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Moving Mountains

A fire lookout and telecommunications site atop Red Mountain will be relocated by 2022, according to state and federal plans. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
How to get closer to God is a question every culture throughout history has asked, in some form or another. How to coordinate radio, microwave and cellular signals so that we can rely on emergency responders, phones, radios and televisions is a relatively new phenomenon.

These inquiries collide on Red Mountain, a 4,200-foot peak near Klamath, where a fire lookout with 100-mile views sits alongside a steel tower transmitting communications for untold cellular customers and 12 public agencies. Largely due to the site’s sacred nature to the Yurok Tribe, the United States Forest Service mandated in 1995 that the communications hub and lookout be moved by 2022.

Radios go fuzzy on narrowband

Relocating Red Mountain communication towers may or may not ultimately harm radio communication in the region, but what’s certain is that Del Norte County’s adoption of a federal mandate to convert mobile radio systems to narrowband at the beginning of 2013 has already diminished public safety agencies’ ability to communicate. 

In 2004, the Federal Communications Commission issued an order saying that public safety and industrial businesses using radios and operating in the 150-174 MHz and 421-512 MHz bands would be required to transition to “narrowband” using channel bandwidth of no more than 12.5 kHz technology by Jan. 1, 2013.

SkyWest to retire turboprop planes

After transition, won’t be able to land in Crescent City 

The deafening hum of a turboprop spinning outside the window of an airplane coming to or from Del Norte County Regional Airport will be a sound of the past by next summer — at least under SkyWest Airlines.

The regional carrier based in St. George, Utah, announced Monday that it will “transition to an all-jet fleet by removing all remaining 30-seat Embraer 120 Brasilia turboprop aircraft” — the aircraft that services Crescent City’s airport.

Workshop to educate home-based producers

A new do-it-yourself workshop Saturday will focus on new opportunities for home-based producers and walk folks through the California Cottage Food Laws.

Sponsored by the Community Food Council, the workshop will provide an overview of the California Cottage Food Act as well as Del Norte County’s licensing requirements. The California Cottage Food Law, which took effect in January 2013, allows individuals to prepare or package non-potentially hazardous foods in their private home kitchen. 

Landing his dream job

A self-proclaimed aviation aficionado, Matthew Leitner is the new airport director for the Border Coast Regional Airport Authority. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Blind in one eye, new airport head was flying solo before he had a driver’s license 

Self-described “lifelong aviation aficionado” Matthew Leitner was appointed to be the airport director of the Border Coast Regional Airport Authority in October, a dream job for a man who loves the outdoors and was flying planes solo before he could drive a car.

“For the past 20 years I’ve been amassing the credentials with the intention of being where I am today,” Leitner said during a recent interview with the Triplicate. “I believe this is my zenith. I like small airports. I really love what I do. I’ve been doing this all my life.”

Virus may be sea star killer

Disease seen in Del Norte an epidemic along West Coast 

Grisly sea star deaths are continuing to litter the tidelands along the West Coast with decaying, ghostly goo, but scientists now believe they, at least, may have identified a potential culprit.

New evidence suggests a mysterious wasting disease killing sea stars by the millions may be the result of a waterborne virus that has been found in starfish since at least the 1940s, according to research published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Family of 4 rescued from crash in river

Emergency vehicles line Highway 199 after the wreck. Submitted
A driver on Saturday lost control of his truck on Highway 199 and careened down the embankment where its back half ended up in the Smith River. One of the vehicle’s four passengers was hospitalized.

‘Threatened’ listing sought for fisher

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to list the fisher as a threatened species. Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is asking for public comment on its proposal to list the fisher, a forest-dwelling mammal found locally that is about the size of a large housecat, as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. 

The agency will hold an informal informational meeting from 6–8 p.m. at Arcata Public Library (500 7th St., Arcata) about the fisher, its threatened-listing proposal, and how the public can comment.

After-school instructor Moore loses job

The termination of an after-school instructor wrapped up in controversy was made final last week when he chose not to appeal the decision by last Thursday’s deadline. 

Gary Moore, who was arrested last year on charges of lewd and lascivious acts on a minor under 14 and then went free after prosecutors dismissed the case for lack of evidence, was terminated by the Del Norte County Unified School District Board of Trustees on Oct. 23, his last day of employment. Moore had 13 days to appeal the decision.

Two homes burn Sunday

Fire engulfed two residential structures at 1766 Wildwood in Crescent City on Sunday evening.

Two people escaped uninjured, though a small dog succumbed to smoke, according to Crescent City Fire Chief Steve Wakefield.

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