Klamath Basin News, Thursday, Jan. 23 – Jim Stillwell; Longtime Businessman To Be Honored on His 99th Birthday

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


Klamath Basin Weather

Today   A slight chance of rain during the day with a high near 44.  Snow level 5700 feet rising to 6400 feet in the afternoon. Overnight, some rain with the snow level 6300 feet.

Friday A slight chance of showers before 4pm, then a slight chance of rain after 4pm. Snow level 5600 feet. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 43.

Saturday  Rain likely. Snow level 7000 feet. Cloudy, with a high near 46. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New precipitation amounts of perhaps a quarter of an inch possible. Overnight rain, low around 36. . Snow level 7300 feet lowering to 6700 feet.

Sunday  A chance of rain. Snow level 5900 feet lowering to 5200 feet. Cloudy, with a high near 44.

Road Conditions

Traveling? Click and check these cameras below for the latest road conditions.

Lake of the Woods Hiway 140
Greensprings Drive at Hiway 97
Doak Mountain looking east
Chemult, Oregon
LaPine, Oregon
Bly, Oregon
Medford at I-5 -Biddle Road & Crater Lake Parkway

Today’s Headlines

The Klamath County Public Health Air Advisory is Green until noon today.

Results are in for graduation rates statewide, and for Klamath Falls City and Klamath County School Districts, and rates are on the rise.

Klamath County School District ranks at 82.37% — up by 3.17% from 2018 — and Klamath Falls City Schools district is at 71.43% — up by about 8% respectively, according to Oregon Department of Education data released Thursday.

Three Klamath County High Schools – Chiloquin, Lost River Junior/Senior High School, and Henley High School – ranked at 95% or better, and Lost River achieved 100% graduation.

“The whole community is involved in not only seeing students graduate but they’re working to prepare students for college, career, and just generally life,” said KCSD Superintendent Glen Szymoniak.

“When I talk to the principals, and from my own experience, it’s everybody in the school making sure that the kids are on track,” Szymoniak said, “and doing whatever it takes to get them to be successful.”

Mazama High School (89.04%) and Gilchrist Junior/Senior High School (89.47%) weren’t far behind, and still above the state’s average of 80.1%. Falcon Heights Alternative School (29.49%) also gained eight percentage points from last year.

Bonanza High School dropped by eight percentage points and sits at 78.99%, indicative of a small school where each student can play a larger role in percentage changes.

Szymoniak also credits Measure 98 funding that’s helped promote programs, such as On Track, to ensure that ninth-graders are prepared for life and work after high school.

“Other people that are encouraging students, everyone from the cooks to the custodians and bus drivers,” he added. “It’s kind of interesting to see how many people out there are having a positive impact on our students. We always have to be paying attention, trying to catch every single kid we can.”

Szymoniak said while not included in the graduation rate, he’s also proud of those students who attend summer school following their senior year to obtain a diploma.

“The main thing is to celebrate wherever we have successes because a lot of work went into that,” he said. “And then also recognize some of those places where a whole lot of work went in to working with the students but it may not have worked out to get the huge numbers.”

Klamath Falls City Schools Superintendent Paul Hillyer expressed excitement about a more than 8% increase in the city school’s average in 2019 over 2018, which he credits in part to an increase in Klamath Learning Center’s graduation rate, which was 24.64%.

“They went up in our alternative program by 14%” Hillyer said, “and that’s one of the reasons we had a nice increase in our district (average) rate.”

Hillyer said the district added three more staff at KLC this school year in order to help further support the school and its students.

“Next year, we’re going to also increase the staff over there even more because they are doing good work, they just need more help,” Hillyer said. “Students that end up coming to them are usually credit-deficient, so they need more one-on-one attention than what you would get in a traditional high school.”

EagleRidge High School’s graduation rate is 86%, which is well above the state’s average of 80.1%. The state’s average is up by 1.3% in the past year.

