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Updated 11:03pm - Jan 28, 2015

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Districts will have to narrow goals

While a report on California’s new school funding formula found its goals and performance metrics too complex for school districts to meet all the requirements, the Del Norte County Unified School District reports some success implementing the initiative.

The report, released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, recommended that districts be permitted to focus on developing an action plan for a set of high-priority areas rather than all eight targets specified by the state. 

Listening to the Depths

Whales frequent the Navy’s Northwest Training and Testing Area, an area of open ocean starting at least 12 miles off the North Coast. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
The U.S. Navy held a public meeting in Eureka Friday night detailing proposed changes to military readiness operations in the depths at Del Norte County’s doorstep, where for decades sonar technologies known to harm marine life have been tested.

Required by federal environmental laws to field public scrutiny, the Navy is in the process of finalizing a 2,000-page draft Environmental Impact Statement for activities in its Northwest Training and Testing Area, a swathe of open ocean big enough to swallow California whole that includes waters at least 12 miles offshore extending from the Canadian border to Mendocino County.

Sutter, Blue Shield face off

But insurer won’t drop DN hospital ‘until further notice’ 

Sutter Coast Hospital may have become a bargaining chip in stymied contract negotiations between health care giants Sutter Health and insurer Blue Shield of California, which provides coverage for at least 570 local residents, including 295 Del Norte County Unified School District employees and their families.

Mired in allegations against Sutter’s business practices, if the conflict is not resolved by June 30, some 280,000 Californians insured by Blue Shield would have to choose between switching from Sutter-affiliated doctors or finding a new insurance plan in order to avoid paying more out-of-pocket for providers in the Sutter system, already among the priciest in the state and, for some services, the only local option. 

Huffman promises work on vet care

VA: No plans for a Crescent City clinic 

Del Norte County’s congressman says he will work with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to make it easier for veterans in his district to get the health care they need.

But according to the interim director of the VA Roseburg Health System, reopening a clinic in Crescent City is not on the agenda.

“It’s a terrible thing when the vets have a clinic in their community and somebody closes it and moves it 20 or 30 miles away,” said Douglas Paxton, who in October became the interim director for the Roseburg system, which operates a clinic in Brookings and until April 2014 had operated a clinic in Crescent City. “There are no plans to open a clinic in Crescent City on the near horizon.”

Falling tree chops Paul Bunyan’s arm

The 49-foot Paul Bunyan statue’s right arm is damaged from a tree that crashed onto Paul Friday night. Paul and Babe the Blue Ox have long been fixtures at Trees of Mystery in Klamath. Submitted
Paul Bunyan, the 49-foot statue and renowned roadside attraction at Trees of Mystery in Klamath, was damaged on the right arm over the weekend from a tree that fell during a heavy rainstorm. 

Detached from a sitka spruce called the “Family Tree,” the limb that caused the damage was one of 12 trees growing from one trunk. It was an arm that had stretched 30 feet from where it broke off the trunk, with the reiterated trunk reaching another 80 feet high, according to Jesse LaForest, Trees of Mystery manager.

Down to Business in Del Norte

U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman speaks to Del Norte High School seniors Thursday during a multi-day visit to Del Norte County. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Huffman: ‘Prepare to make our case and fight for’ federal airport subsidy 

Two weeks into his second term representing California’s 2nd District in Congress, Jared Huffman traveled to Del Norte and met with officials from the Border Coast Regional Airport Authority, a board appointed from two states, two counties, two cities and two federally recognized tribes to manage an airport offering the only passenger flights within 70 miles of Crescent City and 100 miles of Brookings.

Even in the wake of sole carrier SkyWest announcing plans to back out of a passenger service contract early, this little airport nurtures great ambitions, with longer runways and a bigger terminal among top items on a $45 million wish list shared with Huffman on Thursday. 

D.C. lawmaker touts importance of voting to high school seniors

Although he was in Del Norte County to talk with constituents about airport and veterans’ issues this week, congressman Jared Huffman also took time for his younger constituents on Thursday.

During his second visit to Del Norte County, Huffman (D-San Rafael) spoke with Del Norte High School seniors taking AP government and economics, many of whom are headed off to college next year or will get their first jobs. 

“They have a lot of concerns,” said social studies teacher Lisa Howard. “They are our future voters, so it’s important for them to recognize who Huffman is. It’s (also) an opportunity for some one-on-one time with the congressman.” 

Felony charges for two accused in dog shooting

The Del Norte County District Attorney’s Office charged two Crescent City residents with felony animal cruelty Friday in connection with the shooting death of a chow-mix dog last week.

Denice Tracy, 65, and Donald Jones, 61, each face up to three years imprisonment in the county jail if convicted, according to a press release from the DA’s office.

The dog, which was shot in the head and left for dead at a shooting range near Craig’s Beach on South Fork Road on Jan. 8, had to be euthanized, according to Del Norte County Animal Control Director Jim Buckles. The dog was “beyond help,” he said.

Mental health dept. spending plan OK’d

State taxes on rich feed county program 

Discussions on how to use state funds to better serve Del Norte County residents with mental health needs will continue with the approval of a three-year spending plan out of the way. 

The Del Norte County Board of Supervisors approved program and expenditure plans prepared by the Department of Health and Human Services Mental Health Branch for fiscal years 2014-17 on Tuesday, six months into fiscal year 2014. 

USFS seeks public input on aquatic restoration

The Six Rivers National Forest will host a meeting to get the public’s input on a proposed forest-wide aquatic restoration program 4–6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 21, at the Gasquet Ranger Station in the Smith River National Recreation Area, 10600 Highway 199.

The overall purpose of the restoration program is to improve riparian and in-stream conditions for anadromous fisheries, including listed threatened and sensitive fish species and their critical habitats, according to a USFS press release. 

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