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Harbor firms defend officials

Job evaluations trigger concerns

Several Crescent City Harbor businesses and fishermen have written a letter expressing support for the harbor’s top two employees, apparently concerned about their job status.

A copy of the letter was obtained by The Triplicate shortly before surprise evaluations of Harbormaster Richard Young and Facilities Manager Paul McAndrews were conducted Tuesday night in closed-door meetings of the Harbor Commission.

Young and McAndrews declined to comment on the meetings Friday, but Commission Chairman Jack Reese said the evaluations were long overdue and did not indicate something was amiss.

Representatives of some harbor businesses knew by late last week that the reviews was coming, and in response Fashion Blacksmith, Inc. submitted the letter to the Harbor commission May 14. The letter was signed by more than 10 other harbor-based and related businesses. It expresses both support for Young and McAndrews and concerns that the harbor is in a crucial time where making changes might be harmful.

Art talk could lead anywhere

Free lecture set for Tuesday, May 26 night

“I’ve done a few of these before, and I’m always curious to find out what I have to say,” Rick Bennett says.

From time to time Bennett gives free art history lectures at College of the Redwoods-Del Norte, and Tuesday night at 6 p.m. he will deliver a fresh look at the evolution of contemporary art — what kind of art is being produced today, why, who is producing it, and what art might look like in the future.

Bennett has lived, worked and painted in Del Norte and Curry counties for over 60 years. He has taught art and art history to hundreds of high school, college and adult education students over the years.

Bennett says it’s difficult to define contemporary art because perspective can only come with time and distance.

State, county jobless rates drop slightly

California’s unemployment rate dropped slightly in April to 11 percent, slightly less than the modern record set the month before, the Employ­ment Devel­op­ment Department said Fri­day.

After sharp increases in previous months, economists said it’s too soon to say unemployment has peaked or that a recovery is under way.

Del Norte County’s preliminary April unemployment rate was 11.8 percent, down from the revised March rate of 12.8 percent, and 4.2 percent above the year-ago rate of 7.6 percent.

Some surrounding county rates included 15.7 percent for Siskiyou, 19.1 percent for Trinity, and 11.6 percent for Humboldt. Marin had the lowest rate in the state at 7.2 percent and Imperial  County had the highest with 26.9 percent.

Remember the Emidio

Volunteer Harlan Watkins sprays a new coat of paint on the S.S. Emidio memorial in Beachfront Park. The Daily Triplicate/Bryant Anderson
Guy Towers has a knack for saving forgotten maritime relics. Now he’s found another.

“I discovered National Maritime Day on the calendar. I didn’t even know it existed,” Tow­ers said.

National Maritime Day was established by Con­gress in 1933 to honor the contributions of America’s commercial mariners. It falls on the anniversary, May 22, of the the first transoceanic steam voyage, undertaken by The Savannah in 1822 when it set out from Savannah, Ga.

Every year, presidents issue National Maritime Day proclamations that go largely ignored but urge Americans to display the Stars and Stripes outside homes and businesses.

This year, at the urging of Towers, the City of Crescent City will observe the day with a service at the site of the SS Emidio fragment in Beachfront Park. Several improvements are being made to the site and a new memorial bench will be dedicated.

Survey probes raw milk attitudes

State research comes year after local outbreak

The California Department of Public Health is conducting a research survey in Del Norte County to learn more about people’s attitudes and beliefs regarding raw milk.

In particular, researchers want to interview residents who were involved in Alexandre Family EcoDairy Farms’ cow-share program that was the vehicle for distributing unpasteurized milk to its customers. Health officials say it also was the source of a campylobacter outbreak that sickened more than a dozen people, including one woman who was paralyzed and placed on a ventilator shortly after drinking the product.

“The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) surveys people frequently on the various public health issues to better understand these issues from the people’s point of view,” California Public Health Spokesperson Norma Arceo said in an email. “Raw milk is one of those issues where the public have various viewpoints regarding its health effects. Therefore, CDPH would like to better understand these various viewpoints through this survey.”

Boy, 2, hit by motorcyclist, 13, in Klamath

Victim was airlifted to Oakland hospital

A toddler was struck by a 13-year-old boy driving a motorcycle in Klamath on Wednesday night.

The 2-year-old boy suffered moderate injuries when he was hit by a Honda XR80R mini-off-road motorcycle on Del Ponte Drive in the Hunter Creek subdivision, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The toddler was ultimately flown to Children’s Hospital in Oakland for treatment of his injuries.

The CHP would not release the names of the victims, due to their ages, so the condition of the toddler could not be obtained from the hospital.

Police Logs May 22, 2009

142 layoff notices at prison

Correctional officers given more than 100

If Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger makes good on his promise to lay off 5,000 state workers now that a series of budget propositions have failed, 142 employees at Pelican Bay State Prison will be without jobs.

Pelican Bay officials still don’t know if and when the notices will actually take affect, but if layoffs do occur it could mean the loss of more than 100 correctional officers.

“At this point we have not had an official word concerning those employees being laid off,” said Lt. Ken Thomas, Pelican Bay’s public information officer, on Wednesday. “Everybody’s talking about it, but we haven’t heard anything yet.”

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sent out 3,665 layoff notices Friday after the governor released two versions of his budget that were designed to show the differing scenarios between the propositions passing and failing.

These layoff notices went to workers who had 15 months or less of state service, and informed them that they would be put on an employee surplus list that would make them eligible to fill vacancies at other state government institutions.

Pelican Bay is operating under normal conditions right now, Thomas said, but he added that some changes would likely take place should the state decide to eliminate 142 of the prison’s more than 1,700 workers.

“At this point it would be a guessing game to say what would actually be affected,” Thomas said. “It would definitely have an impact on certain operational functions of the prison, but those operations that would be affected would not compromise public safety.”

911 calls result in woman’s arrest

Suspect accused of more than 1,000 calls

A Crescent City woman with a history of false 911 calls was arrested on suspicion of the same offense Monday after making more than 1,000 false emergency calls in the last year, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Sherry Jean Stairs, 30, was arrested on suspicion of calling 911 with the intent to annoy or harass and booked into Del Norte County Jail on Monday. She was later released, according to jail officials.

Stairs was convicted of the same charge in November of 2002 and again in December of 2006, according to the Crescent City Police.
“We’ve issued citations — she’s been twice cited and the Police Department had a case with her once,” said CHP Sgt. Steve Hablitzel on Wednesday. “She’s been counseled, the Highway Patrol has attempted intervention.”

Stairs is suspected of making 1,072 false 911 calls from May 5, 2008, to May 12, 2009, according to cell phone records obtained by the CHP.

Campgrounds gearing up

Sites are available throughout county for holiday weekend

County, state and federal campgrounds are gearing up for Memorial Day weekend.

The Jedediah Smith, Mill Creek, Elk Prairie and Gold Bluffs Beach campgrounds will be open by this weekend, according to a state parks press release.

Reservations can be made by calling 800-444-7275 or online at www.reserveamerica.com. Some campsites are also available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Here is additional information about various campgrounds:

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Crescent City, CA 95531

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