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Schools lay off 20 temp employees

Additional employees likely to lose school district jobs

The Del Norte County Unified School District Board agreed Thursday evening to send layoff notices to 20 temporary employees.

Layoffs don’t stop there. The school board will have a special meeting on March 6 to discuss sending out more layoff notices. The board made no other decisions Thursday on how to balance the budget after new cuts to state funding were recently sent down from Sacramento.

At the Thursday meeting, several people — mostly teachers — asked the board to keep as many employees as possible.
“Prioritizing, compromising and unifying” was what Del Norte Teachers Association President Mike Mealue asked board members to keep in mind.

 “I hope those three words become part of the process,” he said.

California Martin, a teacher at Del Norte High School, spurred the crowd on to repeat her mantra: “We make cuts, but we keep teachers.” By repeating that over and over, perhaps it would seep into board members’ sub-conscious, she said.
“Tell yourselves that,” Martin said, “then it’ll happen.”

Miller receives national award

Elk Valley Rancheria Chairman Dale Miller, left, receives the Tribal Leader of the Year award from Bill Lomax, president of the Native American Finance Officers Association. Submitted Photo
Elk Valley Rancheria Chairman Dale A. Miller was named Tribal Leader of the Year by the Native American Finance Officers Association on Feb. 10 at a conference in Las Vegas.

Miller was recently re-elected to a  third term as chairman of the rancheria.

“This was the first time I ever received a national award,” Miller said. “I am both humbled and proud to have received this honor from NAFOA. I believe it speaks strongly about Elk Valley’s commitment to our people, our heritage and our vision.”

“Chairman Miller has done a great job leading Elk Valley Rancheria at home and representing the tribe on a national scale,” said Bill Lomax, president of NAFOA. “It is inspiring to see how Elk Valley Rancheria has advanced under his leadership.”

Tribal chairmen such as Miller “must take financial issues into account for almost every decision they make,” Lomax said, adding Miller is “a great financial leader.”

This is the second year in a row Elk Valley Rancheria has been honored. Last year its chief financial officer, Jay Cholwell, was chosen as CFO of the Year by the NAFOA.

Police Logs February 27, 2009

Who’s responsible?

Program targets waste that can’t be thrown away

Batteries are among items handled separately from other waste at the Transfer Station. The Daily Triplicate/Bryant Anderson
Del Norte County will soon have a pilot program that, if successful, could be expanded to all of California.

The Del Norte Solid Waste Authority is in the process of starting a product stewardship program for all batteries in which local businesses that sell the batteries may take them back for free after they’ve been used in an effort to keep them out of landfills.

The program could end up being a model for product stewardship legislation at the state level, said Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority director Kevin Hendrick.

Product stewardship refers to efforts to shift the responsibility for paying for the disposal of hazardous materials from the general public to the material manufacturers and consumers.

Lawsuit filed in fatal wreck

Driver still faces charges as well

An Oregon woman facing manslaughter charges in a fatal wreck in Smith River last year is being sued by the wife of the man who died.

Terressa D. Breidel, 41, of Pistol River, Ore., was arrested on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence of drugs causing injury or death, and possession of a controlled substance after the collision last Oct. 24.

The California Highway Patrol  said at the time that in addition to driving under the influence of drugs, Breidel may have been sending a text message on her cellular phone when she drove her Ford Explorer into the back of a line of stopped cars on Highway 101 south of Rowdy Creek Road.

Ronald L. Rudisill, 63, of Smith River, was killed in the four-vehicle pileup.

Fewer stores sell cigarettes to minors, officials report

The number of cigarettes sold to minors in Del Norte County is apparently going down, according to the   Department of Health and Human Services.

Health officials and two underage youths recruited from Del Norte High School spent Jan. 31 going store to store in an operation the department described as a “survey” rather than a “sting.”

If this had been a sting, the first violation could cost a business $600, with a maximum penalty for up to five violations being $6,000.

Instead, businesses that sold cigarettes to one of the underage youths  were sent a warning letter putting them on notice to expect follow-up visits when health officials will be accompanied by law enforcement personnel.

Bomb threat forces Flynn Center evacuations

Searchers find  no explosives inside building

From left to right: Police Chief Doug Plack, Police Sergeants Garrett Scott and Eric Capon assess the situation at the command center set up near the Flynn Center as Fire Chief Steve Wakefield (in yellow) attends to the people evacuated from the building. (The Daily Triplicate/Kurt Madar)
A bomb threat that forced county officials to evacuate the Flynn Administration Center on Wednesday afternoon was determined to be a hoax.

After blocking traffic on the streets surrounding the building at the corner of 9th and H streets, law enforcement officials and firefighters took nearly three hours to investigate whether the threat was real.

Business trip goes awry

Men caught with pot may have ties to dispensaries

Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Morris displays the marijuana confiscated after a CHP traffic stop Monday night. The Daily Triplicate/Bryant Anderson
A broken headlight landed two men in the Del Norte County Jail on Monday evening after about 4 and a half pounds of marijuana were found in their vehicle during a search, authorities said.

The men, who also were carrying piles of $100 bills and medical-marijuana recommendation forms, are suspected of involvement with two Los Angeles-area marijuana dispensaries, according to the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office.

“It looks like they were buying Northern California marijuana for a dispensary down south,” sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Morris said Tuesday.

Daniel Michael Sosa, 26, of Los Angeles, and Max Pascal Cohen, 25, of Roslyn, N.Y., were arrested on suspicion of transportation of marijuana, possession of the drug for sale, and conspiracy.

Sosa was out on $25,000 bail by Tuesday afternoon after “he used his only phone call to call his lawyer,” said Morris.

District prepares layoff notices

After a study session to brainstorm how to trim the budget earlier this week, the Del Norte County Unified School District Board will continue talking about where to make big and little snips Thursday.

The district is now facing more cuts in state funding than had been expected for the remainder of this school year and a total of about $1.4 million in cuts for the 2009-2010 year.

A major expenditure for the district is payroll, and layoff notices for the next school year have to be sent off by March 15. Hence, a decision will have to be made soon.

The board will be looking at other possible money-savers, including increasing class sizes, reducing seventh- and eighth-grade athletics, and transferring more sixth-graders to a middle school.

“We’re continuing the discussion,” said Superintendent Jan Moorehouse. “One decision the board could take action on is temporary staff.”

Finigan fined for 2004 gift of plane ride

A free private jet ride to a Southern California party in 2004 cost Del Norte County Supervisor David Finigan $610 in 2009.

The California Fair Political Practices Commission recently fined Finigan this amount for accepting the free flight because the reported $600 cost of the 2004 trip exceeded the state’s $340 limit on gift contributions an elected official could receive from a single source in a calendar year.

Finigan said Tuesday he wasn’t aware of the state-imposed limits on gifts in 2004, but he said that at the time he was more concerned with making sure he reported each contribution he received.

“It was a private plane, so what I did is I reported what would have been the cost of a one-way trip,” Finigan said. “I overestimated the cost is probably what I did.”

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