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Interim director starts at college

College of the Redwoods Trustees last week appointed an interim director to oversee the Del Norte campus while officials work to hire a permanent director by November or December.

Rory Johnson, an academic advisor at the Del Norte Education Center, will oversee the satellite campus until the position is permanently filled. CR Trustees appointed Johnson as interim director at their Aug. 12 meeting, according to spokesman Paul DeMark. CR’s fall semester starts Monday.

Two felons drinking in parking lot were wanted on warrants

Del Norte Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a seemingly routine report Tuesday of two subjects drinking in the Elk Valley Casino parking lot that ended with the arrest of two wanted men.

Deputies arrested William Thomas Lamebear, 33, and David Billy, 40, in the casino parking lot. Lamebear was wanted for a parole violation in Sacramento with an armed and dangerous warning, while Billy is a felon with an outstanding warrant in Humboldt County.

Small house fire Monday night was started by lighter

A house fire broke out at 1130 8th St. on Monday around 9 p.m., but firefighters were on scene quickly and able to put out the fire without much damage to the exterior of the house.

The house was unoccupied at the time of the fire and is undergoing remodeling, so no possessions were lost in the blaze, according to Crescent Fire Protection Department Chief Steve Wakefield.

Rescue-ready Upgrades

Del Norte County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue president John Williams watches as volunteer Matt Parrott drills holes into the jetty to anchor a safety cable that search and rescue members will tether themselves to when performing rescues on the jetty. Del Norte Triplicate / Melea Burke
Search and rescue volunteers install much-needed safety features at downtown jetty  

The Crescent City Jetty is finally undergoing a long-planned upgrade that aims to make search and rescue operations safer and more efficient.

Fourteen volunteer search and rescue members were out on the jetty on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. drilling concrete and repainting markers — the first step in an upgrade that’s been in the making for more than a year.

“It went very smoothly,” search and rescue coordinator Terry McNamara said. “No hangups at all, just a longer day than I thought it would be.”

Solid Waste Board to look at staff cuts

Thursday workshop to address possible Solid Waste changes 

The seemingly ever-embattled Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority will hold a “strategic planning” workshop on Thursday, which is expected to focus on possibly making permanent staff cuts and privatizing some positions — including employees covered by union contracts.

The workshop will be facilitated by independent consultant Terry Supahan in an informal setting to encourage discussion at 2 p.m. Thursday in the Crescent Fire Protection District building, 255 W. Washington Blvd.

Delays likely during prelude to bridge work

A photo simulation shows the proposed new Dr. Fine Bridge over the Smith River. Courtesy of Caltrans
Motorists should anticipate five-minute delays at the Highway 101 Dr. Fine Bridge  over the Smith River for the next two to three weeks as crews conduct geotechnical drilling on the river’s bedrock for a future $50 million bridge replacement expected to break ground as early as this winter.

Drilling of 4.5-inch-diameter holes is taking place at nine locations of future bridge abutments at depths up to 150 feet.

Obstruction Zone

Replacement of an 89-year-old bridge over the Middle Fork Smith River is one part of the embattled project. Opponents say a massive slope-cut proposed at the bridge site will result in salmon-harming sediment in the river. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Support for extensive highway project puts county board under fire 

Passions flared during the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors meeting this week among both supporters and critics of a $38 million construction project on Highways 199 and 197 that is not underway this summer as scheduled due to an injunction granted in federal court in May at the request of local environmental groups.

The issue was at play due to a resolution the board unanimously passed endorsing the project, which would straighten and widen seven tight spots on highways 199 and 197, including replacing an 89-year-old, narrow bridge with an awkward approach over the Middle Fork Smith. 

Panther Flat runs out of water

Panther Flat Campground, 3 miles east of Gasquet, shut down water systems Thursday due to “extraordinarily low” water levels in the well that supplies the facility, a U.S. Forest Service press release said. 

While one faucet has remained on temporarily in the hope of being able to provide some access to drinking water, monitoring has revealed that water flows continue to decrease, according to the release. 

Agency rethinking water for salmon

A federal agency said Friday it is taking another look at releasing water in the Klamath Basin to prevent the spread of disease among salmon returning to spawn in drought conditions. 

A decision is likely next week following discussions with fisheries biologists and others, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation spokeswoman Janet Sierztutowski said from Sacramento. The bureau previously denied a request from the Hoopa Valley Tribe to release water from Lewiston Dam on the Trinity River, which flows in the Klamath River, to prevent the spread of a parasite that attacks salmon in stagnant water, though the bureau said it would release some water if significant numbers of fish started dying.

Last flight to Sacramento will be Dec. 2

SkyWest flights from Crescent City to Sacramento won’t be an option after Dec. 2. 

But even though this may be an inconvenience for some, local airport officials say most folks flying out of Crescent City are headed to other connecting flights in San Francisco.

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