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Propane truck brought down power line, stopped up 199 traffic

A propane truck went off road Thursday afternoon south of Cave Junction and stopped up traffic for two hours while officials inspected the damage. Courtesy Oregon Department of Transportation
 U.S. 199 was closed for two hours south of Cave Junction Thursday afternoon after an empty propane truck careened into utility poles south of Cave Junction.

Fearing a fuel leak would ignite if the downed power line across the road were to spark, officials instructed locals to shelter in place, said Jason Bayless, public information officer for the Illinois Fire Department.

Crisis averted, the truck turned out to be empty, as the driver had plans to refuel in Merlin, Bayless said.

Oregon State Police will continue to investigate the collision, which may have been related to a medical condition on the driver’s part. The power company had plans to fly in a safety team from Sacramento to inspect the rig.

Locals report getting fake IRS calls

Local and area law enforcement say they have received numerous calls in the last few days from citizens targeted by by scam artists pretending to represent the IRS.In most instances, the callers identify themselves as working for the IRS and tell victims there is a warrant out for their arrest for not paying taxes.

 To avoid being arrested, the victims are told, they can pay the taxes, via money order or pre-paid debit card.

In many cases, targets were told to pay by $200 money order at the Walmart in Crescent City, said Lieutenant Donny Dotson of Brookings PD.

'Friends' of the library sought

The Friends of the Del Norte Library will be seeking new board members at its annual meeting tonight when all four officers will be announcing their resignation en masse.

“It’s not out of meanness,” said President Charlie Wick. “Our secretary has gotten ill. I’ve taken another job. (Treasurer) Kelley (Nolan) has a new grandchild.”

Tasked with garnering support for the library, there’s a lot that the Friends could do, Wick said. “New blood” may be just what is needed to liven up the idling group, she added.

Emergency dispatch call logs, Nov. 16 & 17, 2015

Excerpts from the Del Norte County emergency dispatch call logs, Nov. 16 & 17:

Monday, November 16

At 1:03 a.m., caller reports being chased by a transient who was attempting to hit her with a stick on the 800 block of Northcrest Drive

At 7:05 a.m., report that a passenger tried to bring marijuana onto a plane in one of their bags at the Crescent City Airport.

At 8:06 a.m., report of a vehicle found down an embankment off of Rowdy Creek with nobody inside.

Local doctor faces trial

A Crescent City doctor accused of multiple counts of insurance fraud and illegally dispensing the narcotic prescription drug Hydrocodone faces a hearing Friday in Del Norte Superior Court.

Dr. Joseph Meyers has been under investigation since September 2013, when the State Compensation Insurance Fund noticed “copious amounts of prescription narcotics being billed to their agency” by Meyers on behalf of one of his patients, according to court records.

His patient was Pelican Bay Prison Guard Richard White, who took medical leave from the prison in May 2013 following an injury sustained at work.

DNSWMA hopes to halve fees for landfill

The Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority may be able to shake off some of the costs associated with monitoring the out-of-use Crescent City Landfill, as long as it’s not polluting nearby wells.

There’s no guarantee, Director Tedd Ward said Tuesday at a meeting of the Authority Board of Commissioners, but staff for the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board showed a willingness to lower the landfill’s complexity rating if residential wells prove unsullied once tested.

With a current rating reserved for the highest possible threat to water quality, the landfill racks up annual fees of $70,781, to be paid to Water Quality Control.

Assurance of state's commitment to hwy. project sought

While Caltrans works through a checklist of materials to supplement its most recent environmental assessment of a stalled highway project, the Del Norte Local Transportation Commission is looking for assurance the state agency will see the project through.

“There are people who would still love to undermine this project. Our resolve needs to be strong,” Del Norte County Supervisor David Finigan said at the Nov. 12 meeting.

A court-ordered injunction on the widening and straightening of sections of U.S. 199 north of Gasquet and State Route 197 resulted from a lawsuit filed by environmental groups. The case alleged the state and the National Marine Fisheries Service had failed to give due consideration to how the changes would affect nearby populations of the federally endangered coho salmon, as required by the Endangered Species Act.

