Klamath Basin News, Friday, Jan. 24 – Kyanna Rogers is Mentor of the Year; Voted by Citizens for Safe Schools

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.

Photo above courtesy of Citizens for Safe Schools.


Klamath Basin Weather

Today Morning showers possible, otherwise cloudy with a high near 42 degrees.  Snow level 4500 feet rising to 5100 feet.  Overnight, a 50% chance of showers. Snow level at 4600 ft.

Saturday  Rain likely at times, with a high near 45.  Snow level 7100 feet rising to 7700 feet in the afternoon. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible. Overnight, more rain.   Chance of precipitation is 90%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

Sunday Rain likely before 10am, then light showers at times during the day with a high near 44. Overnight, a chance of rain mixed with snow.   Snow level 4700 feet lowering to 4200 feet. Low around 31. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Monday A chance of rain and snow before 1pm, then a chance of rain.

Tuesday A chance of rain and snow before 10am, then a chance of rain. Snow level 5000 feet. Mostly 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 Yellow until noon today.

Three American firefighting airplane crew members were killed Thursday when the C-130 Hercules aerial water tanker they were in crashed while battling wildfires in southeastern Australia.

According to the Tanker 61 Memorial and Wildfire Learning Center, the Coulson Aviation C-130 Hercules, Tanker 134, had for a brief time been stationed in Klamath Falls last July to assist with fire suppression efforts for the Goose 2 Fire in Modoc County. Canada-based Coulson Aviation said in a statement that one of its Lockheed large air tankers was lost after it left Richmond in New South Wales with retardant for a firebombing mission. It said the accident was “extensive” but had few other details.

Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the only thing I have from the field reports are that the plane came down, it’s crashed and there was a large fireball associated with that crash.

Elise Rowley (left) with her mentor Kyanna Rogers (right) at the Citizens for Safe Schools office. Rogers is this year’s Mentor of the Year for her relationship with eighth grader Elise and Rogers’ commitment to learning more to best support her.

Kyanna Rogers, 26, and Elise Rowley, 13, were fast friends when they met during the matching process of Citizens for Safe Schools’ Kids in the Middle mentorship program in October of 2018. Their similar personalities and temperaments meant Elise had found her mentor.

“We clicked right away because we both have that pretty strong attitude,” Rogers said. “We clicked on a lot of levels, which I think is one of the more important things.”

Now, a little over a year into the pair’s friendship, Rogers was named this year’s Mentor of the Year by Citizens for Safe School and its Executive Director Robyn Pfeifer. Rogers said it’s nice to be recognized, even if she doesn’t feel she’s done anything deserving of an award in her friendship with Elise.

“I really appreciate it and it means so much, but I was just being a mentor, just being there for her all the time,” she said. “I guess what it would mean is that I’m doing it right and to keep doing it like that, if not better.”

Making a difference

As a part of National Mentor Month, Citizens for Safe Schools chooses a Mentor of the Year every January. Pfeifer said that when choosing the Mentor of the Year, they usually try to pick someone who is relatively new to the program to show appreciation to those who take the time to make a difference in a kid’s life.

“This year with Elise and Kyanna it’s just more like they have a very bonded relationship and they’re just incredibly close after — they’ve been together for a little over a year,” Pfeifer said. “But Kyanna’s just been really consistent, a really positive influence and they’ve just become fast friends.”

In January the program hosts a Mentor Appreciation event to celebrate those who commit their time to the program and Pfeifer will present Rogers with her plaque there. Pfeifer said the event and the award is a way to acknowledge the hard work of those who mentor these students.

“We couldn’t do this work without our mentors, obviously,” she said. “I think everyone likes to be recognized.”

Commitment, strategy

In Rogers’s case, Pfeifer said it was the relationship she shares with Elise that earned her the title and her commitment to doing more research and learning new strategies to connect with Elise even more, including watching TED Talks and YouTube videos.

“What makes Kyanna such a good mentor is that she’s really dedicated to doing her own research on her own and building up her own skills to best support Elise,” Pfeifer said.

Citizens for Safe Schools’ Kids in the Middle Program matches students with a mentor who simply spends time with them and is there for them after the kids are referred to the program, usually by a school counselor. Although sometimes it may not seem like they’re doing much, like Kyanna said, Pfeifer said having someone who is dedicated to a kid can be life changing for them.

“We get the question a lot of ‘how do you be a good mentor, what is a good mentor?’ The reality is that so many of our kids have different reasons that they’re in the program, different needs, is that a mentor can be so many different things,” she said. “But the most common thing that we say that makes a good mentor is someone who’s consistent, who’s reliable, who keeps their promises and is just a positive role model. And a friend.”

Hanging out

Elise is in eighth grade at Ponderosa Middle School, and since she chose Rogers as her mentor, they’ve become an important part of each other’s lives.

“It’s also been cool because my friends have kind of become like her mentors too,” Rogers said. “We all hang out with her.”

The pair spends time together about once a week doing things from going shopping to going horseback riding, but one of the more unique things they’ve done in the time they’ve known each other was take a ride in a small airplane another mentor in the program pilots. Rogers wasn’t so sure about it, but Elise didn’t want to go alone.

“I was super nervous,” Rogers said of the plane ride. “But it was super pretty, and the guy was super nice.”

The pair has also gone to the animal shelter together and Rogers and Pfeifer brainstormed other places they could volunteer at together. Pfeifer said it’s common for mentors and mentees to spend their time volunteering together.

Waitlist of kids

The program always needs more volunteers as Pfeifer said they have a waitlist of kids looking to be matched with a mentor, particularly boys as the program has more female mentors than male.

