Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, Sept. 17th – Classified Workers at Oregon Tech Ready To Strike

The latest News around the Klamath Basin from Wynne Broadcasting’s KFLS 1450AM/102.5FM, BasinLife.com and The Herald & News.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Klamath Basin Weather

Some showers or thunderstorms during the day, high of 61 degrees.  Overnight, more rain expected.

Showers likely, high near 57.

A 20 percent chance of showers before 11am, otherwise mostly sunny, with a high near 62.

Mostly sunny, with a high near 68.

Sunny, with a high near 74.

Today’s Headlines…

College Classified Employees may strike soon.

SEIU who represents the classified workers at Oregon Tech plans to vote today and tomorrow about whether or not classified employees will be striking. This strike would fall very shortly before the states seven universities begin classes for the fall term.

Classified workers at Oregon’s seven public universities which includes Oregon Tech have been bargaining for changes in their labor contracts for the past few weeks, represented by SEIU Local 503, Oregon’s Public Services and Care Provider Union.

With bargaining sessions that took place from September 11th through the 13th between the universities and the classified workers’ union not reaching the worker’s goals, some say a worker’s strike may be imminent. SEIU wants to add an extra step to these wage increases so that long-term employees who have “topped out” on their step increases can continue to see their earnings grow. they have also proposed that classified workers receive a 3.75 percent cost of living increase in 2019 and a 3.5 percent in 2020.

The last time that SEIU-represented workers at Oregon universities went on strike was in 1995. Di Saunders, the associate vice president for communications and public affairs at Oregon Institute of Technology, said she is hopeful that this year won’t break the 24-year streak.

“We feel optimistic,” Saunders said last week. “There’s still time at the table for parties to really sit together and come up with a negotiated settlement.”

Poker Fire grows to 15,000 acres due to high winds

 The Poker Fire was discovered around 11:00 AM on September 15, 2019 and has grown to approximately 15,000 acres.  Fire suppression resources are on scene actively suppressing the fire and additional resources are on order.  High winds made it difficult for fire resources to contain the fire Sunday but with the predicted rains coming firefighters are hopeful they can get some containment of the Poker Fire by Monday evening.  As of Monday morning the fire has received light precipitation.

The Poker Fire started on Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, on the northwest side of Hart Mountain also known as Poker Jim Ridge. The fire is burning in juniper, brush and grass. The cause has been determined to be a holdover from last week’s lightning event and there is no estimated containment at this time.

Resources from BLM, Forest Service, Fish & Wildlife Service and local RFPAs (Rangeland Fire Protection Associations) are currently working together to suppress the fire. 

LAKEVIEW, OR. The South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership has lifted the Regulated Use Closures/Public Use Restrictions, dropping the Adjective Class to a Moderate, and reducing the Industrial Fire Precaution Level to a I (Closed Season) for the Fremont-Winema National Forest, Lakeview District Bureau of Land Management and Klamath-Lake District Oregon Department of Forestry lands.
(effective Monday September 16, 2019 at 09:30)

The decision to dropping the Adjective Class to a Moderate was made based on current temperatures, relative humidity, fuel moisture levels, and projected conditions over the coming weeks. Please continue to be vigilant and use caution when recreating on public and private lands.

Information on the IFPL or current restrictions may be obtained here: http://www.scofmp.org/ifpls.shtml.

For more information, please contact the Lakeview Interagency Office at 541-947-2151 or your local Ranger District.

Get our most recent updates online on Facebook at facebook.com/SCOFMPFireInfo and on Twitter at @SCOFMPFireInfo.

The Bureau of Reclamation issued a Right-of-Use authorization last week that allows for the construction of a transmission line project on two remote 40-acre parcels east of Klamath Falls.

The 19-acre Swan Lake North Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project site adjacent to the Lost River will be used to construct and maintain an electrical transmission line, associated right-of-way, four mono-poles that support the transmission line and temporary access roads. The authorization permits Swan Lake North Hydro to develop a 393.3-megawatt hydropower generating facility through a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license for private development.

Reclamation adopted and re-circulated FERC’s Final Environmental Impact Statement on July 19, and signed a Record of Decision last week authorizing public land use.

The Klamath Falls city council will meet tonight for a regularly scheduled meeting at 7 p.m. The council will vote to authorize the city manager to establish a Public Employees Retirement System side account for close to $2.6 million.

The PERS employer incentive fund will match nearly $640,000. According to the agenda, the city is projected to save approximately $5.5 million over the next 18 years by taking advantage of the incentive fund. The council will vote on whether or not to purchase a new auto crane truck for $73,700.50 which the maintenance division has requested and whether or not to purchase a hydro-excavator for $343,137.93 which the water division has requested.

The Klamath County Public Works Department reminds motorists that sidewalk ramp replacement work will be going on this week on Homedale road from Shasta Way to South 6th Street. flagging stations will be set up at the end of the work zone and delays could be up to 20 minutes.

A cancer survivor from Bend won 4.6 million dollars in the Oregon Lottery Megabucks game last week. Stu MacDonald said he was a very lucky guy having survived cancer twice.

MacDonald won the Oregon’s Game Megabucks jackpot on a quick pick ticket he purchased at Ashley’s Café on Northeast 3rd Street in Bend. MacDonald opted to take the bulk sum payment of $2.3 million, and after taxes took home $1.56 million. For selling the winning ticket Ashley’s Cafe will receive a 1-percent selling bonus of $46,000.

