguished when it was much smaller.

A ‘man for the job’

Curry County Commissioner Court Boice plans to get on next week’s agenda a request to admonish Commissioner Tom Huxley for comments he made in a meeting regarding the hiring of a code enforcement officer.

The job requires someone to follow up on citizen complaints regarding such things as abandoned buildings used as drug fronts, “nuisance” properties, building code violations and many other problems.

Huxley said in a meeting last month that he felt the board had to be careful in hiring someone to do potentially dangerous work, and that he thought a man would be a preferable candidate.

“I just see this as a very unique individual,” Huxley said in that meeting. “A very unique individual. Men or women apply, but I think we should be really concerned — I’d have a concern putting a woman — and this is no disrespect or anything, but I wouldn’t have my wife go out as a woman versus have me go out into some of these potential environments that you would have for certain code enforcement.”

This week, Boice tried to amend the agenda to discuss Huxley’s “conduct,” but Chair Sue Gold said she would prefer to discuss how county administrator interviews, scheduled for that morning, should be conducted.

“You and I need to discuss possible discipline, possible response to that,” Boice said. “We’ve offered Commissioner Huxley three weeks to clarify or even apologize. Those statements concern you and I, and our non-reaction could be interpreted as agreement. I want to get a great distance between us and that.”

Gold, who attended the February meeting via telephone, said she was not, at the time, offended by Huxley’s comments and would like to review them before any discussion.