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City took in $800k surplus

Staffing shortages kept expenses under budget

The Crescent City Council delved into the ledgers Monday, looking at revenues and expenditures for fiscal year 2014-15, as well as upcoming spending.

For the most part, what the city spent last year was near what had been budgeted. The general fund actually brought in more revenue and spent less than what had been anticipated, by the difference of $828,281 for a nearly $5 million budget, according to Finance Director Emily Boyd’s presentation of the city’s unaudited results of operations.

The sewer fund fared better than had been anticipated, in part because the city wasn’t able to recruit a project manager, though it had budgeted for it. Less was spent on personnel, and as a result, less was spent on planned projects, as the lack of staffing prohibited their implementation, Boyd said.

Library reopening awaits asbestos lab test results

The Del Norte County Library main branch in Crescent City has been under an emergency closure due to water damage since lOct. 15, moving today’s library board meeting to an alternate location. The board will be discussing the formation of a committee for a building replacement project.

The library board’s 9 a.m. meeting will be held at the Del Norte Reads building, 1080 Mason Mall # 9, as the library awaits lab results on possible asbestos exposure after part of a wall was removed for water damage repairs.

Library Manager Teena Capshaw said the library was built after the OSHA cut-off date for asbestos, making it less likely to have the toxic material, but said safety comes first.  Capshaw requested an overnight rush on the lab results Wednesday and said the library would open as soon as clear results are received. That could be as early as this afternoon or as late as Saturday morning, she said.  All other work for the water damage has already been completed.

McGuire touts fulfilling promise with Tues. town hall

Following through on a campaign promise “to be active and engaged and in touch with the community” even in the remotest corner of his district, state Sen. Mike McGuire will be hosting his first Del Norte County Town Hall meeting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

The meeting is at Joe Hamilton Elementary School, 1050 E St., Crescent City, and features other local and regional government officials who McGuire says will be ready to discuss and receive updates on top issues facing Del Norte and all Northern California residents.

 “Del Norte County prosperity is a priority for me and we promised to be active and engaged and in touch with the community from day one, and we are following through on that commitment,” McGuire said. “We would love to be able to have a full house. We want real-time feedback and for neighbors to come join in the conversation.”

Fish habitat: Open stream

Nanette Nickerson, staff engineer for Michael Love & Associates, demonstrates culverts installed in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park that will open up another 2 miles of stream for fish. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Editor's note: Due to a production error an incomplete version of this story ran in Thursday's Triplicate. The full story follows. 

New culverts in Jed Smith SP reopen access for aquatic life to healthy creeks

Two large culverts are now imbedded in the soil beneath Howland Hill Road where the limpid waters of unnamed creeks and their inhabitants will soon be able to pass with ease for the first time in decades.

About a half a mile apart, two rusted-out, undersized culverts fed the streams into Nickerson Creek, a tributary of Mill Creek, where one of the healthiest populations of threatened coho salmon takes refuge in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.

They had impeded aquatic animals from moving further upstream since they were installed, but a California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fisheries Restoration Grant Program, in the amount of $570,549, should change that in time for the winter rains.

Leaders train on disaster response

More than two dozen leaders from county and city entities convened Tuesday at the Crescent Fire Protection District for an all-day training on disaster preparedness. 

The eight-hour seminar, presented by FEMA, emphasized the importance of ensuring the maintenance of essential government services during the scramble and acute crisis of an emergency situation. Various modules, discussions and presentations focused on communication, cooperation and advance planning.  

“We concentrate a lot on the response,” said Cindy Henderson, emergency services manager for the county, “but we need to also talk about the recovery. That’s a long, drawn-out process and we need to have something written down. I think county, special districts, and the city need to talk about this so when it comes time for a national disaster we’ll be way ahead of the ballgame.” 

Officer in raid video charged with theft

Pelican Bay State Prison Correctional Officer Matthew Yates, 34, is facing misdemeanor theft charges, accused of taking $100 from a suspect arrested last March in a drug sting.

Yates was part of a group of correctional officers assisting Del Norte Sheriff’s deputies in executing a search warrant March 9 at the home of James Banuelos. A surveillance videotape appeared to show Yates and other prison guards stealing cash from Banuelos, sparking a lengthy investigation by the FBI. 

Yates is the only officer who will be charged based on evidence collected by the FBI, according to District Attorney Dale Trigg.

Timber haulers offered grant

If you’re cruising in the Crescent City environs lately you may have noticed a new series of banners at key spots in the county; if you’re a timber trucker, you may want to pull over and read those signs.

“Hauling Logs? Grant $$$ Available!,” they proclaim, with a phone number to the Air Quality Management District in Eureka. Short and straightforward, fingers-crossed for high impact in reaching solo operators driving through the Del Norte section of the North Coast on U.S. 199 or U.S. 101.

The grant money at hand is essentially a stipend encouraging drivers to upgrade to a more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly vehicle for transporting lumber. Qualified applicants are eligible for up to $60,000 in assistance toward a newer truck, which amounts to a 30 or 40 percent discount in the out-of-pocket expenses. In exchange, program participants need to scrap their old vehicle and pledge in good conscience to drive the new one for at least three years.

Red's sold; will be storage unit facility

After years of struggling to remain open, the local drive-in theater — a Del Norte institution for more than six decades — will close its doors for good this month.

Red’s Crescent Drive-in entered escrow about two weeks ago, said Bill Thomas, whose family has operated the theater since 1980. The Thomases are expected to move out by Oct. 30.

According to Bert Thomas, Gary and Todd Hartwick are the property’s new owners. The new owners do not plan to continue operating the drive-in, according to the theater’s Facebook page.

Del Norte Library closed due to water damage

The Del Norte County Library is closed for much of this week because of water damage.

Library Manager Teena Capshaw said the facility will be closed until at least Thursday, but the book drop will be available for people who need to return items. All fines will be forgiven, she said.

For more information, call the library at 464-9794 or visit www.delnortecountylibrary.org.

Fall rain will bring road closures in Six Rivers

Fall rains, when they come, will mark the start of seasonal road closures to reduce the risk of spreading Port-Orfard-cedar root disease, the Six Rivers National Forest announced Friday.

In the Gasquet Ranger District and Smith River National Recreation Area, closures include Forest Service Roads 18N17 and 18N16 and their spurs, portions of 18N07, the upper section of 18N08, nine miles up 16N02 and its spurs, the upper section of 16N03 and spurs, the upper section of 15N01, about 11 miles up and spurs beyond that point; and four miles up 14N01 and spurs.

Additional road closures will be in effect on smaller routes, not specified in the notice.

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