Bringing Christmas to CC

Downtown Crescent City businesses are gearing up for this year’s Santa’s Light parade and they need your help.

Volunteers are needed to help set up lights, trees and decorations, said Diana Tomasini downtown business owner and parade organizer. Volunteers should come to the Mason Mall by 9 a.m. Saturday to assist in getting downtown ready for this year’s parade, she said.

The annual parade is 5:30 p.m. Nov. 27, rain or shine. Entrants will begin assembling an hour earlier, at 4:30 p.m., in the staging area, the corner of 5th and H Streets.

As of Tuesday, the parade has 38 entrants that include ReMax, the Cub Scouts and the Smith River marching Band. But Tomasini said they want more to participate in the parade.

Applications for parade entry can be found at the Del Norte Triplicate or Enchanted Florist in downtown Crescent City.

A tradition since 1993, the parade was first sponsored by the downtown Business Improvement District. Two years ago, BID could no longer afford to sponsor the parade. Several downtown businesses and some community members stepped up and took over parade managment.

“We are trying to build this annually,” Tomasini said. “We want to make it a county-wide event that will draw people from all over and to grow it into something spectacular.”

The parade route travels south down H Street from 5th Street, turns left on 3rd and ends in the Mason Mall, where there will be a traditional tree lighting and a stage with live entertainment.

Vendors are encouraged to set up along the parade route and promote their group, club or organization, Tomasini said.

All vendors must get a permit from the city. Non-profit vendors are free and for-profit vendors will be charged a $16 fee.

For more information about the parade or to enter or to volunteer call Tomasini at 707-464-2424, or Chere Wier at 707-464-9662.

Reach David Anderson at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

High bids stymie sewer rehab

It’s back to square one for Crescent City’s sewer rehabilitation.

The City Council rejected all bids on the project Tuesday and instructed Public Works to amend the plan and re-advertise for new bids.

The vote was unanimous.

Public Works Director Eric Wier reminded the council the city needs to get the project started before the end of the year or risk losing state funding that pays the bulk of the estimated $1.4 million cost.

The project is being paid for with a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), and the grant expires if the money isn’t used this year, Wier said.

“Unfortunately all the bids came in higher,” Wier said. “The lowest bid was $1.68 million.”

After evaluating bids, the city found the cost of a pump system to bypass the main sewer line while the new one is being installed was driving the cost above the city’s original estimate.

Public Works estimated the cost of the pump system at $60,000, Wier said. Each of four sealed bids received put the cost at five times that amount — more than $300,000.

Wier and his team proposed two alternatives that could save money and get the job done at the estimated cost. Both bypass pump scenarios will be included with the new bid package being made available to contractors. Contractors are free to chose either one.


Maintenance workers repair a leak in the water line on U.S. 101 in Crescent City on Wednesday morning. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Temporary water outage necessary to find and repair leaks, keeping the supply clean

Crescent City’s municipal water system is made up of 60 miles of water line that contain 4,500 water connections, 2,300 valves and 492 fire hydrants.
Sometimes to keep the system safe and efficient, customers have to be inconvenienced while water is shut off to entire sections of the system to get repairs done, said Public Works Engineering Technician Kevin Tupman. That happened Wednesday in front of the Best Western Inn just off U.S. 101.
Kim Davis, a maintenance worker for Public Works said, to isolate the leak it was necessary to shut off four different valves. That effectively cut off the water to all of the businesses from the Patriot gas station at the corner of Northcrest Drive and Washington Boulevard to the intersection of 9th Street and U.S. 101.
Troubleshooting leaks is an important aspect of managing the system, both in terms of water conservation and system sanitation and safety.
A leak in the system could potentially taint the city water so keeping the system secure is a top priority, said Tupman.
Shutting down the water took longer than replacing the actual leaking valve, Davis said. But it was necessary to relieve the pressure from the system so the crew could get in there and replace it.
Monitoring the municipal water system for leaks is a regularly scheduled task undertaken by Public Works.

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