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Identities of men in submerged van verified

Fred Hansen Jr, 54, and Steve Fillman, 60, are indeed the men whose bodies were pulled from the van in the Smith River last week. 

Del Norte County Sheriff’s officials confirmed the identities Friday following forensic examination. The verification brings to a close more than two months of fraught waiting by family members of the two men, who crashed into the Smith off U.S 199 near Gasquet in early December. 

Heavy El Niño winter rains flooded the Smith and turned its current into a torrent that kept rescue teams from retrieving the bodies for weeks.

Steelhead derby sticks to the Smith

Miro Tcholakov (front) and Victor Trantadue (back) of Sonoma County head back out onto the Smith River with guide Ron Timmsen after taking a lunch break at Peakcock Hole on Saturday. A total of 22 teams competed in the Rowdy Creek Steelhead Derby this year. Del Norte Triplicate / Michael Zogg
The 34th Annual Rowdy Creek Steelhead Derby was a one-river competition this year, but the derby was able to make due with only the Smith River as 22 teams, with two boats apiece, competed.

“The Chetco was blown out, so both days we had to put all 44 boats on the Smith River. That doesn’t happen too often, but it isn’t unheard of,” said derby organizer Kimberlee Swift. “Thank goodness we could put all the boats on the Smith River.”

Emergency dispatch call logs, Feb. 14-18, 2016

Excerpts from the Del Norte County emergency dispatch call logs, Feb. 14-18: 

Sunday, February 14

At 7:56 a.m., report of suspicious circumstances at an apartment complex on the 300 block of Harding Avenue.

At 8:25 a.m., report of a vehicle nearly causing several accidents and swerving all over the road on the 400 block of M Street.

At 8:47 a.m., request for the removal of a person squatting/camping at a property on the 100 block of Standard Veneer Road.

News of Record, Feb. 11-18, 2016

These are the misdemeanor and felony sentencings provided by the Del Norte Superior Court for Feb. 11-18: 

Eli Quinn Taylor, 23, of Crescent City, 180 days in jail, 3 years probation and fined $780 for unlawful sexual intercourse.

Kenneth Robin Crooks, 54, of Crescent City, 10 days in jail for a probation violation.

Duncan Lee Oliphant, 20, of Crescent City, 90 days in jail, three years probation and fined $920 for a death threat, and 90 days in jail and fined $1,864 for D.U.I. with alcohol and drugs.

Fishermen's assn. plans dinner for crabbers

The Crescent City Commercial Fishermen’s Association will host a fish fry March 5 to help support local crabbers being kept from the water due to domoic acid levels in the crab.

The benefit dinner will be held in the main building at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds and will include live entertainment and raffling prizes from local businesses.

Special rules for no-party voters

Del Norters who didn’t select a party preference when registering to vote may have received an unusual letter in their mail recently.

The Del Norte County Registrar of Voters notified no-party preference voters if they want to receive mail-in ballots for the June 7 presidential primary, they must choose either a Democratic, American Independent or Libertarian primary ballot. If no-party voters want to cast their ballot for Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or any other GOP candidate, they must register for the Republican party, said County Clerk Alissia Northrup.

“The Republican party is not offering their ballot to no-party preference (voters),” Northrup said. “If it’s really important to you that you’re wanting to vote Republican, always register Republican. Once the (primary) election is over you can go back to no-party preference. It’s the only way to get a Republican ballot.”

Body found in marsh identified

The identity of the man found dead last weekend from causes still unknown has been confirmed as Martin Walt, 57, who is believed to have lived alone in a camp off Sand Mine Road for almost three years. 

Those who knew Walt say he was kind, generous, and outgoing, but especially vulnerable in the past few weeks. 

“I’m kind of crying right now,” said Mike Justice, founder of Our Daily Bread Ministries, a resource in Crescent City for the homeless. “I liked the guy, because he was self-sufficient and I respected him for that. I think everybody he ran into probably took a liking to him. He was unique in the sense that (his homelessness) was a total choice for him.” 

Del Norte fugitive arrested in Weaverville

Courtesy Trinity County Sheriff Office.
Accused con artist Shirley Rush was arrested Thursday evening in Weaverville more than four months after fleeing custody in Del Norte County and apparently decades into an alleged career of scamming that stretches across the country. 

Rush, 65, is currently in Trinity County Jail facing extradition to Crescent City where she is accused of attempting to pass more than $40,000 in bad checks late last year. 

In Crescent City, Rush was arrested in early November near 9th and K streets on warrants from Arkansas and Missouri. But while Del Norte County District Attorney investigators worked on filing local charges she was released to save the county money and skipped town. 

Mode gets 11 years, 8 months in plea deal

Courtesy Del Norte District Attorney Office.
A Del Norte local with an extensive criminal history is expected to serve almost 10 years in state prison as part of a plea deal. 

Jayson Lavern Mode, 41, was sentenced Thursday to 11 years and 8 months for two felony crimes in 2014 as well as special enhancement, according to a press release from District Attorney Dale Trigg. 

Although Mode faced a litany of offenses from the past two years, a majority of those were dismissed in a bargain which Trigg said was largely satisfactory given the potential difficulty of prosecuting those cases involving family members. 

Rep. Huffman Talks Crab Crisis

U.S. Congressman Jared Huffman came to Crescent City’s Harbor District Thursday to discuss dredging the Federal Channel and the status of relief for the beleaguered crab industry.

Huffman didn’t have good news for crab crew members. Huffman said federal relief for hourly workers doesn't offer much hope.

“The first wave of relief was the SBA loan program. In the next wave of relief there may be money for the hourly workers but I have no idea how much would be cash.”

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