“This year’s graduation rate increase means nearly 600 additional students earned a diploma,” said Colt Gill, director of the Oregon Department of Education, in a news release. “We are seeing even faster growth for students of color, students with disabilities and students navigating poverty than the state as a whole. Student Success Act funding will build on this promising foundation to foster equity and excellence for all Oregon students.”

Lost River perfection

An extended lunch period or a similar celebration for students at Lost River High School might be in order sometime soon, according to Jamie Ongman, principal.

And the school has reason to celebrate. Ongman said it’s the first time in 10 to 20 years the school has reached 100% graduation.

“As they started as freshmen, they finished as seniors last year,” Ongman said.

“It’s a goal we set as a staff and it’s fun to finally see it come to fruition,” he added. “It’s very satisfying and I have a lot of gratitude towards my staff and my kids that helped us to achieve that.”

Ongman, a 1998 graduate of LRHS and son of a former teacher there, noted that a lot of hard work and dedication by staff and students helped generate the perfect graduation rate.

The school’s graduation rate has been on the rise the past four years.

“It’s a goal that you shoot for to always shoot for 100%,” Ongman said.

“To actually achieve that is … it’s pretty significant,” he added “It’s a great reflection on the work that our teachers, our staff, and our students are doing inside of the classroom as well as the support from the community.”

Ongman started as principal with the cohort in 2015 and recalls them as “goal-oriented” group who followed through to achieve those goals.

“They were always a driven class,” Ongman said. “They always knew what they wanted to do.

“Hard work breeds success,” he added.

“Our kids have really bought into that culture.”

Ongman also credits The Klamath Promise community graduation initiative with helping the school achieve the 100% goal, and said other schools can do it, too.

“The Klamath Promise is another factor in what we’re doing to achieve higher graduation rates,” he said, “and their willingness to get in and do the work with us.”

Chiloquin’s strides

Chiloquin High School graduation rates soared to 95% in 2019 from 78% in 2018 – welcome news for Principal Scott Preston.

While Preston is excited about the numbers, he emphasizes that for smaller schools like Chiloquin, there’s much more involved in the percentages and stats.

“We can actually end up with big swings based on a couple of students,” Preston said.

It’s hard for the rate to stay consistently high when each student can represent about 8% of the total rate, according to Preston.

“We did have a big jump,” Preston said.

He credits teachers and staff with hard work to help make it happen, too.

“It’s been multiple efforts – we started using some AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) strategies probably three to four years ago.”

Preston, in his third year as principal and fifth overall year as a Chiloquin administrator, said the 2015-16 cohort were a high-functioning group that worked well together.

“They definitely built relationships with the our teachers,” Preston said.

The school is also trying to continue that relationship with students once they enter college so that they can be successful in years to come.

“Last year out of the 20 students, we had probably more than half accepted into colleges,” Preston said.

Some teachers at the school have taken to visiting first-year students at college to help them make the transition.

“We’re always pushing to be better and better,” Preston said.

Graduation rates

Former local businessman Jim Stilwell holds a fundraising check back in the 1960s from the Great Northern Railroad. Stilwell will turn 99 this year. One of his best known projects over the years was helping create Shasta Plaza Mall.

A live interview with longtime Klamath Falls businessman Jim Stilwell who is 99 will be conducted in a webcast scheduled for 5 p.m. this Sunday on the Klamath County Museum’s Facebook page.

Museum manager Todd Kepple will interview Stilwell about his memories of living in Klamath Falls since the 1930s. The interview can be viewed live or watched at a later time at facebook.com/klamath.county.museum. Kepple said they hope everyone who knows Jim will join them Sunday to help him celebrate as he prepares to turn 100 years old in a few days. People will have a chance to listen in as Jim shares his favorite memories and send him well wishes for his birthday on January 30th.

