Body found on beach

The body of a man believed to be of Native American descent was found Dec. 28 on the beach near the mouth of the Smith River, according to representatives from the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation.

Cmdr. Bill Steven of the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office said the investigation is ongoing.

“We haven’t determined natural death versus foul play at this time,” Steven said. “We’ve got a criminal investigation going with all that entails until we learn more.”

No raises here

Oregon will not be among the dozens of states whose minimum wages will increase in 2019.

The federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour has remained the same since 2009, but in the interim, 29 states and the District of Columbia have set minimum wages above that. And 20 states have minimum wage increases taking effect around the start of the new year.

In Oregon, the current minimum wage is $10.75. In Washington the current minimum wage of $11.50 will rise to $12.

Also, a new law in Oregon, in effect Jan. 1, extends an existing prohibition on sex-based pay discrimination to include race, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, veteran status, disability and age.

Pay differences must be based on seniority, merit, experience and other factors. Employees who prevail in complaints with the state Bureau of Labor and Industries can recover back pay for up to two years.

Controlled burn

A controlled burn will begin today (Jan. 2) at the Alderwood Subdivision project at Fourth Street, between Easy Street and Ransom Avenue.

John Rapraeger Construction will be burning debris for two days. The burn will be in a pit, and fans will be used to keep the heat intense and help minimize the production of smoke. The company will also use equipment to feed the piles into the burn pit.

Rapraeger has secured a burn permit from the Brookings fire chief and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

Season opener

Crabbers began setting their pots Wednesday and can start hauling them in at the beginning of the season Jan. 4 — except for fishermen hoping to fish offshore from the Oregon border to Cape Arago near Coos Bay.

Domoic acid levels remain too high to open the zone from Gold Beach to the California border, and the zone above it, from Gold Beach to Cape Blanco is being kept shut as a buffer. Lower meat weights have closed the area from Cape Blanco to Cape Arago.

Crab meat tests showed they were at a 27.9 percent recovery rate, well above the industry’s minimum of 23 percent needed to open the season.

Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission’s Executive Director Hugh Link said the meat recovery rate measures how much meat is inside the crab to ensure the highest quality of product and amount is available.

Tests were conducted last week and if domoic acid levels subside, the Oregon Department of Agriculture could decide to open other areas.

Seeks reimbursement

Curry County Commissioner Court Boice has submitted invoices to the county’s budget committee asking it to consider reimbursing him for travel related expenses for 2017 and 2018 and court costs related to that travel. A third is a request for lost pay he’s incurred for six months ending Dec. 31 after he agreed to take a cut in salary.

The latter is a request for $9,930.

One invoice is for travel he paid out of his own pocket for $4,702, after county reimbursements of $785 and $76.

The other is a list of costs he incurred when Curry County took him to court to recoup the money he’d spent from the commissioner’s travel budget. He won the case, but says his costs totaled $3,228.

They included $1,377 to the Morley law firm for preparations for his small-claims suit and $1,800 from Steve Beyerlin for internet services related to the case. He noted — but is not requesting compensation — that he missed 78 hours of work; at $20 an hour, it totaled $1,560.

“We’ll look at it with an open mind,” said Budget Committee Chair Carl King. “We understand what he’s asking.”

King said the committee is awaiting a report from County Administrator Clark Schroeder and Accountant Louise Kallstrom as to how next year’s budget could be affected by those requests and others.