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Updated 5:35pm - Feb 27, 2015

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Landing his dream job

A self-proclaimed aviation aficionado, Matthew Leitner is the new airport director for the Border Coast Regional Airport Authority. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Blind in one eye, new airport head was flying solo before he had a driver’s license 

Self-described “lifelong aviation aficionado” Matthew Leitner was appointed to be the airport director of the Border Coast Regional Airport Authority in October, a dream job for a man who loves the outdoors and was flying planes solo before he could drive a car.

“For the past 20 years I’ve been amassing the credentials with the intention of being where I am today,” Leitner said during a recent interview with the Triplicate. “I believe this is my zenith. I like small airports. I really love what I do. I’ve been doing this all my life.”

Virus may be sea star killer

Disease seen in Del Norte an epidemic along West Coast 

Grisly sea star deaths are continuing to litter the tidelands along the West Coast with decaying, ghostly goo, but scientists now believe they, at least, may have identified a potential culprit.

New evidence suggests a mysterious wasting disease killing sea stars by the millions may be the result of a waterborne virus that has been found in starfish since at least the 1940s, according to research published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Family of 4 rescued from crash in river

Emergency vehicles line Highway 199 after the wreck. Submitted
A driver on Saturday lost control of his truck on Highway 199 and careened down the embankment where its back half ended up in the Smith River. One of the vehicle’s four passengers was hospitalized.

‘Threatened’ listing sought for fisher

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to list the fisher as a threatened species. Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is asking for public comment on its proposal to list the fisher, a forest-dwelling mammal found locally that is about the size of a large housecat, as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. 

The agency will hold an informal informational meeting from 6–8 p.m. at Arcata Public Library (500 7th St., Arcata) about the fisher, its threatened-listing proposal, and how the public can comment.

After-school instructor Moore loses job

The termination of an after-school instructor wrapped up in controversy was made final last week when he chose not to appeal the decision by last Thursday’s deadline. 

Gary Moore, who was arrested last year on charges of lewd and lascivious acts on a minor under 14 and then went free after prosecutors dismissed the case for lack of evidence, was terminated by the Del Norte County Unified School District Board of Trustees on Oct. 23, his last day of employment. Moore had 13 days to appeal the decision.

Two homes burn Sunday

Fire engulfed two residential structures at 1766 Wildwood in Crescent City on Sunday evening.

Two people escaped uninjured, though a small dog succumbed to smoke, according to Crescent City Fire Chief Steve Wakefield.

Foster kid advocates dwindling

Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
She was 12 when she entered the foster care system, an all-too-adult maze of temporary homes and austere courtrooms, service providers, social workers, judges and stigma.

She doesn’t remember exactly how many times she was moved in and out of homes between the ages of 12 and 18, not right off the top of her head.   

“That’s kind of a tough question,” 20-year-old Rainbow Buck said by phone this week, settling on “about six,” after a long pause.  

Doing Without

Albert Halls finishes lunch at the Del Norte Senior Center, where a loss of funding soon will mean scaled-back meals. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Local services for kids and seniors are grappling with the loss of $500,000 in state grant funds that dried up this year. 

The $2 million Community Development Block Grant, which both the city and the county government compete for every couple of years, is often awarded to both. This year however, only the city’s application was approved. 

County officials have chalked up the rebuff, the first in more than five years, to increased competition among projects and services benefitting low- to middle-income families across California. 

“A bunch of people also applied for funding this year, and one of the bigger things that was noted was poverty level. I guess competition was pretty steep, and there were areas where the poverty level got considerably higher points,” County Administrative Officer Jay Sarina recently told the Triplicate. 

Dam pact, timber plan get a boost

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden successfully pushed forward two top-priority bills Thursday — one to implement the Klamath Basin agreements that would remove four Klamath dams and another to boost logging on federal land in Oregon, including large areas of Southern Oregon.

Wyden hopes to push the bills through the lame-duck session of Congress before Democrats lose their majority in the Senate, and he intends to attach the bills to must-pass legislation and win passage in the Republican-controlled House.

‘We can’t stop people from going out’

Search and Rescue had nothing but stern words to discourage a Tulare family that walked out on the jetty Friday in high surf. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Rescuers left without means of keeping people off of jetty

Members of Del Norte Search and Rescue and local law enforcement agencies responded to a call of two groups stranded on the Crescent City jetty Friday afternoon, but ultimately all nine people walked off the structure on their own without incident — not before getting a strong talking-to from Search and Rescue coordinators Terry McNamara and Bill Wortell, however.

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