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Tri-Agency board to discuss future of authority

Despite not having an operating staff or an office, the Tri-Agency Economic Development Authority Board of Directors on Monday will continue to discuss whether the authority still has a role to play in Del Norte County.

But, according to its chairman, the Tri-Agency won’t be able to move forward until it resolves an outstanding $400,000 loan with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The joint powers authority, whose members include the city, county and the Crescent City Harbor, will appoint new officers for 2016 and discuss the USDA loan, said chair and Harbor Commissioner Wes White.

“(Del Norte County) Counsel has been in discussion with the USDA, but I don’t know if there’s been a resolution,” White said. “We’ve been trying to negotiate (an out) over a period of time. It’s been frustrating because of the time frame, but it is what it is. We have to be patient and that’s what we have been.”

High wind expected

Hold on to your hats and drive carefully today.The National Weather Service in Eureka has issued a wind advisory until 2 p.m.

The weather service is predicting winds exceeding 35 mph with gusts up to 50 mph. Driving on U.S. 101, especially for high-profile vehicles, will be impacted.

Weather service forecasters are urging extra caution and encouraging residents in Crescent City to tie down loose objects. Periods of rain will continue through early Friday, with thunderstorms capable of producing hail likely today, the weather service said.

Vehicle of missing man found Sunday

Read more... The vehicle of a Klamath man last heard from Nov. 15 turned up relatively undamaged in the Middle Fork Smith River canyon Sunday, with no sign of the missing person.

Jordan Freese, 31, last spoke with a family member over the phone two weeks ago, authorities say.

California Highway Patrol found his powder blue Toyota Tercel Hatchback 20 feet below U.S. 199, just north of South Fork Road, without evidence of there having been a collision, according to the Del Norte Sheriff’s Office.

Murder mystery revealed

Kelley as a Del Norte high school freshman in 1980, left, and in a 2012 mugshot from San Mateo County Jail, right. // Submitted
Former county resident and Del Norte High School student John Kelley, 52, recently confessed to the 1988 double-homicide of an Oregon couple camping outside Crescent City. Held back one or two years, he was not long out of school when he took his first victim. 

Kelley was arrested in Placerville on Aug. 15, 2012 on an unrelated kidnapping, rape and murder case, 24 years after the brutal Crescent City slayings of Douglas and Rozina Anderson, who were camping in their van near Stout Grove.

Contested fire fees bring in excess $43 million

A fire prevention fee fiercely opposed by California’s rural property owners since its inception in 2011 brought in a surplus $43 million in fiscal year 2014-15, stoking anew the ire of taxpayers  who say they are overpaying for fire protection they don’t necessarily receive.

“It’s a triple tax,” said Del Norte County Supervisor David Finigan to explain feelings on the issue. The surplus, he said, is evidence of the state’s “fiscal irresponsibility.”

Taxes are paid to CalFire already, as well as to the local protection districts, he said, so paying the additional $117.33 a year is redundant at best.

Dunlap, Gensaw sworn into Yurok Council

Yurok Tribal Council Chair James Dunlap thanks the membership for voting him in at the installation ceremony in Klamath Monday. Courtesy Matt Mais
The passing of Executive Director Troy Fletcher still on Yuroks' minds as leadership changes hands

A solemn installation ceremony for newly-elected Yurok Tribal Council Chair James Dunlap and Vice Chair David L. Gensaw Sr., held in Klamath Monday morning, was tinged with sorrow by the recent passing of Executive Director Troy Fletcher.

“This installation comes bittersweet,” said Dunlap, having been sworn in. “Two days ago we parted with someone who was instrumental in all of our lives. The inroads and accomplishments he crafted for us are the foundation upon which we will continue to build on.”

Fletcher was recognized by the council for having fought “heart and soul” to protect the Klamath River and the traditions of his people. He was praised as role model for tribal youth and members of any age.

Sinking Boat Watch

F/V Frontier is docked at the Inner Boat Basin at the Crescent City Harbor. According to the Coast Guard and the Fish and Game Department the boat is full of oil and poses an environmental danger and should be removed from the water. Photo by David Anderson
Harbormaster Charles Helms says an oil-filled boat is threatening Crescent City harbor waters and he wants the owners to remove it.

“The F/V Frontier might sink and we want it out of the water,” Helms said Tuesday during a harbor commission meeting. “The owners will not return our phone calls and it is a disaster waiting to happen.”

The Coast Guard and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife have both looked at it, Helms said. Both agencies agree the oil needs to be pumped out and the boat needs to come out of the water, he said.

Denise Schnacker said Wednesday she and her husband Charles Schnacker owned the boat but husband gave it to their son Charles Schnacker Jr. “We have been trying to take the boat out for over a year,” she said. “It’s been one thing after another.”

Schnacker also disputed Helms’ assessment of the danger.

“It’s not filled with oil,” she said. “It’s just a sheen of oil on top of the bilge water. Every boat has it. The bilge needs to be pumped out. We are not abandoning it. We talk to the harbor all the time. We are paid up on the moorage through February of 2016. If we can get it out of the water, fix the seized motor and fish with it we can make money.

“Until then,” she said, “we need to be put on a payment plan, but the harbor said no. They are taking us to court. We want to get it out of the water but they are not helping us. So one way or the other we’ll be on a payment plan.”

A Soldiers Christmas

Spc. Michael Smith, of Crescent City, poses for a photo while stationed at Camp LSA Anaconda, Balad, Iraq.
CAMP ANACONDA, IRAQ — Boom. The mortar round exploded inside camp. Boom! Again, this one closer to the barracks than the last — soldiers scattered dashing for cover. Boom. The bombs kept coming.

Tolowa Dee-ni', Redwood National and State Parks agreement

 Loren Bommelyn, chair of the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation Tribal Council, signs an agreement at a small ceremony Monday afternoon, formalizing the tribe’s role in land management and cultural preservation within Redwood National Park and area state parks while Redwood National Park Superintendent Steve Prokop (right) and Jeff Bomke (left), state parks superintendent of the North Coast Redwoods District, look on.

Residents, county sound off on elk

County residents and officials are hoping a public-access program from the state Department of Fish & Wildlife will help to remedy ongoing issues of elk management on privately owned lands.

“Roosevelt elk conflicts...are occurring at an exponential growth rate in the county,” wrote Del Norte County Supervisors in a recent letter to the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) and the Fish & Game Commission.

The Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) will selectively permit elk hunting on approved lands in the county as approved by CDFW assessments.

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