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Stabbing charge lowered

Manslaughter now alleged

The charge against a Crescent City man accused in a fatal stabbing was reduced Friday from murder to manslaughter.

Mario Contreras Garcia, 21, was facing a murder charge after he confessed to stabbing Terry Maddon, 39, during an altercation at the Shangri-la Trailer Court on U.S. Highway 101 last Nov. 19.

Garcia now faces charges of voluntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon, with an enhancement for allegedly using a knife, said District Attorney Mike Riese. Garcia pleaded not guilty last year.

“The victim’s family is really disappointed that while we thought intent was there, the judge didn’t see it,” said  Riese, noting intent is needed for a murder charge to stick.


Solid waste panel sets 1st meeting

A county ad-hoc committee charged with inspecting the relevance of the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority will hold its first meeting Tuesday.

Though County Supervisor Mike Sullivan, who heads the committee, assured transparency during the proceedings, he said the first meeting will be closed to the public as it’s simply a preliminary orientation for those who will sit on the panel.

“It’s just going to be a kickoff for the ad-hoc committee,” Sullivan said Friday. “The first meeting is just about starting scoping and lining up who we’re going to start interviewing and seeing what documentation we need.”

Some future meetings will be open to the public, he said, but it’s likely not all of them will be.

School Board considers budget cuts

Days after news that the state will cut education spending once again, Del Norte County Unified School District Board members will meet Monday to brainstorm ways to trim the budget for the remainder of this school year and the next.

The California Legislature approved a budget deal this week that will both raise revenue and save money by cutting state programs in an effort to close a $42 billion deficit.

Education spending across the state will be cut by $8.6 billion over the next two years. What that means for local schools was not clear as of Friday. However, the district’s general revenue and specific program funding will be cut.

CR Del Norte up 17% in enrollment

College of the Redwoods’ spring semester enrollment increased by 12.7 percent for spring semester 2009 compared to spring semester 2008.

The Del Norte campus is up 17 percent in full-time students for spring 2009 compared to spring semester 2008.

Four-legged specialist

Kenya makes her debut in school search

Suzie Spehling and Kenya, her bomb-sniffing dog who works for the Crescent City Police Department. The Daily Triplicate/Bryant Anderson
She doesn’t get a paycheck, but the Crescent City Police Department’s newest member could be one of the most important on the force, said Chief Doug Plack.

Kenya, a 75-pound black German shepherd, is the only certified bomb-sniffing canine in five counties, according to her handler, Suzie Spehling of Fort Dick.

Kenya got her first real work when a bomb threat shut down Del Norte High School earlier this month. She also made a public appearance at the City Council meeting Monday.

“Kenya is my dog and we actually got the program through funds raised by the citizens of Del Norte County,” said Spehling.

‘Secret shopper’ letter scam targets locals

Local residents should beware of a scam that starts with a letter and a personal check for up to $4,500, authorities said Thursday.

“We get reports of three or four of these scam attempts a day,” said Del Norte County sheriff’s Detective Bob Barber. “The Secret Service has a whole division investigating scams like these.”

The letter states, with improper grammar, “our company is a ‘SECRET SHOPPER’ employment firm that specializes in conducting research to assist corporations evaluates and improves the quality of customer service provided to their clients.”

The letter goes on to say that as one of the people selected to take part in the program “you will be representing our firm as Research Personnel or Customer Service Evaluator of selected merchant outlets and service providers in your area.”

Police Logs February 20, 2009

Eating as they learn

Middle-schoolers like the taste of garden classroom

Rachel Hogan picks lettuce Tuesday while taking part in a Sustainable Living class at Crescent Elk Middle School. The Daily Triplicate/Bryant Anderson
Joe Gillespie figures the best way to get kids interested in growing food is to let them eat it.

As long as there’s a little ranch dressing around.

Many teenagers would scoff at eating such things as broccoli and cabbage and brussels sprouts. However in Gillespie’s “Sustainable Living” class at Crescent Elk Middle School, they seem to relish the idea of planting a seed and watching it grow into something edible.

Holding up a “sampler” bundle of red, white and yellow onion sets on Tuesday, Gillespie explains to his eighth-graders how to dig trenches in the soil bed and then cover up the roots so the onion sprouts are sticking straight up.

“Then they’ll grow — right in front of your eyes — into big, beautiful onions,” he said.

Driver resuscitated after 101 rollover rollover

Rescue workers extract a man from his vehicle Wednesday morning along U.S. Hwy. 101. The Daily Triplicate/Bryant Anderson
A Klamath man had to be resuscitated more than once Wednesday morning after a wreck on U.S. Highway 101 south of Hamilton Road, the California Highway Patrol said.

The CHP said a heart attack may have caused the accident.

Carl Whitworth, 68, was driving his 1987 Ford F-150 pickup north on U.S. Highway 101 at around 10 a.m. when the truck drifted off the road and onto the east shoulder of the highway, said the CHP.

Dog gets caught in a trap, loses half a paw

A Lake Earl family’s dog that was gone for two weeks is back home, missing half a paw after being caught in a trap.

Karen and Ron Plechaty live near Lake Earl with their two children and golden lab Arrow.

“He disappeared one day about two weeks ago,” said Ron Plechaty. “It was real hard on the kids, so we searched all around the lake and put up flyers.”

Two weeks later, a family that also lives on the lake responded to a flyer at the Fort Dick Market and brought Arrow back to the Plechatys.

The family told the Plechatys that  when Arrow was found, he was caught in a trap on the shore of Lake Earl.

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