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Library District under scrutiny

Public questions trustees on long absence of elections 

Community members have begun shining a light on the Del Norte County Library Board’s election process, and what’s been revealed beneath the electoral fog has the board fending off the same accusations of dishonesty and unprofessionalism that plague its recently publicized financial affairs. 

Issues surrounding the board’s formal election process, or rather its alleged lack of one, were a major cause of community concern at the Library District’s special meeting last week, echoing a 2011–2012 Del Norte Grand Jury report that concluded the process has been “bypassed” since 1990 — the last time a library trustee position has been on a local ballot. Like the library’s undisclosed fund balance, the two principal concerns surrounding library district elections — exactly how the board appoints new trustees to its ranks and why a Library Board position hasn’t gone to election in over two decades — have community members up in arms about how the board is run and its tendency to “skirt the rules,” as one community member said. 


Sheriff: Pot in bust was headed to Washington

Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office deputies seized 34 pounds of marijuana Tuesday night from two individuals the sheriff says were attempting to transport the pot to be sold in Washington state.

On his Facebook page, Sheriff Dean Wilson attributed the pot bust to Washington state’s legalization of recreational marijuana use.


Highway 101 crash claims life of Harbor man

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Firefighters extricate Bradshaw from the pickup wreckage. WesCom News Service / Ryan Sparks
A Harbor man was killed Friday when his pickup truck drifted into oncoming traffic for an unknown reason and collided head-on with a motor home on Highway 101 at the Oregon-California border.

George C. Bradshaw, 80, was pronounced dead at the scene, and fire crews had to use the Jaws of Life to extract his body from the wrecked 2007 GMC Canyon pickup truck.

At 11 a.m, the truck collided with a 2000 Dutch Star motor home driven by Lue Allen Hahn, 72, of Fairbanks, Alaska.

The crash brought traffic in both directions to a standstill for several hours.


Pato Banton reggae concert: A ‘Passion to reach people’

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Banton says he is coming to Crescent City to “spread some love” after he couldn’t find a venue in town during his last tour. He performs July 23 at the Elks Lodge.
Artist Pato Banton brings reggae’s positive vibrations to Elks Lodge next Wednesday, July 23

Grammy-nominated international reggae star Pato Banton will be bringing his blend of positive reggae vibrations to the Crescent City Elks Lodge on Wednesday, July 23, as part of a 50-state tour that’s not too big for small towns like Crescent City.

“I’ve been touring across America, and we really want to hit as many cities as possible — different cities, remote cities; cities that a lot of artists don’t go to,” Banton said in an interview with the Triplicate, the day after headlining the 2014 Surf Rodeo surf and music festival in Ventura.

 


New addition to the business

Company will expand Crescent City facility to take on lactose production 

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Baird Rumiano watches demolition work begin Monday on an apartment complex where a lactose-processing plant will be built. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Rumiano Cheese is expanding its business, but first the apartment complex next to the factory has to come down.

An excavator dug out huge chunks of the apartment building at 820 F St. on Monday, one of the early steps in a plan to launch the Crescent City cheese maker into the lactose business.

“That’s a pretty good size,” Rumiano Cheese owner Baird Rumiano said, watching the Caterpillar 325C hydraulic excavator as it prepared to demolish the apartment building on Monday. “More than enough.”

The apartment building, which Rumiano Cheese purchased in 2011 with expansion in mind, stood on a lot that Rumiano has planned for a new addition to the factory — an 8,000-square-foot building that will hold the state-of-the-art equipment used to isolate lactose. 


Caltrans agrees to study

Judge forces reassessment of hwy. work’s salmon impact 

In a lawsuit settlement reached last week, Caltrans has agreed to reassess the impacts a highway widening and straightening project on highways 199 and 197 could have on federally protected coho salmon in the Smith River.

The $26 million project was scheduled to break ground this summer, but a federal judge halted construction in May in response to a lawsuit filed by environmental groups that successfully argued that Caltrans and the National Marine Fisheries Service failed to fulfill their responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act.  

“The important thing for Caltrans to know is that the environmental laws are on the books for a reason,” said Don Gillespie, president of Friends of Del Norte, which is one of the plaintiffs along with the Environmental Protection Information Center, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Gasquet resident Ted Souza, who is also an FDN member. “Caltrans and the NMFS should have pursued a scientific study to start this process rather than pay lip service to written environmental law.”


Library Board on the defensive

Public, trustees talk past each other about use of funds 

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The library’s book selection and upkeep were among issues the board was urged to address. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Anyone who thought the fireworks in Crescent City ended on July 4 wasn’t at the Del Norte County Library Board’s special meeting last Thursday morning.

More than 25 members of the public showed up for the 9 a.m. meeting — that’s about two dozen more than usually come — and even though “Triplicate Article and Letter” were the only items on the agenda, that didn’t stop those in attendance from airing their grievances about various issues that had been on some people’s minds for months.

“Usually (the meetings) are pretty dull, but this one was exciting,” library Trustee John Mertes said. “I think a lot of people saw it as a chance to be heard, and a lot of them spoke out.”


College Board splits Del Norte

College of the Redwoods officials last week approved a resolution that reduces the number of trustees on its governing board and splits Del Norte County between two districts. 

If ratified by the California Community Colleges’ Board of Governors, the number of CR trustees would decrease from nine to eight. Trustee area boundaries would also be reconfigured, with portions of Del Norte sharing a representative with eastern and southern Humboldt.


Foster Farms recalls chicken with March dates

Del Norte County residents are encouraged to check their freezers to see if there’s any Foster Farms chicken in there.

Foster Farms is recalling certain chicken products that may have been contaminated with salmonella. The Del Norte County Department of Health and Human Services reports that local retailers have voluntarily pulled those products from their shelves. 


Harbor to hold public budget hearing

District is over $580,000 in the red; deficit stems from depreciation, debt 

The Crescent City Harbor District will hold a public hearing today on the final budget for fiscal year 2014–2015, which shows the harbor operating more than $580,000 in the red. 

Almost half of that negative amount ($260,000) is from depreciation, but that still leaves $320,281 worth of reasons to increase economic development for a port that recently took out a $5.4 million loan to cover its portion of a $54 million project to rebuild from tsunami destruction.

 


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