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Tribe files dam lawsuit amicus

Yuroks join Hoopa Valley effort against Klamath dams

The Yurok tribe filed a friend of the court brief Friday in support of the Hoopa Valley Tribe's lawsuit that asks the U.S. Court of Appeals to force a federal agency to end eight years of relicensing delays for dams on the Klamath River.

Relicensing of the Klamath Hydroelectric Project might force the removal of four Klamath dams due to the costs associated with bringing the dams into environmental compliance, including fish passage and water quality improvements, versus the $300 million estimated cost of dam removal.

The Yurok filed their amicus brief Friday, just a few weeks after withdrawing support from the Klamath settlement agreements that have caused the longstanding delay in relicensing.

Assemblymen campaign for marijuana bills

Del Norte’s representative from Assembly District 2 joined two other assemblymembers in Eureka on Tuesday to champion a legislative bundle placing regulation on the production, distribution and environmental impact of medical marijuana in California.

Jim Wood, who represents all of Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties and part of Sonoma County, spoke in front of the Humboldt County Courthouse earlier this week to urge Gov. Brown to pass Assembly bills 243 and 266. Beside him were Rob Bonta, representing Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro of District 18, and Tom Lackey, representing eastern Riverside County in District 36.

AB 243 and 266 aim to support and finesse the major points of Senate Bill 643, which was introduced early this year by North Coast Sen. Mike McGuire and passed in mid-September. SB 643 imposes regulation and enhanced legitimacy on the state’s medical marijuana industry; it authorizes counties to tax cannabis-related activity, requires Gov. Brown to appoint a chief of the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation and encourages the FDA and the state Department of Public Health to oversee the quality and cultivation of the product.


Full pay restored to college employees

Focus now turns to turning around low enrollment

Employees of College of the Redwoods had their paychecks restored Tuesday afternoon following a year of cutbacks necessary to keep the school afloat when enrollment plummeted.

The Board of Trustees unanimously re-established regular salaries for managers, directors and administrators, agreeing also to send checks for a portion of the salary they missed out on in fiscal year 2014-15. These should arrive on their doorsteps Nov. 10, according to the meeting agenda packet.

Pay for faculty, associate faculty, classified and confidential staff was restored by the start of the fiscal year, said Lee Lindsey, vice president of administrative services.

Signs of season's end

The moderate-intensity flames that slowly crept through much of the Gasquet Complex cleared the way for meadows like this one to spring back after the Coon Fire died down. Submitted
 Closure orders rescinded with warning of hazards left behind in burn areas

Closure orders for roads and trails that cut through burned areas of Six Rivers National Forest’s Gasquet Ranger District were lifted at the end of last week, effectively signaling the end of wildfire season in Del Norte County.

Two of four fires ignited by lightning on July 31, the Bear and the Peak, continue to smolder, and a plume of smoke could be seen from the Peak Fire, still occupying a small portion of last weekend’s clear skies.

District Ranger Dave Palmer said that although fire crews have moved out of the area, his staff will continue to monitor these until winter rains set in.

County payroll, benefits increase

County payroll and benefits saw increases in nearly every major department, according to budget records. 

Across nine departments examined by the Triplicate, the adopted budget for fiscal year 2015–16 rose an average of 15 percent (or $664,000) in payroll and 23 percent (or $230,000) in employee benefits relative to fiscal year 2014–15. County administrator Jay Sarina said that expenses in salary and health care typically rise each year in accordance with programmed longevity raises and the increasing expense nationwide of medical treatment. He also said that the overall increase in funds (up more than 5 percent from last year’s county budget of $115 million) does not directly correlate to the rise in department budgets. Certain departments, such as administration and tax-collector, receive funds from Social Services entirely independent of the general fund coffers.

The departments examined for these figures were: administration, Board of Supervisors, assessor, auditor-controller, treasurer, tax-collector, district attorney, sheriff and probation. 

Talks seek solutions to whales tangled in crab gear

Up and down the West Coast this week, conversation continues on the best strategies for keeping whales safe from crab fishing gear. Crescent City is among those voices.

This Thursday, District 4 Supervisor Gerry Hemmingsen will go to Santa Rosa for a followup meeting of the Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group to discuss short- and long-term techniques for minimizing the entanglement of whales in commercial fishing gear.

Hemmingsen said the recent attention to crab fishing is especially relevant to port communities along the northern half of the coast, including Bodega Bay, Fort Bragg, Eureka and Crescent City.

PACE program, sewer project go forward with new City Council member on board

Monday’s City Council meeting marked the closing of one man’s career and the beginning of another’s, before it got on with business.

Eight-year member of the Crescent City Council Rich Enea was formally recognized for his years of service, having been an advocate for public safety, new business and obliterating blight.

He said he was proud to see the city develop a strategic plan during his tenure that can be implemented for the betterment of the community.

El Nio's role unclear for North Coast

As winter draws nearer, a warm, wet El Niño seems certain to soak a desiccated California, but what that means for the North Coast is less certain.  

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center gave El Niño a 95 percent chance of lasting through the winter in its latest diagnostic report, issued Sept. 10. And what’s expected is a strong one.

Between June and August, ocean surface temperatures 4 or more degrees Fahrenheit higher than normal were measured in the eastern tropical Pacific. This, coupled with low atmospheric pressure and weakened west-blowing Trade Winds, means that conditions are likely just right to send the jet stream to drench the southern United States this winter before the pattern is predicted to weaken in the spring.

Nat'l Forest plans on prescribed burns

Six Rivers National Forest officials plan to burn 442 acres in the Smith River National Recreation Area and Gasquet Ranger District this fall.

These prescribed burns are planned since autumn has brought cooler temperatures, higher relative humidity and the prospect of an actual rainy season to the area, the U.S. Forest Service announced Thursday.

Prescribed burns in the Smith River National Recreation Area include a 258-acre understory burn in the Elk Camp Fuel Break Project northeast of Gasquet near North Fork Loop Road. Crews will also conduct pile burning in a 160-acre area within the Big Flat Project area as well as a 24-acre pile burn within the Hiouchi Community Protection Project Area on Hiouchi Mountain Road.

Bogus bills seen in circulation

Local law enforcement has mobilized in response to counterfeit bills popping up at area businesses in the past week.

Police logs since last Friday show almost ten calls to Crescent City Police Department and the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office in relation to at least six separate incidents. Affected locations include Elk Valley Casino, Walmart, Safeway, Dollar Tree and two gas stations.

“I feel like it’s a spike. This seems to pop up from time to time. There have been a lot of incidents reported in a short time,” said Sheriff Erik Apperson. Apperson’s department received reports of fake bills appearing at Walmart, the casino, and the Shell station on Northcrest Drive on Sept. 25, 27, 28 and 29 between evening and early morning.

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