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DHHS opens new location

A new location for a variety of family and child-oriented programs will give service providers the space to focus their energy on families’ diverse needs, county officials say.

“There’s kind of a push from the feds and others to figure out how do we integrate care better. You have a mind or a teeth or a body problem and that’s somehow separate from your housing issues,” said Barbara Pierson, director of the Del Norte County Department of Health and Human Services.

Moving into the Del Norte Healthcare District’s building on Washington Boulevard and Northcrest Drive, next to the health and dental clinics, a community garden and a playground means clients will have one place to seek help for their intersecting needs, she said.

Firefighters expecting a little more help from rain

Though the Gasquet Complex wildfires claimed another 4,000 acres since Wednesday afternoon, firefighters were able to make progress with containment lines, hoping predicted weekend rains will temper the blazes’ activity.

The complex totaled 23,485 acres burned Friday afternoon at a 27 percent containment.

The most growth was seen in the Siskiyou Wilderness, where two fires are being left to consume what they find in their path.


Volunteers keeping a lookout for Bertsch lion

With a mountain lion on the prowl, citizens looking to protect their young will join law enforcement in being extra vigilant, particularly in the Bertsch Tract’s early morning hours.

School starts Monday, and Bertsch Tract children will need to line up outside in the low light just after sunrise if they are going to make the bus to school.

Neighborhood Watch Leader Emilie Simmons said this is of particular concern to her and other community members, who fear they could be putting their children at risk of being a cougar’s easy prey if they’re left to stand alone on the curbside.

Police and sheriff call logs, Aug. 24-27, 2015

Excerpts from the call logs for the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office and the Crescent City Police Department, August 24-27:


Monday, August 24

At 12:05 a.m., report of attempted shoplifting at a business on the 900 block of E Washington Boulevard. Subject left without his backpack.

At 12:18 a.m., report of three stolen tires from the yard of a residence on the 800 block of Endert Street.

At 7:57 a.m., report of a male subject sleeping at the backdoor of a business on the 1300 block of Northcrest Drive.

At 9:38 a.m., report of subjects that appear to be camping near a van on the 300 block of Harding Avenue. Caller would like them moved on.

Man gets two-plus years for criminal threats to girlfriend

 Judge William Follett sentenced a Crescent City man to two years, eight months in state prison for making criminal threats to his ex-girlfriend.

Kerry John McKinney’s prior felony domestic violence conviction factored into his sentencing, the Del Norte County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday.

According to the DA’s office, McKinney phoned his ex-girlfriend on June 2  and threatened to pour gasoline on her and light her on fire. The victim and a witness to the phone call testified during the public hearing.

Deputy District Attorney Annamarie Padilla handled the case for the prosecution.

Building habitat

Spike, a western toad, dines on an earthworm in Pete Haggard's backyard. Haggard will show Del Norters how they can attract frogs and other wildlife to their own backyards on Sunday at the Lake Earl Information Center. Courtesy Pete Haggard
 Author Pete Haggard will offer folks the tools needed to build habitat for songbirds, insects, native bees and other wildlife.

Haggard’s presentation Sunday is the latest nature program sponsored by the Tolowa Dunes Stewards and the Redwood Parks Association. Haggard will focus on native plants that can thrive on the North Coast.

Haggard said he will put an emphasis on drought-tolerant plants, although most native species are already used to the area’s rainy winters and dry summers.

“The exceptions would be the ones that grow along streams where they get a source of water and maybe some high mountain places where the summer is short enough,” he said.

Bertsch Tract calls for action

An increasingly bold mountain lion frequently spotted in the Bertsch Tract neighborhood just south of Crescent City has residents concerned for their children’s safety with school starting next week and children waiting for the bus in dim, dawn light when a lion might be on the prowl.

“We've lived in relative harmony with this mountain lion since at least March. We had some minor sightings, but it wasn't until a few weeks ago that the mountain lion became frighteningly bold and has lost its fear of humans,” said Emilie Simmons, leader of the Bertsch Tract Neighborhood Watch group, during Tuesday’s Del Norte County Board of Supervisors meeting.

In an emergency agenda item requested by board chairman David Finigan, county supervisors gave direction to ramp-up options to protect the public and private property from the mountain lion, suspected of killing residents’ goats, cats, and ducks. It also has residents worried school children at the bus stop might be the big cat’s next target.

Attempt to block release denied

On Wednesday afternoon, a federal judge denied attempts by Central Valley farmers to block an emergency release of Trinity River reservoir water requested by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to prevent a massive salmon die-off like in the Klamath basin, which are running low and warm during California’s fourth year of drought.

The water release was requested by the Yurok and Hoopa Valley tribes, Humboldt County, Earthjustice and a commercial fishing trade group to prevent the spread of a gill-rotting disease known as Ich — Ichthyophthirius multifiliis — that spreads in low and warm water conditions.  The presence of Ich in Klamath River salmon was detected by Yurok Tribe fisheries crews.  Water releases from reservoirs on the Trinity River — the Klamath’s primary tributary — have been used the last three years during California's drought conditions to prevent the killing of thousands of adult salmon from Ich that happened in 2002.  

Trinity reservoirs share water with Central Valley farmers through large diversion tunnels sent to the Sacramento River.

Rock Creek water line damaged, as S. Fork keeps Coon fire at bay

Firefighters ford the South Fork Smith River on foot to reach Ed Tollefson's home Tuesday, rather than risk having their vehicles trapped by an expanding wildfire. Courtesy Ed Tollefson
 Fire personnel say they’re confident the South Fork Smith River will keep the Coon Fire from reaching nearby homes. But a damaged water line due to fire activity has local officials gearing up to provide emergency supplies until the blaze dies back enough to fix the problem.

Del Norte County Administrative Officer Jay Sarina said the Office of Emergency Services had delivered two pallets of water to the residents of Rock Creek on Wednesday after receiving reports they weren’t able to draw from their taps.

Fire fighters walked the blaze’s edge at Deer Creek to discover a tree had fallen on the above-ground pipe, preventing water from being delivered from the creek to homes on the other side of the river, Sarina said. As several hotspots have been observed on the fire, officials are not recommending that anyone attempt to make repairs.

Man gets 7 years for high speed chase

 A 24-year-old Eureka man was sentenced Aug. 20 to seven years in state prison in connection with the theft of a vehicle and a high-speed chase in April.

Robert David Benefield stole a delivery truck from Baxter Auto Parts on the 400 block of L Street in Crescent City on April 4, according to a press release received Wednesday from the Del Norte County District Attorney’s office. An employee had started left the truck running in the parking lot while he gathered items for the day and then heard squealing tires. He looked out to see the truck speeding south on L Street.

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