The Klamath Water Users Association invites interested persons to join them on their 12th Annual Fall Harvest Tour.  

This is a valuable opportunity to give the community opportunities to see first hand the impact agriculture has on our local and regional economy at no cost to the participants.  This tour will incorporate how modern-day technology is being integrated with older equipment, allowing the farmers and ranchers to  be better stewards of the land.   There are only 56 seats available for the tour and you can reserve your seat at kwua dot org or by calling 541-883-6100.
Dr. Jonathan Fay

Cornea Transplants now offered in Klamath Falls

Ophthalmologist Dr. Jonathan Fay of the Klamath Eye Center is trained in eye corneal transplants, with much of it demanding a steady hand and precise incisions, rather than allowing computers and lasers to do the brunt of the work.

Fay completed a one-year fellowship in New York City’s Columbia Medical University Center after obtaining his degree in general ophthalmology.

In general, corneal surgery is for the failure of the cornea, which covers the pupil of the eye and acts as a lens that allows light into the eye as a well as a protective cover. The cornea is the transparent tissue at the front of the eye that covers the anterior chamber, iris and pupil. It served as a barrier to the outside world and is an important refractive component in the optical system of the eye.  Without a clear, healthy cornea, good vision is not possible.

Dr. Fay performs several transplants a month at the Klamath Surgery Center 2640 Biehn St., in addition to other more common procedures including cataract surgery.

“It’s frequent enough in our county that it’s worthwhile to invest time and energy into doing these surgeries here,” Fay said. “Part of the value of offering the surgery locally is the readiness and access to post-operative care which for transplants is sometimes as important as the surgery itself.

“If it wasn’t here, patients would likely go to Medford or OHSU.”

The surgical center conducts about 1,500 eye and laser surgeries per year, such as cataract surgery, glaucoma treatment, diabetic retinopathy treatment and about 200 other surgeries a year.

Corneal transplantation is most commonly performed under monitored sedation anesthesia, although general anesthesia is considered for some cases. It requires a donor of a cornea so contact the Klamath Surgery Center for more information.  The duration of the surgery may range from 1 to 2 hours and it is performed on an outpatient basis with patients returning to their home the same day.

Klamath Surgery Center

Britta Lion Franz to be honored this week.

In 1937, nine-year-old Britta Lion and her Jewish family escaped Nazi Germany and made a new home in Klamath Falls. The Lion family’s escape is the subject of the documentary film Shattered: Journey into a Silent Past, by German filmmaker Walter Wehmeyer. On September 24th at 6:30pm, the Klamath Community Foundation joins with the Klamath Falls Downtown Association and the Ross Ragland Theater to salute 91-year-old Britta Lion Franz as a Hometown Hero.

Aryanization policies aimed at eliminating Jews from the economy forced Britta’s father to sell his elegant clothing store in Germany. He never received payment. Fearing worse was to come, he helped his family flee for the United States.

Against a backdrop of war, Britta’s family supported not only their relatives trying to flee Germany, but their newfound home of Klamath Falls. Using all their savings, they managed to purchase LaPointe’s, a women’s clothing store located on the site of the current Mermaid Café. Not long after, LaPointe’s placed in a national window contest and was named one of ten outstanding bridal shops in the nation by Brides-To-Be magazine.

Britta applied her business savvy to the arts, holding art exhibits at LaPointe’s. She brought the Vienna Boys Choir to Klamath Falls, where they sang to a standing room only crowd in the Oregon Tech gymnasium. And she produced a Ross Ragland Theater benefit featuring Johnny Cash. Britta started the Ross Ragland Theater’s Legacy Wall and sponsored the Donor Wall in the theater’s lobby.

Urging other business leaders to embrace the arts, Britta told the Statesman Journal, “To succeed, business must attract people and keep them stimulated…Arts make the difference. As a businesswoman, I see the participation and the entertainment that the arts provide as a wonderful way to contribute to and improve the quality of life. This will help attract new business…”

“Britta is right when she says ‘the arts are essential to merchandise our [downtown],’” said Klamath Falls Downtown Association Executive Director, Darin Rutledge. “That’s why we started the Klamath Piano Project and Third Thursdays. A vibrant arts scene attracts people downtown, which helps our restaurants, shops, and businesses. So, Britta’s a hero in our book.”

Open to the public, the September 24th hometown hero celebration at the Ross Ragland will include excerpts of Wehmeyer’s documentary, Shattered: Journey Into a Silent Past, telling the story of Britta’s family’s escape from Nazi Germany and how she found her place in Klamath Falls. Guest speakers, a Q&A with Britta herself, as well as a dessert reception and LaPointe’s goody bags, will round out the evening. The event is a fundraiser for the Ross Ragland Theater’s upcoming “Light the Tower” campaign. “We are honored to host Britta and her friends!” said Ross Ragland Theater Executive Director Theresa Silver. “What an extraordinary journey she has had.”

Klamath Community Foundation Executive Director, Heidi Neel Biggs adds, “That Britta’s family escaped Nazi Germany is miraculous. That she helped grow LaPointe’s from a single store in Klamath to a statewide operation with 150 employees is impressive. That she continues to give back to her hometown is something worth celebrating.”

For additional details and ticket info, please visit www.rrtheater.org or call 884-LIVE.

…For complete details on these and other stories see today’s Herald & News.  Wynne Broadcasting and the Herald and News…stronger together to keep you informed.

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