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Wasted water penalty to rise

State water regulators mull cost of misuse during drought 

SACRAMENTO — Brown lawns and dusty cars could become the norm in California as state regulators consider unprecedented $500-a-day fines for water-wasters, after acknowledging that voluntary steps to reduce consumption amid a historic drought haven’t worked.

Water regulators are set to consider the draft emergency regulations when they meet in Sacramento next week, invoking for the first time mandatory statewide restrictions on residential outdoor water use.

A combination of mandatory and voluntary restrictions has resulted in a statewide water use reduction of 5 percent through May, far short of the 20 percent sought by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Volunteers to ID dead waterfowl

A free training session will be held Saturday by a citizen science organization of the University of Washington that is looking for volunteers in Crescent City to survey local beaches for carcasses of marine birds.

The Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team will hold a training session from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the College of the Redwoods’ Del Norte campus (room DN-2) to show folks how to collect monthly data on dead marine birds to establish a baseline pattern of beached bird mortality for local beaches.  

The interactive, hands-on workshop will get volunteers acquainted with field identification and give them a chance to try out their new skills.

Police, fire: It could have been worse

Holiday weekend keeps public safety officials working hard  

Illegal fireworks put on their own display Friday night around Crescent City Harbor and throughout town. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
As the population of Crescent City swells for the Fourth of July holiday every year, so too does the workload for local law enforcement and firefighting

As usual, this year’s celebration kept officers and deputies occupied all weekend long, but Crescent City Police Department and Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office officials agreed that things could have been worse.

Festivities kicked off on Thursday with the deck party and the city was full of people throughout the weekend.

Crescent City Police Chief Doug Plack said scheduled events alone kept police officers busy.

Solid Waste Authority looks to scale back tasks

The board of the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority, which handles all recycling and garbage issues in the county, seems intent on scaling back the agency to something without “all the bells and whistles,” as commissioner Roger Gitlin put it.

The authority board will be discussing the future direction and goals of the agency during its regular monthly meeting at 3:30 p.m Wednesday in the Flynn Center, 981 H Street, Crescent City.

During a June 24 special meeting, four of the agency’s five commissioners voiced their support for combining the authority’s top two administrative positions into one combined contract position for the private sector and scaling back the agency from pursuing new programs.

Fourth of July favorites selected

One of the youngest drivers in the parade escorts the Del Norte County Probation Department, which took second place in one of the float categories. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Here are the winners provided by the Crescent City-Del Norte County Chamber of Commerce from the 2014 Fourth of July parade and BBQ Wars contests: 


Bob and Arlene Eckhardt

Car: 1960 or Earlier (stock)

First place: Judge Chris Doehle

‘Small town feel is all around’ at Fourth of July celebration

A woman in the procession waves a flag — “Helen is 102. Jeep is 72,” said the sign on the side of the vehicle. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Crowds of hundreds lined downtown streets and filled Beachfront Park on Friday for Crescent City’s annual Independence Day shindig, known up and down the coast for its patriotic parade, vendor-packed park party and the most impressive fireworks show around.

“It’s a mishmash of Americana tradition,” Christie Lynn Rust, former Del Norte High School band director, said as she prepared to help lead the Del Norte Community Marching Band in the parade. “It’s a showcase of all different parts of our community. It brings everyone together.”

And then Rust took off down H Street, followed by a marching band of a couple dozen trombones, clarinets and percussionists, all hammering out groovy tunes like “Louie Louie” and “Tijuana Taxi” while revelers young and old clawed for the candy being thrown to them.

Campers nearly crushed by tree

Top 50 feet of Douglas Fir falls on Jed Smith campsite 

A tree that fell in Jedediah Smith State Park Wednesday night crushed a vehicle but narrowly missed campers. Photo courtesy of Brett Silver, Redwood National and State Parks
Campers were almost crushed Wednesday night when the top 50 feet of a soaring Douglas fir at least 3 feet in diameter fell in the popular riverside campground in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.

“I feel like I hit the lottery in life because it didn’t hit us,” said Lori Chilcott of Crescent City, who was in the campsite just below the tree with her two young children when it fell. 

Chilcott was being visited by a local friend, Cyndi Vaughan, who also had her two young children with her, when the huge tree fell on top of Vaughan’s car, destroying it.

“The car is totaled, but the thing that I’m happy about is that no one got hurt. If just a couple of things were changed slightly it could have been devastating,” Vaughan said.

Council to look at mining proposal today

The Crescent City Council at its Monday meeting will take public input and vote to weigh in on an exploratory drilling project planned for the North Fork Smith River watershed, the first time a local public board has done so.

The Council will take public input and vote to approve sending a letter in opposition of the drilling project, planned by the Red Flat Nickel Corporation, to the Oregon Water Resource Department. If the water quality of the Smith River is compromised, which opponents of the drilling project say it will be, the city may be forced to increase the level of water treatment, according to staff documents. That would increase annual operational and capital improvement costs, the documents say.

Fire Safe Council’s future in doubt without volunteers

After a meager turnout to a June meeting of the Del Norte Fire Safe Council to find new volunteers and leadership, the founders and leaders of the group speculate that it may have to be dissolved or significantly restructured.

Dan and Sharol Leavitt, who have helmed the council since its inception in 2002, will host their last meeting on Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Cal Fire Station, 1025 U.S. Highway 101 in Crescent City, and anyone interested is invited. The Leavitts are stepping down due to health and age concerns and are looking for a new generation to take over the council, which has brought millions in funding for fire prevention projects on mostly private lands in Del Norte County.


Curry County Sheriff resigns, citing job stress

Stress is killing Curry County Sheriff John Bishop.

The stress — fiscal insecurity in his department, huge turnover among his deputies, the constant fighting on behalf of his employees, an inability to get support to fund public safety — has prompted him to give notice and take a job in Salem.

“My doctor said, ‘You might want to think about getting out of this line of work,” Bishop said. “He said, ‘If you don’t get out of this job, you’re going to die young.’ I had to make a decision: Do I want to be around for my family or put myself out there 1,000 percent like I have been?”

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