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Smoke alarms were disabled

Smoke alarms save lives.

The scene at Sunday’s fatal fire at the Pebble Beach Apartments. The Daily Triplicate/Bryant Anderson
Two recent fires in Crescent City, including one that killed a mother and seriously burned her 6-year-old son, could have been less severe if either residence had a working smoke alarm, said fire investigators.

“Smoke alarms are so critical in saving lives,” said Calfire Battalion Chief Jim Smith. “Checking your smoke alarm is the most important thing you can do to protect your family from fire.”

Investigators of the fire at the Pebble Beach Apartments at 8th and C streets found that the smoke alarms in the residence had been disabled, despite a form signed when Victoria Di Silvestro moved in that stated the alarms were present and active.

The fire started in a heating mat on a couch in the lower level of the two-story apartment. Di Silvestro and her son, Anthony, were found upstairs. Firefighters said she died shielding Anthony, who is now being treated at a Portland hospital.

Elk Valley selects interim G.M.

Larry Johnson
Elk Valley Rancheria has selected an interim general manager for Elk Valley Casino on Howland Hill Road.

Larry J. Johnson was chosen for his more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality, food, and gaming industries. He most recently served as general manager for the Coyote Valley Casino in Redwood Valley.

“Larry will be a strong leader for Elk Valley Casino,” said Dale A. Miller, Chairman of Elk Valley Rancheria, in a statement. “His depth of experience will be a great asset to us as we improve and expand our customer loyalty.”

Johnson said he is looking forward to his new position at the casino.

“This is going to be a great experience for all of us,” he said. “I am really looking forward to getting acquainted with the staff, our customers and the community.”

Woman ‘a hero,’ firefighters say

‘She was using her body to shield her son’

Victoria Di Silvestro “died a hero,” firefighters said Tuesday.

At 5 a.m. Sunday morning a fire caused by a heating mat on a couch broke out in the downstairs of the home she shared with her 6 year-old son in the Pebble Beach Apartments.

Anthony Bookhammer
When firefighters found Di Silvestro, 36, in the thick black smoke they rolled her over to get her out and discovered the boy, Anthony Bookhammer,  beneath her.

“She died protecting her son,” said Crescent Fire Protection District volunteer Darrin Short. “She was using her body to shield her son.”

“They came out of there saying, ‘You won’t believe this, she was up there shielding her son,’” Short said. “We really want people to know what she did. She died a hero.”

Serious sun run forecast

Blue skies could last for a while
A sunny Tuesday at South Beach is enjoyed by Crescent City resident Jackson Bowen, 3. The Daily Triplicate/Bryant Anderson
Local residents and visitors should be able to enjoy sun-soaked weather through the weekend and beyond.

“To have a dry period in January is not atypical, but to have a dry period this long is unusual,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Reginald Kennedy.

Kennedy said Crescent City hit a record high temperature of 69 degrees Monday, with the previous record on that day at 67 degrees in 1981.

“We’re looking for things to be returning to something more typical by  Wednesday or Thursday next week,” when a storm system out of the Gulf of Alaska could bring rain, said Kennedy.

Dissent on board over new leaders

Hemmingsen new chairman of supervisors

Controversy kicked off the new year at the first Del Norte County Board of Supervisors meeting of 2009.

After the selection of Gerry Hemmingsen as chairman and Mike Sullivan as vice-chairman, another  supervisor complained that some board members ignored protocol and came to an agreement on who to select for those positions before Tuesday’s meeting.

“It’s just unfortunate to see politics rather than process,” District 2 Supervisor Martha McClure said after the meeting. “It felt very orchestrated.”

Typically, when a chairperson is selected at the beginning of each new year, McClure said the proper decorum is to have the vice chair from the previous year take the lead seat on the board. In this instance it would have been District 1 Supervisor Leslie McNamer’s turn, since she was the vice chair the previous two years.

CHP: Van’s beach plunge was an ‘intentional act’

Officers watch Monday as the van is hoisted back onto Pebble Beach Drive. The Daily Triplicate/Richard Wiens
The van that tumbled over an embankment on Pebble Beach Drive on Monday night was apparently  pushed, authorities said Tuesday.

The van’s owner told the California Highway Patrol that it had been stolen the same evening.

“It looks like an intentional act,” said CHP Officer Don Bloyd, who added, “we have a suspect under investigation,” but no arrests have been made yet.

“As far as I know, someone pushed it off, but I don’t know who,” Bloyd said.

The van’s owner, Lyle Snook, 73, said he was questioned Monday night after CHP found his insurance information inside the crushed van.

Collisions at hospital injure 2

Two collisions, including a hit and run, occurred in front of Sutter Coast Hospital within a few hours of each other Monday, injuring two women.

A woman allegedly fled in her SUV Monday afternoon after her vehicle hit another woman who was pushing a stroller with a baby in a crosswalk on Washington Boulevard, according to California Highway Patrol reports.

The CHP is still looking for the silver Ford Excursion and the driver, said Officer Don Bloyd.

Amanda Fulton, 21, of Crescent City, suffered minor injuries and had a complaint of “a tingling sensation to her left thigh,” said the report, which noted the baby was not injured.

Empty van goes over cliff

Crescent City Fire Protection District firefighters inspect a van that rolled off Pebble Beach Drive. The Daily Triplicate/Bryant Anderson
A blue Ford van rolled off a cliff to the beach below Pebble Beach Road last night.

“Apparently there was no one in the van,” said Sgt. Steve Hablitzel of the California Highway Patrol (CHP).

At approximately 8 p.m., a resident who lives off Pebble Beach Road on Macken Street reported, after hearing a loud crash, that a car had driven off Pebble Beach Road, Hablitzel said.

“A white male wearing a dark watch cap was seen leaving the area shortly after the accident,” said Officer A. Randall of the CHP. “All of our eyewitness accounts came shortly after the incident.”

Goose Festival to skip a year

Annual event falls  victim of weak economy

Rick Hiser makes buttons for the 2008 Goose Festivle. The Daily Triplicate/Bryant Anderson
After watching the economic crisis that has troubled the nation for the last six months, Aleutian Goose Festival organizers have decided to postpone the event for a year.

Held annually for the last decade, the festival celebrates the recovery of the once-endangered Aleutian Cackling Goose. The weekend event includes workshops and field trips such as watching the geese take off at dawn, drift boat trips on the Smith River, walking in the footsteps of the Tolowa Tribe, learning about the Klamath River and Yurok Tribe and the fundamentals of birding.

The steering committee for the festival determined it had enough money from last year to put the event on, but would probably lose out in the end.

City planner leaves post for Oregon

Replacement sought for Will Caplinger

Will Caplinger
Just as Crescent City completed its nearly eight-month search for a city manager, it again finds itself with a high-level vacancy at City Hall.

Crescent City Planner Will Caplinger, who is also the town’s economic development specialist, recently announced his resignation to take a job in Oregon.

“We’ll be looking for some way to fill it in the interim basis,” said Michael Young, interim city manager. “We’ll get somebody here to provide some assistance over a three- or four-month period if we need it.”

Though there aren’t any major projects on the immediate horizon, Young said the city will consider hiring an outside planning consultant to take care of the day-to-day operations or asking the county to fill in on a short-term basis. The latter option, he said, could become permanent depending on talks with county officials.

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