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Help with teen transition

Program aims  to prepare sixth-graders

The Crescent City Police Department and Del Norte County Unified School District is kicking off a new program to help sixth-graders make the transition from kids to teenagers.

The G.R.E.A.T. program (Gang Resistance Education and Training), is a 12-week course that starts today.

Police Officer Justin Gill and Reserve Officer Richard Enea will divide up the 180 sixth-graders at Crescent Elk Middle School and work with them on one lesson each week.

Gill, who is also the district’s school resource officer, said the program is different from a police officer going around to classrooms and talking about an issue like drugs.

“It’s more geared toward other school issues like bullying or peer pressure  — more life skills,” Gill said.

Smith River Celebrates

The Daily Triplicate/Rick Postal
Children join a community parade in Smith River to celebrate the school winning in hoops and sportsmanship at the Jaycees Basketball Tournament last weekend. For more photos of the parade go to triplicate.com/photos .

Miller wants change of attorney

Josiah Miller wants a different attorney.

The 28-year-old, who is charged with fatally stabbing Crescent City resident Michelle Dickson, made this request Tuesday while he was in Del Norte Superior Court waiting for a judge to set a new date for his preliminary hearing.

“I’m not happy with my counsel,” Miller said as his attorney, William Cater, sat next to him in the courtroom.

Judge William Follett will now hear Miller’s complaints about Cater in a closed proceeding March 17, and allow the public defender to respond to those concerns before making a decision on whether or not to appoint a new attorney to the case.

Cater was assigned as Miller’s attorney in July, shortly after authorities arrested the former Del Norte County resident in his Arcata home on suspicion of killing Dickson.

Park volunteer dies in crash

National Park Service volunteer Kathy Marchant  was killed in a single-car accident on Highway 101 on Saturday.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Marchant was traveling north about two miles south of the Mill Creek turnoff when her vehicle ran off the road and struck a redwood head-on “for unknown reasons.”

Marchant, 49, was pronounced dead at the scene, the CHP said.

The native of Lincoln, Neb., was in the process of moving from Klamath, said Jim Smith of CalFire in an email to the Triplicate.

“She was a park volunteer and the local park staff had just helped pack up her home in Klamath,” Smith said. “They were only a few minutes behind her when they came across the accident.”

Accused killer’s hearing delayed

Defense attorney says more evidence needed

Read more...The preliminary hearing for Josiah Miller, the man accused of killing 23-year-old Michelle Dickson, was delayed Monday after his attorney asked for a continuance at a court proceeding in Del Norte Superior Court.

The hearing, when the prosecution will attempt to prove there is sufficient evidence to justify the charges against him, was scheduled to begin Wed­nesday. But Miller’s attorney, William Cater, wanted more time to gather and review evidence from the Del Norte County District Attorney’s Office.

“I’m not getting the materials that I need from the District Attorney’s Office in order to prepare the defense,” Cater said after court Monday. He said District Attorney Mike Riese “has more than I do at this point.”

Riese, who agreed to continue the proceedings, said he would meet with Cater to ensure they both have the same evidence. This will likely postpone proceedings until late April or early May, pending a judge’s decision that is expected to come today.

6 years in abuse case

Ex-teaching aide bound for prison

A former Del Norte County Unified School District teaching assistant has been sentenced to six years in prison in a child molestation case.

Read more...Michael John Kozak, 36, previously pleaded guilty to lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14.

Kozak coerced an 11-year-old girl  to his home so he could touch her inappropriately last October, according to court documents.

He was arrested in November after he showed pornography to the victim and “told her this is how you can feel good,” said District Attorney Mike Riese during a sentencing hearing last week.

According to court documents, the molestations occurred in Kozak’s gar­age, where he kept a studio and taught art lessons to students.

Beach Burn

Fire guts the car of Crescent City resident Max Cuellar on Saturday at Point St. George. Cuellar said he had just had $5,000 worth of repairs done on the car. Submitted photo

Assessor warns of property tax scam

A Los Angeles-based company has been sending out letters advertising a property tax reassessment service that Del Norte County does for free, the county Assessor’s Office said.

Assessor Louise Wilson said the letter “has been sent to a lot of counties throughout the state and it does look authentic, like it would be from a county government.”

Wilson said she did not want to accuse the company, which the office identified as “Prop­erty Tax Reassessment,” of doing anything illegal, but said she disagreed with people being charged for a service California counties provide for free.

“It’s a $179 service, and if you don’t pay it, then there’s a $30 late fee,” she said. “At the county — it’s free.”

She said no letters have been turned into her office yet, but wanted to let Del Norte residents know before letters arrive here.
“They have seen a few in Humboldt County,” said Wilson.

Theft reports on upswing


blame drugs

and economy

Theft of everything from property to identities is on the rise in Del Norte County, and county and city authorities believe drugs and the economy are to blame.

“It seems to have a lot to do with the current state of the community,” said sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Morris. “And I think it has a lot to do with drugs.”

State official visits county schools

'Wonderful schools here,’ Rotary told

Paula Campbell, president of the Cali­for­nia School Boards Association, speaks Thursday at a Rotary Club meeting. The Daily Triplicate/Michele Thomas
  Paula Campbell, president of the California School Boards Association,   visited Del Norte County schools for the first time on Thursday.

The local school board is a member of CSBA and Del Norte was just one of Campbell’s stops on a Northern California tour. She had positive things to say about the schools she saw, and told members of Crescent City’s Noon  Rotary Club to take care of their schools because the state won’t always do it.

“This has been a tumultuous year,” Campbell told the Crescent City Rotary Club on Thursday, referring to the state budget crisis that has the Del Norte County Unified School District facing a $1.4 million cut in funding.

The most recent budget agreement cuts $8 billion from California schools, she said, adding “it’s going to be horrendous.”

CSBA is made up of school board members, superintendents and senior administrative staff all over California. Local School Board member Bob Berkowitz is on the CSBA Board of Directors.

The organization, along with the League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties, has formed a task force to try to reform the state budgeting system.


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