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Updated 12:08pm - Oct 9, 2015

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District looks at special ed program

New leadership at the Del Norte County Unified School District say they are taking seriously a report that highlights some of the special education program’s inadequacies.  

As reason for “organizational dissatisfaction” and the sometimes “below standard service” provided to students, the report, completed by School Services of California, Inc. in May of this year, pointed to the “absence of experienced leadership,” lean staffing, halting communication among faculty and staff and a lack of incentives for classified staff.  

The report was commissioned by Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Jeff Napier to improve the cost efficiencies of the program. Upon reviewing the district’s spending when he came to the position 20 months ago, he said he noticed that special education and maintenance and operations “had continued to increase expenditures year after year,” increasingly dipping into the general fund to cover costs.

Rain forecast moves blues, brews event indoors

Folks can still enjoy local and regional microbrews and groove to a blues band on Saturday, but they will do so indoors.

Due to a chance of rain, Blues, Brews & Cruise will be held in the Crescent City Cultural Center. Sea Cruise’s show-sanctioned cruise of the downtown area will continue, said Jeff Parmer, executive director of the Crescent City-Del Norte Chamber of Commerce.

The cruise route will go down G Street to 4th Street, continue up H Street to 3rd Street and will wind through Tsunami Plaza to I Street and continue through Beachfront Park on Play Street and Stamps Way.

Eight local breweries will be featured as well as local food. Live music will be provided by Brad Wilson and the Rollin’ Blues Thunder Band.

Blues Brews, & Cruise will be held from 5-9 p.m. Saturday at the Cultural Center, 1001 Front St., Crescent City. The cruise will be held from 6-8 p.m. Twelve dollars will get folks a commemorative mug and their first 12 ounces of beer. Two-ounce increments of beer will then be on sale for $1 each.

For more information, call 464-3174 or visit www.delnorte.org.

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.

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