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Reporter's Notebook published March 9, 2013

Free speech reigns at Post Office as protesters spark complaints

On Thursday, posters of President Barack Obama with a Hitler mustache caused a stir in front of the Crescent City post office. 

Two young men, who said they were from Seattle and declined to give their names, were distributing petitions to “impeach Obama” and handing out literature for that and other causes.

Acting postmaster Hollie Maready said many customers were complaining about the display, but when Maready called police, she was told it was legal as long as it wasn’t blocking the sidewalk.

City Councilwoman Kathryn Murray attempted to move the sandwich board signs of Obama-as-Hitler, and several other post office customers confronted the group, but free speech reigned even when comparing the president to one of history’s most notorious dictators and mass-murderers.

— Adam Spencer

Cocktail hour

Howland Hill Road and Elk Valley Road were on fire with activity Monday, literally.

Authorities responded to Howland Hill around 10:45 p.m. after a report of a Molotov cocktail being thrown in the road. It was extinguished by the time they arrived and no suspects were located.

A short while later, another cocktail was reportedly thrown near the 700 block of Elk Valley Road, and again no suspect was located.

— Anthony Skeens

Comet chases sunset

Local stargazer Rey Kleinsasser has sent out word to be on the lookout for Comet PanSTARRS low in the western sky shortly after sunset from now through March 20.

But don’t get too excited. Kleinsasser said “it will be about 3rd magnitude, about as bright as Halley’s Comet was in 1986.”

The best-known of comets was a bust 23 years ago, after apparently putting on quite a show on its previous visit in 1910.

As for PanSTARRS, “my best instructions would be to look on Tuesday, March 12, about 30 minutes after sundown, due west (you need a good view of the low western horizon),” said Kleinsasser.

“Use binoculars, preferably 50mm if you have them, because the twilight will be fairly bright. Find the very thin crescent moon, and the comet will be about two moon diameters to the left.

“Or, on Wednesday the 13th (happy birthday Rebecca), it will be about eight moon diameters below and slightly to the right of the thin crescent moon.

“Go to www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/ataglance to see a finder chart. This is where I made these instructions. I have not seen PanSTARRS; this is the prediction.”

— Richard Wiens

Blight logo unveiled

County Supervisor Roger Gitlin unveiled the logo for his Take a Bite out of  Blight program this week.

The logo, which features a Pac-man-like face devouring bottles, tires and other trash, was created by Crescent City graphics designer Liz Crockett, according to a press release from Gitlin, who represents Del Norte County District 1.

Take a Bite out of Blight will clean up some homes that have been cited by Del Norte County’s Code Enforcement Department, according to the press release. Crescent City organizations Jordan Recovery Center and Our Daily Bread Ministries will receive grants to participate in the program, which is expected to begin in April.

— Jessica Cejnar 

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