Stilwell spent most of his professional career as a real estate broker and developer. Among his largest projects was creation of the Klamath Mall also known as Shasta Plaza. He also chaired a committee that raised more than $1 million in 1963 to fund construction of a community hospital later known as Merle West Medical Center.

For more information contact the Klamath County Museum at (541) 882-1000.

The downtown Klamath County Library and Chiloquin Branch Library are hosting free tax aides through the AARP from February 5th through April 8th.

A Spanish language interpreter will be available at the downtown library to assist taxpayers who primarily speak Spanish. Every Wednesday from 1 pm to 7 pm downtown and from 10 am to 5 pm in Chiloquin specially trained tax aide volunteers from AARP will be on hand to help with your tax preparation needs. You do not have to be a member of AARP to take advantage of this assistance – taxpayers of any age can drop in.

Time with the tax counselors is by walk-in only. Some restrictions may apply; the tax aides may not be able to help with preparing certain types of tax returns. For more information call the downtown library at 541-882-8894 or the Chiloquin library at 541-783-3315.

Klamath Union’s Klamath Coyotes robotics team overcame last-minute wiring issues to take first place in qualifying matches at the FIRST Tech Challenge at Philomath High School last weekend.  

The team also took first place for the Collins Aerospace Innovate Award and third place for the Think Award. The Coyotes will advance to FIRST’s Superqualifier tournament to be held February 15th in Roseburg.

Conservative leader Jo Rae Perkins filed this week to run for U.S. Senate against career politician Democrat Senator Jeff Merkley.

Perkins had originally filed for the U.S. House of Representatives in Congressional District 4 but after watching Senator Merkley spend months more focused on the sham impeachment trials Perkins says she knew it was time for a change and time for Oregon to have a senator that cared about the state, not political games, and knew she would be the strongest candidate to take him on and win. She reached her final decision after receiving tremendous support and encouragement from Republican activists and Oregonians in her community, and around the state.

Perkins has spent almost 45 years serving her local community. She has a diverse background in financial services, real estate, banking, education, and small business.

Local Blood Drive coming with Red Cross. In response to a critical shortage of supplies, in particular Type O, the American Red Cross is initiating blood drives across Southern Oregon to address a supply that if not replenished could run out in a matter of days, according to a news release.

With influenza escalating across the country, preventing some donors from giving, and winter weather threatening to cancel blood drives, the Red Cross now has a critical shortage of type O blood and urgently needs donors. As of Tuesday, the Red Cross reported less than a three-day supply of type O blood available for patient emergencies and medical treatments. Type O positive blood is the most transfused blood type and can be given to Rh-positive patients of any blood type.

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification, are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Donors of all blood types – especially types O positive and O negative – are urged to make an appointment to give blood or platelets at www.RedCrossBlood.org, calling 800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767), or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

Klamath blood drives

The following blood drives will be hosted in Klamath Falls:

Noon to 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27 at Hope Lutheran Church Community Hall, 2314 Homedale Road

9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28 at Shasta Elementary School, 1951 Madison St.

9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29 at Klamath Community College Building Six, 7390 S. Sixth St.

12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30 at the LDS Church Klamath Stake, 6630 Alva Ave.

Noon to 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10 at Cerulian Inn, 100 Main St.

8:30 am. to 2:30 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 12 and 13, Klamath Union High School, 1300 Monclaire St.

For more information visit www.redcross.org.

Around the state

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant in the 8000 block of Gladstone in White City late Tuesday evening.

During the service of the warrant a total of 15 people were detained at the scene.  Three subjects were cited and released for drug law violations and one was arrested for warrants. 

Arrested was Elizabeth Ann Hibberd, 052680. She was lodged on two warrants. The warrants were Failure to Appear PCS Meth, $7500 bail and Failure to Appear-Violation of No Contact Order Bail $7500.

Subjects cited for Possession of Controlled Substance were:

Adam James Hackworth, 040379, for PCS Meth.
Justin Dwayne Eidem, 101779, for PCS Meth.
Tara Marie Holland, 062584 for PCS Meth.

