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Updated 3:10pm - Apr 16, 2014
Updated 3:46pm - Apr 15, 2014

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Celebration of a local centenarian

Photo by Mark Larson Valeria Damm (Del Ponte) is assisted by her daughter, Maurya Smith, during the 100th birthday celebration. Photo by Mark Larson
Long-time resident Valeria Damm (Del Ponte) Van Zanten celebrated her 100th birthday with family, friends and former students on Saturday, Aug. 17, at the Addie Meedom House in Crescent City.

She was born on Aug. 19, 1913.

She was joined in the celebration by her sister, Rena Tryon, 92, of Hiouchi, and family; her daughter Maurya Smith and family of Redding; her son Darol Damm and family of Fortuna; grandson Lance Smith and family of San Mateo; granddaughter Jeannie Stillwell and family of Crescent City, and grandson Larry Smith, of Seattle.

The youngest relative in attendance was Van Zanten’s great-grandchild, Reagan Jacobs, 8 months old, with her mother Rachel Jacobs, of Ripon, Calif. Many other family members were among the 150-plus guests.

A life-long resident of Del Norte and Humboldt counties, Van Zanten graduated from Humboldt State University in 1934. Her 100th birthday is in the same year as HSU celebrates its centennial.

She began teaching at Klamath Union School near the Klamath River.

Jim Fisher, 87, of Ukiah, one of her former students there, attended the birthday celebration with his wife, Lillian.


’63 reunion set

The Del Norte High School Class of 1963 Reunion will be held Sept. 13–15 in Crescent City. The following events are planned.

Friday, Sept. 13: 

Golf Tournament (scramble format), 1 p.m., Kings Valley Golf Course. Cost is $14 for 18 holes.

DNHS visitation, 3:30 p.m. Can you find your locker? Do you remember you had a locker? Can you remember your locker combination? Meet in the school parking lot.

Welcome party, 6 p.m., Torero’s Family Mexican Restaurant, 400 Hwy. 101 North.

Saturday, Sept. 14:

Picnic in the Park, 11 a.m.–3 p.m., Florence Keller Park, Elk Valley Crossroad. Bring your own food and drink.


Scholastic: Roeloffs

Sheryl A. Roeloffs of Crescent City, recently graduated from Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore., with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing.


Scholastic: Andrew Fallman

Andrew Fallman recently graduated from Southern Oregon University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a minor in digital media technology and a certificate in Native American studies.

He is a 2008 graduate of Del Norte High School and the youngest son of James and Maryanne Fallman of Crescent City.


A rare glimpse of the upper Chetco

4-day journey is far from a leisurely float downstream

Ryan Saevitz navigates the Upper Chetco near charred remains of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. Photo Courtesy of Northwest Rafting Company
Nestled in the southwest corner of Oregon lies the Chetco River, a remarkably clear stream with hints of emerald green, known for 50-pound salmon and described by many as one of the last places to experience a truly wild and remote river trip as its upper reaches cut through the heart of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness.

Because of its little-known nature and difficult access, only two river outfitters have ever offered trips on the National Wild and Scenic Chetco River, with the latest company, Northwest Rafting Company, just completing its inaugural commercial trip this summer.

“There are very few places left like the Chetco where you just won’t see anybody else there,” said Zach Collier, co-owner of Northwest Rafting Company, who worked tirelessly to get the first commercial permit for the river in more than 10 years. Northwest’s trip was rated as one of the top 10 new travel adventure trips of 2013 in the entire world by USA Today — the only American trip on the list.  


Car show set Sat. in Smith R.

The 16th annual MDA Car Show will be held at the Lucky 7 Casino in Smith River on Saturday.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the show continues until 4 p.m.

Up-and-coming country singer Destyni of Bandon, Ore., will perform starting at 1 p.m.

Anyone interested in classic cars as well as hot rods should find the show entertaining. If you have an interesting car, bring it and enter — it doesn’t have to be old to be a classic.

More than 30 prizes will be awarded in a raffle, and a 50/50 drawing will take place at 3 p.m.

The casino is preparing food on site as well as at the restaurant inside.

For information, call Tom Lee, 707-487-0611.


See a movie made just up the road

Frequent Bigoot sightings were one of the results of a film crew shooting “Love in the Time of Monsters” at Patrick Creek Lodge. Del Norte Triplicate file / Bryant Anderson
Tickets on sale for local screening of 'Monsters' film

Time is running out for folks to get their tickets for the Crescent City screening of “Love in the Time of Monsters.”

Los Angeles-based producer Andy Gunn, director Matt Jackson, writer Michael Skvarla, actors Doug Jones and Paul Ella and others will tread the red carpet at Crescent City Cinema for the film’s first public screening Sept. 7.

