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Updated 12:08pm - Oct 9, 2015

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Statewide protests against solitary confinement

Pelican Bay State Prison was among several sites across the country to see coordinated demonstrations Wednesday protesting solitary confinement. 

Lawyers, activists, and family members gathered outside Crescent City’s state supermax prison to protest a recently implemented Inmate Welfare Check System, which they say amounts only to sleep deprivation torture. 

The IWCS, which took effect early August, uses guards and an electronic tracking system to perform welfare checks every half hour, day and night, on inmates in Pelican Bay’s Secure Housing Unit (SHU). Deputy Warden Darren Bradbury told Channel 3 News the checks are intended to mitigate issues of suicide and things of that nature,” which he says are “statistically higher” inside SHU cells.

FBI: Cable vandalism unrelated to similar incidents

The FBI is acknowledging vandalism to cable that cut Internet, telephone and television service in Del Norte resembles other incidents near Sacramento and San Francisco, but investigators don’t believe they are related.

AT&T is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who can help with an ongoing investigation of vandalism along the North Coast earlier this month. Terms of the reward are “for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for an attempted copper theft near Ukiah.”

An exposed fiber-optic cable was slashed Sept. 3 near Ukiah in Mendocino County, causing communication outages impacting tens of thousands of users as far north as Del Norte County.

As of Sept. 16 the cable provider is also offering up to $250,000 for intelligence leading to the apprehension of those “responsible for cutting fiber-optic cables in several Alameda County cities,” the San Jose Mercury News reported. 

New school curriculum focuses on local tribes

Del Norte students focus on native history and culture 

Olivia Stillwell, Aliyah Rafalowski and Layla Mackey bent over their notes Tuesday.

Tasked with writing a historical fiction of Jedediah Smith’s contact with Yurok villages, the three eighth-graders had already created their characters. Now, they were learning about each village site and why their character would be there.

Six Rivers NF lifts fire restrictions

Due to recent rainfall, cooler temperatures and higher humidity, fire restrictions in place on the Six Rivers National Forest were lifted Friday, forest service officials announced this week.

Open campfires outside of designated campgrounds are again allowed for those in possession of a free California campfire permit, available at any U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management or CalFire office.

Permits can also be obtained from the Redwood National and State Parks Crescent City Information Center or online at www.preventwildfireca.org.

“Lifting these restrictions does not mean fire season is over. Continued warm, dry and windy conditions could put us back up into the high fire danger category,” said Forest Supervisor Merv George.

Expired drug collection today at sheriff station

Anyone can safely dispose of their unwanted, unneeded or expired prescription drugs at the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office today.

Prescribed burning in Bald Hills starts soon

Redwood National and State Parks announced plans Thursday to begin a series of prescribed burns this fall in the prairies, oak woodlands and conifer forest of the Bald Hills east of Orick.

The prescribed fire season in the parks begins in late September or early October as weather conditions permit.  

While the wildfire season has been active in the West, the coastal climate of northwest California is transitioning to cooler days and nights, higher relative humidity, increasing fuel moisture, and lowering fire danger levels.

These changing conditions mark the transition to prescribed fire season. The prescribed fires are used under specific weather conditions for fire control.

Racial profiling protesters begin pilgrimage

Crystal Helton (center), backed by Mike Thompkins and Amber Gensaw, makes the case for better police accountability in front of the Del Norte Superior Court Friday. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Locals added their voices this week to growing outcries against police brutality and racial profiling of non-whites nationwide, as they urged Gov. Jerry Brown to sign the Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015 by his Oct. 11 deadline.

A 9 a.m. stop outside the Del Norte Superior Court on Friday was the first in a “pilgrimage” down the North Coast of California with organizers encouraging residents to speak out on their own struggles with racial profiling and discrimination.

Stops were then made in Klamath, Weitchpec, Hoopa, Eureka and Fortuna, where members of the True North Organizing Network collected signed prayer cards urging Brown “that you will be led by what is best for the residents of California whose dignity and safety are threatened daily by overly aggressive police officers. I pray that, as you have done in other statewide crises, you will again demonstrate your capacity to put the well-being of the people above political ideology.”

Taking stock at season's end

The last loads of chinook salmon commercially harvested by Yurok Tribal members, like this one at the Requa boat launch, were brought in Tuesday. Courtesy Collin Spencer
 Despite sub-quota haul, profit-sharing boosts optimism

As the clock struck midnight Tuesday night, Yurok Tribal members’ commercial gill-nets were pulled from the the Lower Klamath River and the Yurok commercial salmon harvest came to a close.

The final amount of salmon harvested, roughly 15,000 adult fall run Klamath chinook,  according to the Yurok Tribal Fisheries Program, is substantially less than the 22,300 quota the tribe had allocated for the commercial fishery but higher than the entire 10,000-fish commercial quota allocated for the 2014 fall run.

“The obvious speculation is that the run wasn't that huge, and the fishery is somewhat reflective of that. But we'll know a lot more next February,” said Dave Hillemeier, program manager of the Yurok Tribal Fisheries Program. “This is typically the time that the council has closed the commercial fishing, because that’s when we see coho salmon start to return and we try to conserve coho salmon.”

Cultural Center restaurant deal nixed

Council balks at upgrade costs to host Northwoods while it expands its building

A deal that Crescent City Manager Gene Palazzo described as a potential “win-win” for both the city and local restaurant Northwoods was put to bed Monday as it was deemed one that would to be too expensive for both parties.

Palazzo looked at inviting Northwoods to temporarily set up shop at the Cultural Center while the restaurant undergoes construction from October to April. The arrangement would have brought in extra revenue for the city for use of a facility that’s been consistently losing the city money for years, Palazzo told the Crescent City Council on Monday.  

It also would have kept Northwoods’ 35 staff members employed through the winter while a second story is added to the building on U.S. 101, across from the Crescent City Harbor. 

Budget climbs $20M

Del Norte County Supervisors approved a budget Tuesday for fiscal year 2015–16, balanced and substantially larger than last year.

The team noted tax revenues decreased, but its goals were still reached through state allocations, careful management by department operations and carry-over of a $2.6 million surplus from the 2014-15 fiscal year.

Overall, the total county budget for FY 2015-16 stands at slightly more than $121.5 million, an increase of roughly $21.5 million from the previous year. The general fund budget is almost $26.4 million, which represents about a $2 million increase.

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