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Storm Damage: Drury Parkway closed

High winds brought an old-growth redwood tree down onto Newton B. Drury Parkway, the main road through Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Although the tree has been cleared from the parkway, the road remains closed. Courtesy of Redwood National and State Parks
Fallen redwood damages road 

The main road through Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park was closed after an old-growth redwood toppled over during stormy conditions Wednesday night.

The 7 to 8-foot diameter tree fell about a quarter mile north of the Big Tree parking lot on the Newton B. Drury Parkway, said National Park Ranger Jeffrey Denny. Heavy equipment was used to clear the tree off the road, but the parkway itself sustained some damage.

Young handed one year jail and 3 years probation; appeal to come

Read more...Convicted last month on charges he continued an inappropriate relationship with one of his male students, former Del Norte High School cheerleading coach Joseph Young was sentenced this week to a year in county jail, three years probation, and lifetime registration as a sex offender.

Young, 41, was found guilty of felony and misdemeanor sex crime charges following a three-day jury trial in early February.

Those charges stem from his contacting a then-17-year-old student with intent to commit a sex act on two dates in April, 2015, as well as “annoying or molesting” the same student in text messages between Oct., 2014 and Sept., 2015.

County eyes HUD cash for homeless population

After some years of stagnancy in data collection and reporting, Del Norte County is once again on track to earn federal dollars for helping its local homeless population. 

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced $275 million in awards for local homeless programs through the state. No portion of that money came to Del Norte because it was not eligible, however, the county recently joined forces with Shasta County, which received more than $250,000. It puts Del Norte County in position to benefit by this time next year.

Almost two months ago, county service providers participated in HUD’s annual Point-in-Time (PIT) homeless population census. Records indicate this was the first time the county had collected figures since 2012. 

Lake Earl sealed off from ocean

Natural forces closed off Lakes Tolowa and Earl this week after a year and a half of being open to the ocean. Courtesy Craig Strong
Sand has sealed off Lake Tolowa from the ocean after a near year and a half of exposure to the tides.

“Just as a pastime I’ve been tracking the lake mouth, checking it two to four times a month,” said local biologist Craig Strong, who made the discovery this week. “It was all open and flowing easy like an estuary in February.”

Then on March 4, he noticed the sand berm that typically separates the lagoon from the Pacific Ocean had started to build back up. The mouth had shrunk in depth and surface area.

“It was Tuesday the 8th that I confirmed it was totally closed,” Strong wrote in an email.

County urges Hanna to resolve feud

Sutter Coast Hospital CEO MItch Hanna was asked to extend an olive branch to the often contentious Del Norte Healthcare District board during a special appearance Tuesday at the county Board of Supervisors session.

Hanna was urged by Supervisor David Finigan to reach out to the healthcare district board and meet with them regularly, noting a dialogue might end the war of words both sides have recently engaged in.

“I would encourage...Sutter Coast, to meet on a regular basis, much the way you had this dialogue with us,” Finigan told Hanna. “Do it with the Healthcare District and I think working together the community will benefit. So give it some thought. Without finding fault sometimes somebody has to make the first step.”

Officer gets 30 days for theft

Yates sentenced after being caught on video stealing cash from a suspect during a raid

A former Pelican Bay State Prison Correctional Officer was sentenced to 30 days in jail yesterday for stealing cash from a suspected drug dealer during the execution of a search warrant in March 2015.

Del Norte District Attorney Dale Trigg had Matthew Yates charged with misdemeanor petty theft  for stealing $100 from the wallet of James Banuelos during the March 5, 2015 raid, an act caught on home surveillance footage that prompted prompted an extensive FBI investigation of officer misconduct.

In February, Yates pleaded guilty to the charge. His job at the prison had already been terminated.

'Honk!' a musical menagerie

Becky Wood, as Ida, frantically searches for her son Ugly in LRT's production of "Honk!" The play is based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Ugly Duckling." Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Spring show an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's tale 'The Ugly Duckling'

Folks familiar with the Hans Christian Anderson tale “The Ugly Duckling” will already know Lighthouse Repertory Theatre’s spring musical “Honk!” But be prepared for a menagerie of characters.

“Honk!” features a cast of 30 ranging in age from 5 to senior citizens, said Director Dan McGlasson. There are frogs, fish, geese, quail, chickens and a very hungry cat. The main characters are the duck couple Ida and Drake and their seemingly homely duckling named Ugly.

“It’s a great little folktale and it tells a wonderful story about difference and acceptance,” McGlasson said. “That’s one of the wonderful things about theater; we get to tell those morality tales.”

Parks plan to move into Hiouchi visitor center next winter

Tourists will be sent to the visitor center in Hiouchi next winter, which could have a negative impact on Crescent City businesses, some officials fear. Del Norte Triplicate file photo.
 The doors at the Redwood National and State Parks downtown visitor center will close next winter as the parks look to usher tourists into the redwoods further north before they miss them entirely.

Saying “so long” during the off season to the 800 square foot information depot beneath the parks’ Crescent City offices will allow them to focus their attention on the larger,  more advantageously set center in Hiouchi, officials say. 

As it is, with visitor services headquartered downtown and limited signs on the highway, it’s easy for tourists to miss the north section of the park so they may keep rolling until they hit the redwoods in Humboldt County. 

Emergency dispatch call logs, March 4-7, 2016

Excerpts from the Del Norte County emergency dispatch call logs, March 4-7:

Friday, March 4

At 4:32 p.m., report of two people walking on the jetty.

At 5:34 p.m., caller near Elk Valley Road and State Street says a friend of his was attacked by two people and all of his camping gear stolen.

At 6:07 p.m., report of a brush fire near Ocean View Drive and Indian Road.

Council votes 5-0 to raise sewer rate

Even though several well-formulated public arguments against a sewer rate change were put before Crescent City Council, the vote Monday was a resounding unanimous decision to adopt.

Councilors voted 5-0 to make the new consumption-based sewer rate plan reality for residential customers. The new rate takes effect in 30 days.

Mayor Ron Gastineau said in defense of the vote, “If we don’t spend the money now, then it will cost us more in the future. If we don't continue to maintain our infrastructure we are not going to see any growth, because no one wants to move to a place with a lousy infrastructure. We are trying to do the right thing for our city, and for the environment that is mandated by the state.”

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