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Reporter's Notebook: Yurok language class popularity prompts district to expand program

Not a scam: Reporter Aaron West took this screenshot when his request to join a local Facebook group was met with suspicion.
According to a discussion at the Del Norte County Unified School District meeting on Thursday, the Yurok language class that’s currently offered at Del Norte High School has been catching on recently. 

The class, which for lack of another teacher combines first and third-level students, is reportedly so popular that instructor Barbara McQuillen has found herself teaching Yurok to 40 high school students at the same time, which is 30 more people than the reported total number of fluent Yurok speakers and about 10 more than the average class size in California, according to the California School Boards Association. 


Leadership course starts Tuesday at CR

College of the Redwoods is offering a leadership development course at its Del Norte campus starting Tuesday.

This hands-on class is open to the community and will be taught by Associate Professor Eli Naffah, according to a CR press release. The class focuses on developing leadership skills through various applications and exercises geared to enhance individual strengths.

"SR6" music video by Smith River School

Alien Invaders

Purple varnish clams are an invasive species from Asia found last year in Del Norte’s Tolowa Dunes State Park, seen above from the air. Courtesy of F.L. Hiser Jr.
A new kind of clam is digging into the Crescent City coast.

Shells belonging to aquatic invertebrates originating from Asia were documented by hikers in Tolowa Dunes State Park several times last year, with undeniably fleshy specimens surfacing after Lake Earl was breached in December, when water levels dropped 5 feet in a day. 

From the muck appeared Nuttallia obscurata, commonly called the purple varnish clam, purple mahogany clam, or for the adventurous gastronome, the savory clam. 

King Cruz beloved by all his subjects

Del Norte High School senior Montoya Cruz wears a big smile along with his crown Friday night after being named homecoming king. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Del Norte’s 2015 homecoming king has answered the age-old question emphatically: It is better to be loved than feared.

For the last four years senior Montoya Cruz, who is an exceptionally outgoing special education student, has woven himself into the fabric of Del Norte High School, and there is no doubt that it is a better place because of him. 

“Cruz is one of those guys that seems like his job in life is to make the rest of us feel better about ours,” said physical education teacher Kirk Burrows. “He just goes out of his way to make sure that he says something nice to you and compliments you.”

Vacant house still standing after blaze

Firefighters knock down a blaze that engulfed a house and garage on Elk Valley Road Tuesday morning. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Local fire crews put out  an Elk Valley Road structure fire Tuesday morning, but what set the house and garage aflame is not yet known. 

Half of a house believed to be vacant was engulfed in flame by the time the Crescent City Fire Department, Crescent City Protection District and Pelican Bay Fire Department all made it to the scene at Elk Valley and Adair Street. 

Pelican Bay Fire Captain Ray Rook said the fire was still growing when he and his crew of three inmates rolled up in engine 49 and were able to belay a supply line and a couple of fire attack lines. 

Insurance signup deadline is Sunday

The window to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act this year is closing quickly, with only three days left to enroll in a plan via the state’s marketplace, Covered California. 

Those who don’t choose a health plan by Feb. 15 and pay the first premium by Feb. 24 risk steeper penalties on their 2015 federal tax return. 

By visiting CoveredCa.com, people can determine their eligibility for public-payer plans like MediCal, choose from plans offered by two private insurers operating in this region and see if they qualify for monthly premium assistance.

Hearings scheduled in assault, pot cases

Court appearances were set on Tuesday for a couple of Del Norte Superior Court cases, including one involving two men arrested last September on suspicion of growing marijuana and another regarding a man who allegedly stabbed someone in the neck outside of a local bar in 2013.

A jury trial for the stabbing incident, which involves defendant Matthew Honeycutt and is expected to last for five to seven days, according to Honeycutt’s attorney Robert Forkner, was set for March 9, with a readiness conference scheduled for Feb. 25.

Structure Fire - Elk Valley and Adair

It was a long wait in Klamath

A photo provided by a Pacific Power official shows a scene “representative of the terrain/surroundings the crews are working in to get to and repair the lines.”
Some folks went without electricity for nearly four days as weather stymied repairs 

Heavy rain, high wind and no power were the defining elements of the weekend across most of Del Norte, with some Klamath residents going nearly four days without electricity while Pacific Power crews slogged through rough terrain to restore it.

The wind gusts, which clocked in as high as 78 mph on Sunday night, according to a citizen report provided to the National Weather Service in Eureka, and the rain, which soaked some areas of the county with more than 9 inches, created the perfect storm for falling tree conditions.

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