JCSO is continuing to investigate this incident.

On Wednesday, Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a two vehicle collision on Hwy 551 near milepost 1.

Preliminary investigation shows that a Toyota Camry, operated by Kelsie Martin (29) of Beavercreek, was northbound on Hwy 551 when for unknown reasons collided head on with a southbound Toyota Prius operated by Stephanie Patricio (33) of Woodburn.

Patricio sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased.

Martin sustained serious and was transported by Life Flight to OHSU.

Alcohol impairment by Martin is suspected as a contributing factor. OSP was assisted by Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, Canby Police Department, Aurora Fire Department, AMR Ambulance, and ODOT 

Darlene Michelle Sturdevant, 61, of Vancouver, Washington, was sentenced yesterday to 14 years in federal prison and five years’ supervised release for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and heroin throughout the Portland Metropolitan Area, possessing with intent to distribute heroin, and committing an offense while on release.

According to court documents, in February 2018, Sturdevant was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Rene Elene Griffen Nunn, 60, also of Vancouver, when the two were stopped by the Clackamas County Interagency Task Force (CCITF) and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Investigators believed Sturdevant and Nunn were driving from Vancouver to Portland to distribute drugs.

A search of the vehicle revealed $155,949, a digital scale, and a notebook in Sturdevant’s backpack and approximately 87 grams of heroin in Nunn’s purse. Investigators returned to Vancouver and searched a residence shared by Sturdevant, Nunn, and others and found an additional 367 grams of heroin and a kilogram of methamphetamine.

Sturdevant was charged with drug trafficking and released pending trial. After pleading guilty in October 2018, DEA learned that Sturdevant was again selling drugs. On January 29, 2019, DEA agents executed a search warrant at Sturdevant’s new residence in Portland and seized approximately 558 grams of heroin, digital sales, a drug ledger, and $27,250.

During sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Marco A. Hernandez ordered Sturdevant to forfeit $183,199 seized by investigators.

On October 31, 2019, Nunn pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin. She will be sentenced on March 4, 2020.

Oregon Parks and Recreati on Department (OPRD) is calling for qualified candidates to apply for two vacant positions on the agency’s Local Government Grant Program Advisory Committee.

The open positions are a county representative for counties east of the Cascade Mountains, and a citizen representative for the public at large.

The Local Government Grant Program is funded by the Oregon Lottery and awards about $6 million annually to community outdoor recreation projects throughout the state. The ten-member Advisory Committee meets annually in June to review project applications and recommend funding recipients to the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission.

Committee members typically serve four-year terms. Time commitment for committee members includes the annual June meeting, held over three days in Salem, and reviewing the several grant applications leading up to the meeting. 

Qualified candidates for the vacant positions will have a demonstrated interest in outdoor recreation. To apply, contact Mark Cowan, OPRD grant program coordinator, and request an interest form: mark.cowan@oregon.gov or 503-986-0591.

Learn more about the Local Government Grant Program and the Advisory Committee online:  oregon.gov/oprd/GRANTS/pages/local.aspx

Something big is happening October first of this year. If you aren’t paying attention it might mean missing your flight out of Oregon or any other airport across the U.S.

On that date the Transportation Security Administration begins requiring a new type of identification to board a commercial aircraft. The new ID must be compliant with something called the Real ID Act. It’s designed to keep us safer in the air, but if you try to board an aircraft using your current Oregon driver license starting in October – it won’t work. That’s because the current Oregon driver license is not Real ID compliant. Oregon DMV will begin offering a Real ID option on July 6, 2020.

If you don’t have a Real ID compliant form of ID obtain and use a passport or passport card. The cost of getting a new passport card is roughly equal to that of getting a replacement license with the Real ID option – and you can apply now at one of over 76 acceptance sites across Oregon.

Klamath Falls News from partnership with the Herald and News, empowering the community.

…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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