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Schell visit 'helps keep the energy...alive'

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By Cornelia de Bruin

Triplicate staff writer

Wayne Schell, president and CEO of the California Association for Local Development, has also been listening to Del Norte County residents.

In town since Sunday, at the invitation of Board of Supervisors Chairman David Finigan, part-time resident Bill Stamps Jr. and Sen. Sam Aanestad (Grass Valley), Schell also has met with community representatives.

"He's been here before, but he didn't want to come back because the community was not ready for change," said Chris Howard, chamber president said. "He's seen the tone change to one of an actual vision that a couple of groups are ready to take charge and focus on the issues around HAS199.com."

Those issues are the highest priority economic development projects as identified by the Council of Economic Advisors and adopted by the Tri-Agency Economic Development Authority, which Kim Schmidt administers.

The moniker comprises the first letters of the issues: harbor, airport, sewer/wastewater, highways 199/197 road access and broadband/telecommunications.

"He knows these things need to happen," Howard said. "That's what needs to get done, making our work force strong."

Howard is glad Schell came.

"It helps keep the energy from the Beurle visit alive," he said. "The important thing is that everyone is talking about it, recognizing that development in the community and the work force needs help."

Kevin Hartwick, who serves on the Council of Economic Advisors, also attended

one of Schell's sessions. He was one of a group of four who met together Tuesday, calling the session "good."

"He asked me a couple of opening questions that allowed me to open up about economic development," Hartwick said. "I believe the course we've been on, the key areas of HAS199.com, has enabled us to set the foundation for other things like business recruitment."

Elected officials and those in city and county management positions believe that business recruitment can become "a focus once we have crossed the finish line with HAS199.com," Hartwick said.

"We need to have the community looking and feeling its best before we recruit business," Hartwick said. "I think everyone acknowledges that, I think a lot of people would like to do that now, but we need to get some of the core issues nailed down."

He referred to core issues such as poverty, household income and unemployment, the unattractive image the city presents, and fragmentation of dissension among community members.

Hartwick said he feels the community "culture" has moved out of reacting to its losses, and wants to go forward.

"I think they'll see the community in a different light," Hartwick said about Schell and his team. "Our activities can work together; this is not a mutually exclusive process."

Neither Schell nor Finigan could be reached for this story. Stamps and Aanestad did not return calls placed for their comments.

Schell's Meeting List

Wayne Schell's visit included a series of meetings with:

•Will Caplinger, Crescent City planner

•Eli Naffah and Jim Barnts, city manager, public works director

•Bob Berkowitz, Del Norte Unified School District board member

•Tom Cochran, Del Norte Unified School District board member

•Larry Lakes, Rural Human Services director

•Jeannine Galatioto and Jay Sarina, Del Norte County chief

administration officer, deputy administration officer

•Jay Freeman, Hambro Forest Products vice president/controller

•Ray Geary, College of the Redwoods, Del Norte

•Kim Schmidt and Mario Deiro, Tri-Agency Economic Authority,

Council of Economic Advisors

•Russ Crabtree and Kara Miller

•Kelly Schellong, Crescent City Council

•Kevin Hartwick, Council of Economic Advisors

•Gerry Hemmingsen and Mike Sullivan, county supervisors, and

Dale Miller

•Rich Young, Crescent City harbormaster

•Ernie Perry and Jim Bernard, Community Development Department

•Chris Howard, Crescent City-Del Norte Chamber of Commerce

president

•Tamara Buchanan, Local Transportation Commission director

•Dan Brattain, Airport Board chairman

•Jan Moorehouse, Del Norte County Unified School District

•Del Norte County Board of Supervisors meeting

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