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Locals rev up new fair event

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For the first time ever, the Del Norte County Fair hosted the Quad Bash on Friday night in the North Valley Bank Arena. Don Vizgaudis took first place out of 18 riders in the men’s Chicago shootout. Del Norte Triplicate / Michael Zogg
A brand new event took center stage at the North Valley Bank Arena in the fairgrounds on Friday as hundreds of onlookers bore witness to the first-ever Quad Bash.

The Quad Bash featured several different contests for varying ages and skill levels on all-terrain vehicles, including a youth barrel run, a 4x4 muscle pull and a men’s and women’s Chicago shootout for the finale.

“We designed a couple tracks and came up with some events that gave an opportunity for pretty much every skill level and age group to come out and ride in a safe environment and have some fun,” said Martin Graves, a local ATV enthusiast who took charge of putting the event together.


Wildfire smoke seen in county

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Smoke from fires in the eastern Siskiyou Mountains clouds the peaks around the Bear Basin Butte fire lookout on Sunday. Del Norte Triplicate / Adam Spencer
Weather helps firefighters in Siskiyou, Jackson counties

Smoke from two major wildfires in the Siskiyou Mountains, one east of Ashland and one northwest of Yreka, covered eastern Del Norte County in a dusk-like orange haze on Sunday, and thunderstorms expected Monday night and Tuesday morning carried the possibility of more lightning-sparked fires. 

The lingering smoke was a common curiosity in Gasquet on Sunday, but by Monday the smoke cover had drastically dwindled.

“So far today it hasn’t been too bad,” said Leslie Helm at the Gasquet Market. 

Although the spread of the Oregon Gulch Fire near Ashland slowed as temperatures cooled Monday, giving firefighters a chance to build containment lines, the 10,516-acre Beaver Fire 29 miles west of Hornbrook was only two percent contained on Monday. The Beaver Fire near the town of Klamath River on Highway 96 grew by 3,000 acres from Sunday to Monday morning.


Masonic lodge rises from ashes

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Russell E. Charnovia, Deputy Grand Master of California, ceremoniously tests the new cornerstone’s strength. Del Norte Triplicate / Melea Burke
Crescent Lodge #45 rebuilt after burning in 2012

Freemasons on both sides of the state line came to Del Norte County on Saturday to celebrate a “phoenix from the ashes” — the completion of Crescent Lodge #45.

Two years after flames wiped out more than 150 years of records and memories, Crescent Lodge #45 Free and Accepted Masons laid the cornerstone of their new lodge. They anointed the stone with the corn of nourishment, the wine of refreshment and the oil of joy — historical items used in the dedication of a new lodge.

Led by Russell E. Charnovia, Deputy Grand Master of California, the Freemasons then buried a time capsule, which contained their bylaws, minutes from a recent meeting and pictures of Crescent City’s original lodge on Second Street. A photo of the previous lodge at Ninth and B streets as it burned was included along with a photo of the newly reconstructed lodge and its building plans. 


Harbor's insurance bill faces $160K hike

With great docks come great responsibility, and for Crescent City Harbor that translates to greater insurance premiums.

The harbor district is facing an increase of more than $160,000 for insurance premiums to cover new docks installed during the past two years. The increase will be discussed during the district’s regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. tonight in the Flynn Center, 981 H St.  


Bike chase ends in arrest

Del Norte County Sheriff’s deputies apprehended a man being sought as a suspect in an assault, burglary and vehicle theft case on Sunday.

Michael Clary Jr., 27, was apprehended at the McDonald’s on U.S. Highway 101 at 11:55 a.m. after leading deputies on a short chase through town, Sheriff’s Commander Bill Steven said.


Volunteers sought to dive, count fish in river

The Smith River houses California’s healthiest population of coastal cutthroat trout, and this weekend the public is invited to take a dive in the crystal-clear river as part of an annual survey used to track the trout’s abundance.

The Smith River Alliance invites all wild fish enthusiasts, swimmers and river folk to throw on a snorkel and a wetsuit and participate in the annual Smith River Fish Count this Saturday, where citizen-scientists collect data used by state and federal fishery managers.


‘I didn’t think I was going to win’

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Jessi Hawkins, a Castle Rock Charter School graduate, reacts to learning she is Miss Del Norte 2014. Del Norte Triplicate / Melea Burke
Jessi Hawkins crowned at annual pageant featuring five contestants 

Jessi Hawkins’ first instinct was to pass on the Miss Del Norte Scholarship Competition.

The 17-year-old Castle Rock Charter School graduate had received an email from fellow contestant Hannah Pearcey saying the pageant organizers were low on entrants, but Hawkins said it was her sister who ultimately convinced her to go for it.

Hawkins drummed up enough sponsors to pay the enrollment fee, borrowed a dress and a skirt and visited the $2 or Less Thrift Store to create a costume for the talent contest. She spent $1.50 for a blouse and a belt to turn herself into Eponine from “Les Miserables.” Ten minutes after former Miss Del Norte Alicia De Leon Mendoza placed the crown on her head, Hawkins said she was still waiting for it to sink in.


Airport project moving forward

The Border Coast Regional Airport Authority Board is moving forward with its Runway Safety Area Project.

At its meeting on Thursday the board directed staff to go out to bid for phases 1 and 2 of the project, even though only Phase 1, which encompasses the work that won’t impact natural resources, is set to begin immediately, pending expected Coastal Commission approval in early August. 

“It’s a pretty good milestone that we got to the point that we got,” Commissioner Gerry Hemmingsen said. “This is a hurdle that we’ve been trying to get past for a long time. It’s taken longer than what we’d like to see it take, but it’s moving forward; we’re going in the right direction.”


Warning issued about toxic algae

Toxic blue-green algal blooms have reappeared in the Lower Klamath River, prompting officials from Del Norte County, the Yurok Tribe and the state’s water quality department to warn the public to avoid contact with algae this summer.

At Klamath River access points from Iron Gate Dam to the estuary, public health advisories were posted this week warning against human and animal contact with the water. Contact with blue-green algae blooms can cause eye irritation, allergic skin rash, mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhea and cold and flu-like symptoms. 


Postmaster urges public to speak up for post office

The future of mail delivery in Gasquet will be the subject of a public meeting Wednesday, and it’s a meeting Gasquet residents won’t want to miss, according to Smith River Postmaster Ken Miller. 

Unless there is a significant outcry from the community, the U.S. Postal Service plans to reduce office hours in Gasquet to just four hours each weekday beginning Jan. 1, 2015. Current weekday operating hours are 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30–4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

“This meeting is to see if anyone objects (to cutting the post office hours),” Miller explained. “There’s quite a bit of impact to the community, and we’re trying to encourage people to go.” 


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