In 2019 Pfeifer said they had 73 kids, fourth through 12th grade in the program, which means about an equal number of mentors also enrolled.

Even though they got along right away, Rogers said Elise has come out of her shell since they met.

“She was really quiet for a long time,” Rogers said about the eighth grader. “Now she’s not.”

Having Rogers has meant Elise has her own person, outside of school counselors who is there for her.

“When I got her I had someone I could actually talk to all the time and someone I could actually go do things with,” Elise said. “Instead of it just strictly be talking in an office at school.”

Two-way mentoring

Although Rogers signed up to help a kid like Elise who needed an extra someone in her life, Rogers said she’s learned a lot in the relationship, too.

“There’s so much stuff I’ve learned,” Rogers said. “Like I didn’t have an intentions of learning really anything, I just was like ‘I don’t know, some people need people.’ But I’ve learned so much, I didn’t realize that kids were exposed to so much so young. I don’t know if it was like that when I was young too, but I was like ‘Oh my gosh, kids need help so much these days, they have so much to deal with at a young age. They just need somebody to talk to.’ ”

Rogers said through her time hanging out with Elise she’s also told her friends and family about the program in hopes of encouraging them to sign up, too.

“They don’t realize it and you don’t realize it, but you can make a huge impact on these kids’ lives,” she said. “I mean I can help one kid, and I just happened to pick one that enjoys the help and it helps her. Like how many more out there need more help?”

“Which is why we need more mentors,” Pfeifer said.

Pfeifer’s goal for the program each year is to recruit 25 new mentors. Still, “recruitment never stops because there’s so many kids that we get referred to our program,” she said. “We never have a zero waiting list.”

Chiloquin Junior-Senior High School 2019 graduates walk down Main Street during the annual Graduation Sensation celebration last May. Chiloquin, with a 95 percent 2019 graduation rate, saw a 17-percentage-point increase from 2018.

Three high schools in the Klamath County School District boasted graduation rates above 95 percent in 2019, and one of those – Lost River Junior-Senior High School – had a perfect graduation rate of 100 percent.

Henley High School at 97.93 percent continued its four-year trend of graduation rates above 97 percent, and Chiloquin Junior-Senior High School’s graduation rate hit 95 percent, a jump of nearly 17 percentage points from the year before.

Two other county high schools – Mazama and Gilchrist – were near 90 percent, logging 89.04 percent and 89.47 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile Graduation rates in the Klamath Falls City School District are on the rise. For the second year in a row Klamath Union High School achieved a 90% four-year graduation rate. KU students earning a diploma or GED within five years was up 9% to 96%. The district’s overall graduation rate rose 8.12 percentage points to 71.43% in 2019.

Graduation rates

Eight year old Logan Stephens was recognized by Rocky Point Fire/EMS during a special ceremony honoring the youth for his calm and specific actions that helped save the life of his grandmother.

Stephens called 911 after his grandmother, Robin Stephens, was unresponsive at the Oregon Department of Transportation compound at Lake of the Woods. Stephens provided specific information to expedite response of emergency responders who arrived on scene for medical assistance. He provided critical details about his grandmother and the incident that aided medical response.

AirLink transported Stephens to Sky Lakes Medical Center, where she remained on life support for nine days before making a full recovery. According to Rocky Point Fire Chief Diann Walker-Pope without Stephens quick and responsible actions the incident would have most likely resulted in his grandmother’s death.

For his actions, Stephens was bestowed the Heroism Award on behalf of Rocky Point volunteers, 911 personnel, AirLink responders, family members and community volunteers.

Klamath Community College is hosting a series of information sessions to help those interested in earning a nursing degree learn what it takes to be accepted into the KCC nursing program.

The sessions are open to the public. During the hour-long sessions KCC Nursing Program Administrator Allison Sansom and other nursing faculty will answer questions and provide guidance about application deadlines, admission requirements, and an updated holistic admission selection process.

Attendees are invited to bring questions about how to become a competitive candidate for selection to attend the nursing program. Attendees will also get tips for writing a stellar application essay, find out what to expect if selected for the 2020 fall term nursing student cohort, and learn about the plan and timeline for KCC to offer an Applied Bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN).

The next session is scheduled for January 29th from 5:30 to 6:30 in Building 6 Room 6217.

Local blood drive starts again Jan. 27-30th. Dates in February also announced.

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

A man was has been charged with murdering his estranged wife after authorities say her DNA was found on a circular saw he had borrowed.

Police began an investigation into the disappearance of 37-year-old Tiffany Marie Lazon after Lazon’s family told police she would not have left Albany, Oregon, without valued possessions like her car, pet cat, or phone.

Lazon’s estranged husband, Craig Alexander Lazon, of Albany, became a person of interest as he was the last person to see Lazon before she disappeared. Detectives said Craig Lazon, who was charged Tuesday, borrowed a battery-operated circular saw from a friend and returned the saw several days later. The saw’s owner turned it over to Albany Police detectives.

The Oregon State Crime Lab inspected the saw, finding bodily tissue and blood on the saw. Police say DNA tests matched Tiffany Lazon’s. Craig Lazon had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf in court Wednesday and is being held without bail.

Skyline Conference Boys Basketball Standings (As of 1/22/20)
League Overall

Klamath Union 1 0 11 4
Phoenix 1 0 8 6
Hidden Valley 0 0 8 5
Mazama 0 0 5 8
North Valley 0 1 10 4
Henley 0 1 10 5

Skyline Conference Girls Basketball Standings (As of 1/22/20)
League Overall

Henley 1 0 10 5
Phoenix 1 0 8 5
Hidden Valley 0 0 12 2
Mazama 0 0 6 5
Klamath Union 0 1 7 8
North Valley 0 1 5 9

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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