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News of Record Feb. 13–19, 2015

These are the misdemeanor and felony sentencings provided by the Del Norte County Superior Court for Feb. 13–19, 2015:

Andre J. Gonzalez, 32, Smith River, was sentenced to 19 days in jail and four years of probation and fined $2,602 for driving under the influence with a prior and excessive blood alcohol.

Matthew A. Taylor, 29, Crescent City, was sentenced to 18 days in jail and three years of probation and fined $671 for obstructing/resisting a police officer and a probation violation.

Airport lands three bids

A SkyWest flight takes off Wednesday afternoon from the Crescent City airport, where the future of commercial flights is uncertain. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Passengers should expect month-and-a-half gap in service after switch in carriers 

The bids are in, and a new aircraft carrier may soon be flying area skies; the question that remains is how soon.

Three airlines submitted proposals to the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide federally subsidized service to Crescent City, meeting the Feb. 17 deadline, which was extended to give airlines more time to make a pitch.  

“We’re a success story,” Del Norte County Regional Airport Director Matthew Leitner said after hearing that the proposals had come through. “We will continue to offer good service.”

SRS loss would deplete reserves

County coffers for schools, roads depend on Congress to act 

Editor’s note: This is the second part of a report on the potential loss of Secure Rural Schools funding. The first part (“Roads, schools funding  unsure,” Feb. 17) looked at the issue of getting the funds reauthorized by Congress. It can be found online in the Local News section of triplicate.com. 

Congressional budget wrangling has millions of federal dollars, which typically go to rural counties across the nation, tied up in Washington, D.C. But how does an impasse 3,000 miles away affect Del Norte specifically?

Businessman mentored many youth

Joe and Linda Duncan were married since 1963 and had three children. Submitted
Joe Duncan was  first boss for countless local kids since 1969 

Joe Duncan, owner of Joe’s Chevron and Sorrel Ridge Hay and Feed and employer and mentor to countless Del Norte youth, died unexpectedly of a heart attack early Monday morning.

He was 70.

Duncan had worked at the Chevron station at 900 U.S. Highway 101 North in Crescent City before he and his wife Linda purchased it in 1969. Linda said her husband also worked at the Chevron station on South U.S. Highway 101 and at Del Norte Tire prior to the purchase.

Board wastes no time starting hunt

Del Norte Unified School District’s search for a superintendent, officially announced at last week’s board meeting, is moving forward quickly.

At a special meeting on Wednesday, board members met with Jim Brown and Dennis Smith, partners with executive search firm Leadership Associates, to go over a proposed timeline, discuss how to get information out to the community and talk about the personal and professional qualities the board is looking for in its new superintendent.

“This is one of the most important decisions a board makes,” said Brown, who lives in Crescent City. “It’s a very important leadership position in the community.”

Workshop on business tax credit planned Mon.

Del Norte Triplicate

A free tax workshop focused on helping businesses apply for the California Competes Tax Credit is scheduled for Monday in Eureka.

The workshop, which will start at 9 a.m. in the City of Eureka Council Chambers at 531 K St., is being put on by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development and aims to help business owners apply for tax credits to help expand their business, according to a news release from the office.

Fostering Skills for Success

Mill Creek nursery worker Tim Erler looks over the countless sapling pots he has a hand in preparing. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Nonprofit finds placement for developmentally disabled in jobs, volunteer positions 

Tim Erler bent over a box of hemlock cones and gave them a shake, demonstrating how he extracts the seeds.

Erler, a worker at Mill Creek tree nursery at Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, then opened a refrigerator packed with seeds. Countless sapling pots were stacked outside the small office.

“We put five seeds in each pot,” Erler said Wednesday. “Usually we get one or two that grow.”

Roads, schools funding unsure

If Congress doesn’t renew act, DN would be in a bind 

Millions of federal dollars that Congress annually doles out to states that contain non-taxable federal land might not get dispensed this year if lawmakers in Washington don’t vote to reauthorize the funds, and both the Del Norte County roads and school budgets are right in the crosshairs of that inaction.

The Secure Rural Schools and Communities Self Determination Act, which according to the U.S. Forest Service has provided more than $33 million annually to rural counties in California for more than a decade, has required yearly congressional reauthorization since its most recent expiration three years ago. But because the act for the first time wasn’t reauthorized this year, the funds it typically provides — not to mention the counties, which use those funds for road maintenance and education — stand to take a significant hit.

Search for Olson’s replacement begins

Superintendent to retire in July; board hires firm to assist in filling the position 

The Del Norte County Unified School District is taking initial steps in the search for a new superintendent, a position it aims to have filled before August.

At the school district’s board meeting last Thursday, board members voted to enlist executive search firm Leadership Associates to help select the new superintendent, which will replace current Del Norte Unified Superintendent Don Olson. Olson, who is currently on medical leave, has worked for the school district for 38 years and announced last month that he would retire in July.  

Fair association tips hat to local board’s ingenuity

Del Norte County Fair Board member Kevin Hartwick and fair manager Randy Hatfield receive the Louis Merrill Award in Reno, Nev. Submitted
The Del Norte County Fair was recognized last month for making unprecedented efforts to keep the fair and its grounds solvent. 

For its work on Measure F, the Del Norte County Fair was presented with the Louis Merrill Award at the Western Fair Association’s annual convention in Reno, Nev. Sharing the spotlight with the Big Fresno Fair, both fairs were recognized for ingenuity and leadership like that of the award’s namesake, the founder of the modern WFA. 

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