Student struck

A Kalmiopsis Elementary School boy has some bruised toes — but no further injuries — after he ran into traffic and into a car Tuesday morning.

According to Brookings Police Sgt. Tyler McCourt, the boy didn’t check for traffic before he darted across Easy Street in the crosswalk at the same time a woman was pulling away from the curb after dropping off her child across the street.

The driver was distracted by a crying child in her vehicle and didn’t see the boy, who ran into her front fender. She reacted so quickly, McCourt said, her rear wheels stopped in the crosswalk. The entire incident took place in a space of 5 or 6 feet.

Neither the driver nor the boy were cited in the incident, but she was described as “pretty upset about it,” McCourt said.

“It appears that what we heard from witnesses that he didn’t stop for traffic,” McCourt said. “You still have to stop and look; you can’t just run across the crosswalk. Vehicles aren’t required to stop until you actually enter the crosswalk.”

He said the moral to this story is to always look both ways before crossing — even in a crosswalk — and remember that vehicles aren’t required to stop until you set foot in the crosswalk.

“Even then,” McCourt said, “you want to make sure they have enough time to stop.”

Chief best in state

Harbor Fire Chief John Brazil was awarded the Meritorious Award of Excellence for his outstanding guidance and leadership during the Chetco Bar Fire last summer.

He was selected from about 400 fire chiefs in the state, many of whom were also protecting their communities from large wildfires.

He was named during the annual Oregon Fire Chiefs Association conference in Redmond last week.

Free lunch for kids

Free summer lunches will be available to children ages 1 to 18 in Gold Beach as part of the Summer Food service program.

Meals will be available at Riley Creek School on Sixth Street from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. mondays through Thursdays starting June 11 to Aug. 9.

Lunch will not be served on July 4.

For more information, call 541-247-6647, ext 235.

Sheriff gets deputies

The county budget committee granted Curry County Sheriff John Ward the four new deputy positions he’d hoped for in the 2018-19 budget.

The committee, which is comprised of three citizens and the Curry County Board of Commissioners voted 4-2 to approve the almost half-million-dollar expenditure for the understaffed department. Voting against it was Commissioner Tom Huxley and budget member Carl King.

“I thought it’d be an uphill battle, so I was surprised when they did,” Ward said Thursday. “It was nice.”

Ward fights every year to get road deputy positions budgeted — and it’s equally as hard to fill them. Without them, the sheriff’s office can only provide 10 hours of service in a 24-hour period, according to Ward.

Taxpayers have repeatedly rejected ballot measures asking for property tax increases to fund county operations.

Gov. Kate Brown wrote a letter last month prodding the commissioners to use road capital reserve funds to staff the department.

Even if the four positions remain in the budget — the budget will be before the commissioners by the end of the month — the public won’t see more deputies on the road for at least another eight months.

“When you hire deputies it takes eight months to a year — there’s academy, training and to the point they can handle calls on their own,” Ward said. “Unless we get lucky and find someone certified…”

He just lost Dep. Ray Warren, however, to the Gold Beach Police Department — another challenge he faces is keeping deputies. The county is in financial dire straits, with expenses always on the rise and no new stable income sources in sight. The county has the lowest property tax in the state, at $0.599 per every $1,000 of property valuation.

Currently, Ward has eight road deputy positions; one is vacant, another will be filled by an officer in the academy and six are on the road, Ward said.

“It’s going to be real tough to fill positions,” he said. “Next year, we’re in the position of how do we keep them? People are not likely to move here knowing we only have less than a year (before the next budget) and they could be losing their job.”

Fix-it program for 101

Brookings will ask the state to fund replacement of several storm drain culverts along Chetco Avenue as part of Oregon’s “Fix-it” program under the transportation improvement program.

City Manager Gary Milliman said the undersized and deteriorating culverts are impairing city plans to improve storm drains on both sides of the highway. Heavy rain often causes them to clog and result in the city calling out its public works crew to fix the situation.

The culverts are the responsibility of the state, but the city deals with immediate problems to keep the roads open because state crews are hours away.

The Fix-It project list for 2021-24 is being crafted and will be reviewed in July at meeting of the South West Area Commission on Transportation (SWACT). Milliman is chair of that board.

The state Department of Transportation is also evaluating sidewalks along Chetco Avenue and plans to bring them up to current Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

Cards for the deaf

The Oregon Association of the Deaf has provided the Brookings Police Department with wallet-sized and car-visor signs for those with hearing impairments to hand to police during any encounter to explain their disability.

“It’s a different way to communicate,” said Sgt. Tyler McCourt, adding that in the past, officers have had to text or write to communicate with those who cannot hear.

The Oregon Dept of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) is providing them after reports where an officer responding to a call is unable to get someone to abide by their requests. Some of those encounters have resulted in officers using force to get a person to comply.

The free cards are available at the police department.

“Sadly, we know there have been some tragic interactions around the nation involving law enforcement officers and individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing,” said DPSST’s Director Eriks Gabliks. “The cards were designed to serve as a tool to assist with communications between individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and city, county, state, tribal and university law enforcement officers around Oregon.”

The cards are designed to help people build rapport and communicate, and are not intended to replace qualified sign-language interpreters in the legal system.

New board member

Linda Maxon has joined the board of the Curry Homeless Coalition and will serve as its treasurer.

Maxon serves as the CEO and executive director of Coast Community Health Center in Bandon. She supervises the health center leadership team.