Social hour begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session with the director and writer.  The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available through this weekend, said Jennifer Young, a Lighthouse Repertory Theatre member who helped cast locals as extras. Proceeds will benefit the LRT and Del Norte Search and Rescue.

The creators of “Love in the Time of Monsters” spent all of May 2012 at Patrick Creek Lodge, transforming the local get-away in the woods into Uncle Slavko’s Funtime Lodge, a tourist trap that specializes in Bigfoot tours with costumed actors. Two sisters show up to surprise one of the actors, the fiance of one of the sisters, only to find they have been contaminated by a toxic waste and have become zombified. The women stay on at the lodge even though it’s under attack to see if they can find a cure.


Did you vote for Red’s?

Bill Thomas in the projection room at Red’s Drive-In. Del Norte Triplicate file / Bryant Anderson
Local drive-in theater needs help 

The opportunity is still out there to help Del Norte County’s local drive-in theater weather the digital conversion.

Red’s Crescent Drive-in is one of roughly 60 drive-ins across the country participating in Honda’s Project Drive-in promotion. The car company will award digital movie projectors to five drive-in theaters. Winners will be decided by the number of votes a theater receives.

Red’s is the only drive-in theater in California participating in Honda’s promotion, according to projectdrivein.com. Votes will be accepted until Sept. 9. The winners will be announced at the end of September.

Honda’s promotion coincides with Hollywood’s intention to distribute movies in a digital-only format by the end of the year. According to Bert Thomas, whose family has operated the theater since 1980, a new digital projector could cost an estimated $70,000. That doesn’t include upgrading the theater’s sound system.

To participate in Project Drive-in and vote for Red’s Crescent Drive-in, visit projectdrivein.com. To vote via cell phone, text Vote87 to 444999.


Around Del Norte: Remembering good old days

Nate Bull outside the Triplicate offices recently. Del Norte Triplicate / Laura Wiens
It’s been almost half a century since Nate Bull went to work as news editor at the Del Norte Triplicate. He lives in Grants Pass these days, but still makes it back for a visit at least once a year. Recently, the 75-year-old stopped off at his old stomping grounds.

Back then, he said, Crescent City was “a tough town with loggers, fishermen and miners. There were 20 mills when I moved here.”

Nate arrived in especially tough times, just a couple of months after the March 1964 tsunami devastated downtown Crescent City. The place was “a real mess.”

The Triplicate had lost its building, including its press, and it was being printed in Arcata with the finished papers hauled back to Del Norte. Its temporary quarters were in an old warehouse at Fifth and H streets, which had been used by the Roeder funeral home. “There were empty caskets all around my work area,” he recalled.

Talk about deadlines.

“It was real competitive having two papers on the same block,” said Nate, referring to the Triplicate and the Crescent City American. It was also a time when Crescent City had “four car dealers and barges in the harbor for the shipping of plywood out of here.”

“It was a really close-knit town, but you never became a local if you weren’t born here. It was an exciting time for a news guy, there was always something breaking here.”

Things got a little too exciting several months after his arrival, when the December 1964 floods turned the Klamath and Smith rivers into raging torrents and tore out bridges, including the Highway 101 bridge over the Klamath that was Del Norte’s only ground access to the south.

Suddenly, driving the product to Arcata for printing wasn’t an option.


Del Norte People: Retracing childhood paths in Nevada

Chuck Blackburn in Nevada in 1946. Submitted
Of all the stories I have shared over the years and written in my book, “Kneebockers,” my childhood with my father Wes in Reno, and Virginia City, Nev., in 1946 are among my favorites.

What an experience for a young lad of 10 to have driven out west in a ’36 Plymouth with my dad from northern New York state. His guidance, his patience, his desire to raise his son of 10 years old in the Old West atmosphere had to be a high priority to him. We spent nearly every weekend out in the Nevada desert and in the mountains exploring and prospecting for gold and silver or anything else that was shiny in the quartz rock.

He taught me everything, including how to handle a gun and shoot accurately. What a feeling of responsibility I had in strapping on a belt and holster for a .22 pistol during our treks in the Nevada desert. We camped out most Saturday nights with a great mesquite fire to cook dinner and my favorite, bacon and eggs, hashbrowns, toast and hot coffee for breakfast the next morning. The fire felt good as nights on the high desert can get chilly.

We visited a lot of old mine sites and a few that still had picks and shovels tilted against the tunnel walls. There were even mortar and pestles made out of rock to grind their corn.

These were great times for a father and son. We pounded on rock outcroppings on the cliffs to look for signs of minerals, but the weight of these samples told you they held some minerals.

These adventures to me are so vivid in my mind and they show me now, at 77, how important that it was coming out West in 1946 with my dad. I left my mom and two brothers to take this crossroads in my life, and I know today that was in God’s plan for me and my dad. We built such a great bond together as I learned so much from him.

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