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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.

Smooth ride for PenAir's first month

PenAir’s first month carrying passengers between Crescent City and Portland has flown by, meeting little turbulence along the way.

The carrier took over area skies Sept. 15, taking hold of a two-year Essential Air Service contract with the U.S. Department of Transportation that subsidizes the service provided to select rural airports.

SkyWest, Crescent City’s former carrier, bowed out of the contract in April when it retired its smaller aircraft.

Firefighter program under scrutiny

The release of unsettling details regarding California’s prison inmate firefighting program has prompted renewed scrutiny at a state and local level. 

Early last week, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced it was considering expanding the eligibility criteria for its firefighting program to include inmates convicted of violent felony crimes, rather than only those with non-violent, low-level offenses in their background. 

By Tuesday afternoon, the CDCR backed down from its proposal, and by Wednesday it admitted inmates with violent backgrounds have fought fires on public grounds since the 1990’s. 

Supes refuse appointment

Del Norte County Supervisors Chris Howard and Gerry Hemmingsen refused appointments Tuesday to the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority, a move chairperson David Finigan called a “new low...”

Their refusal means one of two county seats on the authority will remain vacant.

Finigan placed an item on the consent agenda of of the supervisors’ meeting appointing Howard to fill the county seat, vacant since Supervisor Roger Gitlin resigned in August. The authority’s board had voted to censure Gitlin and requested supervisors remove him, citing a Grand Jury report accusing Gitlin of multiple violations of the solid waste board’s code of ethics, including acting in favor of private companies over the public interest.

Last Chance Grade: Extreme cleaning

Tires hoisted up Last Chance Grade by Conservation Corps members await loading into trucks for hauling out. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
 Rappellers bring up hundreds of tires that were dumped illegally 

Six members of Conservation Corps North Bay used ropes, pulleys, a wheel loader and their own muscle Tuesday to bring up scores of tires dumped off the side of Last Chance Grade.

Under the watchful eye of CalRecycle, California State Parks and Del Norte Search and Rescue personnel, the Conservation Corps members rappelled through thimbleberry bushes to haul up a piece of coiled rebar, a mattress and boxspring and a refrigerator that had been dumped at least 120 feet down the embankment off U.S. 101.

Yuroks’ access to food will be studied

A federal grant may help residents of the Yurok Reservation — some of them 20 miles from the nearest grocery store — get better access to nutritious foods. 

Traffic fine amnesty window opened

A new statewide program will help eligible citizens pay off old traffic fines and reinstate their driver’s licenses. 

County to hire mountain lion trapper

Residents in Crescent City are still worried about a mountain lion yet to be captured in the Bertsch Tract. 

Meanwhile, officials say are working toward long-term improvements on the management of problematic wildlife in Del Norte County. 

Emergency dispatch Call Logs

Excerpts from the call logs for the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office and the Crescent City Police Department, Oct. 12:

Monday, October 12

At 3:32 a.m., caller says her neighbors are outside attacking each other on their front lawn on the 800 block of Wendell Street.

At 8:17 a.m., caller reports a person looking through cars on the 900 block of Northcrest Drive.

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