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Emergency dispatch call logs, Oct. 16-18, 2015

Excerpts from the call logs for the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office, the Crescent City Police Department, and the Del Norte Superior Court, Oct. 16-18:

Friday, October 16

At 2:05 a.m., caller reports counterfeit bill at Elk Valley Casino.

At 3:40 a.m., caller reports hearing shots in the area near Trillium Lane and Countess Court.

At 6:42 a.m., staff at Elk Valley Casino call to request a Sheriff deputy collect the counterfeit bill.

St. Joseph's new priest: Careful with the details

Father Gregory Villaescusa became the new priest at St. Joseph Catholic Church three months ago. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
“Some people like to take the entire clock apart without knowing how it works or how to put it back together. That’s not my style. I like to look at the clock and then maybe after a while move just one piece.”

So says Father Gregory Villaescusa, the new priest at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Crescent City. Greg’s analogy between clock hobbyism and church administration hits many important marks — his avowed tendency to be long to think and slow to act, his fascination with technology, his patience, and his pedagogy. Not to mention, of course, the subtle implication of something divine, careful and creative in the image of a clock. He would probably be happy to elaborate, at length, if you found him in the parish or on the street.

Villaescusa joined the community July 1 like a sort of prodigal son, raised on the West Coast and residing many years in Pennsylvania before shipping home to California. He spent his early years in downtown Los Angeles, where his father was a U.S. Marshal for the southern California Super District. The family moved north in time for his high school years, and he stayed on at Southern Oregon University studying computer science for the first part of college.

Dog adoption event today

Residents may make a new canine friend if they go to an adoption event held Saturday by the Del Norte County Animal Control and the Humane Society of Del Norte.

The event is part of Del Norte County Animal Control and the Humane Society of Del Norte’s ongoing effort to reach out to the community. It also celebrates a new mural painted on the side of the Animal Control’s kennel building by local artist Kathleen Kresa.

Unemployment rate declines in county and state overall

Del Norte’s preliminary jobless rate for September is down 1.2 percentage points from the revised August rate, but the county’s statewide unemployment ranking fell from 43rd to 44th out of California’s 58 counties.

Del Norte’s preliminary September unemployment rate is 6.9 percent compared to the August jobless rate of 8.1 percent, according to the California Employment Development Department. Last month’s unemployment rate is also 2 percentage points lower than the September 2014 jobless rate, which was 8.9 percent.

However, compared to surrounding counties, only Siskiyou’s jobless rate at 7.3 percent is higher. Humboldt’s jobless rate for September was 4.7 percent; Shasta had an unemployment rate of 6.4 percent; Trinity County’s jobless rate was 6.2 percent and Mendocino’s was 4.6 percent.

Emergency dispatch call logs, Oct. 13-15, 2015

Tuesday, October 13

At 12:24 a.m., caller reports a person attempting to pay with three counterfeit $20 bills at a business on the 1500 block of Northcrest Drive.

At 12:47 a.m., caller reports seeing and smelling thick smoke near the 100 block of Elk Valley Road.

At 3:03 a.m., caller requests extra patrol in response to a loud banging noise of unidentifiable origin near the 100 block of Essex Street.

At 5:39 a.m., caller reports attempted use of a counterfeit bill at Elk Valley Casino.

News of Record, Oct. 9-15, 2015

These are the misdemeanor and felony sentencings provided by the Del Norte County Superior Court for Oct. 9-15:

• Jessie Lynn, 33, Crescent City, was sentenced to 90 days in jail for violation of mandatory community supervision.

• Joseph Sousa, 64, Klamath, was sentenced to 180 days in jail and fined $671 for receiving stolen property.

• George Mitchell, 33, Crescent City, was sentenced to 30 days in jail for probation violation.

Steady stream of counterfeit

Innocuous counterfeit cash is still on the make in Crescent City.

Following a peak of funny-money late last month, local law enforcement opened an investigation and advised the public to stay vigilant, especially for low denomination currency. Even so, bogus bills continue to surface with more than 10 incidents among at least eight businesses reported to the police and sheriff in just the past week.

Sam Wright said he was on shift at America’s Best Value Inn when he received three counterfeit bills - two $20 bills and a $5 bill.

“By all appearance, weight, and texture, they looked and felt real. Maybe they seemed like they had been run through a washing machine, but if someone handed them to me and said ‘thanks for mowing the lawn’ I would have taken them with no doubts,” he said Monday.

Klamath Basin: Burning for forest's health

A creeping fire on the forest floor is lit to regenerate healthy plant life in an oak woodland north of Weitchpec. Del Norte Triplicate / Laura Jo Welter
 Old land management practices, long banned, make a comeback

Woodlands and prairies along the mid-Klamath River were lit aflame last week, enlivening the centuries-old practice of native people and the plants they rely on for food and regalia.

Roughly 300 acres will be burned on the Yurok Reservation this year, to clear out pests and undergrowth, Heritage Preservation Officer Bob McConnell said. The tribe hopes to build up to 1,000 acres in the coming years, eventually rotating through much of the 56,000 acres along the Klamath.

The Cultural Fire Management Council is enacting more traditional land management practices, after 100 years of federal fire suppression initiated after the “Big Blowup” of 1910 burned up 3 million acres in the west, effectively rendering cultural practices of local indigenous peoples illegal.

First 5 director changes hands

After more than a decade serving as the executive director of First 5 Del Norte, Patti Vernelson is set to retire next month. The role will be taken up Nov. 6 by Angela Glore, food programs director for the local Community Food Council and public member of the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority board.

Having headed the statewide children and families initiative in Del Norte since May of 2000, Vernelson has seen it through a number of developments important in aiding families with small children, said Commissioner David Finigan.

Under her leadership, the Family Resource Center was opened, the Wonderbus, a mobile library for kids, was established, kits for new parents were distributed, AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers were enlisted to expand programs; meanwhile, the local commission fought for rural augmentation from the state, Finigan noted.

Close race for Yurok chair

Preliminary results from Tuesday’s primary election had the top two contenders for chair of the Yurok Tribal Council a mere two votes apart.

The initial count has challenger James Dunlap ahead with 217 votes. Incumbent Thomas P. O’Rourke, Sr., who has held the position since 2010, came in next with 215.

With 200 votes, Javier I. Kinney wasn’t far behind. Marjorie Donahue Buckskin had 159, and Anthony Trombetti had 78.

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